Comparitive contrast essay

Find out how to write a compare and contrast essay and understand the difference between block and point-by-point structure.
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Compare or Contrast Essay

Type of paper Essay. Academic level Undergraduate. Deadline 14 days. A compare and contrast essay is one of the easiest essays one can write. This paper is present in most academic settings and careers; hence most people will come across it at one point. Compare and contrast essays simply ask one to identify the similarities and differences between two or more concepts, ideas, items or things. Depending on the instructions given and complexity of the subject, the essay may give a shallow or in-depth analysis of the similarities and differences. It may also require one to establish new connections as far as the items being compared and contrasted are concerned.

The objective of a compare and contrast essay goes beyond making the mere identification of similarities and differences. It entails making substantive arguments about the subjects being discussed. This may sound intimidating but all it takes is practice, and you will be able to write a good compare and contrast essay. This article will take you through the steps on how to write a good compare and contrast essay. The Structure of Good Compare and Contrast Essays A good compare and contrast essay usually take two forms: Block Structure With this structure, all pertinent information about one of the concepts is presented first, then the other concept is presented afterward.

It is similar to the structure used in a cause and effect essay where the causes are presented first and their effects later. Point by Point Structure With this structure, the similarities and differences of one concept are given and followed by the similarities and differences of the other concept.

With reference to the prompt, pick two concepts or subjects that can be easily compared and contrasted. You could settle on two subjects that fall under the same category but have quite distinct differences. For example, Home cooked food vs. For example the feeding habits of humans and pigs. At face value, these two mammals appear to have different feeding habits but are all omnivores.

Lastly, you can choose two subjects that may appear similar at face value but are quite different.


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For example, when talking about a book and its movie version. After settling on one of the above, the next step is to make sure that both subjects can be analyzed substantively. Or, if you are examining a person, like a president, pick another president for comparison or contrast.

Don't try to compare a president and a cab driver, or existentialism and a legislative bill on car tax refunds. Listing characteristics Divide a piece of paper into two sides. One side is for the first subject, the other for the second subject. Then, begin to list the similarities and differences that immediately come to mind. Concentrate on characteristics that either are shared or are opposing between the two subjects. Alternately, you may construct a Venn diagram of intersecting circles, listing the subjects' differences to either side and their similarities where the circles intersect.

Keep in mind that for a balanced paper, you want to make point-by-point, parallel comparisons or contrasts. Similarities between my math and English instructors: Both are welcoming and available to students.

The Purpose of Comparison and Contrast in Writing

Both are organized and keep a neat office. Both are knowledgeable and professional. Differences between my math and English instructors Math teacher listens to classic rock. English teacher listens to jazz. Math teacher drinks Earl Grey tea. English teacher drinks strong black coffee. Math teacher likes to chat about movies.

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Down and Dirty Tips: Compare or Contrast Essay: Home

English teacher sticks to business. As you create your list, is it clear why you are comparing and contrasting these two subjects? Do you have a preference for one or the other? If so, make sure you are evaluating each side fairly. A point-by-point list helps you maintain balance. Once you have a list, decide whether there are more similarities or differences between the topics.

If there are more similarities, concentrate your paper on comparing. If there are more differences or if, as in the example above, the differences are simply more interesting , concentrate on contrasting.

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If there is a balance of similarities and differences, you might concentrate on discussing this balance. Imagine you are examining Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant, both Civil War generals. In your list you have uncovered important points of dissimilarity between them. Those points are their background, personalities, and underlying aspirations. Call these three points A, B, and C.


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You have decided to contrast the two subjects. Here is one way to organize the body of this paper, addressing points A, B, and C for each subject. This paper will follow parallel order—A, B, and then C—for each subject:.