Structuring Your Critical Essay
It is really important that you do not just ‘ramble’ on in your essays. A well
structured essay usually leads to a higher mark.
Generally speaking your critical essay should follow the structure below:
o Name of text
o Name of author
o Use words of question
o Identify main points to be discussed in question
o Use topic sentence which links to the question and shows what your
first paragraph is going to be about
o Make your first ‘point’ then introduce the first quotation you want to
use by placing it in context
o Detailed commentary on the significance of the quotation (and, where
relevant, the technique used – particularly in poetry)
o Possibly a second quotation and commentary on it
o Use topic sentence to highlight the next point you want to make
o Try, if possible, to use a link word or phrase to show how this point
relates to the previous one
o Introduction of quotation – put it in context
o Detailed commentary
o As above, making sure you take a new paragraph for each new point.
o Try to develop your line of argument as you go – think about building up
your points (a staircase) not just listing a series of different points
o Sum up main points, using exact words of question
o DO NOT INTRODUCE ANY NEW POINTS IN YOUR CONCLUSION
Link words and phrases
Try to use these to show development in your argument. They help to make
your essay more coherent and less ‘listy’.
TO ADD SIMILAR POINTS
…..even more so…..
To add to this,
Hence, (for this reason)
TO INDICATE A SHIFT/CHANGE
On the other hand,
DRAWING A CONCLUSION
As a result of this,
PUTTING POINTS IN ORDER OF IMPORTANCE
The most significant factor in …….. is…..