Academic Writing Complete Guide

Compare and contrast essays

Compare discusses elements that are similar while contrast deals with elements that are dissimilar. In a compare and contrast essay, the writer has to analyses two subjects through comparison and contrast. The best way to write his essay is to choose subjects that relate in a meaningful; way. The idea of using compare and contrast is to transcend beyond the superficial and illuminate the subtle differences or similarities are that are seemingly unnoticeable.

Writing this essay can be a little bit intimidating, but with a careful approach to the instruction and a little practice, it is easy to write a very effective compare and contrast essay.

Formulating your argument

  • Settle on two subjects that can elicit meaningful comparison and contrast
    The first step to writing a good compare and contrast essay is to choose a subject that can be compared and contrasted. The subjects must be different enough, and there are several things you have to take into account:

    • You can choose two subjects belonging in the same category but have significant differences
    • You can also pick subjects that do not appear as similar but have surprising similarity with each other.
    • You can also pick subjects that appear to be the same, but in a real sense, they are not.

    All this depends on the choice that you make, ensure that what you settle for will culminate in an effective compare and contrast essay.

  • Confirm that your subjects can elicit an evocative debate
    Evocative compare and contrast go beyond pointing out the similarities of point A and point B. it helps the audience to understand the usefulness of instead of putting the two subjects together. It will help to think about the “So what?” question when you are ascertaining that your subject can elicit a meaningful discussion.
  • Brainstorm your topic
    Its hard f to jump from selecting your topic to formulating your thesis statement. You need a little time to brainstorm all the similarities and the differences between the subjects that you have chosen. This is essential in identifying the major points that you want to deal with in your essay. These points will also be essential when you are formulating your thesis statement.

    • Consider using a Venn diagram whey oy are brainstorming. The set of overlapping circles will help you to visualize the similarities of your subjects, and where they differ, the outer edge of the circle signifies the differences where the overlapping middle area denotes the similarities.
    • You can also enumerate all the qualities or characteristics of every subject. Once you have done that, start combing through the list for characteristics that are shared by both subjects. You have to note major points of differences between the two subjects.
  • Consider your major points
    The goal of your essay is not to provide a list of all the differences and similarities of t each subject. As such, you are supposed to select a few points that stand out and are particularly important. For instance, if you are comparing and contrasting cats and dogs, the similarity is that they are both household pets, easy to adapt and do not have any special needs. These are similarities.

    You might also note that dogs are less independent than cats, but they do not provoke many allergies as compared to cats. When it comes to size, cats do not grow as big and dogs. All these are the differences that you can use to contrast both subjects. What makes one a superiors pet than the other? What is that best choice for a household pet between the two?
  • Develop your thesis
    A compare and contrast essay can take any direction you wish. However, it should have a point that explains the usefulness of putting the two subjects together in the first place. For instance, you can show the audience why one subject is better than the other. You have to assist the reader in making the best and meaningful comparison between the two subjects. Show them the similarities between the two subjects and different.

Organizing your essay

  • Choose a structure that works for your
    There are several ways that are applicable when deciding on the best stricture of your compare and contrast essay. The one you choose must work best with every idea that you have. Consider the following strictures
    • Subject by subject - this helps you to organize the points about topic A exhaustively and then moving to the points about topic B. The advantage of this structure is that you do not jump back and forth between topics. The essay is much smoother. It is also helpful when you are using one subject as the prism of examining the other subject. The downside is that the comparisons and contrasts do not become evident until further in your essay. It can end up looking like an enumeration of points.
    • Point by point – when using this structure, you switch back and forth between points. For instance, you can discuss the characteristics of the subject each at a time. The advantage is that it is a clear way to compare and contrast. The downside is that switching back and forth between topic demands you to use transitions and signposts to guide your audience through the argument
    • Compare and contrast - this structure presents all the comparisons first and then moves to the contrasts. It is a common way of structuring your essay and is helps fully especially if you want to emphasize on the differences of your subjects. When you put the contrast last, the emphasis should be on them. However, to ca present a challenge to the audience immediately they see the reasons for contrasting if all the similarities came first.

Outline your essay

When you prepare an outline for your essay, you are able to develop your ideas. Irrespective of the organization of your essay, the following paragraphs must be there:

  • Introduction
    This is the first paragraph that presents the basic information that concerns your essay. It is supposed to present your thesis statement, which is the direction of your essay.
  • Body Paragraphs
    This is where you provide the details and evidence to support your argument. Every paragraph in the body of your essay must take a different idea and proof. You have to analyze the evidence and connect the proofs to your thesis statement. The number of points that you are arguing determines the length of your body paragraph.
  • Concession
    This paragraph shows the acknowledgment of other counter arguments. However, it pokes holes on these arguments to show how they are flawed as well as their inapplicability.
  • Conclusion
    This is where you summarize your evidence in the essay. You restate the essay using other words but in a way that is sophisticated and informational as opposed to the introduction. Remember that you have equipped the audience with every bit of information necessary, so they know your argument is solid. This is where you take your thesis to the next level.

Combining your essay

  • Fill in your outline with the brainstorming ideas you have
    Since you have the outline, you will be able to find evidence for your argument. The list and the diagrams you have generated are essential in finding the appropriate evidence for your essay. Should you face difficulties at these points, your original text will suffice.
  • Remember to expound on the “Why?”
    Do to let the comparisons and contrast speak for them. Explain their usefulness and importance of putting them together does not give a list of Topic A and Topic B in terms of similarities and differences. You have to remind the readers of your evidence and arguments
  • Formulate a title
    Use the title to preview something about the argument of your paper. You can make a joke, pun, ask a question, or summarize a point, but this depends on the kind of audience that you are addressing.
  • Take some time off
    One of the mistakes that writers do is to not allocate enough time to relax from the writing process. Take some time off from work and relax. When you come back, you will have a fresh perspective on the essay. You will be able to locate mistakes in logic and the structure. Reads your essay around to find these problems.
  • Review your compare and contrast essay
    You have to identify any grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and incorrect punctuations. You also need to look out for repetitive ideas as well as confusing paraphrasing. Look out for defamatory language that shows why one subject is unfavorable. You should use solid evidence to prove that. You also need to avoid writing in first person pronouns unless it is a requirement. In most formal academic papers, the first person pronoun is not applicable as such.

    Proofread your work and correct any mistake that relates to grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Let another person go through your work and provide necessary feedback. Go through your essay carefully and correct any remaining errors. Prepare your final draft, submit your compare, and contrast essay to your instructor.

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