When You Write

From Summary to Insight: A Guide to Writing Commentary Essays with Depth

Writing an essay can be daunting, let alone if you’re also providing commentary on it. But the reward of a job well done is worth the effort when you’re finished!

It has been noted that essays with thoughtful commentaries have a higher chance of being accepted for publication. So I’m here to help make it clear that essay writers need to understand the power of commentary and how to incorporate it into their work.

In this article, I’ll share my experience as a writer and provide insight on how to make your voice heard in an essay by using effective commentary. By following my advice, you’ll be able to craft a piece that stands out from the crowd and makes your thoughts shine through!

What Is Commentary In An Essay?

Over the course of your writing, you may have heard of the term ‘commentary’ in relation to essay writing. But what does it mean?

Simply put, commentary is analysis. It’s when you take a text and try to identify the deeper implications at play. In literary texts this could be symbolism, metaphors or dual meanings; with non-fiction texts it could include examining how an author makes use of evidence and arguments to support their position.

Writing a commentary essay requires close reading skills and the ability to interpret a wide range of information. It also requires you to think critically about how ideas are connected and draw conclusions about why certain elements are included in the text.

Commentary is an essential part of any essay because it allows your reader – who may not be as familiar with the text as you – to understand why you have drawn certain conclusions based on your interpretation.

It’s like giving them a guided tour through your thoughts and ideas so they can explore what makes your argument unique and interesting. Commentary also enables you to make connections between different aspects of the text that might not be obvious on first glance, helping bring out its significance even further.

By using commentary effectively, you can write an engaging essay that really gets your point across clearly.

The Significance Of Commentary In Essay Writing

Writing commentary in an essay can be a powerful tool for communicating ideas and arguments. It is essential to engage in critical thinking, interpretation, and analysis when writing commentary. Writing effective commentary requires the ability to construct a well-developed argument that supports the main point of the essay.

Here are 4 key elements of effective commentary:

  • A clear thesis statement
  • Relevant evidence that supports the argument
  • Interpretation and analysis of the evidence
  • A conclusion that summarizes the argument

Commentaries should be written with an engaging style that encourages readers to think critically about the topic at hand. Good literary commentary should be accessible, yet thought-provoking; it should both inform and entertain the audience. Additionally, it should challenge preconceived notions about a subject and provide an insightful perspective on why something matters or how it affects our lives.

In order to write effectively, one must first understand their audience and what they hope to communicate through their words. With this knowledge in mind, one can craft a compelling commentary that offers fresh insight into any given topic.

Transitioning seamlessly into the next section…

Key Elements Of Effective Commentary

Like the rising sun that signals a new day, effective commentary can offer a fresh perspective to an essay. With the right words and emphasis, it can engage readers in an entirely new way and bring them closer to understanding your argument.

Like a shimmering beacon of light, it has the power to grab their attention and draw them into your ideas.

Commentary does more than just summarize facts or provide background information – it also evaluates, interprets, and analyses information.

It’s an opportunity for you to delve into the heart of what you’re writing about, offering insight into its significance and exploring potential implications. By taking this approach, you can evaluate the importance of each point and develop your thesis with greater clarity.

Through thoughtful commentary, you can make connections between ideas that your readers may not have previously considered and help them reach their own conclusions about your argument.

Strategies For Writing Potent Commentary In Essays

Writing potent commentary in essays is essential to making a successful argument and gaining the reader’s interest. Here are four strategies that can help you write a good essay commentary:

Develop a strong thesis statement

A thesis statement serves as the core of your essay, and it should be explicit, engaging and supportable by evidence. It should also be concise so that readers can understand your main message immediately.

Understand the topic better

Spend some time researching the topic before you start writing to ensure you have a thorough understanding of it. This will give your commentary more depth and clarity.

Body And Paragraphs Organized

Make sure your body paragraphs are organized logically and clearly explain how your points relate to the overall theme or argument of your essay.

Each paragraph should have a single purpose, and make sure that all sentences within each paragraph work together to support that purpose.

Use literary analysis

When writing your commentary you can draw on elements like tone, imagery, diction, and syntax to make your argument more persuasive and compelling for readers. This will also help them better understand what you’re trying to communicate in your essay.

By incorporating these strategies into your essay writing process, you can create powerful commentary that effectively supports your argument and engages readers with meaningful insight into the text or topic at hand. With these tips in mind, let’s look at how to use quotations and examples in commentary to further enrich our arguments!

The Use Of Quotations And Examples In Commentary

Now that we’ve discussed strategies for writing powerful commentary in essays, let’s explore the use of quotations and examples when constructing these sentences.

Quotations and examples are essential for making strong commentary sentences that support an argument or analysis. When used correctly, they can be a great way to illustrate a point and add interest and texture to your argument.

When including a quotation in your commentary, it is important to make sure it is properly attributed. You should include both the author’s name and the source from which the quote was taken. This not only strengthens your argument by adding credibility, but it also shows you have done your research.

Examples are also effective for proving a point or introducing a new concept. They help to break up longer paragraphs, explain difficult concepts in more detail, and provide evidence or substantiation for an idea or opinion. When using examples in commentary sentences, it is important that they are relevant to the topic at hand and accurately represent what you are attempting to say in your essay.

With this information in mind, let’s move on to examining types of commentary in essays; comprehending the contrasts.

Types Of Commentary In Essays: Comprehending The Contrasts

As a student writing a commentary essay, it is important to understand the differences between analyzing, summarizing, and evaluating. To help comprehend these contrasts, let’s take a look at four main points:

1.      Analyzing – Looking closely at something and breaking it down into smaller parts to better understand it.

2.      Summarizing – Taking the information from a larger group of data and boiling it down into its key elements.

3.      Relating – Exploring how two or more ideas are connected and how they affect each other.

4.      Evaluating – Examining different aspects of an issue or argument and determining its worth or value by expressing an opinion about it.

Using these four points as a framework for writing your commentary essays can help you to be more effective in your analysis, summary and evaluation of any given topic.

Furthermore, this knowledge will also serve you well when crafting strategies for writing literary essays that contain thoughtful commentary elements.

With this in mind, let us now turn our attention to creating such strategies…

Strategies For Writing Commentary In Literary Essays

Having discussed the differences between types of commentary, let’s now turn to strategies for writing effective commentary in literary essays.

When it comes to providing commentary, it is important to understand that you are making a statement about something; whether it be an interpretation or opinion, you need to make a clear statement.

You should also comment on any phrases or passages that have stood out and explain why they are significant.

It is also important to identify the underlying message of the text. This means going beyond surface-level analysis and delving into the deeper meaning of the work.

To do this, think about what is not being said as much as what is being said.

Make sure your comments add depth to your analysis and provide new insights for your readers.

Finally, take care when constructing your sentences so that your points come across clearly and convincingly.

Writing Commentary For Convincing Essays

I’m sure you’re excited to finally get started on writing your commentary for a convincing essay! It can be intimidating to write about something without knowing what type of essay you’re working on. But if you take the time to read through the assignment and passage, you’ll have a much better idea of what you need to write.

When it comes to writing your commentary, try not to worry too much about “sounding smart” or “having all the right answers.” Instead, focus on writing like yourself—in your own voice, with your own ideas. The more authentic and engaging your writing is, the more persuasive it will be to readers.

So don’t be afraid to express yourself—you may just surprise yourself with how creative and interesting your thoughts can be! With that said, let’s move on to creating commentary that supports your thesis statement.

Creating Commentary That Supports Your Thesis Statement

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. Looking back now, it’s clear that writing an effective commentary for a convincing essay requires some finesse and insight.

When starting to write, it’s important to have a good understanding of the topic you are discussing and to provide enough context for your audience to understand what you are discussing. Additionally, it helps to have an understanding of opposing viewpoints before you start writing so that you can avoid falling into common traps.

To create commentary that supports your thesis statement effectively, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

1.      Make sure your argument is sound and won’t be easily refuted by an opposing point of view.

2.      Avoid introducing new evidence or topics in your commentary; instead focus on the evidence already presented in the essay body.

3.      Take the time to help explain why certain evidence matters and why readers should care about it.

The goal of commentary is not just to express an opinion but also provide meaningful analysis that will help prove or disprove a point of view. By being mindful of these considerations when writing, it is possible to create effective commentary that will help readers better understand your argument and its implications.

Common Mistakes To Avoid In Commentary Writing

I think one of the biggest mistakes I can make when writing a commentary essay is to overgeneralize my points. It’s important to provide specific examples and evidence to back up my opinion and avoid making sweeping conclusions.

Additionally, when writing a commentary essay, it’s also easy to forget to include evidence to support my argument. Making sure to include evidence will make my piece of writing much more convincing and credible.

Avoiding Overgeneralization

When writing a commentary essay, it’s important to avoid overgeneralizing your topic.

Sure, it may be tempting to make sweeping statements about the issue at hand, but this won’t do justice to your argument.

Instead, try to focus on concrete evidence and facts that back up your opinion.

For example, include statistics or subjective accounts from experts in the field.

This will ensure that you don’t come off as too biased or uninformed in your commentary.

By avoiding overgeneralization and being specific in your evidence, you can present a much more convincing argument and captivate readers with innovation.

Remember: always strive for accuracy when building an argument!

Lack Of Evidence

When it comes to commentary writing, one of the biggest mistakes people make is not having enough evidence to back up their argument. Without any supporting evidence, your argument can easily be dismissed as biased and uninformed.

This is especially true when discussing contentious topics like politics or religion. It’s important to remember that you’re usually assigned a commentary essay for a reason—so make sure you have enough facts and figures to give your readers an informed opinion. Otherwise, you may struggle to convince them of your point of view.

To make sure your argument stands out from the crowd, research extensively and use concrete evidence whenever possible. This will show that you’ve put in the effort and will help ensure a more innovative outcome for your audience.

Tips For Revising And Editing Commentary

Revising and editing your commentary is an important step in writing an essay. It helps to ensure that you are conveying the most accurate and persuasive message.

To do this, it’s important to read through your writing again and summarize any points that you noticed while reading. This will allow you to make sure that each point is clear and concise. As students need to be able to write effectively, it is also important to pay close attention to the language used throughout the essay.

Looking for words that could be replaced with more precise ones or focusing on certain aspects of literature can help bring life to a paper.

It is also essential to check for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other errors before submitting the essay. Making sure all of these elements are correct can help enhance the paper’s overall quality.

Additionally, as you review your work, look for any areas where clarification may be necessary. Taking a second look at what you wrote will help ensure that the reader fully understands all of your points and implications.

By following these tips when revising and editing commentary in an essay, readers can gain a clearer understanding of the author’s intended message.

Examples Of Strong And Poor Commentary In Essays

A necessary part of writing an essay is the commentary. It’s the all-important part that allows for a deeper understanding of what is being written and allows the reader to get a fuller picture of the writer’s thoughts.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands the need to understand commentary. Many writers think they can simply paraphrase their sources without paying attention to how they are using irony or antithesis, missing out on valuable opportunities to add depth and complexity to their work.

Commentary should be used to engage readers in a way that speaks directly to their subconscious desire for innovation. It should be written in a personal tone of voice with contractions and an engaging style that will grab readers’ attention and make them want more.

If done correctly, it can bring new life and insight into an essay, allowing it to stand out from the rest.

Paragraph Construction With Commentary

In this section, I’m going to be talking about paragraph construction with commentary. As part of writing an essay, it is important to think about how you are going to use literary elements and techniques to convey your main idea or argument. I was always taught by my instructor that the way you structure your paragraphs can really make a difference in how effective your message is.

So, let’s take a look at some tips for constructing well-crafted paragraphs that provide an engaging commentary.

First of all, try not to write too long of a sentence as this can lead to confusion for the reader.

Secondly, make sure that each paragraph has one clear point that ties back into the main argument or idea you are trying to convey in your essay.

Finally, use transition words and phrases as needed throughout the essay so that readers can easily follow along with your discussion.

All these steps help ensure that readers understand and appreciate what you have written in your essay. With these tips in mind, let’s move on to discussing transition words and phrases for commentary.

Transition Words And Phrases For Commentary

In the world of higher education, commentary is a powerful tool that can bring literature to life in a way that no other piece can. It’s almost magical how one can take an otherwise mundane poem and turn it into something extraordinary with just a few words. Commentary has the ability to transform isolation into coherence in ways that are simply astounding!

Here is a 4-point list for successful commentary:

1.      Read the text multiple times before writing any comments.

2.      Take notes on what stands out most to you.

3.      Use concrete examples from the text to better illustrate your points.

4.      Be sure to engage with your audience in a way that encourages them to think more deeply about the subject matter at hand.

Commentary is an invaluable skill for anyone looking to make their mark on a piece of literature, so use it wisely and always strive for excellence! With this knowledge, we can now move on to exploring how to write a conclusion with commentary – do’s and don’ts included!

Writing A Conclusion With Commentary: Do’s And Don’ts

Now that you know the transition words and phrases for commentary, it’s time to learn how to write a conclusion with commentary. It can seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.

One of the most important things to remember is not to rely too heavily on your homework. Spending too much time memorizing facts and figures won’t help you in the long run when it comes to showcasing your opinion. Therefore, try to focus on critical thinking skills instead of wasting time studying for hours on end.

While two sentences are usually enough for a conclusion, make sure that each one packs a punch and is full of insight and analysis. Hone your skills by getting feedback from others so you can refine your writing and develop a style that resonates with any reader.

This can help ensure that your concluding remarks leave an impactful impression on those who read them.

Overall, effective commentary is essential for producing a successful essay.

Writing commentary allows you to demonstrate your understanding and personal thoughts on the topic and can really amplify your argument.

By incorporating examples, quotations, and other evidence into your commentary, you are able to bring life to your writing in a manner that will make it stand out from the crowd.

As an age-old proverb says, “A picture paints a thousand words”; similarly, strong commentary paints an even grander picture of your argument.

With these tips in mind, I look forward to seeing you all write some truly standout essays!

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What Is a Commentary in an Essay | Writing Guide & Examples

22 December 2023

last updated

When people need to express their thoughts or ideas about something, they need guidelines on how to write a commentary essay. This article begins by defining what is a commentary essay, its meaning, and outlining its basic structure. Some insights students can learn are that introductions should have hooks, background information, and thesis statements. Body paragraphs of a commentary essay should have topic sentences; evidence, mainly quotes; comments after the evidence; and transitions. The conclusion part should restate the thesis and summarize the main ideas. This guideline also gives a sample outline template, possible topics, and a practical example of a commentary essay. Lastly, the article teaches students 10 dos and 10 don’ts and 20 tips for writing a high-standard commentary essay.

How to Write an Outstanding Commentary Essay & Examples

Reading is an academic exercise that develops a person’s mental faculties of intellect, memory, reason, intuition, perception, and imagination. These faculties develop when people utilize what they have acquired through reading to write different types of papers , including essays, reports, and research papers. Therefore, reading and writing are related because they both induce intellectual development. This guideline on how to write a commentary in an essay teaches students and anyone passionate about writing how to create a good argumentative position that meets the quality standards for intellectual discourse and publication. The guideline also offers vital insights, including the definition of what is a commentary essay, its basic essay structure , different types, possible essay topics, 10 dos and 10 don’ts, and 20 tips for producing a high-standard essay. Therefore, reading this guideline is beneficial to students and others who may, from time to time, write a commentary in an essay to communicate ideas to specific audiences.

What Is a Commentary in an Essay | Writing Guide & Examples

Definition of What Is a Commentary in an Essay and Its Meaning

From a definition, a commentary is a descriptive account of an event, an expression of opinions about a political, economic, social, or cultural issue, or elucidating a point or topic of public interest. From this perspective, a commentary essay is a document that students write to express opinions about an issue or topic through a descriptive expression and explanation of ideas. In this respect, a commentary essay differs from other types of essays , including an argumentative essay , a personal narrative , a cause and effect essay , compare and contrast essay , or a problem and solution essay , as well as a report and a research paper , because it means expressing the writer’s perspective concerning an issue or topic. Commentaries are products of a critical analysis of societal problems across political, economic, social, and cultural dimensions. When writing a commentary essay, students should analyze and interpret the source under discussion, such as a text, film, article, video, advertisement, event, object, subject, book, poem, speech, presentation, literary work, novel, sculpture, or image, among others, using a basic sandwich rule: giving a commentary after each quote or citation.

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Basic Structure of a Commentary Essay

Like other texts, a commentary paper has a basic essay structure that dictates how writers should organize their content. This structure has three components: an introduction , a body , and a conclusion . The introduction is where writers introduce their assigned topics using a hook , context, and an argumentative thesis statement . Although this type of commentary essay is not an argumentative essay, an argumentative thesis indicates the writer’s perspective on the issue, which can be contentious in the eyes of readers. The body of a commentary essay is where authors construct a defense of their perspective through body paragraphs; each body paragraph should have a topic sentence that establishes a claim ; supporting evidence, like quotes, data, or examples; a commentary that analyzes and explains information cited in an essay; and a concluding sentence with a transition to create a logical connection to the next paragraph. In turn, the conclusion restates the thesis and makes a final remark.

5 Main Types of Commentary

Because a commentary in an essay expresses the writer’s perspective about an issue, idea, or topic, it is evident in the body section of a commentary essay, where people describe their perspectives every time they provide evidence. In this respect, there are different types of commentary. The first one is an opinion essay where writers analyze evidence, such as a quote, text, or image, and state their stands with their critics. The second type of a commentary essay is an interpretation, where authors explain a complex concept to enhance the reader’s understanding. The third type is character or subject’s feelings, where students depict the emotional state of the person they have described in a commentary sentence. The fourth type of commentary essay is a personal reaction, where people communicate their stances on an issue, while the fifth type is an evaluation, where writers evaluate a section and gives a critical judgment.

Alternative Commentary Types and Examples

Besides the types of commentary above, students may write alternative commentary types when their essay is part of a bigger writing project, such as a systematic exposition of an idea, theme, or topic. Students must know the unique features of each type, including when to use it, what to focus on, and how to organize a commentary essay’s content.

1️⃣ Close, Direct Analysis of Passages

An example of an alternative commentary is a close, direct analysis of robust passages from the source, such as an article, film, poem, literary work, book, or novel. In this respect, they are standard in bigger writing projects, like expositions or being part of a critic’s work. Students adopt this type of commentary when they have to read a passage in a text or pick a speech in a movie and write a film analysis essay that expresses the writer’s perspective on the central issues, ideas, or concepts. The following example of a commentary essay demonstrates a close, direct examination of the first stanza of the poem “Night Wind” by Christopher Dewdney:

Tonight the wind blows through

all the worlds I have known and

through all the lives I have led.

The wind blows in the trees,

deeper into each.

The wind blows forever,

strains like something

endlessly departing.

Restless, impatient,

it races without burden.

Example of a Commentary on Celebration of Nature in the First Stanza of Christopher Dewdney’s Poem “Night Wind”

Christopher Dewdney’s 1984 poem “Night Wind” celebrates nature by depicting the night wind as a permanent, free expression of nature. The poet describes the wind on a particular night in the first stanza. By using a first-person perspective in the first three lines, Dewdney depicts himself as an observer. This writing style expresses a personal dialogue in which the poet directly relates his senses, experiences, and impressions. Dewdney opens the poem with the words: “Tonight the wind blows through / all the worlds I have known and / through all the lives I have led.” In this passage, the author expresses to the reader how the unity of the wind in whatever time or place leaves a lasting impression on him. Ideally, he views the wind as an omnipresent force but also regards it as very transient and fleeting. The words “endlessly departing” indicate to the reader the sense that the wind encompasses the entire continuum of the poet’s existence. Nonetheless, it is always in a rush to be at another location. The reader gets the impression that wind is a celebration of nature when Dewdney mentions its interactions with nature: “The wind blows in the trees, deeper into each.” This statement induces an imagination of trees fighting against a pervasive wind. The poet ends the stanza by personifying the wind, and he assigns it human qualities of restlessness, impatience, and playfulness. In this respect, the first stanza uses the wind as a reason to celebrate nature.

2️⃣ Commentary Annotations

Annotations are another type of alternative commentary where writers use a short claim on a source, like a text, film, or image. This kind of commentary essay also looks like an annotated bibliography . Typically, writers adopt annotations when they need to explain complex words, phrases, or concepts to readers; give a historical or cultural context of the topic; support or challenge the author’s arguments in an essay; expose literary devices, like contrast, irony, or sarcasm, or rhetorical devices, like ethos, pathos, and logos; provide a personal interpretation of the text under analysis. Therefore, annotations aim to enhance the reader’s understanding of a short passage from a source. Below are three examples of annotations of complex content in writing a commentary essay for Christopher Dewdney’s Poem “Night Wind.”

3 Examples of a Commentary With Annotations

➖ “The night wind is an empire / in exodus, a deliverance / beside the dark shape of trees.”

This statement is in lines 13-15 of Dewdney’s poem, where the poet alludes to a biblical concept, exodus, to express the wind’s freedom. By stating that the wind is “… in exodus, a deliverance…,” Dewdney makes the reader compare the wind to the incident in the book of Exodus in the Bible where Moses leads the children of Israel, God’s chosen people, to Canaan, the promised land, after freeing a life of bondage in Egypt. In this respect, lines 13-15 confirm that the wind is free and expresses nature’s freedom.

➖ “The wind takes / me in its giddy rush and / gathers me into a storm of longing, / rising on wings of darkness.”

In this statement in lines 18-21, the phrase “wings of darkness” emphasizes the wind’s freedom and mystery. The poet contextualizes the wind as an unpredictable force that can take a person anywhere .

➖ “Along oceans and rivers, / the gale’s mysterious, unspoken imperative / is a joyous delirium with / nothing at its end.”

This passage in lines 36-39 expresses Dewdney’s excitement in not knowing where the wind may take him. It suggests that it does not matter where the wind takes him because he is truly free. In essence, the statement makes the reader imagine the wind as a mystery because it can take one anywhere, emphasizing the theme of freedom.

3️⃣ Data Commentary

Data commentary is another type of alternative essay commentary where writers summarize a study by analyzing critical information that helps readers have a sneak peek of the project. The features students should incorporate in a commentary essay include visual illustrations, like charts, diagrams, graphs, and tables, to capture statistical data, allowing readers to compare them easily. In this respect, data commentary reflects the results section of a research paper because that is where scholars use visual illustrations to report statistical data. Another feature is a conclusion summarizing a commentary essay by reiterating the key points and expressing the writer’s final remark, meaning the main perspective on the topic. Lastly, people must provide a reference page listing credible sources they consulted to write data commentaries, such as reports and research articles. Below is an example of data commentary.

Example of Data Commentary

how to give commentary in an essay

Table 3 shows respondents’ responses to statements about the barriers to exercise prescription for people with mental illness. Those who agreed that patients’ mental health denies them the opportunity to exercise was 58%, while those who agreed that obtaining an injury during exercise is a concern was 45%. There was an overwhelming response by 87% of the respondents who agreed that exercise is beneficial and were interested in prescribing it for patients with mental health problems. However, only 13% agreed that prescribing exercise falls outside their job description. Nonetheless, 16% stated that they did not know how to prescribe exercise for the population. Overall, 71% approved that exercise professionals are best suited to prescribe exercise for people in the population.

Possible Uses of Block Quotations for Writing a Good Commentary Essay

When writing a commentary essay, students can use block quotations to organize comments. However, this feature is suitable mainly for extensive passages. In a simple definition, a block quote is a text that captures direct quotations longer than 40 words, which the writer offsets from the main text and does not include quotation marks. The text appears on a new line with a 0.5 inches indentation or five to seven spaces. Using single space for a block quote is standard, even in an essay requiring double spacing. Hence, students must know how to format block quotes in APA , MLA , Harvard , and Chicago/Turabian referencing styles when writing a commentary essay.

📕 APA Format

There are two ways in which students can write block quotes in the APA style when organizing their commentary essays.

I. The first block captures the author’s name before the quote:

In their tabulation of results, Vancampfort et al. (2019) showed:

Almost 75% of the respondents indicated that they would “definitely” attend further training for exercise prescription for people with mental illness, in particular related to how to assess patients and how to motivate them towards an active lifestyle. More than seventy percent of the participants also reported that exercise to people with mental illness is actually best delivered by an exercise professional, although only one respondent referred patients to such an exercise professional (p. 2178).

“[Your comments on a block quote starts here]”

II. Alternatively, a block quote can have the author’s surname at the end:

According to the findings:

Almost 75% of the respondents indicated that they would “definitely” attend further training for exercise prescription for people with mental illness, in particular related to how to assess patients and how to motivate them towards an active lifestyle. More than seventy percent of the participants also reported that exercise to people with mental illness is actually best delivered by an exercise professional, although only one respondent referred patients to such an exercise professional (Vancampfort et al., 2019, p. 2178).

📕 MLA Format

Similarly, the MLA style has two ways of formatting a block quote when organizing commentary essays.

I. Having the surname of the author preceding a block quote in an essay:

The results by Vancampfort et al. indicate:

Almost 75% of the respondents indicated that they would “definitely” attend further training for exercise prescription for people with mental illness, in particular related to how to assess patients and how to motivate them towards an active lifestyle. More than seventy percent of the participants also reported that exercise to people with mental illness is actually best delivered by an exercise professional, although only one respondent referred patients to such an exercise professional (2178).

II. Having the author’s surname at the end of the quote:

Almost 75% of the respondents indicated that they would “definitely” attend further training for exercise prescription for people with mental illness, in particular related to how to assess patients and how to motivate them towards an active lifestyle. More than seventy percent of the participants also reported that exercise to people with mental illness is actually best delivered by an exercise professional, although only one respondent referred patients to such an exercise professional (Vancampfort et al. 2178).

📕 Harvard Format

The Harvard style also has two ways of formatting a block quote when organizing commentary essays.

I. Indicating the author’s surname before a block quote in an essay:

In their findings, Vancampfort et al. (2019) established that:

II. Citing the author’s surname at the end of a block quote:

Almost 75% of the respondents indicated that they would “definitely” attend further training for exercise prescription for people with mental illness, in particular related to how to assess patients and how to motivate them towards an active lifestyle. More than seventy percent of the participants also reported that exercise to people with mental illness is actually best delivered by an exercise professional, although only one respondent referred patients to such an exercise professional (Vancampfort et al. 2019, p. 2178).

📕 Chicago/Turabian Format

The Chicago/Turabian style also has two ways of formatting a block quote when organizing commentary essays.

I. Mentioning the author’s surname before a block quote in an essay:

According to Vancampfort et al.:

Almost 75% of the respondents indicated that they would “definitely” attend further training for exercise prescription for people with mental illness, in particular related to how to assess patients and how to motivate them towards an active lifestyle. More than seventy percent of the participants also reported that exercise to people with mental illness is actually best delivered by an exercise professional, although only one respondent referred patients to such an exercise professional (this passage must be formatted as a footnote). 1

II. Showing the author’s surname in a footnote:

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Key Features of Formatting Block Quotes When Writing a Commentary Essay

Looking at the examples of writing a commentary in an essay above, there are some similarities and differences in formatting block quotes. APA and Harvard are similar because they show the research article’s publication year and the page number of the information the writer cites in their commentary essay. The main difference is the arrangement of these details, including the place of putting comas. On the other hand, the MLA and Chicago/Turabian styles are similar in that they do not show the research article’s publication year. The main difference is that the Chicago/Turabian style uses footnotes to show the author(s) and all the bibliography details at the commentary essay’s end. The MLA style shows only the author’s surname and the page number in the text. In turn, people begin writing their commentaries in the following line after a block quote as a standard paragraph in all the formats.

Easy Sample Topics for Writing a Great Commentary Essay

Students should choose easy essay topics when writing a commentary essay to avoid complicating their tasks. Ideally, a specific topic should indicate a particular source document one is commenting on, such as a text, film, or image. The standard practice is that instructors define essay topics or commemorative speech topics students should write about. However, people can choose other themes they are comfortable with if such instructions do not exist for writing a commentary essay. The best approach to choosing an easy topic is to engage with course content and read widely to generate and incubate ideas. When the time for writing a commentary essay comes, one finds it easy to construct arguments fitting the task. The following are possible commentary essay topics because they suggest analyzing and examining a source from the writer’s perspective.

  • In Memory of Amelia Earhart: Sky’s Fearless Lady
  • The Central Themes in Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird”
  • “The Great Gatsby” Through Contemporary Lens
  • The Rhetorical Stance in Jessica Grose’s “Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier”
  • The Message in Robert Frost’s Poem “The Road Not Taken”
  • Maya Angelou’s Magic in “And Still I Rise”
  • Demystifying Mental Disorders Through the Film “Black Swan (2010)”
  • The Essence of Margaret Atwood’s “Negotiating With the Dead: A Writer on Writing”

Sample Outline Template for Writing a Commentary Essay

  • Title of a commentary essay must be precise to an assigned topic.
  • Title must be short, clear, and easily understandable.
  • Title must be interesting, catchy, and with relevant keywords.

I. Introduction Section of a Commentary Essay

  • College essay introduction must have a hook that interests readers enough to grab their attention and stirs a curiosity to continue reading.
  • Introduction must refer to a specific source (text, film, or image) and its author(s).
  • Introduction must summarize an assigned source that includes the main characters (if any), themes, or concepts.
  • Introduction must have a clear thesis statement that states the writer’s claim.

II. Body Section of a Commentary Essay

Body paragraphs (at least three):

  • Each body paragraph of a commentary essay must have a topic sentence that emphasizes a single idea central to the main claim in the thesis statement that the writer will defend in the paragraph.
  • Each body paragraph must include evidence from a source under analysis, such as a quote, indicating the character responsible and the context.
  • Each body paragraph must give a commentary about the evidence through relevant analysis, linking the information to the idea at the beginning of the paragraph and the claim in the thesis.
  • Each body paragraph must end with a closing statement and a bridge sentence to facilitate a logical flow to the next paragraph or section.

III. Conclusion Section of a Commentary Essay

Sum up a commentary essay by:

  • Restating the thesis.
  • Emphasizing the main ideas of a commentary essay.
  • Giving a final remark that confirms the importance of the essay topic.

Example of a Commentary Essay

Commentary Essay’s Title: The Rhetorical Stance in Jessica Grose’s “Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier”

I. Example of an Introduction of a Commentary Essay

A woman never rests, not with society constantly demanding her value at every turn. This idea is the message in Jessica Grose’s famous article, “Cleaning: The Final Feminist Frontier.” The author argues that cleaning remains a feature of women’s value in society, despite men’s growing involvement in childcare and cooking. The article also opens with personal accounts and convincing facts, suggesting its credibility as a source of information about the dynamics confronting American women. In her article, Grose communicates her message effectively by adopting a rhetorical stance characterized by emotional appeals.

II. Example of Body Paragraphs of a Commentary Essay

A. commentary on the main idea of the article.

Grose opens the article with a personal story of her and her husband cleaning their house after Hurricane Sandy forced them indoors. She uses the uneven distribution of the cleaning task in her marriage to point out the larger feminist issue of who between a husband and wife should do the job. The article gives three reasons why men shy away from the cleaning task, including the fact that it is women who receive praise for a clean house, the media focuses on men’s growing involvement in childcare and cooking, and it is not fun. According to Grose, even distribution of the cleaning task can happen by creating a task chart that shows who does what on the basis of skill and ability and adopting cleaning gadgets to make cleaning more fun.

Throughout the article, Grose uses sources to appeal to the readers’ ethos and build her argument. Some of the sources she uses to achieve these goals include a study by sociologists Judith Treas and Tsui-o Tai and an article by Matthew Krehbiel, North America Fabric Care Brand Manager for P&G. Citing these sources helps the author to build her credibility in the eyes of readers.

Regarding appeals to logos, Grose mentions statistics and interesting facts that help to enhance the logical progression of ideas central to her argument. To emphasize the uneven distribution of the cleaning task, she says, “My husband and I both work…I do the dishes nine times out of ten, and he barely knows how the washer and dryer work.” Such facts confirm and support the idea that women do more household chores than men. She also cites statistics, showing “55 percent of mothers working full-time in America do some housework daily compared to 18 percent of fathers.” In this respect, the article is factual about the uneven distribution of household chores that disadvantages women. As a result, the personal details and statistics from credible sources help Grose to impress upon the reader how society uses the domestic environment to subjugate women.

The article appeals to the readers’ pathos in the beginning and middle sections, where Grose uses emotionally-charged words and phrases to induce the audience’s sympathy. For example, Grose laments that, while she “was eight months pregnant,” her husband experienced the complexity of fighting “a massively pregnant person.” These words evoke an image in the readers’ mind that portrays women as vulnerable in the domestic space because of natural factors, like high emotions and pregnancy. Indeed, readers may feel sympathetic to Grose and the women who generally live in this social context. Moreover, using words and phrases, like ‘argued,’ ‘sucks,’ ‘be shunned,’ ‘be judged,’ and ‘headachey,’ evokes readers’ negative feelings about cleaning. As such, they are more drawn to sympathize with men and view men as selfish.

III. Example of a Conclusion of a Commentary Essay

Grose takes a rhetorical stand throughout the article to persuade her audience of the unfair distribution of cleaning labor in the domestic space. By referencing credible sources, citing statistics and interesting facts, and portraying women as adversely disadvantaged, Grose effectively appeals to the readers’ ethos, logos, and pathos. This rhetorical stand is critical in communicating how society remains unfair to women in the domestic space despite men’s growing involvement in some household chores like childcare and cooking.

4 Easy Steps for Writing a Commentary Essay

Writing a commentary essay is a technical process that requires students to grasp essential details. For example, these details reflect 4 writing steps: preparation, stage setup, writing a first draft, and wrap-up. Typically, each step’s details of writing a commentary essay reflect the wisdom writers should exhibit when creating any scholarly text.

Step 1: Preparation

Preparation is the first step of writing a commentary essay. As the name suggests, it is when writers take time to create a favorable environment to write their papers. The first task is identifying a single source, where students should select good sources they can analyze easily, including poems, novels, or films. The second task is to create a topic, where students must write short topics that communicate a precise message of a commentary essay.

Step 2: Stage Setup

Setting the stage is the second step of writing a commentary essay. The first task is to read, watch, or examine an assigned source to identify key themes and ideas. The second activity is to research reliable sources that help to generate ideas that align with these themes and concepts. The next task is to create a clear essay outline emphasizing the introduction, body, and conclusion with all the essential details.

Step 3: Writing a First Draft of a Commentary Essay

Writing a first draft is the third step in creating a commentary essay, and the focus is generating a paper that can be used for further editing and improvement. As such, students should organize their ideas into text, emphasizing the claim in the thesis statement, ideas in the topic sentences, evidence (quotes), and transitions in the body paragraphs. Students should also ensure the conclusion restates the thesis, summarizes the main ideas of a commentary essay, and gives a final remark about their commentaries, focusing on an assigned source and topic.

Step 4: Wrap-Up

The wrap-up is the last step in writing a commentary essay. The main focus is transforming a first draft into a final text by eliminating all mistakes and flaws. Typically, students should revise all sections that do not make sense to a central claim or those that affect the paper’s logical progression. They should also edit a commentary essay by adding or deleting words and phrases and eliminating grammatical mistakes, missing punctuation, formatting errors, and incorrect citations.

20 Tips for Writing a Commentary Essay

Looking at the information in the preceding sections, writing a great commentary essay is a complex task that requires students to demonstrate knowledge of what it takes to create a quality paper. Some of the tips for writing a commentary essay include identifying a single source, which can be a text, film, or image; noting the source’s basic information, like the author, title, and publication date; identifying the central themes in the source; writing an introduction that emphasizes the source’s basic information; creating a thesis that communicates a claim about the source; adopting the unique structure as above; beginning paragraphs with a topic sentence; incorporating quotes from the source into body paragraphs; commenting on the quotes and their significance; and concluding a commentary essay with a summary that makes a final remark about a single source and topic.

10 things to do when writing a commentary essay include:

  • identifying a source for writing a commentary essay;
  • reading, watching, or analyzing an assigned source carefully and closely;
  • outlining critical details, like themes, ideas, and literary devices;
  • writing an introduction with a hook and an argumentative thesis statement;
  • providing body paragraphs with topic sentences, concluding sentences, quotes, commentary, and transitions;
  • maintaining a formal tone in a commentary essay;
  • using the applicable format (APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago/Turabian) correctly;
  • presenting an introduction that summarizes a commentary essay;
  • avoiding grammatical mistakes;
  • proofreading a final version of a commentary essay.

10 things not to do include:

  • failing to document the source’s essential details, like the author’s name and surname;
  • concentrating on the introduction more than the body;
  • not incorporating quotes in body paragraphs;
  • focusing on too many ideas in a commentary essay;
  • not defending the claim in the thesis;
  • ignoring a unique outline of a commentary essay;
  • writing with too many grammatical mistakes;
  • using different formatting styles (APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago/Turabian);
  • not implementing transitions in body paragraphs;
  • creating a commentary essay without a logical flow of ideas and thoughts.

Summing Up on How to Write a Perfect Commentary Essay

  • Choose a single source that is simple to analyze.
  • Create a clear thesis that emphasizes the focus of a commentary essay, such as a claim.
  • Identify passages or themes in an assigned source that help to build an argumentative claim.
  • Use an introduction paragraph for its purpose: to introduce a specific topic. As such, it should be short and precise.
  • Use a body section for its purpose: to analyze a particular source and defend a central claim comprehensively. Therefore, it should be long and have quotes as evidence.
  • Use a conclusion part to summarize a commentary essay, and it should be concise. More importantly, it should leave readers with a lasting impression of a defined source and topic.

To Learn More, Read Relevant Articles

Reducing plastic waste in the ocean: an innovative approach, history of cryptography and its modern applications.

Commentary Essay Example, Writing Guide, and Tips

how to give commentary in an essay


Welcome to The Knowledge Nest, your go-to resource for all things related to commentary essay writing. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of crafting an impactful commentary essay, providing useful examples and valuable tips to help you enhance your writing skills.

What is a Commentary Essay?

A commentary essay is a type of academic writing that aims to analyze and provide an in-depth interpretation of a particular text or topic. It offers a critical examination and evaluation of the subject matter, exploring various perspectives and providing evidence-based arguments to support the author's viewpoint.

Why Write a Commentary Essay?

Writing a commentary essay allows you to develop critical thinking skills, enhance your analytical abilities, and strengthen your written communication. It provides a platform to express your ideas and opinions, engage with different viewpoints, and present a well-rounded analysis of the chosen subject matter.

Key Components of a Commentary Essay

1. Introduction: Begin your essay with a captivating introduction that presents the topic and provides context for the reader.

2. Thesis Statement: Craft a clear and concise thesis statement that outlines your main argument or perspective.

3. Body Paragraphs: Develop your analysis in well-structured body paragraphs, each focusing on a specific point or theme. Use relevant evidence, examples, and expert opinions to support your claims.

4. Counterarguments: Address potential counterarguments or alternative viewpoints and offer thoughtful rebuttals to strengthen your position.

5. Conclusion: Summarize the main points of your essay and reiterate your thesis statement, leaving the reader with a lasting impression.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Commentary Essay

Step 1: choose a relevant topic.

Select a topic that aligns with your interests and falls within the scope of your assignment or academic requirements. Consider the relevance and significance of the subject matter to engage your readers.

Step 2: Conduct Extensive Research

Gather information from credible sources such as academic journals, books, reputable websites, and scholarly articles. Engage with different perspectives and take diligent notes to support your analysis.

Step 3: Outline Your Essay

Create a clear and well-structured outline that outlines the main points, arguments, and supporting evidence you will present in your essay. A well-organized outline ensures a cohesive and logical flow of ideas.

Step 4: Craft an Engaging Introduction

In your introduction, provide a brief overview of the topic and its significance. Hook the reader's attention with an intriguing opening sentence or a thought-provoking question.

Step 5: Develop Your Arguments in the Body Paragraphs

Divide your essay into distinct body paragraphs, each focusing on a specific point or theme. Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence that establishes the main idea, and support it with relevant evidence, examples, and analysis.

Step 6: Address Counterarguments

Acknowledge alternative viewpoints and counterarguments to demonstrate your awareness of different perspectives. Articulate thoughtful rebuttals that strengthen your arguments and distinguish your viewpoint.

Step 7: Conclude with Impact

In your conclusion, summarize the main points of your essay and restate your thesis statement. Leave the reader with a compelling closing thought or call-to-action that invites further reflection or discussion on the topic.

Commentary Essay Example

To provide you with a better understanding, let's consider an example of a commentary essay on the topic of climate change:


Climate change has emerged as one of the most pressing global issues of our time. This commentary essay aims to analyze the causes, impacts, and potential solutions to address this environmental crisis.

Body Paragraph 1: The Causes of Climate Change

The first body paragraph delves into the primary causes of climate change, such as greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and industrialization. It explores how human activities have contributed to the accelerated pace of global warming.

Body Paragraph 2: The Impacts of Climate Change

In the second body paragraph, we examine the far-reaching impacts of climate change on ecosystems, weather patterns, and human livelihoods. We explore the devastating consequences of rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and the loss of biodiversity.

Body Paragraph 3: Potential Solutions to Climate Change

The third body paragraph focuses on potential solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It explores renewable energy sources, sustainable agricultural practices, and international collaboration as key strategies to combat this global crisis.


In conclusion, the commentary essay emphasizes the urgent need for collective action to address climate change. By understanding its causes, impacts, and potential solutions, we can work towards a sustainable future for generations to come.

Writing a commentary essay enables you to dive deep into a specific topic, critically analyze it, and articulate your thoughts effectively. By following our comprehensive guide and utilizing the provided tips, you will be well-equipped to create impactful commentary essays and improve your writing skills.

Enhance Your Writing Skills with The Knowledge Nest

At The Knowledge Nest, we are committed to providing valuable resources and expert guidance to help you excel in your academic and professional pursuits. Explore our wide range of articles, guides, and examples to enhance your writing skills and expand your knowledge across various disciplines.

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How to Write Commentary Essay – What is a Commentary in Essay Writing

how to write commentary essay

how to write commentary essay

Ever find yourself grappling with thoughts that beg to be shared? Commentary essays, ever elusive yet magnetic, unlock the gateway to expression. Have you ever yearned to dissect an idea—dissect it with surgical precision?

In this narrative landscape, I guide you through the intricate threads of commentary—essays that serve as vessels for personal reflection and analysis.

With a mere glance, we will define the essence, unearth the profound purposes, and unveil the diverse forms of commentary essays.

how to give commentary in an essay

Join me in cracking the art of commentary, where every word is a stroke of thoughtful reflection.

How to Choose a Topic for a Commentary Essay

Choosing a captivating topic for a commentary essay is akin to selecting the perfect melody. It begins with identifying engaging themes that resonate personally.

What ignites curiosity or sparks passion?

Delving into personal interests ensures a genuine connection, fostering authenticity in your commentary. However, it’s not a solo journey; research plays a crucial role.

Explore and narrow down ideas through in-depth investigations, seeking intersections between personal resonance and broader relevance.

The sweet spot lies where passion aligns with significance. This intricate dance between personal connection and broader appeal ensures a topic that not only captivates but also invites readers into the discourse.

How to Write a Commentary Essay

1. choose a good topic.

choosing a topic

Selecting a captivating topic is the inaugural dance in the journey of crafting a commentary essay. The process of cherry-picking the right subject is akin to a curator choosing artwork for an exhibition.

In this journey, I explore my interests and passions, seeking resonance between the chosen theme and my personal experiences.

The topic becomes a canvas, inviting me to weave my narrative, thoughts, and insights into a tapestry of reflection.

It is not just about selecting a subject; it’s about finding a companion for a meaningful conversation.

Thus, the journey of a commentary essay begins with the profound act of choosing a topic that whispers to my curiosity and beckons exploration.

2. Conduct Thorough Research

My compass always directs me to reliable sources , be they scholarly articles, books, or credible websites.

Navigating through diverse perspectives, I become an explorer of ideas, understanding the nuances that shape the discourse.

Armed with a discerning eye, I gather a treasure trove of information, taking meticulous notes like a cartographer mapping uncharted territories.

This research journey is not just about accumulating data; it’s a quest for understanding, a preparatory expedition before I embark on crafting my commentary essay with depth and insight.

3. Craft a Compelling Introduction

I opt for the dramatic flair of anecdotes or stories, inviting readers into the narrative fold.

Within this theatrical framework, I introduce the chosen topic, carefully crafting the context in which it thrives.

As the spotlight intensifies, I unveil the essay’s purpose, signaling the thematic overture that will unfold.

Also, this introduction, akin to an opening act, aims to engage and captivate, preparing the audience for the insightful commentary that awaits in the ensuing scenes of my written performance.

4. Develop a Strong Thesis Statement

In a commentary essay, the thesis statement serves as the conductor, directing the harmonious interplay of ideas.

defining thesis statement

I compose a thesis that resonates with clarity, enunciating my argument or perspective with precision.

Each note within this statement focuses sharply on the specific points I intend to unfold, creating a nuanced melody of discussion.

I embrace controversy, infusing my thesis with a thought-provoking essence akin to a musical chord that resonates in the minds of my readers.

Generally, this orchestrated thesis becomes the guiding refrain, leading the essay forward with an assured and melodic cadence.

5. Create a Well-Structured Body Paragraphs

Within the tapestry of my commentary essay, I weave a structured narrative through well-crafted body paragraphs.

Each paragraph is a carefully orchestrated movement, organized with a logical flow that allows ideas to crescendo seamlessly.

Transitions act as musical notes, creating a harmonious journey between paragraphs. Evidence, like a powerful chord, resounds through relevant quotes and data.

My commentary interprets this evidence, breathing life into the composition. Every paragraph is a masterful stroke, connecting back to the thesis statement with the finesse of a skilled composer, ensuring the entire essay resonates with coherence and depth.

6. Write a Compelling Conclusion

In my commentary essay, the conclusion emerges as a resonant crescendo, summarizing the keynotes that echo through the preceding movements.

I deftly restate the thesis in varied tones, allowing its essence to linger in the minds of my readers.

With a final chord, I provide closure, leaving a lasting impact akin to the lingering resonance of a powerful musical finale.

Finally, this conclusion isn’t merely an end.  It is a grand finale that ensures the composition of my commentary essay echoes in the minds of those who have been part of this literary performance.

7. Refine and polish your Commentary Essay

proofreading an essay

In the refining process, I revise and proofread my commentary essay, polishing each sentence to a gleaming sheen.

Seeking constructive feedback becomes my compass, guiding me through the intricate labyrinth of improvements.

With a discerning eye, I ensure clarity, coherence, and consistency throughout the essay.

Tips when Writing a Good Commentary Essay

Mastering the art of analysis.

When crafting a compelling commentary essay, mastering the art of analysis becomes my guiding light.

I cultivate critical thinking skills by delving into the intricate layers of interpretation. Rather than merely summarizing, I pivot towards emphasizing analysis, probing the profound “why” behind each elucidation.

I use this approach to transform my commentary essay into a thought-provoking exploration, inviting readers to journey beyond the surface.

After infusing depth and nuance into my analysis, I not only unravel the intricacies of the subject matter but also beckon readers into the realm of contemplation.

Effective Use of Evidence and Examples

The crux of crafting a compelling commentary essay lies in the effective use of evidence and examples.

I navigate the selection of appropriate evidence, ensuring its relevance and resonance with my thesis.

Distinguishing between various types of evidence, I strategically deploy statistics, anecdotes, or expert opinions to fortify my arguments.

Crucially, each piece of evidence serves as a beacon, guiding readers back to the luminous core of my thesis.

Such orchestration not only bolsters the credibility of my discourse but also weaves a seamless tapestry of persuasion, compelling readers to traverse the intellectual terrain I’ve artfully laid out.

Polishing Your Writing Style

With a discerning eye, I wield clear and concise language, ensuring each word contributes meaningfully to the narrative.

I harmonize sentence structures and lengths, orchestrating a symphony of eloquence. My pen becomes a precision tool, excising redundancy and wordiness, leaving a distilled essence that resonates with clarity.

Also, this stylistic finesse not only heightens the essay’s readability but also casts a spell, captivating readers through the sheer artistry of expression.

It is in these subtle nuances that the true mastery of a commentary essay emerges.

How to Structure a Commentary Essay

Structuring a commentary essay is an art that begins with a captivating opening, ensuring a clear and concise thesis statement. The body paragraphs organize ideas, employing topic sentences as guides and incorporating diverse evidence. Let me expound on this.

1. Introduction

the introduction

I begin a commentary essay with an artful introduction. I invite readers into a captivating opening, setting the stage for a thoughtful exploration. This entry point beckons them to delve into the discourse, establishing the groundwork for an engaging and insightful journey.

2. Thesis Statement

Crafting a commentary essay hinges on a thesis statement that stands as a beacon of clarity and conciseness.

It is a pivotal sentence that outlines the primary argument, acting as the compass guiding readers through the intricate landscape of the discussion.

Its clarity serves as a roadmap, ensuring that the ensuing exploration remains focused and purposeful.

3. Body Paragraphs

Within the body paragraphs, my essay has a masterpiece of ideas, each movement meticulously crafted to contribute to the overall harmony.

Each paragraph opens with a topic sentence, a conductor setting the tone and direction for the ensuing discussion.

Supporting evidence, ranging from concrete facts to illustrative examples and authoritative quotes, fortifies these ideas.

The real magic, however, lies in the nuanced analysis and interpretation, where I dissect the significance, explaining the relevance of each piece in the grand tapestry of my commentary.

Mostly, this meticulous organization ensures a compelling and cohesive narrative.

4. Conclusion

As I draw the curtain on my commentary essay, I emphasize the significance of the main points. The journey through this analysis has illuminated diverse perspectives, making it evident that my thesis holds weight.

The interplay of evidence and interpretation underscores the relevance of the discussed topic.

In weaving together the fabric of my argument, I’ve reinforced the core ideas, leaving an indelible impression on the reader.

Generally, this process of exploration and articulation has not only broadened my understanding but also imparted a sense of conviction in the efficacy of my perspective.

As I bid farewell to this discourse, I carry forward the intellectual growth fostered by the analytical journey undertaken.

Josh Jasen working

Josh Jasen or JJ as we fondly call him, is a senior academic editor at Grade Bees in charge of the writing department. When not managing complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In his spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.

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Elements of an Essay: Writing Commentary

For several weeks now, we have been identifying the essential elements of essays and learning how to incorporate these effectively and successfully. We have discussed that the thesis statement is the glue that holds the entire paper together, the body paragraphs are the meat where the majority of your argument will be found, and last week we looked at how the details are the key to unlocking your argument .  Today we are going to take a look at the other extremely important factor in writing a well-thought out essay.  It is needed for every single detail that you write.  It is the commentary.

Commentary Definition

When you write commentary, you are explaining to your reader how the details relate to the thesis statement. Commentary does not contain facts.  Instead, they help explain why the details are relevant to the topic.

Writing Commentary


You are going to need at least two sentences of commentary for every detail sentence.  A good rule of thumb is that your commentary should be twice as long as your details.  Otherwise, your paper is just full of facts.  We want to know how YOU think these facts prove your point and what YOU think they mean.

Here are a few different methods for writing commentary:

1) Opinion: this is where you write your belief, subjective judgment or way of thinking about a detail .

2) Interpretation: your explanation of something that is not clear.

3) Character and Subject’s Feelings: when you describe what the character or subject of the detail is feeling (ideal for literary analysis papers)

4) Personal Reaction: your personal emotions about the detail.

5) Evaluations: your objective judgment of a detail.

Commentary is the Treasure

Your commentary is the treasure that makes your paper shine.  It should always strengthen and extend the details. This is your chance to show us what you’ve got.  It is where you can impress us with your analysis and interpretation skills.

“What and Why” Method

You may be thinking, “Analysis and interpretation skills?  What if I don’t possess those skills?”  Well breathe easy, because interpretation is really just a fancy word for “what,” while analysis simply means “why”.

So if you are struggling to write your commentary try using the “what and why” method.  First, tell the reader WHAT your detail is talking about by defining or explaining.  Next, let your reader know WHY this detail is relevant to your thesis statement.

Starting Commentary Sentences

If you are struggling to start your commentary, consider beginning your commentary in one of the following ways:

“This shows that…”

 “This is important because…”

Obviously, you cannot start every sentence you write like that since this would be redundant.  However, even if you do not write these phrases at the beginning of all of your sentences, it is helpful even just to think these phrases in order to guide your commentary in the right direction.

Applying Commentary Techniques

Now that we have discussed the different options for writing commentary, and the method for doing  so, let’s put them together and see what is looks like.

Commentary Type: Opinion using the “what and why” method


Topic: education

Detail: According to the 2013 National Assessment of Education Progress Reading test, 80% of students score below grade level in reading.

Commentary: Your commentary for this detail will answer the following questions: (1) “WHAT is my opinion?” and (2) “WHY is my opinion relevant to my thesis statement?”

(1)  A statistic like this shows the poor state of the education.  (2) If we are to help students become successful adults, we need to change the way we are educating our children.

Commentary Type: Interpretation using the “what and why” method

Topic: benefits of college

Detail: First of all, of 2,350,000 college students enrolling per year, only 1,750,000 will graduate.

Commentary: Your commentary for this detail will answer the following questions: (1) “WHAT is my interpretation?” and (2) “WHY is my interpretation relevant to my thesis statement?”

(1) This shows that the high demand placed on students during their college years is too much stress for many.  (2) However rigorous it may be though, the pressure and expectations are reflective of a future career and help prepare young adults for these challenges.

Commentary Type: Character or Subject Feelings using the “what and why” method


Topic: cost of higher education

Detail:  For example, Benjamin Davis, a recent college graduate with a degree in Business, struggled for many years to find a job because of the recent unemployment struggles in America

Commentary: Your commentary for this detail will answer the following questions: (1) “WHAT is the subject’s feelings?” and (2) “WHY is subjects feelings relevant to my thesis statement?”

(1) He, like most, experiences extreme frustration at spending a great deal of time and money obtaining his degree, but feeling like he has very little advantage over others without a degree when finding a job. (2) As a result, many who find themselves in a similar situation are left wondering if higher education is worth the high cost.

Commentary Type: Personal Reaction using the “what and why” method

Topic: bullying

Detail: Also,  a bully might speak cruelly in order to intimidate, steal a student’s belongings, or intentionally exclude one from a group .

Commentary: Your commentary for this detail will answer the following questions: (1) “WHAT is my personal reaction?” and (2) “WHY is my personal reaction relevant to my thesis statement?”

(1) It is extremely upsetting to know that most children undergo this type of treatment at school. (2) It is hurtful, isolating, and can have long-lasting psychological damage on those students who experience bullying often.

Commentary Type: Evaluation using the “what and why” method

Topic: bears

Detail: Naturally, a bear, when threatened, will rise up from the ground, growl loudly, and begin charging at a speed of up to 35 mph.

Commentary: Your commentary for this detail will answer the following questions: (1) “WHAT is my evaluation?” and (2) “WHY is my evaluation relevant to my thesis statement?”

(1) Although this is a frightening experience, it is not entirely the bear’s fault. (2) In fact, most of the time when a bear attacks a person, it is the result of a person not understanding that when going out into the woods, he or she is entering a bear’s environment; forgetting to be respectful and cautious can cause the bear to react thusly.

When To Use Commentary Types

Depending on your assignment, choose the types of commentary that best fits your argument.  Use of a variety of different types of commentary to write a well-argued paper.


Go back and look at step two of writing details from last week’s blog.  Look at the commentary you wrote and update it to fit into the “what and why” method using some of the above types of commentary.  If you did not do that step last week, go ahead and use the worksheet found here.

We hope this helped you when writing commentary.  If you still need help, call Oxford Tutoring for support or to schedule a writing tutoring session.

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School of Modern Languages and Cultures

Writing a literary commentary: guidelines, what is a commentary.

  • First and foremost, a literary commentary is NOT an essay. The passage in front of you is not, therefore, an invitation to write a general essay about the work from which it has been taken.
  • A commentary is an analysis of the given passage, its function and its characteristics. It should examine the key themes and stylistic devices of the passage, showing how the language works to convey (or at times undermine) its content.
  • A commentary should relate the passage to the rest of the work (novel, collection of poems, etc.), but remain focused in the main on the details of the passage itself.
  • Make sure that your commentary covers the whole passage. For instance, if you are given a poem with five stanzas, you should try to say something about each stanza.
  • Use line numbers (in both poetry and prose) in your commentary, rather than wasting time by quoting at length.
  • When you do quote, make sure that your comments don't simply repeat what the quotation already says: 'In the line "Il pleut dehors", the poet tells us that it is raining outside ...'
  • Avoid verbosity or inaccurate terminology. Clarity and precision are top priorities, and polysyllabic words do not improve a commentary.
  • Don't use words like 'effective', 'atmospheric', or 'beautiful' unless you are also explaining what the effect, atmosphere or beauty of the passage are, and how they are achieved. 

How should I write my commentary?

There are no fixed rules for writing a commentary, but a general structure will be suggested. You should always PLAN your commentary before you start writing it, following these guidelines where appropriate.

1 Introduction

  • Put the passage into context , and summarise its arguments briefly (in a few sentences): do not spend too much time discussing matters outside of the passage.
  • You should assume that your reader has read the work from which the passage has been taken.
  • You may want to point out the passage's most important thematic and structural aspects in your introduction.
  • Introduce the main themes and structural aspects of the passage.
  • What kind of passage is it (description/dialogue/free indirect speech), and what is its function (in the rest of the work)?
  • What is its overall structure (repetitious/circuIar/leitmotifs/develops to a climax)?
  • What is the narrative point of view (first-person/third-person/omniscient or not)?
  • What are the register (high/low) and tone (comic/surreal) of the passage?

3 Detailed Analysis

This is the most substantial part of the commentary. It should not be simple description or paraphrase, but an analysis of how the language of the passage functions. The following are aspects of the text that you should look for:

  • Sentence structure
  • Tense usage
  • Word order (balance or lack thereof, harmony, repetition, parallels)
  • Figurative language (imagery, metaphors, similes, symbolism, allegory, personification, myth, antithesis, irony, paradox)
  • Characterisation (or lack thereof)
  • Narrative technique/point of view (first/third person, limited point of view, stream of consciousness)
  • Punctuation
  • Alliteration, assonance, rhyme (poetry and prose)

Remember that no text is likely to have instances of all of these elements, and that it is best to concentrate on those that are most relevant to the passage in question. Also, you should avoid simply commenting on the appearance of a particular technique: make sure you say why this is worth noticing. Ideally, your comments should cohere to explain how the various linguistic devices combine to produce the overall effect intended by the author.

4 Conclusion

  • Summarise your findings, drawing together the different aspects of the text that you have discussed in your commentary.
  • Assess briefly the achievements and significance of the passage, both in itself and in relation to the work from which it is taken.

  Some useful aids to commentary-writing  

  • Nurse, P. (ed.), The Art of Criticism: Essays in French Literary Analysis (Edinburgh, 1969) (sample commentaries of French literary texts)  
  • Biard, J. D., Lexique pour I 'explication de texte (Exeter, 1980)  
  • Benac, H., Vocabulaire de la dissertation (Paris, 1949)

  (Binac and Biard provide lists of technical terms used in close analysis of a literary text in French, and give explanations and examples of usage)  

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How to Write a Literary Commentary

Last Updated: February 23, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA . Stephanie Wong Ken is a writer based in Canada. Stephanie's writing has appeared in Joyland, Catapult, Pithead Chapel, Cosmonaut's Avenue, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing from Portland State University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 701,315 times.

A literary commentary is a detailed analysis of a passage of text, focusing specifically on the text itself. It should not be confused with a literary analysis essay, as it does not need a thesis statement or a general discussion of the book as a whole. Instead, the literary commentary should only analyze and reflect on a specific passage. To write a literary commentary, start by reading the text and creating an outline. Then, dive right into a detailed discussion of the text. Make sure you polish the literary commentary for style, grammar, and spelling before handing it in so it is at its best.

Literary Commentary Help

how to give commentary in an essay

Starting the Literary Commentary

Step 1 Read the passage several times.

  • Make sure you have a hard copy of the passage so you can mark it up as you read it. Jot down any initial thoughts or questions you may have about the text as you read it several times.

Step 2 Highlight keywords in the text.

  • You should also look for words that are repeated in the text, as this means they are likely important. Notice if the same word is used in a different context in the passage and highlight each mention of the word.

Step 3 Create an outline.

  • Introduction section: Identify the text
  • Body section: Discuss the main features of the text
  • Conclusion section: Summarize your thoughts on the text

Writing the Literary Commentary

Step 1 Identify the title, author, and genre in the introduction.

  • For example, you may note, “Published in 1966, Seamus Heaney’s ‘Blackberry-Picking’ is a poem that appears in his poetry collection, Death of a Naturalist .”
  • If the text is from a larger work, do not write about the overall plot of the larger work. You should also not include details from the author’s biography or the historical period when the text was written, unless it feels relevant to the passage.

Step 2 Discuss the text’s subject, themes, and audience.

  • For example, in Seamus Heaney's poem, "Blackberry-Picking,” the subject is two people picking a large quantity of blackberries. [2] X Research source
  • The themes of the poem could be nature, hunger, and decay or rot.
  • The poem begins with a dedication to “Philip Hobsbaum,” which means he could be the intended audience of the poem, the “you” addressed in the poem.

Step 3 Look at the genre, form, and structure of the text.

  • The genre and form of the text will also help you determine the structure of the text. For example, Seamus Heaney's "Blackberry-Picking” takes the form of a poem and fits in the genre of poetry. It uses a familiar poetic structure, such as short lines of text and is broken into two stanzas.

Step 4 Analyze the voice in the text.

  • For example, in Seamus Heaney's "Blackberry-Picking,” the speaker uses the first person voice. The speaker then addresses a “you” in the text, indicating there are two characters in the poem.

Step 5 Study the tone and mood.

  • For example, in Seamus Heaney's "Blackberry-Picking,” the tone in the first stanza is nostalgic and light. The tone then shifts in the second stanza to be more serious and dark.

Step 6 Identify the literary devices in the text.

  • For example, if you are discussing Seamus Heaney's "Blackberry-Picking,” you may look at a simile like “You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet/Like thickened wine: summer's blood was in it.” Or you may discuss imagery like “a rat-grey fungus” or “fruit fermented.”
  • You can find a complete list of literary devices in literature online. [5] X Research source

Step 7 Include quotes from the text.

  • For example, if you are discussing themes of decay in Seamus Heaney's "Blackberry-Picking,” you may quote a line like “I always felt like crying./It wasn't fair/That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.”

Step 8 Wrap up the commentary with a summary of your thoughts.

  • For example, you may end your literary commentary on Seamus Heaney's "Blackberry-Picking” by noting how the poem fits into the poetry collection and reflects common themes in Heaney’s work.

Polishing the Literary Commentary

Step 1 Read the commentary aloud to yourself.

  • You can also read the commentary aloud to someone else to get their feedback. Ask a peer, a friend, or a family member to listen to you read the commentary and then ask for their feedback.

Step 2 Confirm the commentary follows a clear outline.

  • You can go through the commentary and write down “introduction” or “discussion of text” next to the relevant paragraphs in the commentary. Doing this will ensure you cover all the necessary information in the commentary.

Step 3 Review the commentary for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

  • If you are using a computer to write the literary commentary, you can use the spellcheck option in the computer program. However, you should not rely on spellcheck only to go through your work. Make sure you also do a close review of the commentary for any errors before you hand it in.

Community Q&A

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  • ↑ https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/modernlanguages/intranet/undergraduate/skills/commesswriting/commentarywriting/
  • ↑ https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/50981/blackberry-picking
  • ↑ http://literary-devices.com/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/reading-aloud/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/editing-and-proofreading/

About This Article

Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA

To write a literary commentary, begin by closely reading the text at least twice while paying attention to the content and structure. While commentaries do not need a thesis statement, you should identify the title, author, and genre in your introduction. In your body paragraphs, discuss the text’s subject, themes, and audience while pointing out any literary devices, like metaphors or symbols, that you notice. Use quotes to illustrate your points and conclude with a summary of your thoughts on the text. For advice about how to read and annotate your text from our Writer reviewer, scroll down. Did this summary help you? Yes No

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The Role of Commentary in Rhetorical Analysis

Call it what you will—analysis, evaluation, commentary—this piece of rhetorical analysis is OPINION. Evidence is FACT, and commentary is OPINION. (When I’m training students to recognize the difference between the two, we use color coding. You can read more about how I do that here. )

Where students get tripped up is in misunderstanding the actual role of commentary; perhaps they see it as filler or some kind of semi-important text that is loosely associated with nearby evidence. If the latter is the case, they’re in the ballpark, so let’s get those writers into an actual seat. For the purpose of this post, we’ll talk specifically about rhetorical analysis since so many teachers begin with that skill set.

how to give commentary in an essay

Commentary’s Jobs in Rhetorical Analysis

Job #1: make connections.

I made this super short video to explain visually what you’ll read below.


Analysis—what we’re calling commentary—is the student’s opinion about the way evidence proves the truth of a topic sentence, which defends the truth of the controlling thesis statement. Here’s how the connecting works. A rhetorical analysis essay has a thesis, which is a controlling idea. All ideas within the essay defend this one. If an idea does not defend this one, it has to go. I call that trimming the fat.

On the front lines of the defense of that thesis are the topic sentences. For a timed essay, we’re probably looking at two or three of those. Each of those topic sentences is a debatable idea that must also be defended. What defends each topic sentence is evidence, factual information taken from the text. Evidence defends the topic sentence, which defends the thesis. Here we go: The job of commentary is to tie the evidence to the topic sentence. This is where the student offers OPINION about how the factual evidence illustrates the truth of the topic sentence.

By connecting the evidence to the topic sentence and the topic sentence to the thesis, the commentary defends the thesis. This chain of defense is the way I wrap my mind around line of reasoning.

Done well, it’s beautiful. Done poorly, it looks like A LOT what we see in student essays.

J ob #2: Illustrate Critical Thinking

Commentary separates the men from boys, the wheat from the chaff, the analogies from the metaphors. Every writing rubric I’ve ever seen rewards it heavily.

On the AP Language Question 2 rubric, take a look at this wording for the column that awards all four points for evidence and commentary:

EVIDENCE: Provides specific evidence to support all claims in a line of reasoning. AND COMMENTARY: Consistently explains how the evidence supports a line of reasoning.  AND Explains how multiple rhetorical choices in the passage contribute to the writer’s argument, purpose, or message.

That’s THIS illustration! There are only four points to be had on this rubric, and FOUR of them are awarded to the process I described in that short little video above.

how to give commentary in an essay

A student who creates that defense chain consistently with depth could even earn the sophistication point. That’s five out of six. Without a defensible thesis, that student could never have earned the four points for evidence and commentary because there was nothing to defend. That’s six out of six.

Translation: A student who understands the defense chain of a topic sentence being defended by topic sentences that are supported by evidence with connecting commentary is in the five-six range because that student’s maturity of thought is on full display to a reader.

What Commentary’s Role is NOT

Commentary’s job is not to provide proof from the text, either through direct quotations, paraphrasing, summarizing, or repetition of the actual evidence. When training students to write strong commentary, I suggest that we put off sentence combining; have students differentiate evidence from commentary through color coding so that both you and they can see that each piece of evidence has a tendon, a connector that ties the evidence to the topic sentence.

Once kids know what commentary is and isn’t–and all their English teachers communicate so they’re all using the same terminology–they can produce insightful, connected analysis.

Be on the lookout for more rhetorical analysis tips in your inbox. not on my email list you can join here, and i’ll send you a commentary anchor chart..

how to give commentary in an essay

I’m a recovering high school English teacher and curriculum specialist with a passion for helping teachers leave school at school. I create engaging, rigorous curriculum resources for secondary ELA professionals, and I facilitate workshops to help those teachers implement the materials effectively.

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Easy Steps To Write A Commentary Effectively

Easy steps to write a commentary in the english language , how to write a commentary.

The first time you have to write a commentary, you may ask questions such as what a commentary is. How can I write it? Asking these questions is very normal because commentary is not something we hear on a daily basis. It is an academic skill that you study at school. I will try to help throughout this article to answer these questions.

What is a commentary?

A commentary basically focuses on the analysis and detailed description of a specific text (chapter, movie, story). Commentaries can also be written on quotes, short texts, articles). Typically, it is used for the news and magazine publications where a publisher writes it for newly published articles. The major purpose of publishing a commentary is to primarily provide a forum where various perspectives and ideas on a certain topic in a journal can be talked over.

Writing commentaries means writing a well-detailed analysis of an article or a text. A commentary is different from an essay. The essay form and commentary may sometimes overlap and be used interchangeably, but it may be helpful to make some comparisons. A commentary is often very short (a few hundred words) and more journalistic (critical) in tone than a personal essay. It properly fits as a column in a newspaper or in a magazine. The writing can be more newsy than literary. On the other hand, the essay form is an extended piece of writing that presents and supports a certain proposition (topic). It can be descriptive, argumentative, narrative, or expository.

A commentary requires deep knowledge, analysis, and critical thinking

Writing a commentary requires you to have knowledge about the topic. You will have to present your unique perspective and discuss the essential concepts and the arguments in the text. Your commentary is somewhat an extension of the ideas and of the writer. It should bring more clarity to the arguments in the original text. 

As a skill you are expected to master, a commentary is somewhat subjective. It should reflect your critical thinking skills, your way of seeing and perceiving life, how to defend yourself using arguments, how to link content to your reality. It is totally different from summarizing which should be objective and limited to the text.

Steps to prepare for a commentary

There are several steps you have to follow to write an effective and successful commentary.

What you should do before writing?

Just like any kind of writings, you have to prepare yourself. When writing a commentary, try to do the following things: 

  • Read the text several times. Read each word carefully and try to understand what the writer is trying to say. Try to understand the meaning. 
  • You may want to underline major concepts, ideas, arguments, quotes. Underline anything that you think will help you. 
  • Underline keywords. 
  • Outline the main points. You will have to study the text deeply and analyze the structure of the article and its content and prepare an outline accordingly.

Steps to write the commentary

  • Identifying the basic information (the title, the author name, publication date, if any, and the genre of the text. This type of information will be included in the introduction section of the commentary.   
  • Try to mention the theme, subject, and audience. In the main part (the body of) the commentary, you have to describe the main text and its focus. Discuss the following questions:
  • Pay attention to the structure and genre of the content

Check the genre of the text. Is it narrative or descriptive? Is it fiction or non-fiction? Look at the types of sentences and words being used.

  • Try to understand the tone o the writer.

The definition of “ tone ” in literature is the way the author expresses his attitude through his writing. The tone can change very quickly or may remain the same throughout the story or the text. The tone is expressed by the use of syntax (grammar), the writer’s point of view, the writer’s diction (the choice and use of words and phrases in speech or writing), and the level of formality in the writing.

Although this is a part of literature and literary commentary, it is important for you to learn to understand the style of expression of the thoughts. The attitude and the mood of the author can be known by looking at the tone of the text. Depending on the need of the subject, the author may have used different tones in different situations. Observe how the tone changes to understand the fluctuations of the mood and changes in the situations or events.

  • Check the literary devices that deepen the meaning

The writer might use literary devices such as metaphor, imagery, alliteration, and simile to intensify the meaning. Identify them and mention them in your commentary whenever possible.

  • Take the quotes included in the text. To support your points and opinions, you can use the quotes from the text. You can directly take the quotes and use the quotation marks. Use only those quotes which are relevant and can support the discussion.
  • Ask for the feedback

To make your commentary better, you should read in front of a friend, a family member, a teacher or anybody and ask for their feedback.

  • Proofread and correct the text

Read your writing, identify grammatical and spelling mistakes. Also, check your punctuation and capitalization. The quality o

Remember, when we talk about writing a commentary, it can be on a video, a picture, a text, a statement, or a quote. They are all the same thing. It is very important for you to know the main idea. Then, give your opinion about the main idea (implicitly or explicitly), and then defend your opinion using your own arguments. You can relate the quote, the picture, the text being asked to comment on to your social or political life. You may want to relate it to your cultural or religious background. It all depends on the content.


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Ever been trapped in the reader’s equivalent of Groundhog Day , stuck reading the same paragraph over and over? Some research papers can tie up the reader for unnecessary periods of time. Synoptic sources, such as Evidence-Based Nursing , reduce the effort needed to be well-informed by selecting high quality studies from a wide range of journals, abstracting the studies, and adding value with an expert commentary. A commentary is an extended note that sets forth an expert’s take on the meaning of a study. At issue is whether the evidence from the study or review is sufficient to inform practice. Any study or review offers only a provisional truth, and a commentary is always based on imperfect knowledge. While caution may be justified, practitioners still need to integrate the new knowledge. An expert commentary is an opportunity to help readers with the integration process. This Notebook aims to provide some useful pointers on writing commentaries for Evidence-Based Nursing .


Commenting on an abstracted study may appear, at first glance, to be a relatively simple task. Evidence-Based Nursing commentaries are short, and experienced nurses are likely to have views on many subjects within their fields. But talking among a group of colleagues and writing are quite different activities.

The role of an EBN commentator is to translate the findings into guidance for readers. To do this, the commentator needs to shift perspective from study content, as described in the abstract, to its clinical meaning. However, the clinical meaning may prove illusive and expressing an expert opinion, overwhelming. Margaret Atwood 1 writes of stories as being in the dark, and the writer having to go into a downward hole, needing that flash of light to bring stories in from the dark. Such a process reveals just how much thinking and reflection is involved in writing. Writing narrative for science may be a somewhat simpler process than writing fiction, but a blank page is no less daunting.

Weak approaches to writing involve waiting for inspiration or trying to write a perfect first draft. These strategies will create more pressure on the writer as the deadline for submission approaches. A more productive strategy involves breaking down the work into achievable steps, such as reading and generating ideas, organising ideas, preparing a first draft, revising drafts, and submitting a final draft. These steps can be taken one at a time, or several at a time, depending on the time available. The steps are not necessarily linear but may be cyclical as you become more involved in writing your commentary.

Reading always begins the process of writing a commentary, whether that means starting with the study itself or the background material provided with the study. A common example of background material is an editorial that may accompany the original study article and addresses the study and its implications. However, you might feel that such information could bias your first impressions of the study. If so, then your starting point will be the original article reporting on the study. Familiarity with the study is essential. A brief first read will help to identify the key message of the study. Reading the opening sentence of the discussion section in a paper can help by drawing your attention to the study’s meaning. For instance, regarding their study on the cost-effectiveness of 2 different pressure-relieving surfaces, Iglesias et al 2 stated the following in their discussion:

Alternating pressure mattresses to prevent pressure ulceration in patients admitted to hospital are associated with lower costs and greater benefits and are more likely to be cost-saving than alternating pressure overlays.

Such sentences are similar to the beginning of a newspaper lead. A lead answers the “ who, what, when, where, why, and how” in an article. This heuristic can provide the essence of a commentary. Sentences, such as the above example, provide the what, where, and some of the who , but the remaining elements must also be considered. A typical newspaper lead is not the only rule of thumb to follow when writing a commentary. An alternative heuristic might be “ what is already known , what is new, and what now .” This heuristic can also provide the structural beginnings of a commentary. Some general questions to consider when writing a commentary are listed in the box ⇓ .

Questions to consider when writing a commentary

What is the best way share this information with patients?

How would this evidence assist with integration of services?

What is the best way to embed this evidence in everyday practice so that it can be easily applied?

Who would benefit from knowing this evidence (consider both practitioners and patients)?

Where might this evidence be best applied (which practice settings, what type of country)?

Which subgroups of patients that might benefit most from knowing this evidence?

What impact does the evidence have on practitioners’ roles?

What impact does this information have on performance monitoring?

What are the specific barriers to implementing this evidence?

What other information needs to be known?

Whichever heuristic is followed, a commentator needs to focus on what he or she believes is essential before beginning writing. Ideas will come to you as you read, and it is worth noting these as you read, rather than waiting until you have finished reading. Don’t censor these thoughts, even if they appear irrelevant or inarticulate. They are an important first step in getting into the zone of writing. A second more detailed read of the study will generate more ideas and start to firm up your thoughts about the study. This process can be assisted by suggestions provided by the EBN Associate Editor. An Associate Editor is assigned to each study that is abstracted in Evidence-Based Nursing. The role of the Associate Editor is to provide clinical and methodological perspective and direction in the preparation of the abstract and commentary. The Associate Editor will have reviewed the original article and the structured abstract prepared by the journal staff. As such, he or she will have formed a view on the direction a commentator should pursue. Such views are not necessarily prescriptive but are often intended to provoke thoughtful responses. The Associate Editor’s views should be considered during second and third readings of the original article, as you move towards the specifics of your commentary.

The cycle of reading and thinking is only the first of 3 phases involved in completing a final draft. The remaining phases involve creating a first draft and then making revisions to a final draft.


It is very rare to be inspired to write. Writing is quite simply the discipline of “getting on with it.” Awaiting inspiration will inevitably lead to blocking and avoidable stress. In a first draft, it matters little how you start. What matters is that you start and that you set aside regular sessions for writing until you have finished.

When you are getting ready to write a first draft, you may be full of inklings about what you might say, but you need to transform these unformed ideas into a more concrete view of the study. To focus in on your responses to a study, you can engage in some simple exercises such as the following:

Consider how you would describe the study in 1 sentence to your best friend.

Consider what would be the most convincing finding for a sceptical colleague.

Describe the findings to yourself in 5 words, then 3 words, then 1 word.

These exercises can also help you to formulate your conclusion.

A first draft is a fuller exposition of your ideas than simple notes. Generating a plan from the list of ideas you jotted down as you read the study is a good start. Such a plan can be a simple mind map of your notes rather than an outline of what you write. Such maps may also expose gaps in your thinking and lead to further notes. To move beyond notes, your ideas need to be translated into sentences. Your first sentences do not have to relate to the structure of your commentary. Begin at the beginning, the middle, or the conclusion of your commentary. Just start writing. Put sentences with meaningful links alongside each other. If you have an overall view of the study that you can describe in a single sentence, you may have the conclusion of your commentary at hand. Write on paper, or on computer, whichever is most familiar to you. Some may find it difficult to compose directly onto a computer screen and prefer to write it out on paper first. It matters not where the writing begins, so long as it begins.

Do not censor or revise during your first draft. This draft is the gravel, not the polished gem. A first draft is written only for yourself, and nobody else need see your first efforts. Stephen King believes that first drafts are best written behind closed doors. 3 Only later drafts escape for others’ purview. Do not revise even if you change you point of view during writing. Keep going until you reach your conclusion. It may take a couple of sessions to get to a completed first draft, but then stop writing. Rest and incubation are essential parts of writing. Sleep on it.


Once you have a first draft, your work is 70% complete. In the light of a new day, your first draft may seem awful, but revision is not a new start. There will be phrases and sentences that you will keep in your second draft. If writing on paper, this is a good time to enter your writing into a computer. Such a process will promote revision. The best writers go through the same process. John Maxwell Coetzee, a Nobel Prize winner, has a character describe the process:

Surely you don’t scribble down the first thing that comes into your head and email it off to your publisher. Surely you wait for second thoughts. Surely you revise. Isn’t the whole of writing a matter of second thoughts—second thoughts and third thoughts and further thoughts? 4

Once you have a second draft that captures your thoughts about the study, some final polishing is necessary.

Your most important consideration should be to make every word meaningful. Search out and remove fluff. Be ruthless. Fluff does not contribute, it annoys. Meaningless words and phrases litter bad writing. Check the dictionary if unsure of a word’s meaning. No matter how proud you are of a word, if it is not accurately used, it is fluff. Delete it. Clichéd phrases are fluff: “Further research is needed,” “The reality of clinical practice is…” and “In actuality …” Adverbs are fluff. Adverbs often end in “…ly.” “Nurses care deeply…” is a bumper sticker, not part of a commentary. Hunt out jargon. Technical language is fine, but jargon will exclude the very readers you are trying to inform.

Commentaries are non-fiction and thus need complete sentences, not fragments. A complete sentence uses a noun and a verb. It need not be long. “Nurses care” is a complete sentence. Whether such sentiments are accurate is another question. Vary your sentence length to keep readers interested. By now you may be thoroughly sick of revising your draft. That’s a good sign. You now have a final draft.


Earlier, I mentioned that the heuristic “ what is already known , what is new , and what now” can provide a structural outline for commentaries. Such a structure is linear and not the only possible structure. It is relatively easy to experiment with form in a commentary. Cinematic film provides instruction on how to vary structure. Just as an opening shot might be a pan of the wider landscape that focuses in on a detail that opens the story, a commentary might move from context to specific details. For instance, Peter Griffiths introduces his commentary of a study investigating early discharge and home-based rehabilitation for stroke by stating:

Stroke is a major cause of long term disability. Much research has been done to determine the best way of delivering care after a stroke. 5

Thus, the context is set, with stroke being identified as a major health issue, and the organisation of care being a topic of considerable research. Griffiths then goes on to address what is new about the particular study he is considering.

Another approach to an opening is to move from specific to wider concerns, much like a very tight shot pulls back from the detail to pan the scene. David Thompson provides such an example by first describing the study and its key finding when commenting on a study of aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease:

The landmark 10 year study by Ridker et al of nearly 40 000 initially healthy women found that taking prophylactic low dose (100 mg) aspirin every other day did not confer the same benefits to women as it did to men. Few therapies have separately analysed effects by sex, and the findings lead us to ponder why many of the therapies used for women are not effective or are even harmful. 6

By first stating the study’s findings, Thompson can emphasise important details and then draw back to consider the wider implications of this study and others that have conducted sex-specific analyses.

While the opening needs to keep readers engaged and draw readers through the middle of your commentary, the ending is the most important part of a commentary. It is your final opportunity to make a lasting impact on readers. A good ending will reinforce your points and resonate in the minds of readers. Margaret Heaton, commenting on a review of pre-operative hair removal, wrote:

Practitioners should ask why evidence should not be applied, rather than why it should be applied. Policies can create room for such questioning by promoting the use of clipping or depilatory cream when individual practitioners believe it is appropriate. Shaving, whether wet or dry, should always be avoided. 7

Heaton’s concluding sentence is so forceful, it is difficult to see how she avoided using an exclamation mark. The “take home” message is very clear and will stay with readers.

The choice of whether to advise practitioners to use the evidence is at the centre of every commentary. We encourage commentators to make such choices. Many studies will merit a more diffident conclusion than that offered by Heaton, but that should not preclude clarity. In studies where there are gaps in the evidence, use of consensus statements and guidelines offer commentators a sensible conclusion. Julie Betts took just this approach to conclude her commentary on a review of dressings for venous leg ulcers:

Given the current absence of evidence, clinical choice of dressing should initially be that which is simple, inexpensive, and acceptable to patients. 8

An important element of any writing is its flow. Flow and structure are inseparable. The ideas a commentator wants to convey are crucial to the structure and flow of a commentary. Flow is built out of the linking and logic of your ideas. It is likely that you will use 2–4 paragraphs in your commentary. Each successive paragraph must build upon the preceding paragraph, and within each paragraph, each sentence must build upon the preceding sentence. Linda Patrick demonstrates superb linking between sentences following an opening about the burden of disease management:

Achieving optimal glycaemic control in type 2 diabetes can be complicated by the progressive nature of the disease, warranting more treatment over time to minimise complications. Patients are often reluctant to move to insulin injections, perceiving them as punitive for failed attempts at diabetes management. Alternatives such as inhaled insulin are seductive because of their potential to improve patient acceptance of treatment options, but the need for clinical trials to establish their safety and effectiveness cannot be understated. Studies such as the one by Rosenstock et al are necessary before we can promote widespread use of inhaled insulin. 9

The first sentence establishes the need for vigilant monitoring and increased treatment. The second sentence reveals why some patients are reluctant to change their regimen to injected insulin, setting the scene for the alternative regimen raised by the third sentence and the need for evidence before promoting such regimens in the fourth sentence. The variations in sentence length and internal structure also serve to produce a consistent flow in the commentary toward the concluding sentences.

Reading from hard copy rather than the computer screen and reading the commentary out loud are exercises that will help you to improve flow.


Good science writing keeps the audience at the fore. Your readers will include other experienced clinicians, people new to the field, and curious generalists. A commentary must cater to all of these readers, and it is important to use language that promotes understanding. The commentary by Dawn Kingston on a smoking cessation intervention is a good example:

Tobacco smoking is a leading cause of death worldwide. Interventions to prevent the uptake of smoking are urgently needed. The study by Hollis et al is an important addition to the evidence. 10

The extent and urgency of the problem is outlined, and the importance of the study findings is asserted in brief, clear sentences. The style is akin to that of a newspaper editorial, and its staccato approach creates an urgency that reinforces Kingston’s points. This commentary reflects passionately held views.

A more academic style can also be used. Jane Joy, commenting on a review of therapies for constipation, employs technical terms, but without reducing clarity or excluding readers:

Constipation is defined by the passage of infrequent hard stool and is associated with bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain, and a feeling of incomplete evacuation. Specific patient groups, such as those with terminal illness, are at high risk of constipation, but the condition is also a common reason for consultation in general practice, especially for the young and old. 11

The term is defined, symptoms reviewed, and the patient populations identified, so that readers learn in the first sentence whether they need continue. The stylistic differences between Kingston and Joy also reflect the personal voice of the commentators. For instance, the tone in Joy’s passage is gentler as it courses towards a conclusion, perhaps reflecting a little more authorial distance from the topic.

Once you have submitted your commentary to the EBN editorial office, it will undergo several levels of editing. First, all commentaries are edited for journal style and format. Evidence-Based Nursing is publication of the BMJ Publishing Group and the Royal College of Nursing Publishing. It follows BMJ house style, which includes, for example, UK spelling. As well, because Evidence-Based Nursing is an abstract journal and each abstract and accompanying commentary must fit on a single printed page, there are several style conventions that are unique to Evidence-Based Nursing . For example, because of space restrictions, numbers within the narrative text of the abstract and commentary are almost always written out as numerals, even if they appear at the beginning of a sentence. Given the space limitations of the journal, commentaries that are too long must be edited for length. This is usually done within the context of the next level of editing described below.

Each commentary will also be reviewed and edited for content, structure, and writing. During this process, members of the editorial team (ie, the Research Associate, Associate Editor, and Co-Editor) act as representatives of the readers of the journal. 12 That is, they read the commentary from the perspective of a naïve reader and consider the various points that were raised throughout this Notebook. Look for more on editing of commentaries in future Notebooks. For now, the main point is to expect that your commentary will be edited—try not to be disheartened by these edits. All commentaries submitted to Evidence-Based Nursing , even in final draft, are still just that—drafts, which can be polished and crafted. The structured abstracts that are written by the journal staff also go through similar levels of editing. This doesn’t diminish the efforts of the commentator to put pen to paper—we respect those efforts and only want to help to make your message clearer.

Every commentary is ultimately about choice—it seeks to address the question “What is the value of this evidence?” Clinical practice will proceed without perfect knowledge, but we believe that expert commentaries are a useful opportunity to help clinicians synthesise evidence in the face of imperfect information. Commentaries that, in simple prose, lay out a few key ideas in clear sentences that flow from one to the next with a clear take-home message will be good commentaries. Commentaries require some effort to produce, but when approached by Evidence-Based Nursing , we hope that you will take the opportunity to help us and your colleagues.

  • ↵ Atwood M. Negotiating with the dead: a writer on writing . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002 .
  • ↵ Iglesias C, Nixon J, Cranny G, et al. Pressure relieving support surfaces (PRESSURE) trial: cost effectiveness analysis. BMJ 2006 ; 332 : 1416 –20. OpenUrl Abstract / FREE Full Text
  • ↵ King S. On writing: a memoir of the craft . London: Hodder and Soughton, 2000 .
  • ↵ Coetzee J M. Slow man . Sydney: Knopf, 2005 .
  • ↵ Griffiths P. Commentary on: “Early discharge plus home based rehabilitation reduced length of initial hospital stay but did not improve health related quality of life in patients with acute stroke.” Evid Based Nurs 2000;3:127. Comment on: Anderson C, Rubenach S, Ni Nhurchu C, et al . Home or hospital for stroke rehabilitation? Results of a randomized controlled trial. I: health outcomes at 6 months. Stroke 2000 ; 31 : 1024 –31. OpenUrl Abstract / FREE Full Text
  • ↵ Thompson D R. Commentary on: “Low dose aspirin lowered stroke risk but not risk of myocardial infarction or cardiovascular death in women. Evid Based Nurs . 2006;9:76. Comment on: Ridker PM, Cook NR, Lee I-M, et al, A randomized trial of low-dose aspirin in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in women. N Engl J Med 2005 ; 352 : 1293 –304. OpenUrl CrossRef PubMed Web of Science
  • ↵ Heaton M. Commentary on “Review: evidence from ⩽2 low quality studies suggests no difference in surgical site infection with or without preoperative hair removal; depilatory cream and clipping are better than shaving. Evid Based Nurs . 2007;10:17. Comment on: Tanner J, Woodings D, Moncaster K, Preoperative hair removal to reduce surgical site infection. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006 ; ( 3 ) : CD004122 . OpenUrl PubMed
  • ↵ Betts J. Commentary on: “Review: insufficient evidence exists for any one dressing type (used beneath compression) for venous leg ulcer healing.” Evidence-Based Nursing 2007;10:21. Comment on: Palfreyman SJ, Nelson EA, Lochiel R, et al . Dressings for healing venous leg ulcers. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2006 ; ( 3 ) : CD001103 . OpenUrl PubMed
  • ↵ Patrick L. Commentary on: “Inhaled insulin added to or replacing 2 oral agents reduced haemoglobin A 1c concentrations in type 2 diabetes.” Evid Based Nurs 2006;9:49. Comment on: Rosenstock J, Zinman B, Murphy LJ, et al . Inhaled insulin improves glycemic control when substituted for or added to oral combination therapy in type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med 2005 ; 143 : 549 –58. OpenUrl PubMed Web of Science
  • ↵ Kingston D. Commentary on: “Clinician advice, an interactive computer program, and motivational counselling during routine medical visits increased reported smoking abstinence among teens.” Evid Based Nurs 2005;8:105. Comment on: Hollis JF, Polen MR, Whitlock EP, et al . Teen reach: outcomes from a randomized controlled trial of a tobacco reduction program for teens seen in primary medical care. Pediatrics 2005 ; 115 : 981 –9. OpenUrl Abstract / FREE Full Text
  • ↵ Joy J P. Commentary on: “Review: good evidence supports use of polyethylene glycol and tegaserod for constipation.” Evid Based Nurs 2005;8:109. Comment on: Ramkumar D, Rao SS. Efficacy and safety of traditional medical therapies for chronic constipation: systematic review. Am J Gastroenterol 2005 ; 100 : 936 –71. OpenUrl CrossRef PubMed Web of Science
  • ↵ Kramer M, Call W, editors. Telling true stories: a non-fiction writer’s guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University . USA: Plume, 2007 .

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Guidelines for writing a commentary

A commentary is a comment on a newly published article. A commentary may be invited by the chief editor or spontaneously submitted. Commentaries in International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being are peer reviewed. We now welcome commentaries!

What is a commentary?

The goal of publishing commentaries is to advance the research field by providing a forum for varying perspectives on a certain topic under consideration in the journal. The author of a commentary probably has in-depth knowledge of the topic and is eager to present a new and/or unique viewpoint on existing problems, fundamental concepts, or prevalent notions, or wants to discuss the implications of a newly implemented innovation. A commentary may also draw attention to current advances and speculate on future directions of a certain topic, and may include original data as well as state a personal opinion. While a commentary may be critical of an article published in the journal, it is important to maintain a respectful tone that is critical of ideas or conclusions but not of authors.

In summary, a commentary may be:

  • A critical challenge to one or more aspects of the focal article, arguing for a position other than that taken in the focal article.
  • An elaboration or extension of the position taken in the focal article, basically sympathetic to the position taken in the focal article but pushing the argument further.
  • An application of a theoretical or methodological perspective that sheds light on the issues addressed in the focal article.
  • A reflection on the writer's experiences in applying the issues addressed in the focal article, in particular health and well-being settings.
  • A comment on the applicability of the issues raised in the focal article to other settings, or to other cultures.

How to write a commentary

Commentaries in International Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being should not exceed 10 manuscript pages. A tightly argued four- to six-page commentary is likely to be better received than a meandering 10-page ditto. Use these simple guidelines:

  • Do not summarize the focal article; just give the reference. Assume the reader has just read it. Move directly to identifying the key issues you want to raise.
  • Do not include general praise for the focal article.
  • Use only essential citations. For commentary purposes, cite only works absolutely essential to support your point.
  • Use a short title that emphasizes your key message. (It should be clear in context that all commentaries are a reaction to a particular paper).
  • Do not include an abstract.
  • Make clear your take-home message.
  • Make sure there is full author information (name, affiliation, address, phone, email) for all authors. Authors must be individuals.

Review process

Commentaries will be peer reviewed and most likely accepted if they are in line with the definitions and guidelines outlined. A small set of reviewers will read and evaluate all commentaries as they need to compare commentaries for issues of redundancy and to make evaluations of relative merit.

Queries for the editor

Authors should feel free to correspond with the chief editor prior to submitting a commentary if there are questions about any aspect of the evaluation and publication process. Authors may prepare a brief outline of the key points they desire to present in the commentary and send it to the chief editor.

Does it cost anything to submit a commentary?

Spontaneously submitted commentaries incur a cost of €65 per typeset page. The author will be invoiced once the commentary has been accepted for publication.

We hope you will send us a commentary whenever you think there is a need to broaden the perspectives on health and well-being presented in our journal.

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  • How to write an argumentative essay | Examples & tips

How to Write an Argumentative Essay | Examples & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An argumentative essay expresses an extended argument for a particular thesis statement . The author takes a clearly defined stance on their subject and builds up an evidence-based case for it.

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Table of contents

When do you write an argumentative essay, approaches to argumentative essays, introducing your argument, the body: developing your argument, concluding your argument, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about argumentative essays.

You might be assigned an argumentative essay as a writing exercise in high school or in a composition class. The prompt will often ask you to argue for one of two positions, and may include terms like “argue” or “argument.” It will frequently take the form of a question.

The prompt may also be more open-ended in terms of the possible arguments you could make.

Argumentative writing at college level

At university, the vast majority of essays or papers you write will involve some form of argumentation. For example, both rhetorical analysis and literary analysis essays involve making arguments about texts.

In this context, you won’t necessarily be told to write an argumentative essay—but making an evidence-based argument is an essential goal of most academic writing, and this should be your default approach unless you’re told otherwise.

Examples of argumentative essay prompts

At a university level, all the prompts below imply an argumentative essay as the appropriate response.

Your research should lead you to develop a specific position on the topic. The essay then argues for that position and aims to convince the reader by presenting your evidence, evaluation and analysis.

  • Don’t just list all the effects you can think of.
  • Do develop a focused argument about the overall effect and why it matters, backed up by evidence from sources.
  • Don’t just provide a selection of data on the measures’ effectiveness.
  • Do build up your own argument about which kinds of measures have been most or least effective, and why.
  • Don’t just analyze a random selection of doppelgänger characters.
  • Do form an argument about specific texts, comparing and contrasting how they express their thematic concerns through doppelgänger characters.

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An argumentative essay should be objective in its approach; your arguments should rely on logic and evidence, not on exaggeration or appeals to emotion.

There are many possible approaches to argumentative essays, but there are two common models that can help you start outlining your arguments: The Toulmin model and the Rogerian model.

Toulmin arguments

The Toulmin model consists of four steps, which may be repeated as many times as necessary for the argument:

  • Make a claim
  • Provide the grounds (evidence) for the claim
  • Explain the warrant (how the grounds support the claim)
  • Discuss possible rebuttals to the claim, identifying the limits of the argument and showing that you have considered alternative perspectives

The Toulmin model is a common approach in academic essays. You don’t have to use these specific terms (grounds, warrants, rebuttals), but establishing a clear connection between your claims and the evidence supporting them is crucial in an argumentative essay.

Say you’re making an argument about the effectiveness of workplace anti-discrimination measures. You might:

  • Claim that unconscious bias training does not have the desired results, and resources would be better spent on other approaches
  • Cite data to support your claim
  • Explain how the data indicates that the method is ineffective
  • Anticipate objections to your claim based on other data, indicating whether these objections are valid, and if not, why not.

Rogerian arguments

The Rogerian model also consists of four steps you might repeat throughout your essay:

  • Discuss what the opposing position gets right and why people might hold this position
  • Highlight the problems with this position
  • Present your own position , showing how it addresses these problems
  • Suggest a possible compromise —what elements of your position would proponents of the opposing position benefit from adopting?

This model builds up a clear picture of both sides of an argument and seeks a compromise. It is particularly useful when people tend to disagree strongly on the issue discussed, allowing you to approach opposing arguments in good faith.

Say you want to argue that the internet has had a positive impact on education. You might:

  • Acknowledge that students rely too much on websites like Wikipedia
  • Argue that teachers view Wikipedia as more unreliable than it really is
  • Suggest that Wikipedia’s system of citations can actually teach students about referencing
  • Suggest critical engagement with Wikipedia as a possible assignment for teachers who are skeptical of its usefulness.

You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these models—you may even use elements of both in different parts of your essay—but it’s worth considering them if you struggle to structure your arguments.

Regardless of which approach you take, your essay should always be structured using an introduction , a body , and a conclusion .

Like other academic essays, an argumentative essay begins with an introduction . The introduction serves to capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, present your thesis statement , and (in longer essays) to summarize the structure of the body.

Hover over different parts of the example below to see how a typical introduction works.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

The body of an argumentative essay is where you develop your arguments in detail. Here you’ll present evidence, analysis, and reasoning to convince the reader that your thesis statement is true.

In the standard five-paragraph format for short essays, the body takes up three of your five paragraphs. In longer essays, it will be more paragraphs, and might be divided into sections with headings.

Each paragraph covers its own topic, introduced with a topic sentence . Each of these topics must contribute to your overall argument; don’t include irrelevant information.

This example paragraph takes a Rogerian approach: It first acknowledges the merits of the opposing position and then highlights problems with that position.

Hover over different parts of the example to see how a body paragraph is constructed.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

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An argumentative essay ends with a conclusion that summarizes and reflects on the arguments made in the body.

No new arguments or evidence appear here, but in longer essays you may discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and suggest topics for future research. In all conclusions, you should stress the relevance and importance of your argument.

Hover over the following example to see the typical elements of a conclusion.

The internet has had a major positive impact on the world of education; occasional pitfalls aside, its value is evident in numerous applications. The future of teaching lies in the possibilities the internet opens up for communication, research, and interactivity. As the popularity of distance learning shows, students value the flexibility and accessibility offered by digital education, and educators should fully embrace these advantages. The internet’s dangers, real and imaginary, have been documented exhaustively by skeptics, but the internet is here to stay; it is time to focus seriously on its potential for good.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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  • Post hoc fallacy
  • Appeal to authority fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy

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An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

At college level, you must properly cite your sources in all essays , research papers , and other academic texts (except exams and in-class exercises).

Add a citation whenever you quote , paraphrase , or summarize information or ideas from a source. You should also give full source details in a bibliography or reference list at the end of your text.

The exact format of your citations depends on which citation style you are instructed to use. The most common styles are APA , MLA , and Chicago .

The majority of the essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Unless otherwise specified, you can assume that the goal of any essay you’re asked to write is argumentative: To convince the reader of your position using evidence and reasoning.

In composition classes you might be given assignments that specifically test your ability to write an argumentative essay. Look out for prompts including instructions like “argue,” “assess,” or “discuss” to see if this is the goal.

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Tips for writing an effective college essay.

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Householder is the ‘Comeback Kid.' Don't think he can't worm his way back into office.

Ex-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder enters the courthouse Wednesday. He is expected to take the stand in his own defense

The indictment on state charges of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder may at first glance seem like overkill.

After all, Householder, age 64, is already serving a 20-year sentence in federal prison for his central role in the House Bill 6 affair, the since-aborted bailout of two money-bleeding FirstEnergy Corp. nuclear power plants.

A jury in U.S. District Court for Southern Ohio convicted Householder, a Perry County Republican, on federal charges in connection in the House Bill 6 scandal. “But those convictions do not legally prevent [Householder] from running again for public office,” according to a statement by Ohio Attorney General David Yost’s office.

The battery of state charges, brought last week by a Cuyahoga County grand jury, include alleged theft in office by Householder. Someone convicted in state court of theft in office is permanently barred from holding public office or public employment in Ohio, Yost’s statement said.

More: New charges could block ex-Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder from public office

Coincidentally, Householder is now appealing his federal conviction to the Cincinnati-based U.S. Court of Appeals (6th Circuit). Were the appeals court to free Householder from the Federal Correctional Institution in Columbiana County’s Elkton, there no practical reason why Householder couldn’t seek office.

In fact, even after his July 2020 arrest on the federal charges, Householder was handily re-elected to the General Assembly that November in what was then the 72nd Ohio House District (Perry and Coshocton counties, and parts of Licking County), east of Columbus. (The House expelled Householder in mid-2021.) But were Householder convicted of theft in office as a result of the newly brought Cuyahoga County state indictment, he would be forever barred from public office in Ohio. “State crimes have state penalties, and a conviction will ensure that there will be no more comebacks from the ‘Comeback Kid,’” said Yost.

Politically if not legally, there is plenty of blame to go around.

House Bill 6 passed Ohio’s House and state Senate, both Republican controlled, only with the help of Democratic votes, and Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed HB 6 into law as soon as the General Assembly passed it.

For that matter, Householder only became speaker of the House because 26 of the 38 Democrats then in the House supported him, an inconvenient fact to those who see the HB 6 mess as a one-party affair.

But to give credit where it’s due, Yost, a Columbus Republican, has spearheaded the state’s legal response to the HB 6 scandal.

Thomas Suddes Some Democrats had their hands in House Bill 6

Householder’s Cuyahoga County indictment was quarterbacked by the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, part of Yost’s office, he said, and Yost has acted on a number of legal fronts, both in the civil and criminal courts, to seek accountability in the HB 6 mess.

Good thing, too, because in contrast, the other state agencies charged with policing the Statehouse and the lobbying antics that pervade the place are – surprise, surprise – on short rations, thanks the General Assembly’ budgeting decisions, a classic Ohio case of underfunding a crucial public service.

Turn first to the Office of Consumers’ Counsel, which represents residential utility consumer in Public Utilities Commission of Ohio rate cases. Although the legislature slightly boosted the counsel’s budget – to $6.3 million this year – compare that to FirstEnergy’s 2023 annual earnings, reported last month: about $1.1 billion. Who’s in a better position to field lawyers in Columbus?

Then there’s the Ohio Ethics Commission. According to state budget data, the commission oversees 18,700 elected officials and 590,000 public employees. This fiscal year’s budget for the commission: $2.8 million.

Also on watch is the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee, whose mission is to police the General Assembly’s 132 members and the Statehouse’s lobbying swarm. Budget allotment this fiscal year: $876,000. Then, as to state government in general, there’s the Office of Inspector General: $2.8 million this fiscal year.

Combined, for this year, the legislature allotted $12.8 million to the four bureaucracy-policing agencies in a state budget with $41.4 billion in general-revenue fund spending this fiscal year. That is, the General Assembly allots peanuts to policing public ethics. Does it show?

Thomas Suddes is a former legislative reporter with The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and writes from Ohio University. [email protected]

Why Easter brings me back to church

Even though i don’t practice in earnest anymore, memories and community give me a reason to return every spring, by gabriella ferrigine.

“Please — come join us in the cafeteria after Mass has concluded!”

Father Ariel’s jaunty voice echoed from where he was standing at the slabbed marble pulpit, as he smiled out at the congregation. His family, who had arrived from the Philippines in droves to celebrate his 50th birthday, beamed from the first several rows of glossy, varnished pews. 

I’m not an atheist per se, but trying to find an equilibrium with faith has undoubtedly become a game of mental Tetris.

Mid-morning light filtered through stained glass depicting saints and the Stations of the Cross, casting soft pinks and blues and greens across the church: our local parish, St. James. Sun illuminated the top of Father Ariel’s head, and behind him, a domed mural of the stages of Jesus’ life — his birth in a manger, his crucifixion atop Calvary, and his resurrection after emerging from a stone sepulchre — seemed to swell higher with every slow, measured note of music from the raftered choir.

It was a Sunday morning in April, not exactly Easter but right around the time. The smell of incense — a combination of frankincense and myrrh — leached from every corner of the space, creating a somewhat soporific effect. I pictured my family, friends and neighbors gently falling asleep to its bitter, powdery aroma, like Dorothy  did in the poppy field. Everything felt buoyant and peaceful.

My family and many other parishioners — mainly gentle, geriatric hordes — joined Father Ariel with his multitude of relatives in my middle-school cafeteria for an authentic Filipino feast. Side dishes of pearly quail eggs, roasted fish and meats, bright salads and an array of desserts adorned every inch of table space, the very same where I ate many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in my youth. At the center of it all was a huge roast pig, or lechón, with delicate, crisped skin. I looked at the pig’s face, then at the people ambling around the dingy, linoleum floors, and immediately felt love. 

This was nearly 10 years ago, back during a time when I went to Church every Sunday and consistently prayed to God. I don’t consider myself a particularly religious person anymore. I’m not an atheist per se, but trying to find an equilibrium with faith has undoubtedly become a game of mental Tetris. Sure, Jesus seemed like a pretty cool guy — to me, his message has always unequivocally been "love,” in a broader sense. I’m on board with that. 

But I still remain immensely put off by how Catholicism’s sordid underbelly has blended into sociopolitical life, underpinning the dismantling of women’s reproductive rights and enabling sexual abusers. I find myself still clinging to it largely because it’s woven tightly into many people I love. It’s a perturbing relationship; I feel as though my continued shunning of organized religion has in a sense estranged me from the memory of some very important people. 

And yet, Easter and springtime always bring me back to church. I find myself craving, not exactly the scriptures and the teachings embedded in them, but how the space evokes the memories of people I love — chiefly my maternal grandmother and my mom — and an inclusive sense of community. 

A deeply spiritual person, my grandma — born in a small Bolivian jungle village called Riberalta — spent her teenage years living in a convent with a U.S.-based congregation of nuns performing foreign missionary work. She was readying to enter the sisterhood when she met my grandfather, a Sicilian and civil engineer volunteering with a Catholic mission group to help build new infrastructure in Riberalta. They returned to America together and settled in Bayonne, New Jersey, joined in a union forged out of a shared devotion to God and each other.

Though my mom didn’t pray a daily rosary or make pilgrimages to Lourdes like my grandma, she was deeply affected by her religious upbringing, a heritage she inculcated her five children with through weekly mass, and offering up nightly intentions along with prayers before dinner: family and friends who were sick or had died, poverty and homelessness, wartime conflict, our cat Sweet Pea’s hypothyroidism. 

In my grandmother’s house and my own, the iconography of Jesus and other religious figures was everywhere, peppering walls and mantelpieces alongside family photos and wedding albums. Each time one of my more than 25 cousins or I received a sacrament — Baptism, First Holy Eucharist, Confirmation — a sprawling, family-wide party followed, usually at an Italian restaurant with a generically benevolent, pot-bellied owner who would toddle around and ask, “How yous all likin’ the food?” And of course, there was always a large white sheet cake, piped in bubbled fonts: “God Bless ____!” 

Seeing as my mom’s eight siblings were spread out across central New Jersey, I essentially ran the gauntlet of various Catholic parishes in our area for different holidays and events. I had my favorite churches. St. James retained the top position. Then came St. Michael’s, a red-bricked church that was famous for its live-animal manger display during the Christmas season. Holy Cross — located in one of the more affluent towns in my county — had a stunning interior, but its reputation had always been somewhat sullied in my mind from a 2006 embezzlement incident . 

While I was able to evade formal liturgical participation, my three younger sisters were all urged to be altar servers, helping St. James’ priests — mostly middle-aged men from the Phillippines and India — prepare and proceed with weekly Sunday mass. One sister recalled a time when she and another altar server accidentally spilled open a bag of already-consecrated Eucharist wafers as they were preparing for mass in the wood-paneled sacristy. 

“Oh! Uh, don’t worry girls — I’ll consume these later,” the priest said when he walked in and saw them scooping the body of Christ off the floor and into Ziploc bags. 

Another time several years ago, my family was running late for Easter Sunday mass, half of us with our hair still wet. “Overflow,” an usher posted outside the church doors said as we approached, jerking his thumb toward the rear parking lot where the grammar school was located. Given that creasters (Catholics who only attend church on Christmas and Easter) come out of the woodwork every winter and spring, tardy worshippers are forced to attend the secondary service, held in the gymnasium or auditorium. 

From my seat in a metal folding chair, nostalgia washed over me as the priest carried a gold crucifix across the same floor where I’d once played dodgeball, toward the makeshift altar where I’d watched classmates act out a rendition of “The Little Mermaid.”

I feel as though my continued shunning of organized religion has in a sense estranged me from the memory of some very important people.

I spent last Easter in Newport, Rhode Island with my family for a short holiday vacation. The weekend was oceanic cliffs and Gilded Age mansions and a kaleidoscopic assortment of saltwater taffy. On Easter Sunday, we walked from our quaint bed and breakfast to St. Mary’s, Our Lady of the Isle, where JFK and Jackie O wed in September of 1953. We took turns waiting outside with our two Great Pyrenees, who had reaped the benefits of Newport’s reputation for being dog-friendly.

Ahead of the homily, the part of the service when the priest explains the Gospel reading in further detail, I elected to relieve my mom of dog duty, knowing she wouldn’t want to miss the crux of the mass. 

As I turned toward the door to trade off with her, the sharp New England morning air — and an emotional pang — made me bristle. I didn’t want to leave. Mashed tightly in hard-backed pews alongside other Catholics, loyalists and creasters alike, I felt a distinct sense of calm. The very same that came to me years ago as I gazed at a pig’s snout.

This Easter, we’ll be going back to St. James. Father Ariel is no longer at the parish — I don’t know many of the priests there anymore, my connection to the parish steadily eroded by distance, time and sheer obstinance on my part. It’s an elegiac relationship, compounded by the recent passing of my grandmother, who embodied holiness and unadulterated love in every sense. 

And while I may not take the time to philosophize about my salvation on Sunday, I’m certain I’ll think of her and what my being there would mean to her. For me, that’s enough to return every spring. 

about this topic

  • Do Christians believe Jesus was resurrected from the dead? Well, it's complicated
  • The history of the Easter butter lamb, an enduring Polish tradition in the states
  • Best Easter pageant ever? Half a century of "Jesus Christ Superstar"

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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A young girl runs across a grassy lawn, trailed by a small dachshund.

The Dogs Helping the Covenant Children Find Their Way Back

To heal after a mass shooting, the Covenant School families have turned to therapy, faith, one another — and a lot of dogs.

Monroe Joyce, 10, runs with one of two dachshunds taken in by her family. She is one of several children who now have a dog after surviving the Covenant School shooting. Credit...

Supported by

Emily Cochrane

By Emily Cochrane

Photographs by Erin Schaff

Emily Cochrane and Erin Schaff spoke with more than a dozen Covenant School parents, students, staff and their dogs.

  • Published March 24, 2024 Updated March 28, 2024

Two of April Manning’s children, Mac and Lilah, had just survived the mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville. They needed stability and time to grieve.

Listen to this article with reporter commentary

Open this article in the New York Times Audio app on iOS.

So she did everything she could to keep the family dog, Owen, their sweet but ailing 15-year-old golden retriever, with them for as long as possible. She pushed back his final trip to the vet, keeping him comfortable as he slowly moved around the house.

Getting another dog was the furthest thing from her mind. But a few weeks after the shooting, her children sat her down for an important presentation.

Prepared with a script and a PowerPoint — “Why We Should Get (Another) Dog” — they rattled through research showing the mental health benefits of having one. It could limit their chances of developing PTSD and help them feel safe. Playing together would get them outside and boost their happiness.

Ms. Manning and her husband considered. Maybe a second dog was possible.

Two children pet dogs in a living room.

First came Chip, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Then, after Owen succumbed to old age, came Birdie, a miniature poodle and Bernese Mountain dog mix. And in taking them in, the Mannings were far from alone.

In the year since Tennessee’s worst school shooting, in which three third-graders and three staff members were killed by a former student, more than 40 dogs have been taken in by families at Covenant, a small Christian school of about 120 families.

“I really only expected them to help in a cuddly kind of way, like just to snuggle the kids when they’re upset ,” Ms. Manning said. “But I wasn’t really expecting all the other benefits from them.”

To spend time with the Covenant families is to understand how they have relied on one another, traditional psychological treatments and mental health counseling, and their Christian faith to hold them together.

But it is also to see how often what they needed — a distraction, a protector, a friend who could listen, something untouched by darkness — came from a dog.

An Immediate Response

Dogs greeted the surviving children at Sandy Hook Elementary School as they returned to a refurbished middle school in 2013. A dozen golden retrievers were on hand in Orlando to provide comfort after the deadly attack at a L.G.B.T.Q. nightclub in 2016. The therapy dogs who tended to the surviving students in Parkland, Fla., made the school yearbook .

“Over this period of sort of, 35,000 years, dogs have become incredibly adept at socializing with humans, so they’re sensitive to our emotional state,” said Dr. Nancy Gee, who oversees the Center for Human-Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Even brief, minute-long interactions with dogs and other animals can reduce cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, research by Dr. Gee and others has shown, providing a possible lifeline for veterans struggling with PTSD and others recovering from trauma.

And on the day of the Covenant shooting, dogs were immediately there to help. Covey, the headmaster’s dog, was at a nearby firehouse, where dozens of staff members and students were evacuated. Squid, a retriever mix, was at the children’s hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, helping to comfort the staff if needed.

When the students who survived were put on a school bus to be reunited with their anguished parents, Sgt. Bo, a police dog, was sitting at their side.

Officer Faye Okert, the dog’s handler with the Metro Nashville Police, handed out a baseball card of dog facts to distract and comfort the children.

“The focus was on him,” said Officer Okert. “You had smiles after what they had been through.”

After families reunited, counselors offered clear advice: To help your child, get a dog. Or borrow a neighbor’s.

That led several parents to connect with Comfort Connections, a nonprofit comfort dog organization. Jeanene Hupy, the group’s founder, had seen firsthand how therapy dogs had helped the Sandy Hook students and started her own organization once she moved to Nashville.

The group, which oversees a menagerie of golden retrievers, a gentle pit bull and a massive English mastiff, began its work by visiting individual homes in the days after the shooting. Then, when students returned to class weeks later, the dogs were once again there.

They were something to look forward to, in the moments when walking through the school doors felt overwhelming. And when there were painful reminders — a water bottle clattering to the floor, an unsettling history lesson on war or the absence of a friend — a child could slip away and cuddle a dog.

As Ms. Hupy put it, something special happens “when you bring in something that loves you more than it loves itself, which is these guys.”

A Reassuring Presence

First it was a joke, then a reality: Everyone was getting a dog.

Fueled by community donations and her own money, Ms. Hupy began connecting several parents and puppies. Even for families who could easily afford a new dog, Ms. Hupy and her trainers dramatically eased the logistical hurdles by finding and training puppies that seemed perfect fits to each family.

The Anderson girls shrieked and cried with joy when they learned they were getting a dog, and have now taught Leo how to flaunt sunglasses and do tricks. The Hobbs children constantly scoop up Lady Diana Spencer, often fashionably dressed in a string of pearls or sweaters.

The dogs are also there in the harder moments, too, like when an ambulance or police car drives by blaring its siren or when the memorial ribbons in their neighborhood remind them of what was lost.

“Sometimes it’s just nice to have a giant soft pillow that doesn’t need to talk to you and just cuddle it,” said Evangeline Anderson, now 11.

And if the dogs chew on a shoe or make a mess on a rug, Ms. Manning said, it is a lesson in how to deal with conflicting emotions.

“We still love them and we’re so glad we have them — both things can be true,” she said. “Just like we can be really nervous about going back to school and still also be excited to do it.”

And maybe, the parents realized, it was not just for the children.

Rachel and Ben Gatlin were driving back from vacation on the day of the shooting. That has meant grappling with the heaviness of survival and knowing that Mr. Gatlin, a history teacher who carried a pistol on his ankle for personal protection, could have run toward the shooter that day.

And while their new dog, Buddy, has adapted to the bossiness of their young children and has developed a penchant for sock consumption, he has also kept the adults’ thoughts focused in the moment. Tending to his needs has served as a reminder of their own.

“When you see it working, you’re in total comfort,” Ms. Gatlin said.

Even the school’s chaplain, Matthew Sullivan, found that the stories of new puppies being shared each day in chapel were “wearing me down in a good way.”

“I kind of wanted to enter into the experience of all these families firsthand,” he said.

Now Hank, a slightly anxious, floppy-eared Scooby-Doo doppelgänger, has been adopted into his home, which had been a little empty without his grown children.

The Alternatives

Not everyone got a dog.

For the McLeans, the solution was two rabbits.

“It’s an incredible distraction to their reality,” Abby McLean said of her children, cupping her hands to mimic cradling a rabbit on her shoulder. “I find myself occasionally doing it as well.”

Another family added Ginny, a tortoise with a possible seven-decade life span, to the mix of animals already in their house.

“For having lost people early in life — there was something that equated to me in that, that there was a longevity to it, to a tortoise,” said Phil Shay, who picked out the tortoise with his 12-year-old daughter, Ever.

Still, the dogs far outnumber the other pets. And every day they can make a little difference.

The first night that George, Jude and Amos Bolton had tried to sleep alone without their parents after the shooting, the slightest grumble from the ice machine or the dryer had been too much. Their mother, Rachel, who had maintained that she liked dogs, just not in her house, soon agreed to take in Hudson, a miniature Goldendoodle puppy with doe-like eyes and wild curls.

“We didn’t realize the dogs could create comfort for people,” Jude, now 10, said, his hands ruffling Hudson’s ears. And when Hudson came home, he added, “he’s just been comforting us ever since.”

It is now easier to sleep through the night, safe with the knowledge that Hudson is there.

“All my friends joke, they’re like, ‘I can’t believe you’re a dog person now,’” Ms. Bolton said. But this dog, she added, “has healed this family.”

Read by Emily Cochrane

Audio produced by Patricia Sulbarán .

Emily Cochrane is a national reporter for The Times covering the American South, based in Nashville. More about Emily Cochrane

Erin Schaff is a photojournalist for The Times, covering stories across the country. More about Erin Schaff



  1. FREE 7+ Commentary Writing Samples and Templates in PDF

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  2. FREE 7+ Commentary Writing Samples and Templates in PDF

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  3. Commentary Essay ⇒ Writing Guide with Analysis Examples

    how to give commentary in an essay

  4. Commentary for Argumentative Essay

    how to give commentary in an essay

  5. Five Ways to Target Commentary for Essay Writing

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  1. Commentary Essay ⇒ Writing Guide with Analysis Examples

    What Is a Commentary Essay? (As a Separate Paper) A commentary essay is a written piece that provides an opinion on a particular subject. This type of essay is usually written in response to another piece, such as a blog post, article, or book passage.In a commentary essay, the writer will typically offer their own take on the situation, using evidence and examples to support their claims.

  2. From Summary to Insight: A Guide to Writing Commentary Essays with Depth

    As a student writing a commentary essay, it is important to understand the differences between analyzing, summarizing, and evaluating. To help comprehend these contrasts, let's take a look at four main points: 1. Analyzing - Looking closely at something and breaking it down into smaller parts to better understand it.

  3. 3 Ways to Write a Commentary

    Make sure to use smooth transitions. When you move to a new example, use a good transition word or phrase. Some examples are "similarly", "conversely", and "again". 6. Write a strong conclusion. Your conclusion is the piece that will tie the rest of your commentary together. Make sure to include a summary of your argument.

  4. What Is a Commentary in an Essay

    1️⃣ Close, Direct Analysis of Passages. An example of an alternative commentary is a close, direct analysis of robust passages from the source, such as an article, film, poem, literary work, book, or novel. In this respect, they are standard in bigger writing projects, like expositions or being part of a critic's work.

  5. How to Write a Good Essay: Stop Summarizing, Start Commentating

    Rule Two: Maintain a 2:1 Ratio of Commentary to Summary. In general, you should provide approximately two points of commentary for every specific detail you offer. While summary is still important for giving your reader context, commentary is critical to writing a good essay.

  6. Five Ways to Target Commentary for Essay Writing

    The "This Shows That" Method. This is also another very basic method for targeting commentary, but it WORKS! In this method, students begin a sentence after textual evidence with the words, "This shows that…". Be beginning with these words, students are forced to explain what the quotation shows rather than what it says.

  7. Commentary Essay Example, Writing Guide, and Tips

    Key Components of a Commentary Essay. 1. Introduction: Begin your essay with a captivating introduction that presents the topic and provides context for the reader. 2. Thesis Statement: Craft a clear and concise thesis statement that outlines your main argument or perspective. 3.

  8. Commenting Efficiently

    Commenting Efficiently. Skim through the pile to discern the range of responses to an assignment. Read each essay through quickly, before making any marks, to identify major strengths and weaknesses. Think about strengths and weaknesses in terms of clear assessment criteria—thesis, structure, analysis, and so on.

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    Commentary essays, ever elusive yet magnetic, unlock the gateway to expression. Have you ever yearned to dissect an idea—dissect it with surgical precision? In this narrative landscape, I guide you through the intricate threads of commentary—essays that serve as vessels for personal reflection and analysis.

  10. Elements of an Essay: Writing Commentary

    2) Interpretation: your explanation of something that is not clear. 3) Character and Subject's Feelings: when you describe what the character or subject of the detail is feeling (ideal for literary analysis papers) 4) Personal Reaction: your personal emotions about the detail. 5) Evaluations: your objective judgment of a detail.

  11. Writing a Literary Commentary: Guidelines

    A commentary should relate the passage to the rest of the work (novel, collection of poems, etc.), but remain focused in the main on the details of the passage itself. Make sure that your commentary covers the whole passage. For instance, if you are given a poem with five stanzas, you should try to say something about each stanza.

  12. How to Write a Literary Commentary: 14 Steps (with Pictures)

    2. Highlight keywords in the text. Take a pen, pencil, or highlighter and mark any words that feel important in the text. Look for words that are bolded or italicized in the text, as this likely means they are important for the author and key to understanding the text.

  13. Guidelines for Writing a Perfect Commentary Essay

    Discuss the dialogue and language used. You will also state how an idea contributes to the rest of the work. Then comes the structure. Talk about repetitions and the events that lead to the climax. Do not feel shy from commenting on the narration. You must provide an analysis of the overall tone of the author.

  14. Writing a Commentary Sentence in an Essay

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  15. Commentary Essay Example, Writing Guide, and Tips

    It should be noted that there are two types of commentary essays: literary and data. Literary commentary is an in-depth analysis of a passage of a literary work or text. Whereas data commentary is a piece of writing that comments on a visual display. Its main purpose is the interpretation of a research paper. Commentary Essay Writing Algorithm ...

  16. Teaching Students How to Write Commentary for the Literary Analysis Essay

    Writing commentary is undoubtedly the most difficult part of writing any essay. All other parts of the essay are more formulaic in nature. There are standard rules for how to write a thesis statement, a topic sentence, a blended quotation, etc. But when it comes to commenting on evidence, there isn't one set way to do it.

  17. The Role of Commentary in Rhetorical Analysis

    Analysis—what we're calling commentary—is the student's opinion about the way evidence proves the truth of a topic sentence, which defends the truth of the controlling thesis statement. Here's how the connecting works. A rhetorical analysis essay has a thesis, which is a controlling idea. All ideas within the essay defend this one.

  18. Easy Steps To Write A Commentary Effectively

    A commentary is different from an essay. The essay form and commentary may sometimes overlap and be used interchangeably, but it may be helpful to make some comparisons. A commentary is often very short (a few hundred words) and more journalistic (critical) in tone than a personal essay. It properly fits as a column in a newspaper or in a magazine.

  19. How to write a commentary—an editor's perspective

    A commentary is an extended note that sets forth an expert's take on the meaning of a study. At issue is whether the evidence from the study or review is sufficient to inform practice. Any study or review offers only a provisional truth, and a commentary is always based on imperfect knowledge. While caution may be justified, practitioners ...

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  21. Guidelines for writing a commentary

    Use a short title that emphasizes your key message. (It should be clear in context that all commentaries are a reaction to a particular paper). Do not include an abstract. Make clear your take-home message. Make sure there is full author information (name, affiliation, address, phone, email) for all authors.

  22. How to Write an Argumentative Essay

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