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  • Writer's pictureThe Palo Alto Scholar

What is a Critical Essay?

Updated: Dec 27, 2020

It's where you get to have an opinion, hurray!

Critical essays are fun because the purpose is to inform and persuade -- you get to have an opinion! An example would be a media review for a rock concert. It would be pretty annoying to read a review and find out that the so-called reviewer just gave you an even-handed summary of what happened, the set list, etc., without telling you whether the concert was any good! Critical essays force you to take a position, even when you're not sure. It's good practice to go ahead and take a position, whether it's on an issue, or on that rock concert, so you can practice your voice expressing, persuading and informing the reader about what you think. You don't need to be a jerk, and you shouldn't be, and you can certainly say the light show was fantastic even if the rhythm section was off. Pro tip: if you've done research on something, you can often turn it into an opinion piece because you've got all the background done, you just need to form a view and write it. Fun stuff!

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