Commentary essays follow a basic structure of an introduction, followed by a comments section and wrapped up with a conclusion. Commentary essays, also called argumentative essays, generally revolve around discussions, critiques and analysis of texts. Therefore, authors typically introduce readers to the texts evaluated throughout the essay in the introduction section, which gives readers a sense of what the essay is about.
Commentary essays are one of several types of essays used in writing. Other essay styles include exposition, discussion, challenge, factorial and consequential. The structure of each essay style varies, but all include a thesis statement, evidence to support the thesis and a conclusion.
Students typically use commentary essays to demonstrate knowledge of texts, and to provide opinion and rationale for agreeing with or disagreeing with information presented in texts. Commentary essays may focus on just one text or serve as a means to compare and contrast multiple texts. Since commentary essays convey an understanding of background material, some research is generally required to make essays compelling and engaging. In addition to using text-based information, students may use other methods of obtaining information, such as conducting interviews and surveys or making observations, to collect enough evidence to create a coherent essay with solid and logical reasoning.