Academic Writing Complete Guide

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

In a comparison and contrast essay, you are analyzing two subjects regarding their similarities and their differences. Sometimes these essays can only be comparative, but that depends on the instructions provided and vice versa. It can also take both comparison and contrast. When you are comparing and contrasting, you must use the elements to formulate a meaningful understanding of the subject. At times, it can seem daunting at first, but if you practice, it can be the easiest assignment that you will ever deal with.

Another reason for comparing and contrasting is to illuminate the subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects. Drawing the distinctions between elements that are in the same category will help the audience to infer good understanding in that category.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

Forming your argument

When formulating your argument, try considering the following aspects:

  • Choose two subjects that can be compared and contrasted
    The success of your comparison and contrast essay depends on the subjects that you choose. The two must have comparative and contrast aspects. They also have to be different. When choosing your subjects, they can come from the same category. For instance, you can choose homemade food versus food from a restaurant. You also can pick two subjects that are seemingly not common but have a surprising similarity. For instance, if you pick bats and whales, you can consider their sizes. One flies and is tiny whereas the other one is humongous and swims, but they both use sonar when hunting. You can also pick two subjects that appear to be the same at face value but have surprising differences. For instance, watching Game of Thrones versus reading the books
  • Ensure that your subjects can elicit meaningful discussion
    Meaningful discussion implies that the writer will go beyond pointing out the differences and similarities of topic A and Topic B. if you want your essay to be effective, you must assist the readers to understand the usefulness of putting the two subjects together. You have to examine the lessons that the two subjects portend and what the audience would miss out if the two subjects were considered separately. When writing this type of essay, you have to consider the “So what? “question. This will assist you in deciding whether the two subjects have meaningful comparisons and contrasts. In other words, you are justifying your reason to put the two subjects together.
  • Brainstorming your topic
    You cannot just jump from deciding on the topic of your compare and contrast essay to writing your thesis statement. Think about your topic and the similarities and differences that it presents. This move is important in identifying the major points that you want to deal with. This will be a good way to formulate a good and strong thesis statement. When brainstorming, you can make use of a Venn diagram. This set of overlapping circles will assist you in seeing the similarities between the two subjects as well as their differences. The outer edges of the circle will represent what is different, and the overlapping middle area will represent the similarities. You can also enumerate all the qualities and traits of each subject. Once you have done that, go through this list and identify the similarities between the two subjects. At this point, you can note the significant differences.
  • Consider your major points
    There is a chance that you will be unable to provide a list of similarities and differences between the two subjects in your essay because of course, that is not the major goal here. However, you can choose a few points that are very significant. For instance, cats and dogs are household pets and easy to adopt since they do not have special needs. This can be a point of comparison.
    Cats are more independent than dogs. As opposed to cats, dogs are less susceptible to allergies and that cats do not get as big as dogs. These two points are essential when you are contrasting both pets.
    You can start thinking about your thesis statement from that perspective. Can the differences make one animal more superior than the other does, or can they inform a better choice for a pet in a special living situation? Such questions can peg your idea for a thesis statement.
  • Developing your thesis
    In a compare and contrast essay, the development of the thesis statement can take any direction, but the primary goal is to show the audience whey it is significant to put the two subjects together. You have to show why one subject is more desirable than the other is. For instance, you can say that cats are better than dos since they require less maintenance, they are more independent and adaptable.
    You should assist the audience in making a meaningful comparison between the two subjects. For instance, if you are comparing two cities, you can tell the audience why the two cities are great, but one portends more job opportunities for the youth than the other.
    Show the audience the similarities and differences between the two subjects. In college essay writing, the instructor will want the student to break away from the 56-paragraph essay and discuss exhaustively, the points that one has.

Structuring your comparison and contrast essay

  • Deciding on the structure
    Comparison and contrast essay can be organized in several ways. The structure of this essay, however, deeds on how the writer wants to discuss his ideas. The organization of your essay is subject to change especially if you do not find the first structure effective. You can arrange your essay in the following structure:

Subject by subject – here, you will deal with all the aspects of subject A exhaustively, and then proceed to the aspects of subject B.

Point-by-point – in this instance, you switch back and forth between points. The advantage is that whatever you are comparing becomes clearer and the downside is that you switch back and forth between points and you have to ensure that the transitions and signposts guide your audience through the main argument.

Compare and contrast – you present all the comparisons first and then proceed to the differences

Outlining your essay

With an outline, you will be able to work out the organizational structure to direct the development of your ideas. Irrespective of the organization you choose, it must have the following paragraphs:

  • The introduction
    It is the first paragraph that presents the basic information concerning the two subjects that you are comparing and contrasting. It also introduces your thesis statement to your audience.
  • The body paragraphs
    They are the flesh of your comparison and contrast essays. It provides the details and evidence that supports your thesis statement. You can use many paragraphs can provide they hall have topic sentences, supported by several sentences. The topic sentence must have a clear connection to the thesis statement. Transitions within the body paragraphs will also help the audience to follow your thought progression.
  • Acknowledgment of competitive argument
    This is the acknowledgment of the existence of other contradicting arguments. However, it pokes holes into these arguments and shows their inapplicability.
  • Conclusion
    This is where you summarize the evidence that in the body of your essay, as well as restating your thesis statement. This should offer more information or sophistication that what the introduction could achieve. Now that the audience has all the information you gave them, do not reword your thesis statement, you have to take it a notch higher. An important aspect to note here is that you cannot introduce new information, facts, or evidence at the conclusion. This will negate the purpose of that paragraph, which is to give the audience, the necessary closure to your argument.
compare and contrast essay writing

Reviewing your essay

Once you have finished writing your piece, you have to look out for any inconsistency in grammar, punctuation, spelling, confusing phrasing, as well as repetitive ideas. The paper that you aim to submit must be balanced. Consider the following before you submit your work:

  • You should refrain from bias
    You are not supposed to use derogatory or defamatory language to depict the irrelevance of a subject. Instead, make good use of the evidence to prove your points.
  • Avoid using first person pronoun unless it is a requirement
    If your instructor encourages you to use the ‘I’ and ‘you’ in your comparative and comparison essay, then use it. However, if it is not a requirement of the assignment, refrain from using it.
  • Proofread your work
    You have to check for spelling mistakes, grammatical mistakes, as well as punctuation. This is achieved by carefully reading your essay severally to ensure it conforms to the grammar rules. If you are not sure about your proofreading skills, get another person to do it for you.

Writing a comparison and contrast essays is not hard, but the trick lies in how you choose your subject. The process of coming up with a good academic essay might seem complex, but if you employ the above tips, your wiring will be much more of a smooth sail.


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