Easy Steps To Write A Commentary Effectively

Easy Steps To Write a Commentary In The English Language 

How to Write a Commentary

The first time you have to write a commentary, you may ask questions such as what a commentary is. How can I write it? Asking these questions is very normal because commentary is not something we hear on a daily basis. It is an academic skill that you study at school. I will try to help throughout this article to answer these questions.

What is a commentary?

A commentary basically focuses on the analysis and detailed description of a specific text (chapter, movie, story). Commentaries can also be written on quotes, short texts, articles). Typically, it is used for the news and magazine publications where a publisher writes it for newly published articles. The major purpose of publishing a commentary is to primarily provide a forum where various perspectives and ideas on a certain topic in a journal can be talked over.

Writing commentaries means writing a well-detailed analysis of an article or a text. A commentary is different from an essay. The essay form and commentary may sometimes overlap and be used interchangeably, but it may be helpful to make some comparisons. A commentary is often very short (a few hundred words) and more journalistic (critical) in tone than a personal essay. It properly fits as a column in a newspaper or in a magazine. The writing can be more newsy than literary. On the other hand, the essay form is an extended piece of writing that presents and supports a certain proposition (topic). It can be descriptive, argumentative, narrative, or expository.

A commentary requires deep knowledge, analysis, and critical thinking

Writing a commentary requires you to have knowledge about the topic. You will have to present your unique perspective and discuss the essential concepts and the arguments in the text. Your commentary is somewhat an extension of the ideas and of the writer. It should bring more clarity to the arguments in the original text. 

As a skill you are expected to master, a commentary is somewhat subjective. It should reflect your critical thinking skills, your way of seeing and perceiving life, how to defend yourself using arguments, how to link content to your reality. It is totally different from summarizing which should be objective and limited to the text.

Steps to prepare for a commentary

There are several steps you have to follow to write an effective and successful commentary.

What you should do before writing?

Just like any kind of writings, you have to prepare yourself. When writing a commentary, try to do the following things: 

  1. Read the text several times. Read each word carefully and try to understand what the writer is trying to say. Try to understand the meaning. 
  2. You may want to underline major concepts, ideas, arguments, quotes. Underline anything that you think will help you. 
  3. Underline keywords. 
  4. Outline the main points. You will have to study the text deeply and analyze the structure of the article and its content and prepare an outline accordingly.

Steps to write the commentary

  1. Identifying the basic information (the title, the author name, publication date, if any, and the genre of the text. This type of information will be included in the introduction section of the commentary.   
  2. Try to mention the theme, subject, and audience. In the main part (the body of) the commentary, you have to describe the main text and its focus. Discuss the following questions:
  1. Pay attention to the structure and genre of the content

Check the genre of the text. Is it narrative or descriptive? Is it fiction or non-fiction? Look at the types of sentences and words being used.

  1. Try to understand the tone o the writer.

The definition of “tone” in literature is the way the author expresses his attitude through his writing. The tone can change very quickly or may remain the same throughout the story or the text. The tone is expressed by the use of syntax (grammar), the writer’s point of view, the writer’s diction (the choice and use of words and phrases in speech or writing), and the level of formality in the writing.

Although this is a part of literature and literary commentary, it is important for you to learn to understand the style of expression of the thoughts. The attitude and the mood of the author can be known by looking at the tone of the text. Depending on the need of the subject, the author may have used different tones in different situations. Observe how the tone changes to understand the fluctuations of the mood and changes in the situations or events.

  1. Check the literary devices that deepen the meaning

The writer might use literary devices such as metaphor, imagery, alliteration, and simile to intensify the meaning. Identify them and mention them in your commentary whenever possible.

  1. Take the quotes included in the text. To support your points and opinions, you can use the quotes from the text. You can directly take the quotes and use the quotation marks. Use only those quotes which are relevant and can support the discussion.
  1. Ask for the feedback

To make your commentary better, you should read in front of a friend, a family member, a teacher or anybody and ask for their feedback.

  1. Proofread and correct the text

Read your writing, identify grammatical and spelling mistakes. Also, check your punctuation and capitalization. The quality o

Remember, when we talk about writing a commentary, it can be on a video, a picture, a text, a statement, or a quote. They are all the same thing. It is very important for you to know the main idea. Then, give your opinion about the main idea (implicitly or explicitly), and then defend your opinion using your own arguments. You can relate the quote, the picture, the text being asked to comment on to your social or political life. You may want to relate it to your cultural or religious background. It all depends on the content.



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