Critical Writing: Brilliant Tips & Examples [2021]

Any critique is nothing more than critical analysis, and the word “analysis” does not have a negative meaning. Critical writing relies on objective evaluations of or a response to an author’s creation. As such, they can be either positive or negative, as the work deserves.

To write a critique, you shall:

  1. Examine the subject that you will criticize.
  2. Summarize the author’s/creator’s ideas and arguments.
  3. Analyze and interpret the work, defining the author’s/creator’s goal.
  4. Evaluate and respond, providing clear evidence.

Here’s the thing:

When learning how to write a critical analysis, you’ll see there is nothing to worry about. Before we get into the specifics, prepared by the Custom-writing team, let’s take a quick peek at its history and definition. Then we’ll consider essential tips on critical writing and what to avoid.

đź“ś History of Critical Writing

Let’s start with the fundamental question: what does critical mean? Generally, it refers to involving judgment or criticism. However, it might also mean a turning point. In the context of the article, we’ll discuss it in its former meaning.

Critical analysis in the form that we know it today started with the idea of critical thinking. So, what is it?

Critical thinking is the evaluation not only of the sources of information but ideas and arguments around them, as well. As a reader, you cannot believe everything that is written. You need to evaluate the data, as it is the basis of academic debate. The effectiveness of critical thinking depends on skepticism and objectivity:

  • Skepticism. Doubt and question everything you see. You do not accept the information upon seeing it. You thoroughly question it beforehand.
  • Objectivity. Provide a neutral perspective on your argument. Try to think of every single thing that might influence your attitude.

You can see it explored in essay samples on the topic.

Critical thinking skills led to the creation of critical writing. It’s an analysis in a written form that requires evaluating the evidence and coherently expressing your thoughts. If you know how to present your ideas, composing one won’t be that challenging.

Description, analysis, and evaluation in critical writing.

Critical writing appeared during the Renaissance when the arts started to criticize the Church. Two historical figures affected its development in particular:

  1. Jean-Baptiste Molière. The master of comedic drama. He was one of few people to continue creating dramatic works even though the Church labeled them as anti-Christian.
    After Molière wrote his comedy Tartuffe (aka. the Hypocrite), which deeply criticized the Church, the priests targeted Molière and his work. Even the king couldn’t protect him once this comedy hit the stage.
    But this was just the beginning:
  2. Immanuel Kant. The german philosopher brought critique into the realm of theory that we came close to using our modern review method.
    In his aesthetic work called Critique of Judgment, he examined the viability and logic behind “judgments of taste.” Based on his aesthetic theory, many pieces of writing critiques came into being.

Nonetheless, the critical writing process carried on to make a name for itself in the 21st century. This time turned aesthetics into commerce and shaped comprehensive critical analyses into what we know them as today.

🧩 Critical Writing Features

Now that you’ve learned the essential tips, you have to consider the parts of any critical writing piece. Whether you’re writing a movie critique or art critique, the same general guidelines apply to all of them. No matter what the requirements are!

While writing a critique paper, you have to strive for excellence. Each work of this sort has to obtain these features:

  • Precise and effective arguments that logically lead to your conclusion.
  • An unbiased view for why the point should be supported or handled with accuracy.
  • Recognition of the limitations regarding the evidence.
  • Refusal to agree with the arguments of other writers without critically evaluating the argumentation they offer.

The main sections of good critical essays are:

  • Summary: This should be brief and to the point. Only author’s/creator’s main ideas and arguments should be included.
  • Analysis/interpretation: Discuss the author’s/creator’s primary goal and determine whether it was reached successfully. Use the evidence you have gathered to argue whether or not the author/creator achieved was adequately convincing (remember there should be no personal bias in this discussion).
  • Evaluation/response: At this point, your readers are ready to read your objective reaction to the work. It should be professional, yet you should include your critical responses to be entertaining to read.

Do not hesitate to use strong language! You can say that the work you analyzed was weak and poorly-structured if that is the case. Yet, keep in mind that you have to have evidence to back up your claim.

To get a better understanding, you may check our The Importance of Being Earnest critique sample.

đź’ˇ 10 Critical Essay Writing Tips

Now we get down to the real work. Critical papers are a regular assignment in English classes. Some teachers prefer to provide an essay topic and sometimes even specify the thesis statement. Others leave the choice up to you.

To get how to write a critical analysis, you should consider our tips:

  1. Examine the subject at least twice. Read the book or watch the movie (and so on) that you’ve chosen, preferably a couple of times. If you don’t have time or desire to do it twice, study it once and take detailed notes.
  2. Mark the places you will talk about. Bookmarks or sticky flags can be convenient. If it’s a movie or performance, you’ll probably have to rely on your memory. Make sure to take notes as soon as possible.
  3. Provide context before diving into details. Just as in other academic writing pieces, show a general picture before providing detailed information. This way, your reader will be immersed in your critical essay from the start.
  4. Always elaborate on both pros and cons. Analyze issues with all their advantages and disadvantages. Your discussion has to be balanced to be persuasive and fair.
  5. Be clear and concise. Reduce your information to its most crucial part. Write directly to the point, and make sure that your reader understands you completely.
  6. Provide reasonable arguments. Your assertions and judgments are worth nothing if they are not backed up with facts and logic. Illustrate your points with evidence from the piece that you’re criticizing.
  7. Comment on nuances and subtext. Pinpointing the weaknesses in your argument will help convince the reader. Instead of leaving them for the readers to criticize, acknowledge them.
  8. Ask for other opinions. A critique can be somewhat confusing when you don’t know how to link it to your thesis statement. If you see that your writing is taking you nowhere, consider consulting with someone. A third-person opinion can navigate your analysis or help you with changing your perspective.
  9. Be sure to use an impartial tone. Writing a critique paper relies on your respectful approach. Even if you disliked the work you have chosen to analyze, be polite. Your reader will want to get a sophisticated point of view.
  10. Pay attention to your word choice. Use the appropriate language to highlight that what is being said is a hypothesis or a belief. Implement “hedges” to soften your sentence when necessary.
Critical writing tips.

As one of the crucial critical essay writing tips, we should mention that you can evaluate the chosen piece in several ways. Pick the one you feel more comfortable with from the following:

  • Descriptive critical essays examine texts or other works. Their primary focus is usually on specific features. It is common to compare and contrast a given piece to a classic example of the genre to which it belongs.
  • Evaluative critical writing provides an estimate of the value of the work. Was it as good as you expected based on the recommendations? Do you feel your time would have been better spent on something else?
  • Interpretive essays provide your readers with answers that relate to the meaning of the work in question. To do this, you must select a method of determining its purpose. Then you read/watch/observe the work according to this method and put forth an argument.

There are also different types of critiques. The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, in the article “Writing critiques,” also discusses them and appropriate critique language.

🚦 Critical Writing: Dos and Don’ts

Essentially, your paper has to do justice to the author’s or creator’s work. You will thoroughly examine the themes and organization of a book, article, movie, artwork, or whatever you are assigned to critique. In your review, you will summarize, analyze, interpret, and evaluate the work.

There are some things you should and shouldn’t do in your critical essay:

Do Don’t
  • Address whether the author/creator has chosen a good topic.
  • Have they done an adequate job collecting evidence?
  • Pay an unwarranted amount of attention to the topic presented by the author/creator.
  • For example, the article’s topic might be positive thinking, but this is not the paper’s focus. The issue should be stated briefly in your summary. The primary focus is on how the topic is dealt with by the author.
  • Explain what techniques were used by the author/creator to convey the primary message of the critique.
  • Were these techniques successful?
  • Express your personal bias or opinion throughout the paper.
  • You are permitted to give your opinion, but only in the critical response section (it is preceded by summary and analysis).
  • Tell whether the author’s/creator’s style adequately suits the topic being covered.
  • Manufacture false evidence so you can discuss the author’s work in a negative light.Remember, critical essays can be either positive or negative, whichever is more suitable.

Thanks for reading. Now your ultimate goal is to submit to your instructor a critique that will knock their socks off, and you will succeed! Share this page if it was helpful, and leave a comment below.

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