Writing a Compare/Contrast



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Name _______________________________________

Period _____ Date _____________________________

Teacher _____________________________________


Writing a Compare/Contrast Essay
A comparison essay notes either similarities, or similarities and differences.
A contrast essay notes only differences.
• The comparison or contrast should make a point or serve a purpose. Often such essays do one of the following:

ƒ Clarify something unknown or not well understood.

ƒ Lead to a fresh insight or new way of viewing something.

ƒ Bring one or both of the subjects into sharper focus.

ƒ Show that one subject is better than the other.
The thesis can present the subjects and indicate whether they will be compared, contrasted, or both.
• The same points should be discussed for both subjects; it is not necessary, however to give both subjects the same degree of development.
Some common organizational structures include: (see note below)

ƒ Block method (subject by subject)

ƒ Point by point

ƒ Comparisons followed by contrasts (or the reverse)


• Use detailed topic sentences and the following connecting words to make the relationship between your subjects clear to your reader:
Connectors That Show Comparison (Similarities)


ƒ In addition

ƒ Similarly

ƒ Likewise


ƒ Correspondingly

ƒ Just as

ƒ Same as


ƒ Compared to

ƒ As well as

ƒ At the same time


Connectors That Show Contrast (Differences)

ƒ However

ƒ Even though

ƒ Unlike


ƒ On the contrary

ƒ In contrast

ƒ Conversely


ƒ On the other hand

ƒ Although

ƒ Meanwhile


See the other side of this page of a detailed example for both the Block Method and the Point-by-Point method. For a blank chart to organize your own essay, use the Compare/Contrast Essay Worksheet.
Writing a Compare/Contrast Essay
The following example contains an element of the author’s opinion, but not all compare/contrast assignments allow for that. Always check your assignment sheet and ask your instructor for clarification about including your opinion.





Point-by-Point Method

Block Method


Intro

Introduction of general topic

Specific topic

Thesis = areas to be covered in this essay: Both cats and dogs make excellent pets, but an appropriate choice depends on the pet owner’s lifestyle, finances, and household accommodations.


Introduction of general topic

Specific topic

Thesis = areas to be covered in this essay: Both cats and dogs make excellent pets, but an appropriate choice depends on the pet owner’s lifestyle, finances, and household accommodations.



Body Paragraph 1

Topic Sentence - Aspect 1

Cats make less of an impact on an owner’s lifestyle.

Topic 1 - Aspect 1: Cats

Detail: Don’t have to be watched during the day

Detail: Easier to get care if owner travels

Topic 2 - Aspect 1: Dogs

Detail: Pack animals shouldn’t be left alone

Detail: Harder to get care when away

Transition Sentence


Topic Sentence – Topic 1

Cats are easier and less expensive to care for.

Aspect 1: Lifestyle

Detail: Don’t have to be watched during the day

Detail: Easier to get care if owner travels

Aspect 2: Cost

Detail: Food and health care are usually less expensive

Detail: Less likely to cause property damage

Aspect 3: House accommodations

Detail: Don’t take up much space

Detail: Less intrusive

Transition Sentence



Body Paragraph 2

Topic Sentence - Aspect 2

Cats are less expensive to own and care for.

Topic 1 - Aspect 2: Cats

Detail: Food and health care are usually less expensive

Detail: Less likely to cause property damage

Topic 2 - Aspect 2: Dogs

Detail: Food is more expensive

Detail: Over-breeding causes some health problems

Transition Sentence


Topic Sentence – Topic 2

Dogs are active and loyally engaging pets.

Aspect 1 Lifestyle

Detail: Pack animals should not be left alone

Detail: Harder to get care when away Need more living space

Aspect 2 Cost

Detail: Food is more expensive

Detail: Over-breeding causes some health problems

Aspect 3 House accommodations

Detail: Often need yard and fence

Detail: Require more safety and protective measures

Transition Sentence



Body Paragraph 3

Topic Sentence - Aspect 3

Cats need few special house accommodations.

Topic 1 - Aspect 3: Cats

Detail: Don’t take up much space

Detail: Less intrusive

Topic 2 - Aspect 3: Dogs

Detail: Often need yard and fence

Detail: Require more safety and protective

measures


Transition Sentence

Optional: develop a paragraph to evaluate the comparison made

in the essay: Last summer, I was considering adopting a pet, so I visited the SPCA to gather more information about cats and dogs. I am a full time student and work part time in the evenings, so my



lifestyle and schedule didn’t seem conducive to owning a dog like I had originally planned. Now that I’ve had my cat Cookie for a few months, I see that she’s the perfect fit and a great companion for

me.


Conclusion

Summary of main points

Evaluation and/or possible future developments

Significance of topic to author: When considering adopting a pet, a prospective owner must consider the lifestyle, finances, and household accommodations that the pet would require. Owners who neglect to compare these aspects will often not care for their pet in a safe manner.


Summary of main points

Evaluation and/or possible future developments

Significance of topic to author: When considering adopting a pet, a prospective owner must consider the lifestyle, finances, and household accommodations that the pet would require. Owners who neglect to compare these aspects will often not care for their pet in a safe manner.




Brainstorming for a Compare/Contrast Essay

1. Write each topic name above one of the circles. List attributes or qualities of that topic in the circle and place any shared qualities in the overlapping section. Be specific and use details. (Example: details of living in SB might include high cost of living, beach community, good schools, etc. Less effective qualities: not nice place, cool hangouts.)


2. Circle the most important qualities in each list and match at least three opposites from one circle to another.

After completing steps 1-3, list the three categories or aspects that both items share:


1.

2.

3.

3. Review the lists and identify three categories or aspects that describe these details. (Example:” beach community” detail for one topic and

big city” detail for the other = environment or setting as a category.) List the categories in the box above.


4. Then choose one option (point by point or block method) to structure your essay. See examples in this handout.
5. Use the chart on the next page to organize your paragraphs as indicated. Add more ideas and details for each category as you think of them.



Compare and Contrast Essay Structure: Block Method
In the Block Method, each paragraph addresses ONE TOPIC ONLY from your pair of topics and includes the SHARED ASPECTS you have chosen to Compare to topic 2. Use the following chart to organize your ideas for your essay. (See Venn diagram steps 1 5 for examples on topics, aspects, and details.)





Block Method

My Essay

Introduction
o introduction of general topic

o specific topic



o areas to be

covered in this

essay




Topic 1

o Aspect 1

ƒ Detail

ƒ Detail

o Aspect 2

ƒ Detail

ƒ Detail

o Aspect 3

ƒ Detail

ƒ Detail



Topic Sentence:

Topic 2

o Aspect 1

ƒ Detail

ƒ Detail

o Aspect 2

ƒ Detail

ƒ Detail

o Aspect 3

ƒ Detail

ƒ Detail



Topic Sentence:

Conclusion

o Summary of main points

o Evaluation and/or possible future developments










Compare and Contrast Essay Structure: Point by Point Method
In the Point-by-Point Method, each paragraph contains details on ONE ASPECT of BOTH TOPICS organized in the same order. Use the following chart to organize your ideas for your essay. (See Venn diagram steps 1 5 for examples on topics, aspects, and details.)





Point by Point Method

My Essay

o Introduction

o introduction of

general topic


o specific topic
o areas to be covered in this essay




o Topic 1 - Aspect 1

ƒ Detail

ƒ Detail
o Topic 2 - Aspect 1

ƒ Detail

ƒ Detail



Topic Sentence:

o Topic 1 - Aspect 2

ƒ Detail

ƒ Detail
o Topic 2 - Aspect 2

ƒ Detail

ƒ Detail



Topic Sentence:

o Topic 1 - Aspect 3

ƒ Detail

ƒ Detail
o Topic 2 - Aspect 3

ƒ Detail

ƒ Detail



Topic Sentence:

o Conclusion

Summary of main

points

ƒ Evaluation and/or possible future developments








Source referenced: http://www.efl.arts.gla.ac.uk/CampusOnly/essays/15web.htm










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