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How To Write A Critical Essay: A Comprehensive Guide

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If you want to know the secrets of writing a great critical essay, keep on reading as you will find Unemployed Professors’ guide to writing a critical essay. It holds valuable tips and tricks for writing a critical essay, formatting a critical essay, and obtaining an A+ on your next critical essay. If you do not want to write your own critical essay, go ahead and post your critical essay assignment on Unemployed Professors to get competitive bids from our world class professors. We can also assist with your custom research papers, custom book reports, custom essays, and custom discussion board posts, and much more!

Critical Essay


The core feature of a critical essay is that you will either be analyzing, interpreting and evaluating a text, and sometimes undertaking a combination of all of these activities in writing a critical essay. Writing a critical essay thus means that you should not be focusing on describing the text that you have been assigned to work on. Instead, writing a critical essay means that you must be critically engaging with the text and using your opinion, contradictions or themes within the text, and sometimes outside sources to demonstrate that you understand the text, and are capable of engaging with it at a high level.

Writing a critical essay is about far more than criticism. While criticizing the text can be a part of writing a critical essay, criticism in the context of writing a critical essay refers to analyzing the text using critical thinking. When writing a critical essay, you must think beyond criticizing the author. In fact, writing a critical essay requires that you find themes within the text and work to analyze these in relation to each other. Interpreting the text is crucial for writing a critical essay as it allows you to use your analysis of the text in a way that will be conducive to providing you with insights regarding the elements of the text that are most appropriate for writing a critical essay.

In writing a critical essay, you must continuously analyze and evaluate. The worst possible thing that you can do in writing a critical essay is to engage in description. Writing a critical essay means that 90 percent of your critical essay should be criticism, and no more than 10 percent of your critical essay should be made up of description. Because your task is to critically engage with the text in writing a critical essay, you will be penalized by your teacher or professor if your critical essay is too descriptive. Being effective in writing a critical essay means that you must learn to only describe the terms that are most important to the critical analysis you engage in when writing a critical essay.

Ultimately, writing a critical essay is a process whereby you combine critical thinking with a text and sometimes the use of external sources to make an argument about a component of a text. Because writing a critical essay means that you must meaningfully engage with the substance of the text, this necessarily means that you need to have read it and understood it. While you might try to use an online summary to write a critical essay, this will often be obvious to your professor because it will lead you to repeat the same types of criticism that have been produced by many students over the years. Given that this could lead you to lose points or be accused of plagiarism, writing a critical essay requires that you read and understand the text.

Critical Essay


The first step in writing a critical essay is to derive a thesis after you have completed reading the text. Your professor may provide you with a variety of different questions regarding the text that will allow you to pick a thesis that agrees or disagrees with one of these prompts. Regardless of which approach to writing a critical essay you are tasked with, formulating your thesis must be done on the basis of your evaluation of the text. Your thesis will guide the body paragraphs you create when you write a critical essay. It is thus very important that your thesis is based on an element of the text that you fully understand and are capable of thinking critically about.

Once you have chosen and elaborated your thesis, you must build the body paragraphs that will make up the bulk of your critical essay. Whether your are writing a critical essay in traditional five-paragraph form or writing a longer critical essay, it is important that all of your body paragraphs talk about different elements of your criticism. At the same time, writing a critical essay effectively means that you need to ultimately tie all of these body paragraphs together. Using strong topic sentences or section headers in writing a critical essay is effective for ensuring that it is organized in a manner that your professor will find to be pleasing and effective.

Finally, it is important to note that a critical essay should never have long descriptive portions. While you must sometimes describe a core concept, this should be brief. 90 percent of your critical essay, excluding your introduction and conclusion, should be made up of analysis rather than description. You will be punished heavily in terms of your grade if you write a critical essay that is mostly made up of description because the entire point of writing a critical essay is to analyze and interpret rather than describe. Make sure that you do not have too much description in your critical essay before you submit it to your professor.

Critical Essay


When writing a critical essay, you are most likely to use MLA style. This is because most critical essays are assigned in English or Literature classes. If your professor does not provide you with an MLA template to write your critical analysis paper, it is important that you consult an online guide like the Purdue MLA guide or Purdue MLA sample paper. Make sure that all of your citations are appropriate. You will need to cite the main text that you are analyzing and, if you have been told to use external sources, you must cite these as well when writing a critical essay. Failing to cite your sources could lead you to be accused of plagiarism. If you are asked to use another citation style, like APA or Chicago, make sure that you follow the same steps that you would for writing it in MLA style.

Once you have formatted and referenced your critical essay in line with the relevant style guide and citation style, it is time to look over your entire essay, paragraph by paragraph, to first ensure that all of the paragraphs have strong topic sentences and discuss only one element of criticism. Then, you must ensure that you wrote your critical essay in a way that contains 90 percent criticism and no more than 10 percent description. Look over all of your paragraphs and also make sure that they are distinct in terms of the claims they are making regarding the text. Finally, make sure that your critical essay is free of typos and grammatical errors as your professor will dock you points for these types of errors, and these can significantly affect your grade in a negative way.


The main difference between writing a critical essay and writing a traditional essay is that a critical essay is always associated with a specific book or text. While writing a traditional academic essay will often involve you using multiple sources to build an argument about something in the world, a critical essay is always centered on a text. In this respect, writing a critical essay differs most fundamentally from writing any other academic essay because of how it involves interpreting and critiquing the text you are assigned.

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