Compare and contrast is a common form of academic writing, either as an essay type on its own, or as part of a larger essay which includes one or more paragraphs which compare or contrast. This page gives information on what a compare and contrast essay is, how to structure this type of essay, how to use compare and contrast structure words, and how to make sure you use appropriate criteria for comparison/contrast. There is also an example compare and contrast essay on the topic of communication technology, as well as some exercises to help you practice this area. To compare is to examine how things are similar, while to contrast is to see how they differ. A compare and contrast essay therefore looks at the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences.
A compare and contrast essay is a form of academic writing that is built around an examination of at least two items. There are two kinds of compare and contrast essays: one where you focus more on the similarities of chosen items, and one that contrasts their differences. Depending on your emphasis, the paper can be more of a comparison essay, or more of a contrast essay. There are limitless points you can compare or contrast in your essay. It can be anything related to natural phenomena, food, lifestyle, sports, gender issues, hobbies, literary forms and so on—anything people can have viewpoints on.
All you need do in writing a compare and contrast essay is take two subjects and show their similarities and their differences. When writing a compare and contrast essay, the basic essay form of title, introduction, three paragraph body, and conclusion makes it one of the easiest essays to write. Before you begin writing, brainstorm to find similarities and differences between your subjects. (Compare) Apples and oranges are both tree fruits often grown commercially in large orchards. (Contrast) However, apples grow in every climate and oranges need tropical temperatures to produce fruit.
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” But, don’t let Ol’ Teddy or that compare and contrast essay get you down. Rest assured, you will come across this type of paper at some point in your academic career, if you haven’t already. Compare and contrast essays are a great way to expand your knowledge on two subjects. A compare and contrast essay asks you to look at the similarities (compare) and differences (contrast) between two or more items or concepts. And, with a little guidance, they can be fun and easy to write. At first glance, this will not appear to be difficult. It doesn’t get much simpler than the 5 paragraph essay, and in the case of the compare and contrast essay, it works perfectly. We let the teddy bear inventor lead the free world? First, let’s make sure we all understand the basics of a compare and contrast essay. It’s time to learn how to write a compare and contrast essay!
Your introduction — like the five-paragraph-essay, should open generally (with a quotation, anecdote, generalization), and lead into the thesis statement. This next portion of your essay (which may consist of one paragraph or several) should cover only the first topic of the comparison and contrast. Compare/Contrast essays take two topics and illustrate how they are similar and dissimilar. This next portion of your essay (which may also consist of one or more paragraphs) should cover the second of the two topics. Since you have already gone into great detail about it, you may allude to Topic 1 briefly; however, do not analyze Topic 1 in this section. This portion of the paper is to discuss Topic 2 in great detail. Now that you have analyzed both Topic 1 and Topic 2 independently, now it is time to analyze them together.
back to top If possible, it is great to read the essay with the student individually and provide direct feedback. When this option is not available, constructive written comments are helpful. As you read the essays, keep notes on the aspects to review and share with the class later. For more structured feedback, use the Comparison and Contrast Rubric. After you have finished responding to the essays, review them with the class, adding advice as needed.
Compare and contrast essay topics are at varying degrees of difficulty. While some may do well for high school students, others require more advanced analytical and research capabilities, and are specially for students in college or higher up. Prior to glancing at the list of comprehensive compare and contrast essay topics, understand how to write an essay of this type and what it entails. Writing can be of many types - academic, journalistic, letter writing, essay writing, creative, and fiction. All these types require different writing skills, and the writing tips also differ for each of them.
Compare and contrast essay examples are some of the easiest college essays you will ever have to write. We compare and contrast things in everyday life such as; choosing a shirt, choosing what is for dinner, etc. When you are preparing to write your essay, take a look at some compare and contrast essay examples to see what you will need to include and not include in your essay. Most compare and contrast essay examples only consist of a title, introduction paragraph, 3 body paragraphs, and the conclusion. This is pretty standard for most essay formats regardless if it’s an essay example or the real thing. But before you begin writing your essay, it is important to brainstorm your topic and create a list of similarities and differences between the subjects.
We compare and we contrast virtually everything that occupies our attention. It helps us to make choices between one thing and another, whether to have beefsteak or chicken, tea or coffee, watch a movie or take a nap. As long as we have to make choices, we are comparing and contrasting. Ordinarily, it is quickly done and driven largely by our desires at any particular moment. The same process is in operation when we are faced with a choice between two alternatives on a more complicated level where we need information about each alternative before an intelligent choice can be made.
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This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective. It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond “Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others.” In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements. One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another. By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them. Some assignments use words—like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences—that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast.
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