How to Write a Commentary Essay: Tips on Good Writing

  • Apr 02, 2020

Commenting something on the Internet is not similar to writing a commentary essay. The latter is a separate type of academic writing, just like a descriptive, argumentative, or compare-and-contrast essay. It could be either your reaction to one's comment or full feedback regarding the specific issue. You may write about a particular commentary or come up with your own ideas.

In this post, we will discuss the approaches to how to write a commentary essay as well as provide you with simple recommendations that will help you cope with this assignment.

What is a Commentary Essay?

Before digging deeper into how to compose this paper, it is important to provide you with a commentary essay definition. This assignment aims at providing the reader with a way to make sense of the offered comments. It is more than just reporting things and events. An author has to use both critical analysis and creative writing skills. It is the best type of paper to critically analyze a specific issue within a broader social context. Usually, teachers assign such tasks within the course of such subjects as:

  • English composition
  • Literature
  • Social sciences
  • Psychology
  • Political science

Apart from that, you may be asked to prepare a commentary for a business class or precise science subject.

When writing a commentary essay, one needs to stick to the formal language and appropriate tone. You should not forget that your target audience consists of people from the world of academia. Unlike with other types of essays, here, it is possible to write in the first person and use "I" to deliver your message to the audience.

Before starting to work on your paper, make sure that you decided on the form of commentary you would like to prepare:

  1. A reflection of your experience in dealing with the topic discussed in the original article.
  2. An extension of the idea covered in the original text.
  3. Feedback on the implementation and relevance of the observed issues.
  4. A critical response to one or several points highlighted.
  5. An examination and implementation of the theory that could shed light on the analyzed topics.

When the main intention is considered, it's time to embark on writing.


Commentary Essay Structure Elements

As for the format and structure, keep in mind that you should write this essay using Times New Roman font, 12pt. Also, add a title page at the beginning. On the whole, the length of such paper is usually 4-6 pages. Here are the elements your structure should include:

  • A question to react to (the main problem you're going to focus on).
  • A perspective - avoid sounding too subjective or objective (stick to the neutral voice instead).
  • An explanation of what is happening in the original text.
  • Possible references to the events that took place and can be interconnected with ones being discussed.
  • Your awareness of the topic and experience related to it.
  • Patterns of meaning to make the researched question reasonable and valuable.
  • Personal perspective for making your target audience your co-thinkers (arise empathy).
  • Fair negotiation of the topic and analysis of its different aspects.
  • Classification and definition of the explored question.
  • Sober arguments based on reasonable questions.

With these elements, your commentary paper structure will be complete. As for the sources of information to be included in your reference list, try to find no less than three good references that you can trust. Since referencing sources is part of the grading rubric, so do it following all rules of the selected format. Mostly, writers use APA citation style while working on commentaries.

You have to pick at least one source from a scholarly/professional area(e.g., the journal, scientific magazine, or book).

Commentary Essay Outline

It can be way too hard to understand how to write a commentary essay if you neglect an outline. So, here is your template with an overview of the main parts of your essay.

  • Introduction
    Your opening paragraph ought to involve some essay commentary starters that would be effective in terms of grabbing the reader's attention to the first part of your article. The best idea is to start with the excerpt from the passage, or the poem you are analyzing. A literary quote, the famous person thought, joke, fact, rhetorical question - those are all good hook sentences. Then, introduce the text you will analyze. Formulate a thesis containing the central point of your essay that you're going to argue or defend. With the help of transition words, move to the next part of your paper.
  • Body paragraphs
    Pick the supporting points from other sources related to your subject. This shows that you agree or disagree with the analyzed piece of information. Consider commenting on the issue from different perspectives to make your essay more diverse and well-grounded.
  • Conclusion
    If you don't know how to end writing, start with a paraphrased thesis statement. Then, mention the evidence used to emphasize the relevance of your work. Try to read the results of your essay right after the concluding part. If the text is cohesive and logic isn't lost, you did everything well. To leave a strong impression, you can also enclose the essay with another hook.

Now, we will give you even more ideas on how to write a commentary paper.


Tips on Writing a Commentary Essay

Following the structure is a good idea, but, there are also recommendations on writing a good commentary. The first question that may come to your mind is how long the assignment should be. The literary commentary should not exceed 6 pages. You may look through some academic or scientific journals to find out that, most frequently, such writings are 4-6 pages long. Having a 10-page ditto is not acceptable: you should avoid wordiness and redundancies. As for general recommendations, the following guidelines can make the writing process easier:

  • Never offer a specific grade/rating for the analyzed article - you might sound subjective with your judgments.
  • Do not praise or put down the author of the source you examine.
  • Remember that summary is not what we're talking about here. In a commentary paper, it is enough to provide a reference to the analyzed source so that the audience could read it if they want.
  • Define the problems you wish to discuss without specifying the content of the document.
  • Of the original title is too long, you may shorten it (it is recommended to have a title of no longer than 60 characters. Just enough to emphasize your key message).
  • If you use quotations, they should appear in the form of essential citations. There's no need to reference sources that you did not cite in your work.
  • Make sure you provided enough background information on the original text (are there any mentions of the last name of the author or other details that are relevant?).
  • After you're done with the writing part, always revise your draft and make all the changes if you notice some mistakes.

Now, you know how to write a commentary essay and deal with it properly. Make sure to use all of the tips given! But if you have any problems with this assignment and don't find writing a good essay easy, feel free to contact our agents. On our platform, we will find the most efficient solution to your academic issues.


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