Characteristics of a critical essay

The critical essay gathers some characteristics that focus more on the subject and management of the information than on the proper structure or style of the essay genre. These characteristics are:

  • Has a freestyle
  • Use a pleasant language and can be written in the first person.
  • It is subjective, that is, it presents the personal vision that the author has of the subject.
  • Mainja information with consistency and approach as analytical as possible to the subject.
  • It takes into consideration important elements of the subject to be able to wield an approach about it, such as the origin of the situation, the context in which it develops, the temporary space it covers, the impact it causes in a certain social sector, among others .
  • If the author considers it necessary, you can include citations from other texts. To include citations should always refer the author and the year.

The critical essay can be a confusing genre since on the one hand it presents the personal position of the author but on the other the author is based on a series of facts and information that do tend to be objective in terms of themselves. The subjective becomes the way the author interprets them.

How to write a critical essay in 5 steps?

Writing an essay is a fascinating and simple task. It only requires our way of seeing a specific topic and write about it naturally and arguing our ideas. For this we have developed this guide that will help you:

Choose the theme and get certified
The subject of an essay is generally free, however at the academic level they can be indicated by the teacher.

If you have the freedom to choose the theme, select one of your interest, something that you are passionate about and about which you have an idea already formed according to your own knowledge and life experience.

If the topic is assigned by a teacher, do not worry, research about it, review the opinion on the subject presented by different authors and even talk to your acquaintances or specialists in the area to know what they think about the point.

So you can have a global idea of the matter, the vision of different people and form your own perspective and opinion of the case.

Remember to take notes, these are always necessary, especially in critical essays. Write down what you think at a certain moment, what you thought was the highlight of the topic, and if there is any controversy, take it into account.

Present your central and formed opinion on the subject
The central opinion is your clear and formed idea about the subject in analysis, that is, your position. This should outline it from the beginning, develop it, argue it and base it on the development and offer some conclusions about it that will induce the reader to think like you.

When we speak of a formed idea, we mean that you have knowledge on the subject to be treated, so that when writing you can express yourself with authority in this regard.

At the time of developing the topic, it is very helpful, especially for inexperienced authors, the use of other bibliographical sources that have dealt with the subject in advance; it is about citing other authors whose visions support ours.

For example, if we write a critical essay about a film, we must rely on the opinion of other art critics who have already presented their critique of the film in question.

To build a good critique it will always be necessary to know the subject on which we work, hence the importance of training, we can not make judgments about what we do not know.

Justify your subject and your position

To make your topic of interest to the reader and motivate your reading, you must justify it.

The justification is the explanation of the reasons why you have chosen to address that specific topic, these reasons must go beyond an academic assignment, they must present the relevance of the topic to society or the sector to which the topic refers or affects.

The justification is just the presentation of the reasons why the analysis or criticism that is presented is relevant, it must also include the reasons why the author is motivated to write about the subject, whether it is to provide knowledge, invite the reader to take action on a case, among others.

Includes questions that ask the reader

All essays must interpellate the reader, that is, make them question and reflect on the subject being discussed and their position in this regard. The inclusion of questions that generate in the reader a revision of their thinking and actions according to the topic is necessary.

To do this, the questions must be included within the paragraph and be related to the explained, to question the reader about their experiences or actions with respect to the situation that arises.

Some of the questions are answered by the author, but always leaving open the possibility to the reader to meditate and respond according to the arguments put forward by the writer.

Convince the reader


The intent of an essay, beyond showing the author’s thought on a specific topic, is to generate opinion matrices in the readers. Bring the reader to the writer’s thought, influence him.

To achieve this effect it is necessary to sustain each idea with a reasonable argument that leads the reader to consider as viable, acceptable and true the thought proposal that we are making.

Logically not all will be convinced, the essay is not a machine to wash minds, but it will generate doubts in the reader and will motivate you to know more about the subject, to review other sources and opinions and even to change the way you act according to the theme approached

As you can see, the critical essay is not difficult, you only need to know the subject of which you write and present your opinions about it in a reasoned and argued way.