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Compare Contrast Writing Essay

The Compare-and-Contrast Essay

by Owen Fourie

We do it all the time. 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. We look closely at their similarities as we compare them, and we also note their differences as we contrast them.

Do the spadework

The compare-and-contrast essay is not difficult to write if you do the spadework first. Depending on your choice of topic and your knowledge of the things involved, you might or might not have to do some research. Normally, students elect to deal with things that are familiar to them to avoid spending time in research.

That is fine if you can put together a properly organized and well-reasoned paper in which your reader is given accurate information on which to base a wise decision. Some degree of research should be undertaken, though, even if it is to check only a few facts to be sure that what you are stating is valid.

If you have an inquiring mind and a thirst for knowledge and a desire to find out more about things that are new to you, you would have no problem doing the research and writing your compare-and-contrast essay. In the process, you will have expanded your knowledge. Whatever you choose to write about for this exercise, you have to be sure that you have done the spadework.

Two different methods that can be used to arrive at the same conclusion

Having established this basic need for this type of essay, you now have to make a decision: What form is your essay going to take? There are two ways to format your compare-and-contrast essay: One way is the block method; the other is the point-by-point or feature-by-feature method. Whichever one you choose will determine how you construct your outline.

By the word “feature” is meant any aspect, quality, facet, or characteristic of the persons, things, or ideas being compared and contrasted.

Block Method

Introduction:

  • What are the two objects being compared and contrasted?
  • What is your reason for comparing and contrasting them?
  • What is your purpose in comparing and contrasting them?
  • Thesis statement.

First Body Paragraph:

  • Object A: All the features of Object A;
  • Facts and examples or tests, experiments, and findings;
  • Do not include any information about Object B.

Second Body Paragraph:

  • Object B: All the features of Object B;
  • Facts and examples or tests, experiments, and findings;
  • Do not include any information about Object A.

Third Body Paragraph:

  • Note the similarities as you compare Object A and Object B.

Fourth Body Paragraph:

  • Note the differences as you contrast Object A and Object B.

Conclusion:

  • Sum up in terms of a major similarity and a major difference;
  • Point out the advantage of one and the disadvantage of the other;
  • Come to your preference and a paraphrased restatement of your thesis;
  • Leave the option open for your readers to make their own decision.

Point-by-Point (Feature-by-Feature) Method

Introduction:

  • What are the two objects being compared and contrasted?
  • What is your reason for comparing and contrasting them?
  • What is your purpose in comparing and contrasting them?
  • Thesis statement.

First Body Paragraph:

  • First feature:
  • Compare Object A and Object B (similarities);
  • Contrast Object A and Object B (differences).

Second Body Paragraph:

  • Second feature:
  • Compare Object A and Object B (similarities);
  • Contrast Object A and Object B (differences).

Third Body Paragraph:

  • Third feature:
  • Compare Object A and Object B (similarities);
  • Contrast Object A and Object B (differences).

Conclusion:

  • Sum up in terms of a major similarity and a major difference;
  • Point out the advantage of one and the disadvantage of the other;
  • Come to your preference and a paraphrased restatement of your thesis;
  • Leave the option open for your readers to make their own decision.

In both methods, more than one paragraph can be devoted to each section if necessary.

The compare-and-contrast essay can be applied to virtually any topic you can name from the mundane to the lofty, from dishwashing liquids to Newtonian Physics and Quantum Physics, from iPad and MacBook to William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. If you know your facts, have a penchant for one or the other, and choose your method, you can put together an essay of this sort.

What is your experience with writing compare-and-contrast essays? Do you have any useful insights? What are your particular struggles? Which method do you prefer to use, and what are your reasons for using it? What are your thoughts about using this type of essay as an opportunity to learn something new? Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.

Here are more articles to help you with English words, grammar, and essay writing.

Copyright © 2010 by English Essay Writing Tips www.englishessaywritingtips.com


It is always difficult to compare different things, especially when you know almost nothing about subjects, topics, questions or things to be compared. However, in many instances, we are not asked whether we are ready for such challenges in our life – they just come, and it is our duty to face them and come off victorious when we are done.

In fact, we compare many things on average basis every day without giving much thought to our actions. This particular skill helps us place emphasis on things that are more important to us at a certain moment. As a student of a particular college or university, you receive many written assignments that aim at developing different skills and improving already existing ones. For this particular reason, you may be asked to write a compare and contrast essay.

It is important to understand the primary goal and definition of such assignment. In such a paper the person should contrast seemingly similar or, on the contrary, different traits or characteristics of two or more subjects, things or questions and provide reasoning and importance of his/her observations to prove his or her point or confirm actuality of these traits.

The main point of writing a compare and contrast essay is to tell others about things that seem similar but yet different in various ways.

However, very often, this assignment serves a specific purpose, and it may be given for such reasons:

  • Clarify uncertain points of a question or topic;
  • Reveal unknown facts or improve knowledge on the already known subject;
  • Tell others about subtle differences or similarities of two objects or questions;
  • Prove a writer's point that one particular thing is better than the other, and so on.

Reasons may vary depending on task requirements; consequently, a student should check them out before proceeding to tailoring a task. If you have no time at all or you just do not know how to write a compare and contrast essay, apply to Pro-Papers team for help. Our writers will gladly make a quality and thorough research and craft a unique paper for you.

If you consider yourself a writing guru and are thinking about skipping this part of the article, there is one thing you should understand. Even having outstanding writing skills does not guarantee writing a good compare and contrast essay. They are surely important and will be handy in the case, however, without an adequate preparation to the writing process, there is a pretty high chance you are going to be lost in your own paper 5 minutes after starting it. Thus, having an understanding of how to write a good compare and contrast essay and how to prepare to write it is crucial. And you will surely be glad to know that there are specific recommendations you can follow to gain such an understanding.

Firstly, it is recommended to brainstorm the topic. It is not that easy to choose the topic and to proceed to the thesis. You will need some time to thoroughly think about the things you are going to contrast. Once you’ve chosen a topic, compose a list of characteristics of each subject you are going to write a paper on.

Usually, a student should understand what kind of action he/she is about to accomplish: whether it is necessary to show only differences or produce the paper revealing all details – differences and similarities. As a rule, a person should follow one specific formatting style that determines the necessity of tailoring a title page, abstract, introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion, etc. In addition, a particular formatting style determines rules of quoting and referencing used sources. Keep this in mind while researching how to do a compare and contrast essay. All these points may be evaluated by your professor or teacher upon the paper submission.

Further, a writer should study objects, topics questions to be compared and/or contrasted in details and fill in gaps in knowledge on that topics. After that, it is important to introduce a general topic to the readers and then, offer a specific, more narrow topic that you, as an author, are about to develop. A thesis statement should follow right after the specific topic introduction to put potential readers into the picture of the college compare and contrast essay.

In fact, a thesis can take various directions, but the most important thing is that it should explain the point of comparing the chosen subjects.

Body paragraphs go on developing a discussion opened in the introduction. As a rule, it is more interesting for readers to learn about differences and similarities that aren’t apparent at first glance or unknown at all. Readers will certainly appreciate your attempt to lift the veil of mystery of the compared things. If the questions' research is next to impossible due to their extremely narrow scientific nature, it is highly recommended to ask for the help of the people who specialize in this particular sphere and can actually advise you something. When the comparison is completed, do not forget to tailor logical conclusion that sums up all your previous statements and serves the purpose of the essay, for example.

Note that it is impossible to learn how to write a college essay qualitatively if you do not focus on structuring the work correctly from the very beginning. Your paper has to be based on the outline that you should create once you do some research on the chosen topic. There are many ways to structure the paper, and everything depends on you. Just keep in mind that your ideas should be logical, clear and understandable for any reader, so it is important to provide detailed explanations, although not too lengthy ones. When it comes to structure, compare and contrast essay samples for college will allow you to see the ways to organize the paper. Some of them describe the one subject first and then the other one. Others just switch between points and describe the differences one by one. You can also describe the similarities firstly and the differences afterward. It is completely up to you to decide what would be the best option for your paper.

Another important detail of any good compare and contrast essay is grammatical and spelling correctness in every possible way. Thus, be sure to proofread your work and correct possible drawbacks and mistakes.

Experience has proven that many students are not good at comparing or contrasting things; some of them just aren't attentive enough to notice things that others usually notice easily. That is why so many students go online to find any adequate and timely assistance with their assignments, or even a couple of templates to see how this whole task looks like. Pro-Papers offers help with compare and contrast essay if you experience any difficulties trying to deal with homework. All the papers we provide are plagiarism-free, and all the information about a client is fully confidential. We have many writers who know their trade well enough to guarantee the best quality of works. Thus, get rid of doubts, and get your paper done by professionals in a few clicks! Place the order with Pro-Papers, and let us prepare a stellar academic work for you!

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