WRITING A COMPARE/CONTRAST PAPER
A compare and contrast essay examines two or more topics (objects, people, or ideas, for example), comparing their similarities and contrasting their differences. You may choose to focus exclusively on comparing, exclusively on contrasting, or on both-or your instructor may direct you to do one or both.
First, pick useable subjects and list their characteristics. In fact, their individual characteristics determine whether the subjects are useable. After that, choose a parallel pattern of organization and effective transitions to set your paper above the merely average.
1. Picking a subject
Focus on things that can obviously be compared or contrasted. For instance, if you are examining an idea (political or philosophical) examine the opposite of that idea. Or, if you are examining a person, like a president, pick another president for comparison or contrast. Don't try to compare a president and a cab driver, or existentialism and a legislative bill on car tax refunds.
2. Listing characteristics
Divide a piece of paper into two sides. One side is for the first subject, the other for the second subject. Then, begin to list the similarities and differences that immediately come to mind. Concentrate on characteristics that either are shared or are opposing between the two subjects. Alternately, you may construct a Venn diagram of intersecting circles, listing the subjects' differences to either side and their similarities where the circles intersect. Keep in mind that for a balanced paper, you want to make point-by-point, parallel comparisons (or contrasts).
Similarities between my math and English instructors:
Both are welcoming and available to students.
Both are organized and keep a neat office.
Both are knowledgeable and professional.
Differences between my math and English instructors
Math teacher listens to classic rock. English teacher listens to jazz.
Math teacher drinks Earl Grey tea. English teacher drinks strong black coffee.
Math teacher likes to chat about movies. English teacher sticks to business.
As you create your list, is it clear why you are comparing and contrasting these two subjects? Do you have a preference for one or the other? If so, make sure you are evaluating each side fairly. A point-by-point list helps you maintain balance.
Once you have a list, decide whether there are more similarities or differences between the topics. If there are more similarities, concentrate your paper on comparing. If there are more differences (or if, as in the example above, the differences are simply more interesting), concentrate on contrasting. If there is a balance of similarities and differences, you might concentrate on discussing this balance.
There are at least two ways to organize a compare/contrast essay. Imagine you are examining Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, both Civil War generals. In your list you have uncovered important points of dissimilarity between them. Those points are their background, personalities, and underlying aspirations. (Call these three points A, B, and C.) You have decided to contrast the two subjects.
Here is one way to organize the body of this paper, addressing points A, B, and C for each subject. This paper will follow parallel order–A, B, and then C–for each subject:
A. Lee's background
B. Lee's personality
C. Lee's underlying aspirations
A. Grant's background
B. Grant's personality
C. Grant's underlying aspirations
However, here is another way to organize the same paper:
A. Lee's background
A. Grant's background
B. Lee's personality
B. Grant's personality
C. Lee's underlying aspiration
C. Grant's underlying aspiration
For a shorter paper, the above might represent three paragraphs; if you are writing a long paper and have a great deal of information, you may choose to write about each point, A, B, and C, in separate paragraphs for a total of six. However you decide to organize, make sure it is clear why you are examining this subject. You might be able to compare apples and oranges, for example, but why would you? Include any insights or opinions you have gathered. And yes, in general, three is the magic number. While there is no hard-and-fast rule that precludes creating a paper based on two points, or four, or five, a three-point discussion is manageable, especially for complex or abstract subjects. At the same time, a three-point structure helps you avoid oversimplifying, especially when addressing controversial topics in which discussions tend to become polarized–right or wrong, black or white, for or against. Three-point treatments encourage discussion of the middle ground.
4. Signaling transitions
Learn to use expressions that precisely convey contrast or comparison. These expressions, or transitions, signal contrast:
- on the contrary
- on the other hand
These expressions signal comparison:
- as well as
- in common with
Signal words such as these help the reader understand the relationships between your sentences, paragraphs, and ideas. In particular, if you are both comparing and contrasting, signal words help sort out what's what. Second only to effective organization, effective use of these expressions will go a long way toward helping produce a good compare/contrast paper.
“Samsung is a better mobile phone than iPhone because I prefer Samsung.”
That does not sound persuasive or informative, do it?
“Samsung is a better solution than iPhone because iOS devices have limited access to various apps, games, and other entertaining content, and they are more expensive for no good reason.”
This statement sounds better. It is just one out of many possible compare and contrast essay topics. If you wish to learn how to write a compare and contrast essay to improve your GPA or handle another homework assignment, the text below would be helpful.
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How to Write Compare and Contrast Essay: Defining This Type of Paper
This type of assignment is an academic paper, which depicts 2 or more similar yet different things by focusing on what they have in common and what makes them different. The purpose is to make a reader see the way chosen objects are interconnected.
It makes sense a person should start by picking a couple of good subjects to differentiate and draw parallels.
Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: 2 Different Approaches
A compare and contrast essay outline is far more complicated than the rest of the academic paper outline templates. It depends on which strategy the author chooses to present the chosen objects. In case the best option to introduce both topics is through point-by-point comparison, obey this structure:
- Introductory paragraph
- Presentation of overall idea
- Particular issue to discuss
Fields the author is going to explore
Issue 1 - Aspect 1
Issue 2 - Aspect 1
Issue 1 - Aspect 2
Issue 2 - Aspect 2
Issue 1 - Aspect 3
Issue 2 - Aspect 3
- Review of the basic ideas
- Assessment and/or potential developments (forecasts)
In case of subject-by-subject comparison, simply focus on the topic 1 at the beginning (list issues & aspects) and then move to the second topic. Conclude on their differences and similarities in the closing paragraph.
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Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction
An introduction reveals the main point and shares the primary data about the selected elements with the reader. Add a thesis statement. The opening paragraph must contain a brief explanation of the selected ideas to be analyzed (stress why the offered text might be valuable for the reader). Inspire the person to read the paper from cover to cover by initiating a powerful hook sentence.
Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion
Once a student is done with the body paragraphs, he/she should start working on the closing part of the paper, which often leaves the last impression. It means a writer should try hard to leave positive impressions. In a conclusion, provide a summary of the introduced evidence, restate the thesis statement by rewording it (do not copy-paste a thesis sentence from the introduction).
How to Write a 5 Paragraph Compare and Contrast Essay: Rundown
Based on everything said before, keep in mind these outtakes when working on the discussed type of academic paper:
- Apply some organizational instruments like a Venn diagram or Mind Map to arrange the idea obtained via intensive brainstorming & research.
- Keep away from the vague thesis statement.
- Narrow a broad idea to a couple of main points, leaving some space for the in-depth evaluation.
- Edit the final draft before submitting it to the instructor; a professional team of online editors will proofread and fix the mistakes for cheap!
20 Interesting & Creative Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
To make it easier, our experts have divided some of the best topics into 4 different categories. Have a look at the offered ideas. Those are the possible examples, so try to come up with a unique, exciting idea to impress the teacher!
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for College Students
- Economic Theory of Karl Marx with Contemporary Capitalistic Movement
- Constitution of the United States verus the Constitution of the United Kingdom
- Political Regimes in the United States Today & a Century Ago
- Working as a Marketing Specialist and Being a Human Resources Manager: Duties They Have in Common and Things That Make People of These Professions Different
- Renaissance & Baroque Art: Specific Features That Make These Genres Similar Yet Different at the same Time (include professional terminology to stress your in-depth knowledge of the problem)
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for High School
- Private Schools & Public Schools: Differences Plus Similarities
- Should People Live in Official Marriage or Civil Union?
- The Government of the US versus the Government of Student’s School
- Early specimen & Christopher Columbus: Differences & Similarities
- Football Clubs from Europe or Football Clubs from the United States
Compare and Contrast Topics for Middle School
- Celebrating Christmas in the United States is Better Than in Europe
- Role Models for Teens & Role Models for Grown-Ups
- Cars versus Trains: A More Comfortable Transport to Ride Long Distances
- Fiction and Non-Fiction Literature: Which Is a More Fun to Read?
- What Are the Benefits of Remote Education over Traditional Learning?
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for 6th Grade
- Marvel’s Spiderman or Iron Man
- Super Mario Land versus Sonic for PlayStation 2
- Nintendo or Xbox: Why One Replaced Another over Time
- Playing Games Outside or Staying at Home with TV
- Winter Sports against Summer Sports: Pros & Cons of Each Type
Compare and Contrast Essay Example
That is how to deal with it! Another thing that may help a school/college student to develop a good homework assignment comparing several objects is a good example. Discover a plenty of free paper examples, helpful writing tools, ideas, and cheap custom writing services without leaving your home!