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First, it is important to remember that the word “critical” has positive as well as negative meanings.

You can write a critical essay that agrees entirely with the subject. The word “critical” describes your attitude when you read the article or chapter of the book, for example. This attitude is best described as “detached evaluation,” meaning that you weigh the coherence (is it logical or consistent) of the reading, the completeness of its data, and so on, before you accept or reject it.

Helpful strategy for writing critical essays

A critical essay or review begins with an analysis or exposition of the article or chapter. Each analysis should include the following points:

The introduction of a critical essay

  • There should be one or two-sentence summary of the main idea of the article
  • The introduction should also state the writers’ general opinion on the ideas in the article

The supporting paragraphs will analyze parts of the publication in a logical manner

  • Each paragraph will focus on a specific idea in the article and you should provide arguments to support or refute that idea
  • These arguments must consist of concrete evidence — facts, reasons, examples, statistics, comparisons, or anecdotes which objectively support your opinion
  • A critical essay must provide the reader with an objective analysis and should be written in the third person (No “I, me, my, mine, we, our, ours, you, your, yours”)

The conclusion of a critical essay should restate and reassert the writer’s overall general opinion of the ideas presented in the article

  • The goal of the conclusion is to ensure that there is no doubt in the reader’s mind as to what you believe and why


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