How to write a critical essay keynotes

How to write a critical essay

Have you ever composed a critique essay? Do you know how toevaluate the work of another writer productively? Can youdistinguish between a critical paper and a review? Wondering howto avoid mistakes while writing a critique?

This article reveals all the secrets of brilliant critiquepapers!

A critical essay is mostly an academic paper that offers anargument based on the analysis and interpretation of a piece ofwriting, music, poetry, play or a painting. It is closely similarto a formal paper as it is made up of scholarly discussion,observations and facts that are properly cited and referenced.

A critical essay is mistakenly similized to a review assumingthat both papers deal with the work of another author. However,there is some difference which we want to point out to thosewriters who would like to produce a proper critique.

When you are reviewing the work you act as a reader –you reflect,respond, react – all of this you do subjectively, oftenemotionally driven by your personal opinion and impressions. Yourreview may be influenced by a number of factors including nastyweather, unpleasant talk with your boss or just a bad mood. Let’sface it, if you wrote two reviews to the same book with aninterval of a couple of days, they would look different. And thisis OK.

Another situation is when you are going to critique the work. Youare not a reader anymore; your role is a writer, judge and expertbecause your purpose is to analyze the work from variousperspectives.

The key word to understand what the word “critique” stands for isobjectivity. A critic’s task is to fairly present the evaluationof the work and make an attempt to tell the others how he wouldmake it better.

A common mistake of people who are writing a critique is lookinginto the matter from the perspective of the author. Criticizingis a kind of expertise that reports and suggests the methods andrecommendations for corrective action. It does not mean that thework you are analyzing should be altered or improved just becauseyou want it. No way. Your judgments are meant to be the objectivecomments on what might be more effective for the paper if itcould be improved.

How to write in a critique mode

How to write a critical essay

Regardless of what piece you are assigned to criticize, youshould be well-informed about it before you start writing youressay. Also, your success as a critic depends on how well you canorganize your writing process at the very start. The tips belowwill help you conduct the research effectively and use thewriting tools that best suit your critical position.

  • You should seek suitable materials in articles, books,journals, online sources relevant to your topic as long as theyare credible and scholarly. Do not rely on popular sources asthey often include unauthentic data and above ground arguments.
  • During your research, it is advisable to write down everyinformation that you think will be serviceable to your essay. Itwill be good if some notes are written in question as they mayhelp to formulate a good argument and monitor if you are on theright path to your goals.
  • Be prepared to write more than three body paragraphs in youressay. There are no strict rules as to the structure of acritical paper except for the introduction and concluding partswhich are essential to every kind of an academic essay. Ofcourse, it is your choice how many paragraphs to write, however,critical essays frequently analyze plenty of elements of thework. Also, the number of essay parts depends on the argument butyour critique will be more solid and worth looking at if you usemore paragraphs to discuss the point.
  • Introduction and conclusion have to be composed as finely aspossible. The mission of the first essay part is to put thereader in the way of things, present the argument and the thesis.Set the topic in an intriguing way in order to tempt the readerto read the entire paper at one go. For a note: write theintroduction last to make it more apprehensible and stronger. Aconclusion of a critical essay summarizes the argument, wraps upthe point and refutes the thesis. Make sure that your conclusionfollows these steps and do not make it a surprise for the reader.

There is no use to remind you about the editing phase of thewriting process. Even if your essay is well-designed and hasimpressive fact-based content, a few grammar or stylisticmistakes can have a devastating effect on your potential grade.Professors detest poorly reviewed papers because firstly, theydistract the eyes from the point of the essay and secondly, theyshow that the writer took the matter carelessly.

Dos and don’ts for your critique

  • Do treat the outsourced conclusions with caution whilereferencing them in your paper. Remember that the essay you arewriting is the space for your own argument backed up with yourown observations.
  • Do paraphrase the information you are referencing in the mostaccurate way.
  • Do refer to the opinions that oppose your argument and showthat you are familiarized with them.
  • Do support your argument throughout all body paragraphs.
  • Do avoid colloquial speech, slang and clichés.
  • Do not accept the judgments and deductions of other criticsand writers unless you evaluate their arguments thoroughly.
  • Do not tend to criticize only in a negative tone. A critiqueis not created for the utter negation of the work analyzed.Include both positive and negative feedback in your criticalreview.
  • Do not make categorical comments without supporting quotesand referenced facts.
  • Do not approach the work subjectively.
  • Do not use commonplace evidence otherwise; your critique willnot sound powerful and impressive.
  • Do not disguise a poorly-made argument with eloquent languageor vice versa.

A word to the body paragraphs of a critique

When learning how to write a critical essay, students often askabout its structural components. We advise using this algorithmfor an effective critical paragraph:

  • Introduce the point with a topic sentence.
  • Develop the point by supporting it with the evidence.
  • Explain why you are using this or that the evidence, i.e. howit contributes to the point of your critique. Despite therelevance of your supporting data seems obvious to you, thereader may not follow your logic, and therefore you need toclarify it.
  • Give a critical reflection on the argument.

The body of the critical paper begins with a summary. Let thereader understand the subject of your critique. For this, youshould briefly represent the situation, characters, the scene andmajor events of the piece of work. The summary may also include aword about the author’s message and the tools used to uncover itto the audience.

Next, you start analyzing. The purpose of the analysis is todiscuss how well the author reveals the idea, what are theweaknesses and strong points of his or her writing. Whenevaluating some phenomenon or event you may do it by showing thecauses and effects of that event.

If necessary, another paragraph will disclose your own viewpointon the book. Whether to include this response depends on theinstructions given by your professor or your personal decision.The thing is not to draw too personalized conclusions becausethey can destroy the entire argument line of the previousparagraphs.

Things that can ruin your critique essay

How to write a critical essay

This section will be extremely helpful for those who need directguidance to keep critical and at the same time stay balancedenough not to go too far with some personalized opinions. That iswhy the following recommendations on how to write a criticalessay will come in handy:

  • Tip1. If you think that your critical paper should intenselyinfluence the readers’ feelings, you are going the wrong way.Surely, it must be appealing but not too much. Moreover, anappeal is pointful only in the introduction; other parts of theessay should follow the argument mode.
  • Tip2. As it was said above, the essay should exclude acategorical tone. Intense language and frequent repetitions willnot work as strong as proper well-researched evidence.
  • Tip3. Effective critique is impossible without direct quotes.It is worth mentioning that your references should be up-to-dateand relevant to the topic and the subject of the essay.
  • Tip4. Avoid writing impolitely as it does not add respect toyour critique. In addition, try to avoid unfavourable mannerwhile analyzing and interpreting the work. Be predominatelypositive with reasonable criticism only.

Zooming the essentials

This is a brief roundup of the guideline teaching how to write acritical essay. Whatever the writing challenge is, you will notachieve tangible results and improve your academic scores withouttaking some pains. A recipe for a successful critique essay hasvital components:

  • A strong argument
  • Investigative approach
  • Credible materials
  • Step-by-step presentation: summary, analysis, interpretationand evaluation
  • Proper formatting
  • Splendid intro and concluding paragraphs
  • Flawless language
  • Polite and moderate tone

To reach maximum effectiveness, please check if you have followedthese rules:

  • Make sure your paper is polished for different kinds oferrors.
  • Follow the required format (commonly critical papers areperformed in MLA format)
  • Beware of a too broad topic as well as broad subjects. It isbetter to focus on a few ideas rather than to boil the ocean. Thenarrower your subject is, the more efficient the critique will bein the end.
  • Please ensure that your paragraphs and statements aresmoothly and logically connected.
  • Carefully compose your reference list and cite the referencesaccording to the chosen essay format.
  • It is not the case with a critical paper to write in ahumorous tone.
  • A good option is to support your argument with the examples –words, events, descriptions – from the work itself.

Very often students give up writing a critical essay due to anumber of reasons including lack of experience, strict academicrequirements or poor evaluating and analytical skills.

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