3 Sentences (suggested minimum)
First sentence introduces the topic
Second sentence identifies the author and novel
Third sentence states the thesis


2 paragraphs (suggested minimum)
Each paragraph based on one aspect of the thesis
Paragraphs linked to one another with a connecting word or phrase (transition)
Paragraphs written in formal analytical style
Paragraphs follow the pattern:

Proof #1
-topic sentence
-sentence of supporting detail
-example from the novel
-sentence of elaboration

Proof #2
-sentence of supporting detail
-example from the novel
-sentence of elaboration

Proof #3
-sentence of supporting detail
-example from the novel
-sentence of elaboration
-concluding sentence


3 or 4 sentences (suggested minimum)
First sentence restates the thesis in an interesting and different fashion
Second/third sentence(s) summarises the arguments
Final sentence presents the writer’s final thoughts on the thesis


The introduction of an essay begins with a universal or general statement about the broad topic that you will write about.  It does NOT contain ANY statement about the particular novel that you will write about.  The second sentence is a further development/explanation of this universal statement.  It narrows the idea of the universal statement into a specific novel.  Thus, you should include the name of the novel and the name of the author in this sentence.  This may be more than one sentence.  The last sentence is called the THESIS.  It is the specific point that you want to prove.  It is in this sentence that you name the characters or specific idea of the novel that you will prove in the essay.  Your ENTIRE essay will be judged against this sentence and how well you prove the point.

Example: (Universal/General Statement)  Friendship is a wonderful part of life, but it can unfortunately be used as a tool of deception.  (Expansion of universal statement including author and title of work)  In William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, there are characters who use flattery as a means of manipulating others.  (Thesis)  Both Brutus and Antony operate under the guise of friendship in order to betray and manipulate others for their own purposes.

Analysis of Introduction
The universal topic is friendship.  The idea of friendship is developed in the second sentence by using the words “flattery” and “manipulating others”.  Notice that the title and author are included, by not any character’s name.  The thesis continues to narrow this topic by introducing specific characters.

To come up with a universal sentence, you may consider the answers to questions such as:

What is the definition of my topic? (e.g. friendship)
When does it occur?
How does it occur?
Why does it occur?

A combination of these answers may help you develop a proper universal statement for your essay.


The body of your essay will consist of two analytical paragraphs.  Each paragraph will prove a point of the thesis.  Always begin the first paragraph with the first point/character mentioned in the thesis.  In this case, you should begin your paragraph with a discussion on BRUTUS because he is a) listed before Antony in the thesis, and b) the hero/protagonist.

Paragraph #1 of the BODY
This paragraph must begin with a topic sentence related to the thesis and to Brutus.  It will show how Brutus uses flattery and friendship to betray/deceive others to his own end.  This idea will be expanded on by a detail from the play (or book), followed by an embedded quotation (with page number). This in turn will be followed by an explanation of the quotation.  REPEAT this TWO more times.  After your third explanation, write a concluding sentence to sum up this paragraph.  This means you must have a topic sentence, three details (proofs), three embedded quotations, three explanations of quotations, and a concluding sentence.  The concluding sentence must sum up the ideas in this paragraph, but also reflect the ideas of the thesis.

Paragraph #2
The topic sentence begins with a transitional word or phrase that connects par. 1 with par. 2.  The point of the second paragraph should be about how Antony also uses his friendships to betray or manipulate others.  Follow the same structure as par. 1.

Example: (Transitional word/phrase)  Similar to Brutus, Antony also uses his friendship with others as a tool of manipulation and deceit to further his own means.


The conclusion is written from the specific idea to the broad idea.  Start with a re-statement of the idea of the thesis and then expand more broadly to a general statement about the topic.

1.Begin with a transitional word/phrase and rewrite the idea of the thesis
2.BRIEFLY summarize your arguments (body par.)
3.End with a sentence that presents your final thoughts about the topic


Use transitional words/phrases in your writing (makes your writing smooth rather than choppy)
ALWAYS embed your quotations (no floating quotations)
The most important step is: edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, and edit again!!!!!!!!!!!!

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2 Comments on "How to Write a Formal Analytical Essay"

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muhammad ali


Donnie Atkinson

Exactly what I needed!