A comparative essay about historical events, social issues, or science-related topics are more likely to require research, while a comparison of two works of literature are less likely to require research.
Develop a thesis statement. Every essay should be controlled by a clear, concise thesis statement. Even if your basis for comparison was assigned to you, you need to express in a single sentence why you are comparing the two items. The comparison should reveal something about the nature of the items or their relationship to each other, and your thesis statement should express that argument. It's good for this claim to be a bit controversial or up for interpretation, as this allows you to build a good argument.
Before you start writing, it is best to plan out your organization strategy. A unique feature of a comparative essay is that you have several different organizational strategies to choose from.
Use a traditional outline form if you would like to, but even a simple list of bulleted points in the order that you plan to present them would help. You can also write down your main points on sticky notes or type them, print them, and then cut them out so that you can arrange and rearrange them before deciding on a final order. Use a mixed paragraphs method.
Address both halves of the comparison in each paragraph. This means that the first paragraph will compare the first aspect of each subject, the second will compare the second, and so on, making sure to always address the subjects in the same order. This method is especially recommended for lengthy essays or complicated subjects where both the writer and reader can easily become lost.
Alternate the subjects in each paragraph. Devote every other paragraph to one of the subjects. This means that the first paragraph will compare one aspect of a subject and the second, the same aspect of the other subject; the third paragraph will compare a second aspect of a subject and the fourth, the same aspect of the second subject — and so on, making sure to always address each subject in the same order.
This method is especially recommended for essays where some depth and detail are required. Engine power of vehicle X Paragraph 2: Engine power of vehicle Y Paragraph 3: Stylishness of vehicle X Paragraph 4: Stylishness of vehicle Y Paragraph 5: Safety rating of vehicle X Paragraph 6: Safety rating of vehicle Y.
Cover one subject at a time thoroughly. This means that the first set of body paragraphs is devoted to addressing every aspect of the first subject and the second set, to addressing every aspect of the second subject, making sure to address each aspect in the same order.
This method is only recommended for short essays with simplistic subjects that the reader can easily remember as s he goes along. Stylishness of vehicle X Paragraph 3: Safety rating of vehicle X Paragraph 4: Engine power of vehicle Y Paragraph 5: Stylishness of vehicle Y Paragraph 6: Write your essay out of order. In many cases, writing your essay from start to finish is harder than writing it out of order. Also, you'll likely find yourself revising the early parts of your essay once you complete the body of the paper.
Instead, you can opt to write your sections out of order. However, you always need to write your thesis statement before you can get started. Work through all that information you've been compiling and see what kind of story it tells you.
Only when you've worked with your data will you know what the larger point of the paper is. Now that you've done all the heavy lifting, the point of your essay should be fresh in your mind.
Start your conclusion with a restatement of your thesis. Open your introduction with a "hook" to grab the reader's attention. Since you've already written your essay, choose a hook that reflects what you will talk about, whether it's a quote, statistic, factoid, rhetorical question, or anecdote.
Then, write sentences about your topic, narrowing down to your thesis statement, which completes your introduction. Write the body paragraphs. Organize your paragraphs using one of the approaches listed in the "Organizing the Content" part below.
Once you have defined your points of comparison, choose the structure for the body paragraphs where your comparisons go that makes the most sense for your data. Be very careful not to address different aspects of each subject. Comparing the color of one thing to the size of another does nothing to help the reader understand how they stack up. The conclusion should open by giving a brief, general summary of the points you covered in the body paragraphs, then draw a larger conclusion about your two subjects.
The last sentence of the essay should leave the reader feeling that all the different threads of the essay have been drawn together in a cohesive way. If necessary, make the parameters of your argument more specific.
Start with a general point that establishes the similarity between the two subjects, then move to the specific focus of the essay. At the end of the introduction, write a thesis statement that first announces which aspects of each subject you plan to compare and then states what conclusion you've drawn from them.
If time is not an issue, the best way to revise your work is to leave it for a day. Once you settle down to revise, remember that the two most important things to do are to find problems and to fix them. These should be done separately i.
Although it is tempting to do them at the same time, it is smarter to do them one by one; this ensures you have checked everything and, ultimately, makes the job quicker and more efficient. Even the best writers know editing is important to produce a good piece.
Both methods flow better when you transition smoothly from one section to the next. Examples of phrases that emphasize comparisons and help transition include "on the contrary," "conversely," "compared to" and "similarly.
All of these topic sentences and points of comparison should fit under the thesis you established in the introduction.
State each point in specific terms rather than generic observations. Instead of saying one gym has a better atmosphere than another, for example, you might explain how the better gym offers clean facilities with a wide range of equipment that is arranged to allow ample space and flow of traffic. Conclude the essay with a recap of the thesis statement and reasons the reader should care.
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement. How to Write a Position Paper. Rules of Expository Writing. How to Write a Comparison or a Contrast Paragraph. Show readers why one subject is more desirable than the other.
If your teacher recommends this form, go for it. However, you should be aware that especially in college, teachers and professors tend to want students to break out of this limited mode. Decide on a structure. There are several ways to organize a compare-and-contrast essay. Which one you choose depends on what works best for your ideas. This organization deals with all of the points about Topic A, then all of the points of Topic B.
For example, you could discuss all your points about frozen pizza in as many paragraphs as necessary , then all your points about homemade pizza. This type of organization switches back and forth between points. For example, you could first discuss the prices of frozen pizza vs. The disadvantage is that you do switch back and forth between topics, so you need to make sure that you use transitions and signposts to lead your reader through your argument.
This organization presents all the comparisons first, then all the contrasts. Putting the contrasts last places the emphasis on them.
However, it can be more difficult for your readers to immediately see why these two subjects are being contrasted if all the similarities are first. Outlining your essay will help you work out the main organizational structure and will give you a template to follow as you develop your ideas.
No matter how you decided to organize your essay, you will still need to have the following types of paragraphs: This paragraph comes first and presents the basic information about the subjects to be compared and contrasted.
It should present your thesis and the direction of your essay i. These are the meat of your essay, where you provide the details and evidence that support your claims. Each different section or body paragraph should tackle a different division of proof. It should provide and analyze evidence in order to connect those proofs to your thesis and support your thesis. Many middle-school and high-school essays may only require three body paragraphs, but use as many as is necessary to fully convey your argument.
This paragraph acknowledges that other counter-arguments exist, but discusses how those arguments are flawed or do not apply.
This paragraph summarizes the evidence presented. It will restate the thesis, but usually in a way that offers more information or sophistication than the introduction could. Take it to the next level! Outline your body paragraphs based on subject-to-subject comparison. Let's say you're working with the following statement: This method of organization can be unwieldy, so if you choose it, be sure not to let your paragraphs become page-long lists of points about each subject. A subject-to-subject body paragraph outline could look like this: Body Paragraph 1 Woods: Types of Activities and Facilities Conclusion.
Outline your body paragraphs based on point-by-point comparison. This is the more common method used in the comparison and contrast essay. For example, in this case, you could write one paragraph describing the weather in both the woods and the beach, one paragraph describing the activities in each location, and a third describing the facilities in both.
Here's how the essay could look: Discuss first difference between woods and beaches: Woods Beach Body Paragraph 2: Discuss second difference between woods and beaches: Woods Beach Body Paragraph 3: Discuss third difference between woods and beaches: Outline your body paragraphs based on compare then contrast. This type of organization works best for when you want to emphasize the contrasts between your subjects. First, you discuss how your subjects are similar. Introduction Body Paragraph 1: Similarity between woods and beaches both are places with a wide variety of things to do Body Paragraph 2: First difference between woods and beaches they have different climates Body Paragraph 3: Second difference between woods and beaches there are more easily accessible woods than beaches in most parts of the country Body Paragraph 4: Emphasis on the superiority of the woods to the beach Conclusion.
Organize your individual body paragraphs. Once you've chosen an organizational method for your body paragraphs, you'll need to have an internal organization for the body paragraphs themselves.
Each of your body paragraphs will need to have the three following elements: This sentence introduces the main idea and subject of the paragraph. It can also provide a transition from the ideas in the previous paragraph.
These sentences provide concrete evidence that support the topic sentence and main idea. Use your brainstorming ideas to fill in your outline.
Look at the lists and diagrams you generated to help you find the evidence for your comparisons and contrasts. If you are having trouble finding evidence to support your argument, go back to your original texts and try the brainstorming process again. It could be that your argument is evolving past where it started, which is good! You just need to go back and look for further evidence.
For example, in a body paragraph about the quality of ingredients in frozen vs. It can also let you express your imagination. Pineapple and peanut butter pizza?
Using your own ingredients lets you have fun with your food. Come up with a title. Depending on your audience and the situation, you may make a joke or a pun, ask a question, or provide a summary of your main point.
List of Compare and Contrast Essay Topics. Comparison Essay Structure. Considering the right structure for your essay is one of the key points of success. Sticking to a recommended essay structure is the only way to properly outline and write it, paragraph by paragraph from the introduction to conclusion, without mistakes. There are two .
Sep 03, · How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay. The purpose of a compare and contrast essay is to analyze the differences and/or the similarities of two distinct subjects. A good compare/contrast essay doesn't only point out 87%().
home / writing resources / strategies for essay writing / How to Write a Comparative Analysis Throughout your academic career, you'll be asked to write papers in which you compare and contrast two things: two texts, two theories, two historical figures, two scientific processes, and so on. A comparison and contrast essay dissects two related ideas. Like any essay, this paper needs a clear thesis, but the body focuses on specific traits that are similar or comparable, and different or contrasting, between the two ideas.