Most people develop writing skills and techniques in school—through writing essays, papers, and opinions. However, not many people formally learn how to craft analytic essays. In my next few posts, I am going to try to fill that gap. There are countless parts to an analytic essay, and understanding the function of these pieces is the first step toward replicating them independently. I’ll start with a brief description of the major pieces. 

Introduction—The first part of a paper that outlines the main ideas and sets up a universe of discourse for the author’s position. 

Thesis—A position or proposition that a person advances and offers to maintain by logical argument supported by evidence. 

Body Paragraphs—The means by which a writer makes an argument. A single body paragraph should contain a specific facet of the argument or address a singular, narrow focus. A series of body paragraphs should forge a broader argument to support the writer’s thesis. 

Topic Sentences—The leading sentence of a paragraph that introduces the main idea and establishes the structure of that paragraph. In essence, this is the thesis statement of the body paragraph. 

Evidence—Something that furnishes or indicates the proof of an idea or proposition. 

Transitions—A movement, development, or evolution from one idea to the next, typically residing between paragraphs or argument sections. 

Conclusion—The end of a piece of writing in which the author brings a logical argument and evidence to its precise end, further advancing the original thesis. This is where the author should discuss the consequence of the conclusive position.  

Now, you might be thinking: But Andrew, I’m not in school anymore. Why would I need to know the structure and components of an analytic essay? Because, young grasshopper, the pieces of an analytical essay are applied to nearly every piece of writing. Think about it—everything you write has some type of introduction and conclusion. Everything you write has a purpose—here, it’s called the thesis. Everything you write needs evidence, whether it be events that lead to a conclusion or pieces to support an argument.  

The parts of an analytical essay may seem basic and banal, but these are the building blocks of every type of writing—fiction, non-fiction, argumentative, and experimental. Once you understand how to craft these pieces, you can more easily manipulate them to create the writing you’ve always wanted to produce.