Compare and contrast essay

What is a compare and contrast essay?

In writing a compare and contrast essay, a student is asked to evaluate the similarities and differences between two entities. Typically, in these cases, there is always a meaningful connection between the two subjects. The objective of these essays is to challenge the students to go beyond apparent differences and similarities. Instead, they should clarify subtle similarities that might be overlooked at first, or they should find differences that other observers may not find without careful examination. 

For instance, asking the students to compare and contrast a computer and a bicycle may be pointless. Aside from the fact that they are both material objects, the differences are pronounced. A more practical assignment would be to ask students to write a compare and contrast essay on two different computer models or two different bicycle brands, which may lead to an informed decision about buying one of them.

A compare and contrast essay would drive students towards differentiating and assessing individual members of the same category. Such skills can be handy and practical in a student’s development.

What is the purpose of a compare and contrast essay

Take an essay about the greatness of renewable resources as an example; however, a lot of the text is dedicated to explaining fossil fuels. Suppose the reader is to understand truly the value of renewable resources. In that case, they need a little background on the alternative, fossil fuels, but the essay focuses on both fuel sources so much that it would feel like there are two topics. In this situation, a compare-and-contrast essay shines the brightest. If the two issues define one another or relate to each other, they can be better explained by an illustration of their similarities and differences. This is especially true about topics that are usually confused or mixed. Under such circumstances, readers will be able to pinpoint the similarities and differences between the issues.

As opposed to argumentative or persuasive essays, which only focus on one issue, compare-and-contrast essays have multiple topics. As a result, the disadvantage is that they do not depict individual subjects as well as single-topic essays. In addition, such essays are common assignments in college practices because they help the instructors fathom how well the student has understood both subjects.

In what follows, a step-by-step guide to writing a compare and contrast essay will be presented. By learning this approach, a student will be able to write a compare and contrast essay on any topic.

How to write a compare and contrast essay
How to write a compare and contrast essay step-by-step

How to write a compare and contrast essay step-by-step

A compare and contrast essay, as the name suggests, is a comparison between two things or ideas concerning what they have in common or where they differ. To write a compare and contrast essay, all that needs to be done is to find similarities and differences between the subjects, then evaluate their importance from the big picture point of view. This will result in an actual analysis of the concepts in relation to each other in the world and not just understanding and defining them. A compare and contrast essay, much different from ordinary essays, often disputes two things or ideas. The goal in such essays usually is to find out which entity is better; however, most of the time, one tries to understand the weaknesses or strengths of each subject or how they might be complementary to each other. 

Steps for Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay

  1. Carefully select the two or more entities as subjects. Also, ensure they have similar and dissimilar aspects to have enough material to focus on.
  2. Prepare a draft in which the main focus points are outlined.
  3. Decide on the structural organization of the compare and contrast essay. The main body can be written in two primary methods. One can focus on similarities first, then differences, or vice versa; this approach is also known as a point-by-point arrangement. The second method, which is named a block arrangement of ideas, would be focusing on one item or entity at first (in one or two paragraphs), then going over the second entity while considering the same set of qualities. 
  4. Write an introduction. It should clearly state a thesis sentence that would explain the main reason for choosing the best item.
  5. Write the main body paragraphs according to the structure chosen in the third step.
  6. Finish with a conclusion. It should contain a rephrased version of the thesis statement and explain the results of the comparison and contrast. Furthermore, the answer to the initial question of the essay should be included too.
  7. Proofread the essay thoroughly one or two days later.

Helpful Tips

The most important tip is having the right attitude while writing a compare and contrast essay and actively engaging the readers in the debate. If you, as the writer, find it interesting, so will your readers. Here are some more hints on the topic at hand:

  • Powerful transitions are an inseparable part of the compare and contrast essays. Making an effort towards learning the transitional words and sentences will not go unrewarded.
  • Always explain each newly introduced concept and the lesser-known information – seldom assume that the reader already knows about them.
  • Proofreading is important. Small yet repeated mistakes can result in low grades. Be aware of your grammar and punctuation.
  • Ask friends or family members to read the essay; the second point of view can be helpful. 

Compare and contrast essay outline

 A sample layout for a typical compare and contrast essay may look like this:

  1. Introduction: the ideas that are to be compared are introduced here. Additionally, a brief background of the two and a context for the main body should be present.
  2. Thesis statement: the writers’ impression of the two entities is given, stating whether they believe the two items are more similar than initially thought or if they are more different than meets the eye.
  3. Main body: each paragraph of this section would be about a different point. It should be noted that these points must be supported with relevant research.
  4. Conclusion: all the main points are summarized here, and also the emphasis is on how they support the central thesis.

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