Literary Analysis Essay Terminology
Essay – A piece of writing that expresses your thoughts – through commentary – about a subject. All
essays you will write will have four or five paragraphs: an introduction, two or three body paragraphs ,
and a concluding paragraph.
Introduction/Introductory Paragraph – The first paragraph in an essay. This includes the thesis.
Body Paragraph – A middle paragraph in an essay. This develops an idea, claim, or argument that you
want to make to support your thesis.
Concluding Paragraph/Conclusion – The last paragraph in your essay. It may sum up your ideas,
reflect on what you expressed in your essay or say more commentary about the subject. Your
conclusion is all commentary and does not include new concrete details. It does not repeat key words
from the essay nor does it repeat the language of the thesis or introductory paragraph.
Thesis – A sentence with a subject and opinion. This appears in the introductory paragraph, most often
as the last sentence. The thesis is an argument that you are trying to prove to your readers is true.
Synonyms for thesis include argument, major claim, and theory.
Pre-writing/Invention – The process of getting your concrete details and ideas on paper before you
organize your essay into paragraphs.
Concrete Detail (CD) – Specific details that form the backbone or core of your body paragraphs.
Synonyms for concrete detail include facts, specifics, examples, support, evidence, direct quote, and
paraphrase. Concrete Details must be related to your topic sentence and help to prove the thesis.
Commentary (CM) – Your ideas or comments about a concrete detail. Commentary connects your
CD to the topic sentence and helps to prove your thesis. Synonyms include opinion, insight, analysis,
interpretation, inference, evaluation, and reflection.
Topic Sentence (TS) – The first sentence in a body paragraph. This must have a subject and opinion
(commentary). This sentence is to the body paragraph what the thesis is to the entire essay.
Concluding Sentence (CS) – The last sentence in a body paragraph. It is all commentary, it does not
repeat any key words, and it sums up or gives a finished feeling to the paragraph.
Shaping the Essay – The step that is done after prewriting/invention and before the first draft. It is an
outline of your thesis, topic sentences, concrete details, and commentary ideas.
First Draft/ Rough Draft – The first version of your essay.
Final Draft – The revised and polished version of your essay.
Peer Response – Written responses and reaction to a partner’s paper.
Chunk – One sentence of concrete detail and two sentences of commentary.