How to Write an Analytical Essay – What to Do Before Starting


An analytical essay requires you to analyze something and explain your analysis of whatever it is that you are writing about to the reader. Analytical essays typically are used to state an opinion using facts, explore an issue or an idea, or analyze another piece of writing or a film. For example, you would write an analytical essay about what you believe a poet is trying to say in a poem through logical analysis and evidence.


When writing an analytical essay, prewriting for your essay is just as important as writing the article. Here are some useful tips for this important step of the writing process.


Pick a Topic

What is it that you want to talk about? What is it that you want to say? If you are writing for a class, the teacher may provide you with a list of possible topics. If this is the case, try to pick something you want to investigate and learn more about. Pick something that you will be passionate about. If the teacher assigns you a topic, then try to figure out what you want to say about that topic.


Write a Thesis Statement

Once you know what you’re going to write about, get specific and decide what you’re trying to say about your topic. Your thesis statement should be one or two sentences summarizing your point. Be sure to include it in your first and last paragraph. Include it in the first paragraph to introduce the topic so the reader knows what you are trying to say to them with your essay, and in the last paragraph you use it again to help wrap up your paper.


Find Supporting Evidence

Read through the materials that you are using for information and take plenty of notes. Find anything that you can use to support your thesis in your paper, for your paper won’t be effective unless you have the evidence to support your claim. You need to convince the reader that your point is valid.


Write an Outline

Lastly, make an outline. This will make writing your paper easier because you can organize everything – your ideas, your supporting evidence, quotes, etc.


The structure of an outline should be:

  • Introductory Paragraph
  • 1st Body Paragraph
  • 2nd Body Paragraph
  • 3rd Body Paragraph
  • Conclusion

And that’s it. Once you’ve got your outline all finished, you’re ready to actually start writing. Using the outline as a guide for what you want to write will help you stay organized and you’ll know exactly what you want to say and where in your essay you want to say it. Your essay will flow better and sound less choppy. You will sound as if you are well informed on your topic and that you are clear in your ideas, which will help support your claim to the reader, making it a successful analytical essay.

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