In a comparison essay, you compare things. The subjects of this kind of essay are two ideas that are related in some way. You can focus on the similarities between the two things, on the differences, or on both the similarities and the differences. Your goal is to show your readers how these subjects are similar or different, what their strengths and weaknesses are, or what their advantages and disadvantages are. Like other essays, the comparison essay has an introductory paragraph that contains a hook and a thesis statement, three or four body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.
Patterns of Organization There are two basic ways to organize a comparison essay, the block method and the point-by-point method:
Block Method With the block method, you present one subject and all its points of comparison before you do the same for the second subject. With this organization, you discuss each subject completely without interruption. The following is an example of the organization of a comparison essay about the social behavior of Russians and Americans.
hook, thesis statement
Russian social behavior
American social behavior
restated thesis, opinion
With the point-by-point method, you present both subjects under one point of comparison before moving on to the next point. The following is an example of the topic of the social behavior of Russians and Americans, organized with the point-by-point method.
This course requires that you write according to the Point-by-Point method which entails an introduction, three body paragraphs and a conclusion.
Example of a Comparison Essay
Not As Different As You Think
All countries in the world are unique. They are different from one another in location, size, culture, government, climate, and lifestyles. However, many countries share similarities. Some may think that because Brazil and the United States are in different hemispheres, these two nations have nothing in common. On the contrary, they share many similarities.
One important similarity is their size. Both Brazil and the United States are large countries. Brazil covers almost half of the South American continent. Few Brazilians can say that they have traveled extensively within its borders. Because of Brazil's large size, its weather varies greatly from one area to another. Like Brazil, the United States takes up a significant portion of its continent (North America), so most Americans have visited only a few of the fifty states. In addition, the United States has a wide range of climates. While the Northeast is experiencing snowstorms, cities like Miami, Florida, can have temperatures over 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another similarity between Brazil and the United States is the diversity of ethnic groups. Brazil was colonized by Europeans, and its culture has been greatly influenced by this fact. However, the identity of the Brazilian people is not solely a product of Western, civilization. Brazil is a "melting pot" of many ethnic groups that immigrated there and mixed with the native people. The United States also has a diversity of ethnic groups representing the early colonists from northern Europe as well as groups from Africa, the Mediterranean, Asia, and South America. The mixture of cultures and customs has worked to form ethnically rich cultures in both countries.
Finally, individualism is an important value for both Brazilians and Americans. Brazil works hard to defend the concept of freedom of choice. Citizens believe that they have the right to do and be whatever they desire as long as they do not hurt others. Individualism and freedom of choice also exist in the United States where freedom is perhaps the highest value of the people. Some may believe that the desire for individual expression is divisive and can make a country weak. However, the ability of people to be whatever they want makes both countries strong.
To conclude, although Brazil and the United States are unique countries, there are remarkable similarities in their size, ethnic groups, and personal values. Some people tend to believe that their culture and country are without equal. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that people as a whole have more in common than they generally think they do.
Example of a Contrast Essay
Education in the East and the West
Americans have often asked me why I came from Taiwan to study in the United States. They expect me to say something like "to learn English." However, to me, coming here to study involves more than just learning English. It involves an opportunity to experience a completely different educational system. Because I have studied in both countries, I have seen several areas in which education in Taiwan and education in the United States are different.
Students' expectations in the classroom in Taiwan are different from those in the United States. Generally speaking, Taiwanese students are quieter and participate less in class. They are not encouraged to express their ideas unless asked. They are taught that asking teachers a question is seen as a challenge to the teacher's authority. There is little emphasis on developing student creativity and thinking skills. Students are expected to memorize everything they are assigned. However, in the United States the curriculum emphasizes individual thinking, group discussion, and self-expression. Unlike their Taiwanese counterparts, American students are encouraged to ask questions express their own opinions, and think for themselves.
In addition, there is a great disparity in the educational goals of Taiwanese and American schools. After twelve years of compulsory education, Taiwanese students have to pass an entrance exam in order to get into a university. The higher students score on this test, the better the university they can enter. Taiwanese culture puts a strong emphasis on university admission because getting into the right university can guarantee future success. As a result, schools often "teach to the test" instead of providing more moral, social, and physical education. In contrast, the goals of the American educational system include teaching students how to learn and helping them reach their maximum potential. American teachers give their students the freedom to think and solve problems on their own; they do not merely prepare students to answer questions for an entrance exam.
The last obvious difference between the two countries' educational systems is the role of extracurricular activities such as sports programs and special interest clubs. Even though every Taiwanese school claims that it pays equal attention to moral, intellectual, and physical education, the real focus is on passing the university admissions exam. Little emphasis is placed on activities outside of the classroom. Teachers can even borrow time from extracurricular activities to give students more practice in the areas where they have weaknesses. On the other hand, American educational institutions consider the development of social and interpersonal skills as important as the development of intellectual skills. It is believed that by participating in these outside activities, students can demonstrate their special talents, level of maturity, and leadership qualities.
Education is vital to everyone's future success. While it may take ten years to grow a tree, a sound educational system may take twice as long to take root. Although Taiwan and the United States have different educational systems, both countries have the same ultimate goal: to educate their citizens as well as they can. This goal can be reached only if people take advantage of all the educational opportunities given to them. That is why I came to the United States to study, grow, and become a better person.
Exercise: Read the essay below and identify as many mistakes as you can with your group:
The Truth About the Cats and the Dogs
I used to think that the dogs were better then the cats as pets. As I was grow up, my family had alot of the dogs-many kinds-but we never had cats because my father is allergic to it. I always assumed that when I grew up, I would to have a dog as a pet. My life as a pet owner changed one night when the tiny kitten showed up at my door. He was cold, wet, and hungry, and I was afraid him would die on my doorstep if I did not help him. I never saw myself as a cat owner, but now that I am one, I realize that most of the stereotypes about the cats and the dogs are lies?
The cats are suppose to be not good as well as not nice. My cat, however, are very friendly and even a little messy. He always want my attention, which can be annoying at times. I thought that a cat would sleep all day, but my cat is much more energetic then I expected. If he does not go outside to play in the backyard, he starts to behave a bit neurotically.
The people also say that the dogs are more friendlier than the cats, but I remember a couple of the dogs of my family that were not friendly at all. Our Chihuahua was named "Wagster," and he did not like anyone. Every time someone rang our doorbell, he would to bark greatly to scare the visitor away. Once he even bit a little at my grandmother! She never thought that the dogs were friendly after that experience.
My friend Aimee had a cat that was so aloof and distant that I never saw it when I came to visit. When I dropped by her house, the cat always hid itself under a bed.
My friend Jasper has a dog that is almost very friendly. It licks and licks and licks until I wish it were not quite so friendly. Jasper does not live in my hometown now, and he probably does not have any pets now.
How did this stereotypes about the cats and the dogs develop? As with most prejudices, they reflect more about the peoples who express them than about what is true. Both the cats and the dogs make Good pets, and they are bad. It all depends on the individual animal.
Useful Connectors you can use in a comparison essay:
Connectors that show comparison: I Both Red Beauty and Midnight Dream roses are known for the size of their blooms, their color, and their fragrance. In addition, they are easy to grow.
S The Midnight Dream rose won awards in local contests last year. Similarly, the Red Beauty Rose was singled out for its beauty.
The blooms of Red Beauty roses last longer than those of most other roses. Likewise, the blooms of the Midnight Dream rose are long-lasting.
Likewise, Compared to many other roses, the blooms of Red Beauty and Midnight Dream roses last a long time.
Connectors that show contrast:
However, (On the other hand,) some of their differences are not very obvious.
On the other hand,
Red Beauty has a strong, sweet fragrance. In contrast, Midnight Dream's fragrance is light and fruity.
In contrast, Although they both have red flowers, Midnight Dream roses are darker than Red Beauty roses.
Even though they are both long-stemmed roses, Red Beauty stems are thin and covered with thorns while Midnight Dream stems are thick and have almost no thorns.
Even though …,
Unlike Red Beauty, Midnight Dream roses are relatively inexpensive.