How can I successfully structure an English Literature essay?

The easiest and most straightforward structural method for an English Literature essay is to use the P.E.E. (Point/Evidence/Explanation) method throughout the body paragraphs.

This is especially useful when trying to combat the difficult job of inputting quotations and textual analysis whilst trying to maintain a strong writing style and produce a piece of work that reads fluidly. 

A body paragraph should always begin with a strong opening sentence, containing a summary of the paragraph so that if the reader were just to skim through they would be able to tell you the main points within your essay - this is the 'point' of the P.E.E.

The 'evidence' portion of the paragraph concerns the quotation(s) which act to back up the point made within your opening sentence. Is it essential to try to input these quotations in a way in which it seems they fit perfectly were you to read the sentence aloud, so doing that may help to achieve this in terms of writing style. 

The final portion of your body paragraph should contain the 'explanation' in relation to the first two areas you have already covered. It should be the way in which you use your own thoughts and knowledge to bond your point and the evidence you have to confirm it in a way that links back to your essay title and therefore aids the reaching of a conclusion.

It is also important within any essay to include a strong introduction in which you clearly state your position and argument in relation to your given question/statement and a conclusion which concisely acts to link all the points within your essay and show a thorough understanding of the question/statement given. 

Perhaps the key thing to remember when structuring an essay (especially in an exam) is to read and re-read the question, and to ALWAYS make sure you actually answer it! 

Grace W. GCSE English Literature tutor, GCSE History tutor

2 years ago

Answered by Grace, a GCSE English Literature tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


Milly A. A Level English Literature tutor, GCSE English Literature tu...
View profile
£18 /hr

Milly A.

Degree: Geography (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: English Literature, History+ 1 more

English Literature

“About me:  I am currently a 2nd year Geography (BA) student at Durham University. I have always loved humanities subjects and am excited to engage with students in topics relating to Geography, History and English Literature.  I have...”

Jean S. 13 Plus  English tutor, GCSE English tutor, A Level English t...
View profile
£18 /hr

Jean S.

Degree: English (Bachelors) - Nottingham University

Subjects offered: English Literature, Maths+ 2 more

English Literature
English Language

“I am passionate about education and hope to become a secondary school teacher in later life. I love working with children and feel that I am skilled in building up good working relationships with both students and parents. I do this b...”

MyTutor guarantee

Victoria C. A Level English Literature tutor, GCSE English Literature...
View profile
£18 /hr

Victoria C.

Degree: Law (Bachelors) - Bristol University

Subjects offered: English Literature, Politics+ 3 more

English Literature
Government and Politics

“I am currently studying law at Bristol University. I am enthusiastic and patient and I know it can be frustrating when you don't understand something straight away. This is why i will take the time to try to find how each person learn...”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

Grace W. GCSE English Literature tutor, GCSE History tutor
View profile

Grace W.

Currently unavailable: for regular students

Degree: Politics (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered: English Literature, History

English Literature

“Hi, I'm Grace, and I'm a politics student at Exeter looking to tutor GCSE English Lit and History as these are subjects I'm passionate about”

You may also like...

Posts by Grace

How can I successfully structure an English Literature essay?

How can i thoroughly analyse a source?

Other GCSE English Literature questions

What is the best way for revising for GCSE literature?

How do I analyse a quotation effectively?

How can I effectively analyse an unseen poem in exam conditions?

What is the difference between a metaphor and a simile?

View GCSE English Literature tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss