Often, I expect students to write five-paragraph essays with eleven-sentence critical analysis body paragraphs. To successfully write a critical analysis paragraph, you need to make sure that every sentence serves the purpose it needs to serve. Continue reading for an explanation on each type of sentence in an eleven-sentence critical analysis paragraph.
Breaking Down a Prompt
Before explaining the specifics for each type of sentence, you must first identify the purpose of your paper and the audience for whom you’re writing. Would you talk to your grandmother using the same language and tone you use when talking to your best friend? Not likely. Watch the video below to learn how to break down a prompt. As always, I suggest you take Cornell notes as you watch the video.
One Topic Sentence
Your topic sentence is the sentence that tells your reader what the rest of paragraph will be about. This sentence must be specific enough to introduce the topic, but simple enough to lead into the more specific supporting statements. The topic sentence should also refer back to the thesis, which also refers back to the prompt.
For the ancient deity essay prompt above, each topic sentence should be about a different characteristic that can be tied to Ancient Greek or Roman culture. Check out the sentence frames below for examples of how to phrase the a topic sentence in the ancient deity essay:
- God’s name, the god of ___, represents the importance of ____ to Ancient Greek culture.
- God’s name is also the god of ___, meaning that ___ was important to Ancient Greek culture.
- God’s name was personality trait, and the rewards or consequences of his/her trait indicate that the Ancient Greeks valued or did not value personality trait.
Three Main Idea Chunks
One Supporting Claim per Chunk
The supporting statement introduces a claim that supports your topic sentence.
For the essay on an Ancient Greek Deity, the three main ideas within the critical analysis paragraph could be on the three things listed below:
- One specific characteristic of your god
- One specific myth exemplifying that characteristic
- An explanation of how that characteristic and the myth represent the values of Ancient Greek Culture
So, your supporting claims may look something like the templates below:
- As the god of ___, god’s name was characteristic.
- God’s name’s characteristic is evident/exemplified/shown/apparent in the myth about ___.
- Since god’s name’s characteristic almost always led to rewards/consequences in Greek Mythology, the Ancient Greeks must have valued/frowned upon characteristic.
One Textual Evidence Sentence per Chunk
The textual evidence sentence provides a quote from a text, or paraphrased information from a text, that supports the main idea sentence.
The textual evidence sentences for each main idea chunk should have an embedded quote from research or myths. Remember to avoid “quote splat” by introducing and citing your quote using the three step process for embedding evidence in your writing.
One Explanation Sentence per Chunk
The explanation sentence connects the textual evidence to the supporting statement and to the topic sentence. Basically, the analysis sentence is where you tell the reader what to think about the information you’ve presented in your chunk, and it usually connects the information back to the topic sentence and back to the prompt.
Explanation sentences vary greatly, so templates would not be helpful here. If you have questions or concerns about your analysis sentences, come see me during lunch.
One Concluding Sentence
The concluding sentence is the last sentence of your paragraph. It restates the topic sentence (using different words) and it leaves the reader with a lasting impression. When your eleven-sentence critical analysis paragraph is a body paragraph in a five paragraph essay, the clincher may also transition to the next paragraph.
Student-Written Examples of Eleven-Sentence Critical Analysis Paragraphs
Prompt: The Prompt: Language acquisition is an amazing thing. Ten weeks before birth, the language acquisition process begins with the fetus recognizing the specific speech sounds from its mother’s language (McElroy, 2013). After birth, babies and toddlers learn new words at an astonishing rate – assuming the child’s environment is suited to language acquisition, that is. Write an eleven-sentence paragraph in which you explain three strategies new parents typically use to assist with language acquisition. Use evidence from “Social Interaction and Cognitive Development” by Poole, Warren, and Nunez to support your claims.