To critique means to provide a careful and exact evaluation or commentary of an object. Therefore, before you can undertake writing a critique, you must study the object carefully. For the working drafts of the argumentative essays this means that you should consider the following: *the clarity and coherence of the ideas of the essay (do you know what the author is writing about? can you follow the argument easily?)
After you have carefully assessed the working draft on these points, you are ready to write your critique letter. Keep in mind that this is a letter to the writer; therefore, write directly to the student author and not to me.
As a critique, the purpose of the letter is to give the writer responses, advice, and criticism that will help her/him revise the essay. Therefore, your critique letter must be thorough. Your critique letter must be specific. Your critique letter must be honest yet sensitive.
In the common parlance meaning of the word, we tend to think of criticism as pointing out faults, failings, and negative features. However, this is only one dimension of criticism. Criticism also includes simply making the writer aware of what he/she has said; thus, you may want to summarize or paraphrase parts of the draft. Moreover, criticism includes praise. If the writer does something you like, let her/him know that.
Writing a critique letter requires time, thought, and care. You will need to outline your letter, write a draft, and revise it. Your finished critique letter should be approximately two (2) typed pages. If you elect not to type your letter, be sure you letter is legible.
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