How to Write an Analytical Essay

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When the term analytical essay is mentioned, it may sound like a complex type of essay. However, this kind of essay is common. Even high school students are conversant with what an analytical essay does. The simple definition of an analytical essay is an essay that analyzes a given text.

A more conclusive definition of an analytical essay is that it is a write-up that provides an observation about a certain topic of interest. It separates ideas and facts and gives meaning to the facts. This is done to enable the reader to understand the subject fully. It also enlarges the scope of understanding for a particular topic since the facts are scrutinized and examined.

In light of the above, this article will consider the best ways of how one can write an analytical essay.

Start Your Analytical Essay by Choosing Your Topic

To start your analytical essay, there are virtually limitless topics and ideas that can be used in an analytical essay. For as long as one formulates an idea and uses facts to back it, then a good analysis can be done. As far as ideas are concerned, they can only increase with time as people seek new ways of doing things.

If the analytical essay is being written for a classroom setup, then your instructor is likely to assign a topic. Make sure you understand the prompt. At times you may be required to come up with your topics. Choose one that is of interest to you and one which is easy to research.

What an Analytical Essay Thesis Statement Entails

Once you have a topic at hand, the next thing is to come up with a thesis statement. Since the goal of the essay is to prove a certain point, the writer needs to form connections and come up with a decision that represents his/her stand. This is the thesis. It is an argument that’s created to prove various assumptions made by the writer with sufficient facts, evidence, and research.

The thesis statement should not have a yes or no answer. It should not be so obvious. A good thesis statement should be somewhat controversial and complex. It requires one to do a lot of research to come up with authoritative thesis statements. A good thesis statement for an analytical essay should be narrow enough to fit the scope of the essay.

Gather Your Evidence from Reliable Sources


After settling on a thesis statement, you need to find supporting evidence to back your claims. Such evidence could be present in primary sources such as the text that’s being analyzed. Some primary and secondary sources could also comprise of other texts or journals. Your instructor should let you know which sources are required for the essay.

When choosing the most viable evidence, settle for one that supports your claim and one which has convincing arguments. Have a list of all the supporting evidence and note where you found it. Afterwards, show how they support your claim.

Draft an Analytical Essay Outline

An analytical essay outline is important when writing an analytical essay. It helps you organize the structure of the essay for smooth writing.

The basic structure of your essay should be:

  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Conclusion

A great analytical essay should have five paragraphs. The first paragraph is normally the introductory paragraph. The next three paragraphs consist of the body of the essay, and lastly, the fifth paragraph is the concluding paragraph.

If you want your essay to be lengthy, plan in your outline how you will distribute all your points evenly throughout the essay. The essay can be as long as it needs to be to exhaust all points.

How to Write a Great Analytical Essay


The introduction should give background information on the subject. You can use a hook statement to capture the minds of the readers. Try as much as you can to engage your reader.

The information that you provide in the introduction should be relevant to your thesis. However, it should not be a summary of the prompt. It should present your argument. While stating your arguments, avoid side shows. Don’t dramatize your introductions by starting with exclamations or questions. It is also advised to avoid the first and second person while writing.

The Body

This is the part in your analytical paper where you present your arguments. Your thesis is fully proven with concrete evidence. Each paragraph of the body should focus on a specific part of the thesis. Preferably, each paragraph should cover one point conclusively.

The body paragraphs should follow a proper structure. The following structure could be used:

Topic sentence – This sentence introduces the main point that’s to be discussed in the paragraph. The point should be introduced directly and in one sentence. The reader should be able to know what the paragraph will talk about by just reading this sentence.

Analysis – This part is where you start presenting your arguments. You should give an analysis of your supporting evidence. It should also support your thesis. The length of this part is usually 1-2 sentences. Your reader gets to see your understanding of the subject with these two sentences hence you ought to be creative and authentic.

Evidence – Once you’ve analyzed your evidence, the next step is to present it to its totality. This evidence should back your analysis and thesis. The evidence should make linkages to the analysis. They should seem to work hand in hand.

Concluding sentence – Once you’ve presented all your evidence and analysis, the remaining part is, to sum up the paragraph with a conclusion. The conclusion should be what you want the reader to grasp and take home. A good conclusion should always restate the main points covered in the paragraph. The analysis should be restated, and you should point out its significance to the subject at hand.

Paraphrasing and Quoting

Some points cannot be conveyed in a manner that’s different to what the author’s stated. Hence, it requires one to quote them. With quoting, the exact text is placed but with accompanying quotation marks. When you quote, it is essential that you use the precise words that the author has used. These words should strongly support your claims.

Attention should also be directed to the correct form of quoting depending on the required writing style (APA, MLA or Chicago style).

When paraphrasing, all that’s required is a summary of the text. It works well when used to give the background of a subject or in instances where details need to be compressed. Paraphrasing should be employed when you have to quote but the portion of text to be quoted is huge.

The number of the body paragraphs could vary depending on the subject at hand. However, it is the quality of your paragraphs that matters as opposed to the quantity.

The Conclusion

This is the final part of your analytical essay. It has a crucial role in the analytical essay as it integrates the whole essay. It serves to remind the reader of your position and how you developed and gathered support for your argument.

When writing the conclusion, start by restating your thesis statement. This is vital as it enables your reader to see how your thesis was fully proven. Go ahead and summarize the path that you took to prove your thesis. You can also discuss the wider aspects of your thesis.

Your conclusion should be informative such that the reader can use it as a reference point. The readers should see your conclusion as a review of what your great analytical essay highlighted. They should be able to use the conclusion to refer back to the discussed points.

Write a concluding sentence to finish your analytical essay. This sentence should convey a point that you want the audience to carry home.

Proofread and Edit your Analytical Paper

After your analytical essay is complete, embark on an editing and proofreading process. Various errors are common in writing. They include:

  • Grammatical errors
  • Punctuation errors
  • Wrong sentence structures
  • Incorrect tenses
  • Spelling mistakes

Sometimes, some points may lack clarity. Also, your work may lack flow. You can read it aloud to check how points are flowing. You can also use a text to speech software which will assist in hearing how your work sounds.

All of these issues should be sorted before you submit your analytical essay. To aid you in basic editing, run your work through a grammar checker or an editing software. It is also important to check your work for plagiarism. Unoriginal content may cost you marks and credibility. Use a plagiarism checker to weed out any unoriginal content.

After you’ve completed the above processes, it is always recommended to get a second opinion on your work. This is where peer review comes in. A second opinion gives an objective opinion on your work, and it may even enhance the clarity of the analytical essay.


The above tips are sure to help you write a good analytical essay. However, always bear in mind that your analytical essay will be purely judged by your ability to prove your thesis statement.