How to Annotate an Essay

How to Annotate an Essay

An annotated essay is often required from students so they can learn to explore their own ideas about a particular subject. An annotation allows them to give their own thoughts and reactions after reading a piece or pieces on the topic. Knowing how to properly annotate an essay will help you compose a cohesive discourse on the assigned topic. It involves highlighting or identifying key points as well as new vocabulary words. Sometimes, you would also have to write comments in the text’s margins. These annotations are what will help the student make connections in what they read and compose their own written response on the piece.

Annotating an essay involves underlining, highlighting, or circling a text or a group of words that represent ideas or key points. These words could also be important vocabulary or sometimes, names and specific locations and time. In your annotations, you can write your own comments in the text’s margins. Your comments could serve as a label of the type of material that the text covers. It could also indicate the organization of that particular text within the essay, such as the essay’s introduction or background information. You can also add your own personal reactions or if you have made any or several connections, you may indicate it in the comments as well. As you go through your assigned reading, you will notice similar events that you may have experienced yourself or issues you may have discussed in other classes.

An annotated essay could also include questions that you have in your mind about the text or clarifications that you realized while reading it. These questions are great tools for a new research. If you don’t agree with something in the essay, you could argue a particular point. It will provide you with a good starting point when you do your own writing about the subject.

A great tip before you start annotating an essay is to read other sources on the topic. Pay attention to the details and ideas that may bring you new learnings once you present your reflection and opinions.


Júlia Vilaça

Estudante de Jornalismo da PUC Minas e integrante do Roteiro Alternativo desde 2017. Já passou pela UFMG e ganhou experiência em várias áreas da Comunicação. Aqui no Roteiro Alternativo, Júlia é redatora, produtora e editora do portal.

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