Students often find analytical essays particularly challenging to write. Because so much of the K-12 writing focus is on expository essays, student writing styles tend to be geared towards summarizing information. However, an analytical essay requires the writer to do more than summarize information; after presenting the information, the writer is required to do something more. When examining a piece of literature, an analysis often looks at how or why the piece is effective or ineffective. When looking at nonfiction works, an analytical essay may examine how one event contributed to another event.
Like all essays, your analytical essay will begin with an introduction. The introduction helps the reader understand what you are trying to establish with the meat of your essay. Your thesis statement will be contained in the introduction, as will a brief preview of the facts or analysis that you will be using to help establish your thesis.
The body of your analytical essay is where you find the bulk of your arguments or evidence. Each paragraph should have its own topic sentence, with the remainder of the sentences in the paragraph supporting the idea expressed in that topic sentence. These topic sentences, in turn, should support the claims you have made in your thesis statement.
Finally, the conclusion of your analytical essays ties it all together, by reminding the reader of your thesis statement and the evidence you used to support that statement.
One of the best ways to help understand how an analytical essay differs from an expository or explanatory essay is to read examples of both types of essays. Reading through them, you will easily see how analytical essays use evidence to support statements in a way that expository essays do not. You can find examples of our expository essays in our expository essay section, and examples of our analytical essays here.