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Compare and contrast essays

Compare and contrast essays are common academic assignments that are either written as a stand-alone essay or are part of a larger essay which has several paragraphs. These essays explain how two things are similar and different. When you contextualise comparison, it refers to the description of similarities that exist between two subjects. When you contrast the two subjects, give explanations that show their differences. Some examples of compare and contrast essays can have such patterns.

All compare and contrast essays deal with different topics coming from diverse subject areas. For you to decide what you include in this essay, you must consider relevance. It is essential in determining the characteristics that are worth comparing and contrasting. With a good thesis statemnt5, you will be able to determine the relevance of facts or lack thereof. As such, you must formulate a strong thesis statement.

Comparison and contrast essays apply to everyday life. People use it to compare experiences, people, and products and so on. Therefore, it seems fairly natural and straightforward way of thinking. However, for no clear reason, comparison and contrast become hard in writing, especially if one tries to force it into a five-paragraph essay. Maybe it would become much easier if the purpose and organisation of this essay were put under review.

Purpose

Most comparison and contrast essays serve many purposes as well as develop different tones. The purpose of this essay concerns the following aspects:

  • Evaluation
    The purpose here is to which of two items is the best or the most desirable. In this case, the comparison focuses on the advantages of one item and the disadvantages of the other. It treats the two items as if they are competing. The tone may become more argumentative especially if the writer is trying to prove that his evaluation or judgement is correct. In other examples of compare and contrast essays, some writers try to maintain objectivity by remaining neutral in this comparison and to them, it does not matter which item is the best.
  • Understanding
    The writer tries to get a clear picture of the items, people, or events by comparing and contrasting them with other items, people, or events that are similar to them. This kind of purpose does not view anything as superior to the others. The tine is seldom argumentative is the purpose is to show understanding and appreciation. The writer maintains objectivity towards all the items irrespective of whether it is negative or positive.

Organization

All comparison and contrast essays mostly follow one of the two organisational patterns. If the items under comparison are similar and the focus is only on the few characteristics or criteria, the writer uses the point-by-point pattern, also known as an organisation by criteria. When the items under comparison are not similar or when there are many criteria to consider, the point-by-point is not applicable. The presence of many criteria breaks the essay into many pieces for easy reading. In this case, the block comparison, also known as the organisation by item applies.

  • Point-by-point comparison
    This explores all the similarities or differences between each item. You have to provide a clear introduction and a thesis statement that not only identifies the major differences and similarities but also answers the “what?” question.
    Every material in this type of comparison must be synthesised and organised logically. Your paper must conclude with a summary and analysis of the findings, reminding the audience of the relationships that you have noted between the two subjects.
  • Block format
    This comparison deals with subject A exhaustively and then moves to do the same for subject B. this format can culminate to two separate papers that are joined by a simple and awkward transition. To create a seamless and unified paper while using this format, consider the following tips:
    Your introduction should be clear and so should your thesis statement. This statement must spell out the significant differences and similarities you will be discussing and must answer the “what?” question.
    The ‘pepper’ references to the two topics throughout your essay where appropriate.
    The two sections should link with a strong transition that shows the relationships between the subjects. Remind the reader about your thesis statement and summarise the major points about subject A and a snapshot of the points you will discuss on Subject B.
    Your conclusion should summarise and analyse the findings, reminding the audience of the relationships you have identified between subject A and subject B.

How to write a compare-and-contrast essay

The purpose such assignment is to analyse the differences and the similarities between two subjects. A good essay does not merely point out the similarities and differences; instead, it makes good use of this point to make a sound argument about the two subjects. Check examples of compare and contrast essays to ascertain this. It can be somewhat intimidating to deal with this kind of an essay, but you need not worry. A little practice is all that matters to write a great compare and contrast paper. This is how you go about it.

  • Formulating your argument
    When formulating your compare and contrast essays argument, pick two subjects that are adequately different to be compared. They can come from the same category but have noticeable differences.
    You can also settle on two subjects that are seemingly different but have a surprising similarity. You can also settle of two seemingly familiar subjects but in actual sense, they are different. Ensure that the subjects can elicit a meaningful discussion. By meaningful, you transcend pointing out differences and help the reader in understanding the importance of putting the two subjects together. You have to consider the “what?” question when determining if your subjects have meaningful comparisons and contrasts.
    Move to the brainstorming stage of your topic and think about their similarities and differences. This will assist you in settling on the major points for your essay.
    Consider your major points that you think are particularly important. Then go ahead and develop your thesis that explains why it is importance to put the two subjects together. you can use examples of compare and contrast essays as a guide.
    Show the audience why the why one subject is more important than the other is and help them make meaningful comparisons between the two. Show the audience the similarities and the differences between the two subjects.
  • Organizing your essay
    Select the structure that works best for your compare and contrast essays. The organisation of your essay is subject to change if you are not satisfied with the one you are using. You can use a subject-by-subject structure that deals with points of topic A and moves to points of topic B. feel free to use point-by-point, which switches back and forth between the points. You have to ensure that there are transitions and signposts between points when using this format. This helps in preventing confusion. You can also use compare and contrast format, which presents all the comparisons first, and then all the contrasts follow. This is particularly helpful when you want to show the differences between your subjects.
    However, the audience might fail to notice when the two subjects are being contrasted if all the similarities come first.
  • Outline your essay
    This helps you in working out the main organisational structure and gives you a template that you can use while developing your idea. The following types of paragraphs must be there irrespective of how you want to organise your ideas.
    • The introduction
      It comes first and presents the fundamental information about the subjects to be compared and contrasted. It should present your thesis to the reader and the direction that your essay is going to take.
    • Body Paragraphs
      This is the flesh of your essay that provides details and evidence to corroborate your claims. Each paragraph of the essay should tackle a single idea that connects with the central idea. It should also present evidence and examples that prove your thesis statement. Use as many paragraphs as you can to prove your thesis statement.
    • Acknowledgement of competitive arguments or the concession
      This is the acknowledgement of the existence of contradicting arguments. This paragraph discusses their inapplicability and flaws.
    • Conclusion
      This summarises the evidence you have presented in the compare and contrast essays. It restates thesis statement in a manner that gives more information or sophistication that the introduction could not achieve. In fact, your audience has all the information they need concerning the solidity of your argument. You need to end it powerfully.
Once you are done writing, revise your paper for any mistakes. Proofread and edit out anything that is inconsistent with your thesis statement. Make your paper presentable to your audience, which in this case is your instructor.
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