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[ uh - sahyn -m uh nt ]

She completed the assignment and went on to other jobs.

Synonyms: job , obligation

He left for his assignment in the Middle East.

  • an act of assigning; appointment.
  • the transference of a right, interest, or title, or the instrument of transfer.
  • a transference of property to assignees for the benefit of creditors.

/ əˈsaɪnmənt /

  • something that has been assigned, such as a mission or task
  • a position or post to which a person is assigned
  • the act of assigning or state of being assigned

assignment of a lease

  • the document effecting such a transfer
  • the right, interest, or property transferred
  • law (formerly) the transfer, esp by an insolvent debtor, of property in trust for the benefit of his creditors
  • logic a function that associates specific values with each variable in a formal expression
  • history a system (1789–1841) whereby a convict could become the unpaid servant of a freeman

Discover More

Other words from.

  • misas·signment noun
  • nonas·signment noun
  • reas·signment noun

Word History and Origins

Origin of assignment 1

Synonym Study

Example sentences.

Yariel Valdés González and I faced these challenges while on assignment in South Florida and the Deep South from July 21-Aug.

They’re putting time into decoration just as they would in their physical classroom, and students can interact with the space by, say, clicking on a bookshelf to get a reading assignment.

For now, if the district moves to in-person learning, instruction in Carlsbad will take place on campus five days per week and students may engage in additional independent practices and other assignments at home.

The assignments must also respect the relationships between the elements in the group.

It’s very hard, by the way, to do real random assignment studies of couples therapy.

His most recent assignment was the 84th Precinct, at the Brooklyn end of the Brooklyn Bridge.

When Lewis was shipped off to Vietnam, his son was just three months old, and the timing of the assignment worried Lewis.

When Vial got that first assignment, she was just beginning her photography career, and Cirque du Soleil was only a few years old.

“For our winter issue, we gave ourselves one assignment: Break The Internet,” wrote Paper.

By the 1950s the rapid assignment of gender to an ambiguously gendered infant had become standard.

Consent to an assignment may be given by the president of the company, without formal vote by the directors.

A transfer by the lessee of the whole or a part of his interest for a part of the time is a sublease and not an assignment.

An assignment to one who has an insurable interest as relative, creditor and the like, is always valid.

When an assignment of it is made, the assignee may sue in his own name for rent accruing after the assignment.

In some states statutes forbid the assignment of such policies for the benefit of creditors.

Related Words

  • appointment

Synonyms of assignment

  • as in lesson
  • as in appointment
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Thesaurus Definition of assignment

Synonyms & Similar Words

  • responsibility
  • undertaking
  • requirement
  • designation
  • appointment
  • authorization
  • installment
  • installation
  • destination
  • emplacement
  • investiture
  • singling (out)

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

  • dethronement

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun assignment contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of assignment are chore , duty , job , stint , and task . While all these words mean "a piece of work to be done," assignment implies a definite limited task assigned by one in authority.

When is it sensible to use chore instead of assignment ?

While the synonyms chore and assignment are close in meaning, chore implies a minor routine activity necessary for maintaining a household or farm.

When is duty a more appropriate choice than assignment ?

Although the words duty and assignment have much in common, duty implies an obligation to perform or responsibility for performance.

When might job be a better fit than assignment ?

The synonyms job and assignment are sometimes interchangeable, but job applies to a piece of work voluntarily performed; it may sometimes suggest difficulty or importance.

When could stint be used to replace assignment ?

In some situations, the words stint and assignment are roughly equivalent. However, stint implies a carefully allotted or measured quantity of assigned work or service.

When can task be used instead of assignment ?

The meanings of task and assignment largely overlap; however, task implies work imposed by a person in authority or an employer or by circumstance.

Thesaurus Entries Near assignment

assignments

Cite this Entry

“Assignment.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/assignment. Accessed 29 May. 2024.

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Nglish: Translation of assignment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of assignment for Arabic Speakers

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Definition of 'assignment'

IPA Pronunciation Guide

assignment in American English

Assignment in british english, examples of 'assignment' in a sentence assignment, related word partners assignment, trends of assignment.

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Assignation or assignment

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| Grammarist

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An assignment is a task given to a specific person or group to complete. It can also mean the act of assigning . In some legal fields it can refer to the transferring of ownership of property.

An assignation is the act of assigning or the actual assignment. But it also means a secret rendezvous for lovers, most especially for affairs or illicit relationships. Sometimes this is used to mean a secret meeting or a regularly set meeting, but it would be confusing in this sense to those who are familiar with the standard meaning (see the example below). As a mass noun it can refer to something as being owned or belonging to something else.

Examples The choice has not been made, but it appears the team is more likely to option Orlando to Omaha, rather than designate Dyson for assignment. [ The Kansas City Star ] According to a criminal complaint, Ms Dale, 21, told a detective that Ethan refused to complete the assignment for the first time on 24 February. [ International Business Times ] I vaguely remember seeing images of Delhiites being water-hosed by police while rioting for “Nirbhaya,” an assignation that means “Fearless One,” given to Pandey by the media as authorities would not release her name. [ Huffington Post ] The rare exceptions include a scene in which Shulem follows his wife to an assignation with Félix, slapping his romantic rival to the sidewalk like a petulant schoolboy. [ The Washington Post ] Over the past few months, RPG Enterprises chairman Harsh Goenka, has been having an assignation every other Friday for a few hours. [ India Times ]

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assignment or definition

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Definition of assign verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

Join our community to access the latest language learning and assessment tips from Oxford University Press!

  • 3 [ usually passive ] assign somebody to somebody/something to send a person to work under the authority of someone or in a particular group I was assigned to B platoon.
  • 4 to say that something has a particular value or function, or happens at a particular time or place assign something to something Assign a different color to each different type of information. assign something sth The painting cannot be assigned an exact date.
  • 5 assign something to somebody ( law ) to say that your property or rights now belong to someone else The agreement assigns copyright to the publisher. She has assigned the lease to her daughter.

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Home » Assignment – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

Assignment – Types, Examples and Writing Guide

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Assignment

Definition:

Assignment is a task given to students by a teacher or professor, usually as a means of assessing their understanding and application of course material. Assignments can take various forms, including essays, research papers, presentations, problem sets, lab reports, and more.

Assignments are typically designed to be completed outside of class time and may require independent research, critical thinking, and analysis. They are often graded and used as a significant component of a student’s overall course grade. The instructions for an assignment usually specify the goals, requirements, and deadlines for completion, and students are expected to meet these criteria to earn a good grade.

History of Assignment

The use of assignments as a tool for teaching and learning has been a part of education for centuries. Following is a brief history of the Assignment.

  • Ancient Times: Assignments such as writing exercises, recitations, and memorization tasks were used to reinforce learning.
  • Medieval Period : Universities began to develop the concept of the assignment, with students completing essays, commentaries, and translations to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
  • 19th Century : With the growth of schools and universities, assignments became more widespread and were used to assess student progress and achievement.
  • 20th Century: The rise of distance education and online learning led to the further development of assignments as an integral part of the educational process.
  • Present Day: Assignments continue to be used in a variety of educational settings and are seen as an effective way to promote student learning and assess student achievement. The nature and format of assignments continue to evolve in response to changing educational needs and technological innovations.

Types of Assignment

Here are some of the most common types of assignments:

An essay is a piece of writing that presents an argument, analysis, or interpretation of a topic or question. It usually consists of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Essay structure:

  • Introduction : introduces the topic and thesis statement
  • Body paragraphs : each paragraph presents a different argument or idea, with evidence and analysis to support it
  • Conclusion : summarizes the key points and reiterates the thesis statement

Research paper

A research paper involves gathering and analyzing information on a particular topic, and presenting the findings in a well-structured, documented paper. It usually involves conducting original research, collecting data, and presenting it in a clear, organized manner.

Research paper structure:

  • Title page : includes the title of the paper, author’s name, date, and institution
  • Abstract : summarizes the paper’s main points and conclusions
  • Introduction : provides background information on the topic and research question
  • Literature review: summarizes previous research on the topic
  • Methodology : explains how the research was conducted
  • Results : presents the findings of the research
  • Discussion : interprets the results and draws conclusions
  • Conclusion : summarizes the key findings and implications

A case study involves analyzing a real-life situation, problem or issue, and presenting a solution or recommendations based on the analysis. It often involves extensive research, data analysis, and critical thinking.

Case study structure:

  • Introduction : introduces the case study and its purpose
  • Background : provides context and background information on the case
  • Analysis : examines the key issues and problems in the case
  • Solution/recommendations: proposes solutions or recommendations based on the analysis
  • Conclusion: Summarize the key points and implications

A lab report is a scientific document that summarizes the results of a laboratory experiment or research project. It typically includes an introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion.

Lab report structure:

  • Title page : includes the title of the experiment, author’s name, date, and institution
  • Abstract : summarizes the purpose, methodology, and results of the experiment
  • Methods : explains how the experiment was conducted
  • Results : presents the findings of the experiment

Presentation

A presentation involves delivering information, data or findings to an audience, often with the use of visual aids such as slides, charts, or diagrams. It requires clear communication skills, good organization, and effective use of technology.

Presentation structure:

  • Introduction : introduces the topic and purpose of the presentation
  • Body : presents the main points, findings, or data, with the help of visual aids
  • Conclusion : summarizes the key points and provides a closing statement

Creative Project

A creative project is an assignment that requires students to produce something original, such as a painting, sculpture, video, or creative writing piece. It allows students to demonstrate their creativity and artistic skills.

Creative project structure:

  • Introduction : introduces the project and its purpose
  • Body : presents the creative work, with explanations or descriptions as needed
  • Conclusion : summarizes the key elements and reflects on the creative process.

Examples of Assignments

Following are Examples of Assignment templates samples:

Essay template:

I. Introduction

  • Hook: Grab the reader’s attention with a catchy opening sentence.
  • Background: Provide some context or background information on the topic.
  • Thesis statement: State the main argument or point of your essay.

II. Body paragraphs

  • Topic sentence: Introduce the main idea or argument of the paragraph.
  • Evidence: Provide evidence or examples to support your point.
  • Analysis: Explain how the evidence supports your argument.
  • Transition: Use a transition sentence to lead into the next paragraph.

III. Conclusion

  • Restate thesis: Summarize your main argument or point.
  • Review key points: Summarize the main points you made in your essay.
  • Concluding thoughts: End with a final thought or call to action.

Research paper template:

I. Title page

  • Title: Give your paper a descriptive title.
  • Author: Include your name and institutional affiliation.
  • Date: Provide the date the paper was submitted.

II. Abstract

  • Background: Summarize the background and purpose of your research.
  • Methodology: Describe the methods you used to conduct your research.
  • Results: Summarize the main findings of your research.
  • Conclusion: Provide a brief summary of the implications and conclusions of your research.

III. Introduction

  • Background: Provide some background information on the topic.
  • Research question: State your research question or hypothesis.
  • Purpose: Explain the purpose of your research.

IV. Literature review

  • Background: Summarize previous research on the topic.
  • Gaps in research: Identify gaps or areas that need further research.

V. Methodology

  • Participants: Describe the participants in your study.
  • Procedure: Explain the procedure you used to conduct your research.
  • Measures: Describe the measures you used to collect data.

VI. Results

  • Quantitative results: Summarize the quantitative data you collected.
  • Qualitative results: Summarize the qualitative data you collected.

VII. Discussion

  • Interpretation: Interpret the results and explain what they mean.
  • Implications: Discuss the implications of your research.
  • Limitations: Identify any limitations or weaknesses of your research.

VIII. Conclusion

  • Review key points: Summarize the main points you made in your paper.

Case study template:

  • Background: Provide background information on the case.
  • Research question: State the research question or problem you are examining.
  • Purpose: Explain the purpose of the case study.

II. Analysis

  • Problem: Identify the main problem or issue in the case.
  • Factors: Describe the factors that contributed to the problem.
  • Alternative solutions: Describe potential solutions to the problem.

III. Solution/recommendations

  • Proposed solution: Describe the solution you are proposing.
  • Rationale: Explain why this solution is the best one.
  • Implementation: Describe how the solution can be implemented.

IV. Conclusion

  • Summary: Summarize the main points of your case study.

Lab report template:

  • Title: Give your report a descriptive title.
  • Date: Provide the date the report was submitted.
  • Background: Summarize the background and purpose of the experiment.
  • Methodology: Describe the methods you used to conduct the experiment.
  • Results: Summarize the main findings of the experiment.
  • Conclusion: Provide a brief summary of the implications and conclusions
  • Background: Provide some background information on the experiment.
  • Hypothesis: State your hypothesis or research question.
  • Purpose: Explain the purpose of the experiment.

IV. Materials and methods

  • Materials: List the materials and equipment used in the experiment.
  • Procedure: Describe the procedure you followed to conduct the experiment.
  • Data: Present the data you collected in tables or graphs.
  • Analysis: Analyze the data and describe the patterns or trends you observed.

VI. Discussion

  • Implications: Discuss the implications of your findings.
  • Limitations: Identify any limitations or weaknesses of the experiment.

VII. Conclusion

  • Restate hypothesis: Summarize your hypothesis or research question.
  • Review key points: Summarize the main points you made in your report.

Presentation template:

  • Attention grabber: Grab the audience’s attention with a catchy opening.
  • Purpose: Explain the purpose of your presentation.
  • Overview: Provide an overview of what you will cover in your presentation.

II. Main points

  • Main point 1: Present the first main point of your presentation.
  • Supporting details: Provide supporting details or evidence to support your point.
  • Main point 2: Present the second main point of your presentation.
  • Main point 3: Present the third main point of your presentation.
  • Summary: Summarize the main points of your presentation.
  • Call to action: End with a final thought or call to action.

Creative writing template:

  • Setting: Describe the setting of your story.
  • Characters: Introduce the main characters of your story.
  • Rising action: Introduce the conflict or problem in your story.
  • Climax: Present the most intense moment of the story.
  • Falling action: Resolve the conflict or problem in your story.
  • Resolution: Describe how the conflict or problem was resolved.
  • Final thoughts: End with a final thought or reflection on the story.

How to Write Assignment

Here is a general guide on how to write an assignment:

  • Understand the assignment prompt: Before you begin writing, make sure you understand what the assignment requires. Read the prompt carefully and make note of any specific requirements or guidelines.
  • Research and gather information: Depending on the type of assignment, you may need to do research to gather information to support your argument or points. Use credible sources such as academic journals, books, and reputable websites.
  • Organize your ideas : Once you have gathered all the necessary information, organize your ideas into a clear and logical structure. Consider creating an outline or diagram to help you visualize your ideas.
  • Write a draft: Begin writing your assignment using your organized ideas and research. Don’t worry too much about grammar or sentence structure at this point; the goal is to get your thoughts down on paper.
  • Revise and edit: After you have written a draft, revise and edit your work. Make sure your ideas are presented in a clear and concise manner, and that your sentences and paragraphs flow smoothly.
  • Proofread: Finally, proofread your work for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. It’s a good idea to have someone else read over your assignment as well to catch any mistakes you may have missed.
  • Submit your assignment : Once you are satisfied with your work, submit your assignment according to the instructions provided by your instructor or professor.

Applications of Assignment

Assignments have many applications across different fields and industries. Here are a few examples:

  • Education : Assignments are a common tool used in education to help students learn and demonstrate their knowledge. They can be used to assess a student’s understanding of a particular topic, to develop critical thinking skills, and to improve writing and research abilities.
  • Business : Assignments can be used in the business world to assess employee skills, to evaluate job performance, and to provide training opportunities. They can also be used to develop business plans, marketing strategies, and financial projections.
  • Journalism : Assignments are often used in journalism to produce news articles, features, and investigative reports. Journalists may be assigned to cover a particular event or topic, or to research and write a story on a specific subject.
  • Research : Assignments can be used in research to collect and analyze data, to conduct experiments, and to present findings in written or oral form. Researchers may be assigned to conduct research on a specific topic, to write a research paper, or to present their findings at a conference or seminar.
  • Government : Assignments can be used in government to develop policy proposals, to conduct research, and to analyze data. Government officials may be assigned to work on a specific project or to conduct research on a particular topic.
  • Non-profit organizations: Assignments can be used in non-profit organizations to develop fundraising strategies, to plan events, and to conduct research. Volunteers may be assigned to work on a specific project or to help with a particular task.

Purpose of Assignment

The purpose of an assignment varies depending on the context in which it is given. However, some common purposes of assignments include:

  • Assessing learning: Assignments are often used to assess a student’s understanding of a particular topic or concept. This allows educators to determine if a student has mastered the material or if they need additional support.
  • Developing skills: Assignments can be used to develop a wide range of skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, research, and communication. Assignments that require students to analyze and synthesize information can help to build these skills.
  • Encouraging creativity: Assignments can be designed to encourage students to be creative and think outside the box. This can help to foster innovation and original thinking.
  • Providing feedback : Assignments provide an opportunity for teachers to provide feedback to students on their progress and performance. Feedback can help students to understand where they need to improve and to develop a growth mindset.
  • Meeting learning objectives : Assignments can be designed to help students meet specific learning objectives or outcomes. For example, a writing assignment may be designed to help students improve their writing skills, while a research assignment may be designed to help students develop their research skills.

When to write Assignment

Assignments are typically given by instructors or professors as part of a course or academic program. The timing of when to write an assignment will depend on the specific requirements of the course or program, but in general, assignments should be completed within the timeframe specified by the instructor or program guidelines.

It is important to begin working on assignments as soon as possible to ensure enough time for research, writing, and revisions. Waiting until the last minute can result in rushed work and lower quality output.

It is also important to prioritize assignments based on their due dates and the amount of work required. This will help to manage time effectively and ensure that all assignments are completed on time.

In addition to assignments given by instructors or professors, there may be other situations where writing an assignment is necessary. For example, in the workplace, assignments may be given to complete a specific project or task. In these situations, it is important to establish clear deadlines and expectations to ensure that the assignment is completed on time and to a high standard.

Characteristics of Assignment

Here are some common characteristics of assignments:

  • Purpose : Assignments have a specific purpose, such as assessing knowledge or developing skills. They are designed to help students learn and achieve specific learning objectives.
  • Requirements: Assignments have specific requirements that must be met, such as a word count, format, or specific content. These requirements are usually provided by the instructor or professor.
  • Deadline: Assignments have a specific deadline for completion, which is usually set by the instructor or professor. It is important to meet the deadline to avoid penalties or lower grades.
  • Individual or group work: Assignments can be completed individually or as part of a group. Group assignments may require collaboration and communication with other group members.
  • Feedback : Assignments provide an opportunity for feedback from the instructor or professor. This feedback can help students to identify areas of improvement and to develop their skills.
  • Academic integrity: Assignments require academic integrity, which means that students must submit original work and avoid plagiarism. This includes citing sources properly and following ethical guidelines.
  • Learning outcomes : Assignments are designed to help students achieve specific learning outcomes. These outcomes are usually related to the course objectives and may include developing critical thinking skills, writing abilities, or subject-specific knowledge.

Advantages of Assignment

There are several advantages of assignment, including:

  • Helps in learning: Assignments help students to reinforce their learning and understanding of a particular topic. By completing assignments, students get to apply the concepts learned in class, which helps them to better understand and retain the information.
  • Develops critical thinking skills: Assignments often require students to think critically and analyze information in order to come up with a solution or answer. This helps to develop their critical thinking skills, which are important for success in many areas of life.
  • Encourages creativity: Assignments that require students to create something, such as a piece of writing or a project, can encourage creativity and innovation. This can help students to develop new ideas and perspectives, which can be beneficial in many areas of life.
  • Builds time-management skills: Assignments often come with deadlines, which can help students to develop time-management skills. Learning how to manage time effectively is an important skill that can help students to succeed in many areas of life.
  • Provides feedback: Assignments provide an opportunity for students to receive feedback on their work. This feedback can help students to identify areas where they need to improve and can help them to grow and develop.

Limitations of Assignment

There are also some limitations of assignments that should be considered, including:

  • Limited scope: Assignments are often limited in scope, and may not provide a comprehensive understanding of a particular topic. They may only cover a specific aspect of a topic, and may not provide a full picture of the subject matter.
  • Lack of engagement: Some assignments may not engage students in the learning process, particularly if they are repetitive or not challenging enough. This can lead to a lack of motivation and interest in the subject matter.
  • Time-consuming: Assignments can be time-consuming, particularly if they require a lot of research or writing. This can be a disadvantage for students who have other commitments, such as work or extracurricular activities.
  • Unreliable assessment: The assessment of assignments can be subjective and may not always accurately reflect a student’s understanding or abilities. The grading may be influenced by factors such as the instructor’s personal biases or the student’s writing style.
  • Lack of feedback : Although assignments can provide feedback, this feedback may not always be detailed or useful. Instructors may not have the time or resources to provide detailed feedback on every assignment, which can limit the value of the feedback that students receive.

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Assignment is a legal term whereby an individual, the “assignor,” transfers rights, property, or other benefits to another known as the “ assignee .”   This concept is used in both contract and property law.  The term can refer to either the act of transfer or the rights /property/benefits being transferred.

Contract Law   

Under contract law, assignment of a contract is both: (1) an assignment of rights; and (2) a delegation of duties , in the absence of evidence otherwise.  For example, if A contracts with B to teach B guitar for $50, A can assign this contract to C.  That is, this assignment is both: (1) an assignment of A’s rights under the contract to the $50; and (2) a delegation of A’s duty to teach guitar to C.  In this example, A is both the “assignor” and the “delegee” who d elegates the duties to another (C), C is known as the “ obligor ” who must perform the obligations to the assignee , and B is the “ assignee ” who is owed duties and is liable to the “ obligor ”.

(1) Assignment of Rights/Duties Under Contract Law

There are a few notable rules regarding assignments under contract law.  First, if an individual has not yet secured the contract to perform duties to another, he/she cannot assign his/her future right to an assignee .  That is, if A has not yet contracted with B to teach B guitar, A cannot assign his/her rights to C.  Second, rights cannot be assigned when they materially change the obligor ’s duty and rights.  Third, the obligor can sue the assignee directly if the assignee does not pay him/her.  Following the previous example, this means that C ( obligor ) can sue B ( assignee ) if C teaches guitar to B, but B does not pay C $50 in return.

            (2) Delegation of Duties

If the promised performance requires a rare genius or skill, then the delegee cannot delegate it to the obligor.  It can only be delegated if the promised performance is more commonplace.  Further, an obligee can sue if the assignee does not perform.  However, the delegee is secondarily liable unless there has been an express release of the delegee.  That is, if B does want C to teach guitar but C refuses to, then B can sue C.  If C still refuses to perform, then B can compel A to fulfill the duties under secondary liability.

Lastly, a related concept is novation , which is when a new obligor substitutes and releases an old obligor.  If novation occurs, then the original obligor’s duties are wiped out. However, novation requires an original obligee’s consent .  

Property Law

Under property law, assignment typically arises in landlord-tenant situations.  For example, A might be renting from landlord B but wants to another party (C) to take over the property.   In this scenario, A might be able to choose between assigning and subleasing the property to C.  If assigning , A would be giving C the entire balance of the term, with no reversion to anyone whereas if subleasing , A would be giving C for a limited period of the remaining term.  Significantly, under assignment C would have privity of estate with the landlord while under a sublease, C would not. 

[Last updated in May of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team ]

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Understanding Assignments

What this handout is about.

The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms and practices into meaningful clues to the type of writing your instructor expects. See our short video for more tips.

Basic beginnings

Regardless of the assignment, department, or instructor, adopting these two habits will serve you well :

  • Read the assignment carefully as soon as you receive it. Do not put this task off—reading the assignment at the beginning will save you time, stress, and problems later. An assignment can look pretty straightforward at first, particularly if the instructor has provided lots of information. That does not mean it will not take time and effort to complete; you may even have to learn a new skill to complete the assignment.
  • Ask the instructor about anything you do not understand. Do not hesitate to approach your instructor. Instructors would prefer to set you straight before you hand the paper in. That’s also when you will find their feedback most useful.

Assignment formats

Many assignments follow a basic format. Assignments often begin with an overview of the topic, include a central verb or verbs that describe the task, and offer some additional suggestions, questions, or prompts to get you started.

An Overview of Some Kind

The instructor might set the stage with some general discussion of the subject of the assignment, introduce the topic, or remind you of something pertinent that you have discussed in class. For example:

“Throughout history, gerbils have played a key role in politics,” or “In the last few weeks of class, we have focused on the evening wear of the housefly …”

The Task of the Assignment

Pay attention; this part tells you what to do when you write the paper. Look for the key verb or verbs in the sentence. Words like analyze, summarize, or compare direct you to think about your topic in a certain way. Also pay attention to words such as how, what, when, where, and why; these words guide your attention toward specific information. (See the section in this handout titled “Key Terms” for more information.)

“Analyze the effect that gerbils had on the Russian Revolution”, or “Suggest an interpretation of housefly undergarments that differs from Darwin’s.”

Additional Material to Think about

Here you will find some questions to use as springboards as you begin to think about the topic. Instructors usually include these questions as suggestions rather than requirements. Do not feel compelled to answer every question unless the instructor asks you to do so. Pay attention to the order of the questions. Sometimes they suggest the thinking process your instructor imagines you will need to follow to begin thinking about the topic.

“You may wish to consider the differing views held by Communist gerbils vs. Monarchist gerbils, or Can there be such a thing as ‘the housefly garment industry’ or is it just a home-based craft?”

These are the instructor’s comments about writing expectations:

“Be concise”, “Write effectively”, or “Argue furiously.”

Technical Details

These instructions usually indicate format rules or guidelines.

“Your paper must be typed in Palatino font on gray paper and must not exceed 600 pages. It is due on the anniversary of Mao Tse-tung’s death.”

The assignment’s parts may not appear in exactly this order, and each part may be very long or really short. Nonetheless, being aware of this standard pattern can help you understand what your instructor wants you to do.

Interpreting the assignment

Ask yourself a few basic questions as you read and jot down the answers on the assignment sheet:

Why did your instructor ask you to do this particular task?

Who is your audience.

  • What kind of evidence do you need to support your ideas?

What kind of writing style is acceptable?

  • What are the absolute rules of the paper?

Try to look at the question from the point of view of the instructor. Recognize that your instructor has a reason for giving you this assignment and for giving it to you at a particular point in the semester. In every assignment, the instructor has a challenge for you. This challenge could be anything from demonstrating an ability to think clearly to demonstrating an ability to use the library. See the assignment not as a vague suggestion of what to do but as an opportunity to show that you can handle the course material as directed. Paper assignments give you more than a topic to discuss—they ask you to do something with the topic. Keep reminding yourself of that. Be careful to avoid the other extreme as well: do not read more into the assignment than what is there.

Of course, your instructor has given you an assignment so that they will be able to assess your understanding of the course material and give you an appropriate grade. But there is more to it than that. Your instructor has tried to design a learning experience of some kind. Your instructor wants you to think about something in a particular way for a particular reason. If you read the course description at the beginning of your syllabus, review the assigned readings, and consider the assignment itself, you may begin to see the plan, purpose, or approach to the subject matter that your instructor has created for you. If you still aren’t sure of the assignment’s goals, try asking the instructor. For help with this, see our handout on getting feedback .

Given your instructor’s efforts, it helps to answer the question: What is my purpose in completing this assignment? Is it to gather research from a variety of outside sources and present a coherent picture? Is it to take material I have been learning in class and apply it to a new situation? Is it to prove a point one way or another? Key words from the assignment can help you figure this out. Look for key terms in the form of active verbs that tell you what to do.

Key Terms: Finding Those Active Verbs

Here are some common key words and definitions to help you think about assignment terms:

Information words Ask you to demonstrate what you know about the subject, such as who, what, when, where, how, and why.

  • define —give the subject’s meaning (according to someone or something). Sometimes you have to give more than one view on the subject’s meaning
  • describe —provide details about the subject by answering question words (such as who, what, when, where, how, and why); you might also give details related to the five senses (what you see, hear, feel, taste, and smell)
  • explain —give reasons why or examples of how something happened
  • illustrate —give descriptive examples of the subject and show how each is connected with the subject
  • summarize —briefly list the important ideas you learned about the subject
  • trace —outline how something has changed or developed from an earlier time to its current form
  • research —gather material from outside sources about the subject, often with the implication or requirement that you will analyze what you have found

Relation words Ask you to demonstrate how things are connected.

  • compare —show how two or more things are similar (and, sometimes, different)
  • contrast —show how two or more things are dissimilar
  • apply—use details that you’ve been given to demonstrate how an idea, theory, or concept works in a particular situation
  • cause —show how one event or series of events made something else happen
  • relate —show or describe the connections between things

Interpretation words Ask you to defend ideas of your own about the subject. Do not see these words as requesting opinion alone (unless the assignment specifically says so), but as requiring opinion that is supported by concrete evidence. Remember examples, principles, definitions, or concepts from class or research and use them in your interpretation.

  • assess —summarize your opinion of the subject and measure it against something
  • prove, justify —give reasons or examples to demonstrate how or why something is the truth
  • evaluate, respond —state your opinion of the subject as good, bad, or some combination of the two, with examples and reasons
  • support —give reasons or evidence for something you believe (be sure to state clearly what it is that you believe)
  • synthesize —put two or more things together that have not been put together in class or in your readings before; do not just summarize one and then the other and say that they are similar or different—you must provide a reason for putting them together that runs all the way through the paper
  • analyze —determine how individual parts create or relate to the whole, figure out how something works, what it might mean, or why it is important
  • argue —take a side and defend it with evidence against the other side

More Clues to Your Purpose As you read the assignment, think about what the teacher does in class:

  • What kinds of textbooks or coursepack did your instructor choose for the course—ones that provide background information, explain theories or perspectives, or argue a point of view?
  • In lecture, does your instructor ask your opinion, try to prove their point of view, or use keywords that show up again in the assignment?
  • What kinds of assignments are typical in this discipline? Social science classes often expect more research. Humanities classes thrive on interpretation and analysis.
  • How do the assignments, readings, and lectures work together in the course? Instructors spend time designing courses, sometimes even arguing with their peers about the most effective course materials. Figuring out the overall design to the course will help you understand what each assignment is meant to achieve.

Now, what about your reader? Most undergraduates think of their audience as the instructor. True, your instructor is a good person to keep in mind as you write. But for the purposes of a good paper, think of your audience as someone like your roommate: smart enough to understand a clear, logical argument, but not someone who already knows exactly what is going on in your particular paper. Remember, even if the instructor knows everything there is to know about your paper topic, they still have to read your paper and assess your understanding. In other words, teach the material to your reader.

Aiming a paper at your audience happens in two ways: you make decisions about the tone and the level of information you want to convey.

  • Tone means the “voice” of your paper. Should you be chatty, formal, or objective? Usually you will find some happy medium—you do not want to alienate your reader by sounding condescending or superior, but you do not want to, um, like, totally wig on the man, you know? Eschew ostentatious erudition: some students think the way to sound academic is to use big words. Be careful—you can sound ridiculous, especially if you use the wrong big words.
  • The level of information you use depends on who you think your audience is. If you imagine your audience as your instructor and they already know everything you have to say, you may find yourself leaving out key information that can cause your argument to be unconvincing and illogical. But you do not have to explain every single word or issue. If you are telling your roommate what happened on your favorite science fiction TV show last night, you do not say, “First a dark-haired white man of average height, wearing a suit and carrying a flashlight, walked into the room. Then a purple alien with fifteen arms and at least three eyes turned around. Then the man smiled slightly. In the background, you could hear a clock ticking. The room was fairly dark and had at least two windows that I saw.” You also do not say, “This guy found some aliens. The end.” Find some balance of useful details that support your main point.

You’ll find a much more detailed discussion of these concepts in our handout on audience .

The Grim Truth

With a few exceptions (including some lab and ethnography reports), you are probably being asked to make an argument. You must convince your audience. It is easy to forget this aim when you are researching and writing; as you become involved in your subject matter, you may become enmeshed in the details and focus on learning or simply telling the information you have found. You need to do more than just repeat what you have read. Your writing should have a point, and you should be able to say it in a sentence. Sometimes instructors call this sentence a “thesis” or a “claim.”

So, if your instructor tells you to write about some aspect of oral hygiene, you do not want to just list: “First, you brush your teeth with a soft brush and some peanut butter. Then, you floss with unwaxed, bologna-flavored string. Finally, gargle with bourbon.” Instead, you could say, “Of all the oral cleaning methods, sandblasting removes the most plaque. Therefore it should be recommended by the American Dental Association.” Or, “From an aesthetic perspective, moldy teeth can be quite charming. However, their joys are short-lived.”

Convincing the reader of your argument is the goal of academic writing. It doesn’t have to say “argument” anywhere in the assignment for you to need one. Look at the assignment and think about what kind of argument you could make about it instead of just seeing it as a checklist of information you have to present. For help with understanding the role of argument in academic writing, see our handout on argument .

What kind of evidence do you need?

There are many kinds of evidence, and what type of evidence will work for your assignment can depend on several factors–the discipline, the parameters of the assignment, and your instructor’s preference. Should you use statistics? Historical examples? Do you need to conduct your own experiment? Can you rely on personal experience? See our handout on evidence for suggestions on how to use evidence appropriately.

Make sure you are clear about this part of the assignment, because your use of evidence will be crucial in writing a successful paper. You are not just learning how to argue; you are learning how to argue with specific types of materials and ideas. Ask your instructor what counts as acceptable evidence. You can also ask a librarian for help. No matter what kind of evidence you use, be sure to cite it correctly—see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial .

You cannot always tell from the assignment just what sort of writing style your instructor expects. The instructor may be really laid back in class but still expect you to sound formal in writing. Or the instructor may be fairly formal in class and ask you to write a reflection paper where you need to use “I” and speak from your own experience.

Try to avoid false associations of a particular field with a style (“art historians like wacky creativity,” or “political scientists are boring and just give facts”) and look instead to the types of readings you have been given in class. No one expects you to write like Plato—just use the readings as a guide for what is standard or preferable to your instructor. When in doubt, ask your instructor about the level of formality they expect.

No matter what field you are writing for or what facts you are including, if you do not write so that your reader can understand your main idea, you have wasted your time. So make clarity your main goal. For specific help with style, see our handout on style .

Technical details about the assignment

The technical information you are given in an assignment always seems like the easy part. This section can actually give you lots of little hints about approaching the task. Find out if elements such as page length and citation format (see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial ) are negotiable. Some professors do not have strong preferences as long as you are consistent and fully answer the assignment. Some professors are very specific and will deduct big points for deviations.

Usually, the page length tells you something important: The instructor thinks the size of the paper is appropriate to the assignment’s parameters. In plain English, your instructor is telling you how many pages it should take for you to answer the question as fully as you are expected to. So if an assignment is two pages long, you cannot pad your paper with examples or reword your main idea several times. Hit your one point early, defend it with the clearest example, and finish quickly. If an assignment is ten pages long, you can be more complex in your main points and examples—and if you can only produce five pages for that assignment, you need to see someone for help—as soon as possible.

Tricks that don’t work

Your instructors are not fooled when you:

  • spend more time on the cover page than the essay —graphics, cool binders, and cute titles are no replacement for a well-written paper.
  • use huge fonts, wide margins, or extra spacing to pad the page length —these tricks are immediately obvious to the eye. Most instructors use the same word processor you do. They know what’s possible. Such tactics are especially damning when the instructor has a stack of 60 papers to grade and yours is the only one that low-flying airplane pilots could read.
  • use a paper from another class that covered “sort of similar” material . Again, the instructor has a particular task for you to fulfill in the assignment that usually relates to course material and lectures. Your other paper may not cover this material, and turning in the same paper for more than one course may constitute an Honor Code violation . Ask the instructor—it can’t hurt.
  • get all wacky and “creative” before you answer the question . Showing that you are able to think beyond the boundaries of a simple assignment can be good, but you must do what the assignment calls for first. Again, check with your instructor. A humorous tone can be refreshing for someone grading a stack of papers, but it will not get you a good grade if you have not fulfilled the task.

Critical reading of assignments leads to skills in other types of reading and writing. If you get good at figuring out what the real goals of assignments are, you are going to be better at understanding the goals of all of your classes and fields of study.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Meaning of assign in English

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assign verb [T] ( CHOOSE )

  • Every available officer will be assigned to the investigation .
  • The textbooks were assigned by the course director .
  • Part of the group were assigned to clear land mines .
  • Each trainee is assigned a mentor who will help them learn more about the job .
  • We were assigned an interpreter for the duration of our stay .
  • accommodate
  • accommodate someone with something
  • administration
  • arm someone with something
  • hand something back
  • hand something down
  • hand something in
  • hand something out
  • re-equipment
  • reassignment

You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics:

assign verb [T] ( SEND )

  • She was assigned to the Paris office .
  • All the team were assigned to Poland.
  • advertisement
  • employment agency
  • equality, diversity and inclusion
  • reinstatement
  • relocation expenses
  • testimonial

assign verb [T] ( COMPUTING )

  • 3-D printing
  • adaptive learning
  • additive manufacturing
  • hexadecimal
  • hill climbing
  • telerobotics
  • word processing

assign verb [T] ( GIVE LEGALLY )

Phrasal verb, assign | american dictionary, assign | business english, examples of assign, translations of assign.

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  • assign (CHOOSE)
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Assignment vs Novation: Everything You Need to Know

Assignment vs. novation: What's the difference? An assignment agreement transfers one party's rights and obligations under a contract to another party. 4 min read updated on February 01, 2023

Assignment vs. novation: What's the difference? An assignment agreement transfers one party's rights and obligations under a contract to another party. The party transferring their rights and duties is the assignor; the party receiving them is the assignee. Novation is a mechanism where one party transfers all its obligations and rights under a contract to a third party, with the consent of the original counterparty.

The transfer of a benefit or interest from one party to another is referred to as an assignment. While the benefits can be transferred, the obligation or burden behind the contract cannot be. A contract assignment occurs when a party assigns their contractual rights to a third party. The benefit that the issuing party would have received from the contract is now assigned to the third party. The party appointing their rights is referred to as the assignor, while the party obtaining the rights is the assignee. 

The assignor continues to carry the burden and can be held liable by the assignee for failing to fulfill their duties under the contract. Purchasing an indemnity clause from the assignee may help protect the assignor from a future liability. Unlike notation, assignment contracts do not annul the initial agreement and do not establish a new agreement. The original or initial contract continues to be enforced. 

Assignment contracts generally do not require the authorization from all parties in the agreement. Based on the terms, the assignor will most likely only need to notify the nonassigning party.

In regards to a contract being assignable, if an agreement seems silent or unclear, courts have decided that the contract is typically assignable. However, this does not apply to personal service contracts where consent is mandatory. The Supreme Court of Canada , or SCC, has determined that a personal service contract must be created for the original parties based on the special characteristics, skills, or confidences that are uniquely displayed between them. Many times, the courts need to intervene to determine whether an agreement is indeed a personal service contract.

Overall, assignment is more convenient for the assignor than novation. The assignor is not required to ask for approval from a third party in order to assign their interest in an agreement to the assignee. The assignor should be aware of the potential liability risk if the assignee doesn't perform their duties as stated in the assigned contract.

Novation has the potential to limit future liabilities to an assignor, but it also is usually more burdensome for the parties involved. Additionally, it's not always achievable if a third party refuses to give consent.

It's essential for the two parties in an agreement to appraise their relationship before transitioning to novation. An assignment is preferential for parties that would like to continue performing their obligations, but also transition some of their rights to another party.

A novation occurs when a party would like to transfer both the benefits and the burden within a contract to another party. Similar to assignment, the benefits are transferred, but unlike assignment, the burden is also transferred. When a novation is completed, the original contract is deleted and is replaced with a new one. In this new contract, a third party is now responsible for the obligations and rights. Generally, novation does not cancel any past obligations or rights under the initial contract, although it is possible to novate these as well.

Novation needs to be approved by both parties of the original contract and the new joining third party. Some amount of consideration must also be provided in the new contract in order for it to be novated, unless the novation is cited in a deed that is signed by all parties to the contract. In this situation, consideration is referring to something of value that is being gained through the contract.

Novation occurs when the purchaser to the original agreement is attempting to replace the seller of an original contract. Once novated, the original seller is released from any obligation under the initial contract. The SCC has established a three-point test to implement novation. The asserting party must prove:

  • The purchaser accepts complete liability
  • The creditor to the original contract accepts the purchaser as the official debtor, and not simply as a guarantor or agent of the seller
  • The creditor to the original contract accepts the new contract as the replacement for the old one

Also, the SSC insisted that if a new agreement doesn't exist, the court would not find novation unless the precedence was unusually compelling.

If you need help determining if assignment vs. novation is best for you, you can  post your job  on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.

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  • Contract Transfer
  • Novation Agreement
  • What is Novation of Contract
  • Novation of Contract
  • Contract Novation Letter
  • Deed of Novation
  • Contract Novation
  • Loan Novation Agreement
  • Assignment of Rights Example
  • Contract Novation Agreement

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  1. What is the Definition of Assignment?

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  4. How to Write an Assignment: Step by Step Guide

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  1. 3A Video Assignment 5 Limit Definition of the Derivative

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COMMENTS

  1. Assignment Definition & Meaning

    The meaning of ASSIGNMENT is the act of assigning something. How to use assignment in a sentence. Synonym Discussion of Assignment.

  2. ASSIGNMENT

    ASSIGNMENT definition: 1. a piece of work given to someone, typically as part of their studies or job: 2. a job that…. Learn more.

  3. ASSIGNMENT Definition & Meaning

    Assignment definition: something assigned, as a particular task or duty. See examples of ASSIGNMENT used in a sentence.

  4. Assignment

    assignment: 1 n an undertaking that you have been assigned to do (as by an instructor) Types: show 6 types... hide 6 types... school assignment , schoolwork a school task performed by a student to satisfy the teacher writing assignment , written assignment an assignment to write something classroom project a school task requiring considerable ...

  5. ASSIGNMENT definition and meaning

    7 meanings: 1. something that has been assigned, such as a mission or task 2. a position or post to which a person is assigned.... Click for more definitions.

  6. assignment noun

    a business/special assignment ; I had set myself a tough assignment. on an assignment She is in Greece on an assignment for one of the Sunday newspapers. on assignment one of our reporters on assignment in China

  7. ASSIGNMENT

    ASSIGNMENT definition: a piece of work or job that you are given to do: . Learn more.

  8. assignment noun

    1 [countable, uncountable] a task or piece of work that someone is given to do, usually as part of their job or studies You will need to complete three written assignments per semester. She is in Greece on an assignment for one of the Sunday newspapers. one of our reporters on assignment in China I had given myself a tough assignment. a business/special assignment

  9. Assign Definition & Meaning

    assign: [verb] to transfer (property) to another especially in trust or for the benefit of creditors.

  10. Assignment Definition & Meaning

    1. : a job or duty that is given to someone : a task someone is required to do. [count] My assignment was to clean the equipment. = They gave me the assignment of cleaning the equipment. The students were given a homework assignment. The reporter's assignment is to interview the candidate. The reporter is here on an assignment.

  11. assignment

    assignment - WordReference English dictionary, questions, discussion and forums. All Free.

  12. ASSIGNMENT

    ASSIGNMENT meaning: 1. a piece of work given to someone, typically as part of their studies or job: 2. a job that…. Learn more.

  13. ASSIGNMENT Synonyms: 97 Similar and Opposite Words

    Synonyms for ASSIGNMENT: task, job, duty, project, mission, chore, responsibility, function; Antonyms of ASSIGNMENT: dismissal, discharge, firing, expulsion ...

  14. ASSIGNMENT definition in American English

    assignment in British English. (əˈsaɪnmənt ) noun. 1. something that has been assigned, such as a mission or task. 2. a position or post to which a person is assigned. 3. the act of assigning or state of being assigned.

  15. Assign

    assign: 1 v select something or someone for a specific purpose "The teacher assigned him to lead his classmates in the exercise" Synonyms: set apart , specify Types: dedicate set apart to sacred uses with solemn rites, of a church detail assign to a specific task Type of: choose , pick out , select , take pick out, select, or choose from a ...

  16. ASSIGN

    ASSIGN meaning: 1. to give a particular job or piece of work to someone: 2. If you assign a time for a job or…. Learn more.

  17. What Does Assignation or assignment Mean? Definition & Examples

    An assignment is a task given to a specific person or group to complete.It can also mean the act of assigning.In some legal fields it can refer to the transferring of ownership of property. An assignation is the act of assigning or the actual assignment.But it also means a secret rendezvous for lovers, most especially for affairs or illicit relationships.

  18. assign verb

    1 to give someone something that they can use, or some work or responsibility assign something (to somebody) The two large classrooms have been assigned to us. The teacher assigned a different task to each of the children. assign somebody something We have been assigned the two large classrooms. The teacher assigned each of the children a different task.

  19. Assignment

    Assignment. Definition: Assignment is a task given to students by a teacher or professor, usually as a means of assessing their understanding and application of course material. Assignments can take various forms, including essays, research papers, presentations, problem sets, lab reports, and more.

  20. assignment

    Assignment is a legal term whereby an individual, the "assignor," transfers rights, property, or other benefits to another known as the " assignee .". This concept is used in both contract and property law. The term can refer to either the act of transfer or the rights /property/benefits being transferred.

  21. Understanding Assignments

    What this handout is about. The first step in any successful college writing venture is reading the assignment. While this sounds like a simple task, it can be a tough one. This handout will help you unravel your assignment and begin to craft an effective response. Much of the following advice will involve translating typical assignment terms ...

  22. ASSIGN

    ASSIGN definition: 1. to give a particular job or piece of work to someone: 2. If you assign a time for a job or…. Learn more.

  23. Assignment vs Novation: Everything You Need to Know

    Assignment vs. novation: What's the difference? An assignment agreement transfers one party's rights and obligations under a contract to another party. The party transferring their rights and duties is the assignor; the party receiving them is the assignee. Novation is a mechanism where one party transfers all its obligations and rights under a ...