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Homework writing guide: how to criticize

Knowing how to criticize someone else’s work constructively will lay a good foundation for the meticulous handling of your own writing. You’ll want to carry out this task diplomatically so as to add substance to someone else’s content, rather than breaking them down for the sake of making yourself look superior.

Assess the work’s purpose

Begin by gaining a bird’s eye perspective of the work you’re scrutinizing. Ask yourself what the overall message of the writer is and what he or she intended to convey. This will give you insight into the writer’s objective and lay the groundwork for the rest of your evaluation.

Describe the work to your own readers

The readers of your critique have likely read the original work too, but you should still give a general summary of the work you’re about to review. If you fail to do this, the reader who hasn’t read the original work will be left somewhat in the dark and won’t have a full picture of your analysis by the time they have finished reading your version.

Critique the technicalities of the work

You may be required to include a general critique of the article content which would include language, format and style scrutiny. This examination would exclude any of the material substance itself and would concentrate rather on the writing technique.

Give your own contradicting (and supporting) ideas

Your assessment of the writer’s subject material will involve a careful evaluation of all the facts, theories and evidences of the work. You will either find yourself disagreeing with or adding to the topic, (sometimes a little bit of both).

Try not to be confrontational when your own ideas and evidences contradict those of your subject. Readers will respond better to the writer whose demeanour is the calmest and most assertive.

Supply a strong base for your criticisms

Don’t criticize anything unless you have something to back it up with. Your opinion must be supported by substance, not just a flimsy belief. In the case of using the same evidence as the writer you’re critiquing, but interpreting it a different way, be confident in your presentation thereof without denigrating your subject.

Conclude with a non-abrasive conclusion

End your criticism with a conclusion that will win the respect of your reader. Remember, you want them to buy your case over that of your subject, so being pleasant in your writing conduct will make your argument easier to swallow.