In your student career, you will come across various types of written assignments, each of which has its own requirements. One of the most common is a comparison/contrast essay in which you focus on how certain things or ideas – usually two of them – are similar (this is a comparison) and/or different from (this is a contrast) to each other.
By assigning such essays, your instructors encourage you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking and go beyond simple description or resume to make an interesting analysis: when you think about similarities and differences, you get a deeper understanding of the objects that you are comparing, their relationship with each other and most importantly in them.
Simply put, this is an essay that assesses the similarities and differences between the two subjects. These items will be in the same category, but different. You can compare and contrast two different types of pets or two novels from the same historical time period Maybe you think that writing an essay on only one subject is quite difficult! Where do you start with a coherent essay on two topics? Do not worry.
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Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing a great essay for comparison and contrast.
Step 1 – Choose Your Subject
Remember that your two subjects must be different, but still on the same site to create a meaningful essay on compare and contrast. For example, if you want to write about two different historical figures, it makes sense to choose two great artists, rather than an artist and a politician.
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Mozart and Salieri
Modigliani and Picasso
Vegetarians and meat-eaters
Democracy and Totalities, etc.
Step 2 – Brainstorm Similarities and Differences
Make two lists: one list of similarities and the other differences. If you are a visual person, a Venn diagram can facilitate this process. Just create two overlapping circles, one for each theme that you are comparing. Traits that differ are marked separately, within the ones they share, are written in overlapping space. This is a useful visual aid because it clearly identifies similarities and differences. All you have to do is take a look at the Venn diagram to understand what you could write about. If you prefer to focus on one object at a time, write down your lists on a blank sheet of paper and flip it to the other side for another object. Remember to keep the characteristics of various objects somewhat parallel. This will make it easier to structure a good argument.
There are many possibilities for writing a compare and contrast essay. You can write about one subject in detail, and then switch to another.
Let’s say you are comparing and contrasting women and men. Choose a structure that makes sense for your argument. You could write two paragraphs about qualities that are common to women along with some that they share with men. Then you would focus on men in the next section.
You can also go point by point throughout the essay. In this case, your first body paragraph might state: “While men may not always show compassion for the problems of others, they are usually more likely to actually do something to fix these problems.” You could also on similarities first, and then differences. In this case, your first body paragraph(s) might read: “The male and female brain are alike and both men and women perform better when they feel appreciated and valued.” Choose a structure that makes sense for your argument.
Step 4 – Write a Plan
Craft an outline that fits the structure you have chosen. Traditionally, an essay consists of an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Consider including four body paragraphs instead to give balance to your two subjects.
Step 5 – Fill in Supporting Evidence
As you begin the essay writing, back up your assertions with evidence from research, reading, or personal experience. If you are comparing and contrasting cats and dogs, use personal anecdotes about friends and their pets to bolster your arguments. (“My roommate’s dog always greets him when he comes home each day, but my cat never does.”) If you are writing about similarities and differences between the poetry of Shakespeare and Keats, include plenty of quotes from their poems to support your statements. With any information that you include, be sure to explain why it matters in the context of your larger argument.
Step 6 – Essay Writing with Cue words
To help your reader keep track of where you are in comparison/contrast, you need to be sure that your referrals and topic suggestions are especially strong. Your thesis should already have given the reader an idea of what you will express and the organization that you will use, but you can help her / her with some additional tips. The following words may be helpful to you in signaling your intentions:
like, similar to, also, unlike, similarly, in the same way, likewise, again, compared to, in contrast, in like manner, contrasted with, on the contrary, however, although, yet, even though, still, but, nevertheless, conversely, at the same time, regardless, despite, while, on the one hand … on the other hand.
Step 7 – Proofread and Carefully Review
When you are finished, read your essay several times to check spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Use spelling and grammar checking tools in your word processing program. If possible, ask a friend to take a fresh look at him to find mistakes you may have missed. It is often difficult for us to objectively read our own work, and we may miss silly mistakes.
Follow these steps, and you will be well on your way to writing a compare-and-contrast essay that cannot fail to impress your reading audience.
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