Structure and language features of an analytical essay

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Structure and language features of an analytical essay

In an analytical essay you need to show:

  • That you understand the setting, plot, characterisation, style and themes of the subject.

  • How themes to issues in the ‘real’ world

  • You need to structure your ideas and language to make it interesting and understandable to your audience.

  • Ability to structure your ideas in an appropriate way for your audience.

  • That you can use quotes from the narrative to illustrate or support your point of view.

Structural features

Language features


Introduces the main characters and theme to be discussed.

Identifies author

Comments on style

Outlines what will be discussed in the body of the essay.


Each paragraph introduces a new point

Topic sentences introduce each new point/paragraph.

Details support topic sentences.

Paragraph gives evidence from text to support argument.

Comment about style


Sums up the writer’s opinion, and what has been discussed.

Quotes support statements

Present tense shows currency of information
Use of symbols to show how author creates effects.

Adjectives add life to text.

Quotes support statements.

Keep sentences short

Metaphors add colour

Linking words (i.e. First, second, third, finally, etc.)

Analyse actions

Give characters’ opinions on events

Show how symbols are used

Show how characters fit into the theme

Links back to introduction.

(Adapted from: Eshuys, Guest & Phelan. 1994. English Power: Book 4. Milton: Jacaranda Press.)
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