How to Write an Analytical Paragraph

How to Write an Analytical Paragraph

Literature is more than words on a page. Good literature can move the reader and make an impact on their personal beliefs, either changing them or enforcing them. It can be an exciting endeavor to craft a well-written analytical paragraph.

  • Topic Sentence
  • Context
  • Analysis
  • Concluding/Transitional sentence

1 Definition of an Analytic Paragraph

From finding plot points to dissecting a character’s motivation that spurs on the story arc, an analytical paragraph gives you the power to concisely express your ideas and how you will present evidence to support those ideas. It's broken down into a topic sentence that tells the reader the main idea of the paragraph that will be discussed.

The topic sentence is something that can be argued for or against in the body of the piece. Write a sentence or two that shows the context for your textual evidence. Follow that with a short sentence of textual evidence, such as a passage or quote from the piece you chose. Put quotation marks around any work quoted and add page references, such as “Tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in its petty pace…” (25). Explain how the evidence supports the topic sentence and wrap up the paragraph with a concluding or transition sentence. If it’s a single analytical paragraph, then this is the conclusion sentence. If this is the beginning of a larger piece than this would be a transition sentence to carry the reader further into the piece.

2 Whole Process Writing

Before you take pen to paper, consider your basic idea. Draw inspiration from current events that may apply to your chosen piece of literature or brainstorm how the plot of the piece has affected you in real life. Once you have pegged down your idea, sit down for some stream of consciousness writing to flesh it out and make it whole. If blocks of writing muddle the process, you can also visualize your narrative by writing the idea in the center of a blank page and surrounding it with subtext. Seeing it displayed physically can help to gather your thoughts in an orderly fashion before beginning the next steps.

3 Writing the Paragraph

Once you have written out your paragraph in rough draft, revise it to make it as concise as possible. Consider the pacing and flow of the paragraph. Remove any stumbling blocks, run on sentences or repetitive words. Finally, check for grammar, punctuation and spelling. It’s often a good idea to step away from the piece and return with a fresh view. Reading aloud can also help to point out awkward breaks or pauses in the writing.

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at