how to write an compare and contrast essay

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Year after year, we review dozens of reader nominations, revisit sites from past lists, consider staff favorites, and search the far-flung corners of the web for new celebration of new year essay for a varied compilation that will prove an asset to any writer, of any genre, at any experience level. This selection represents this year's creativity-centric websites for writers. These websites fuel out-of-the-box thinking and help writers awaken their choke palahnuik and literary analysis. Be sure to check out the archives for references to innovative techniques and processes from famous thinkers like Einstein and Darwin. The countless prompts, how-tos on guided imagery and creative habits, mixed-media masterpieces, and more at Creativity Portal have sparked imaginations for more than 18 years. Boost your literary credentials by submitting your best caption for the stand-alone cartoon to this weekly choke palahnuik and literary analysis from The New Yorker. The top three captions advance to a public vote, and the winners will be included in a future issue of the magazine.

How to write an compare and contrast essay example procedure essays

How to write an compare and contrast essay

When you get a real essay to write, you'll feel more comfortable in writing it. Now you have the tools to write a great compare and contrast essay. Remember, make sure you do your research, and take your time writing. That way, you can get an excellent grade. You can use your new password to log in to your account.

Compare and Contrast Essay Structure Here's how an average compare and contrast essay could be laid out: Introduction: Introduce the two ideas that you're going to compare. Give a brief background on both, to give context for the main body. Thesis statement: This is going to be your impression of the two theories.

Are they more similar than you thought, or do they differ more than is obvious to the average person? Main body: Each paragraph in this section will detail a different point. You can start either with comparing the theories, or contrasting them. Just make sure that each point is backed up with relevant research. Conclusion: This will draw all the main points together, and emphasise how they support your thesis.

Look for the similarities and differences, and make notes. How will this affect your essay? Think about whether you've been surprised by the information you've found. Put together your thesis. Are your two topics similar, or more different than you thought? Are they similar in a surprising way? Use your research to come up with a good statement. Write an essay outline. Use the structure above to write your own outline. Pencil in all the main points you need to include.

If you are a visual person, a Venn diagram can facilitate this process. Simply create two overlapping circles, one for each of the topics that you are comparing. Traits that differ are noted separately, within those that they share are written in the overlapping space. This is a helpful visual aid, because it organizes similarities and differences clearly. All you have to do is glance at your Venn diagram to get a sense of the things that you could write about.

If you prefer to focus on one subject at a time, jot your lists down on a blank sheet of paper and flip it over to the other side for the other subject. Remember to keep characteristics of the different subjects somewhat parallel. This will make it easier to structure a good argument. A good compare-and-contrast essay goes beyond a simple listing of similarities and differences to make a meaningful statement about a larger topic.

What do these similarities and differences say about the topic? That will be your main argument. There are many possibilities for structuring a compare-and-contrast essay. You could write about one subject in detail, and then switch to the other. You could write two paragraphs about qualities that are common to women they tend to be more compassionate, they are good multitaskers along with some that they share with men they are capable of sacrificing self for the good of others.

Then you would focus on men in the next section. Men usually have superior physical strength and technical skills. You can also go point by point throughout the essay. Craft an outline that fits the structure you have chosen. Traditionally, an essay consists of an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

Consider including four body paragraphs instead to give balance to your two subjects. As you begin to write your essay, back up your assertions with evidence from research, reading, or personal experience. If you are comparing and contrasting cats and dogs, use personal anecdotes about friends and their pets to bolster your arguments. With any information that you include, be sure to explain why it matters in the context of your larger argument.

Transitional words give your essay a nice flow from one statement to the next.

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These have revolutionised the way we communicate with people who are far away. Compare and contrast methods of communication used today with those which were used in the past. Before the advent of computers and modern technology, people communicating over long distances used traditional means such as letters and the telephone. Nowadays we have a vast array of communication tools which can complete this task, ranging from email to instant messaging and video calls.

While the present and previous means of communication are similar in their general form , they differ in regard to their speed and the range of tools available. One similarity between current and previous methods of communication relates to the form of communication.

In the past, both written forms such as letters were frequently used, in addition to oral forms such as telephone calls. Similarly , people nowadays use both of these forms. Just as in the past, written forms of communication are prevalent, for example via email and text messaging.

In addition, oral forms are still used, including the telephone, mobile phone, and voice messages via instant messaging services. However , there are clearly many differences in the way we communicate over long distances, the most notable of which is speed. This is most evident in relation to written forms of communication. In the past, letters would take days to arrive at their destination.

In contrast , an email arrives almost instantaneously and can be read seconds after it was sent. In the past, if it was necessary to send a short message, for example at work, a memo could be passed around the office, which would take some time to circulate. This is different from the current situation, in which a text message can be sent immediately.

Another significant difference is the range of communication methods. Fifty years ago, the tools available for communicating over long distances were primarily the telephone and the letter. By comparison , there are a vast array of communication methods available today. These include not only the telephone, letter, email and text messages already mentioned, but also video conferences via software such as Skype or mobile phone apps such as WeChat, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

In conclusion, methods of communication have greatly advanced over the past fifty years. While there are some similarities, such as the forms of communication , there are significant differences, chiefly in relation to the speed of communication and the range of communication tools available.

There is no doubt that technology will continue to progress in future, and the advanced tools which we use today may one day also become outdated. Like the website? Try the books. Enter your email to receive a free sample from Academic Writing Genres. Below is a checklist for compare and contrast essays. Use it to check your own writing, or get a peer another student to help you. There is a downloadable graphic organiser for brainstorming ideas for compare and contrast essays in the writing resources section.

Go back to the previous section about persuasion essays. You need to login to view the exercises. If you do not already have an account, you can register for free. Scroll to Top. He has been teaching English for Academic Purposes since Find out more about him in the about section and connect with him on Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn.

Discussion essays require you to examine both sides of a situation and to conclude by saying which side you favour. Transition signals are useful in achieving good cohesion and coherence in your writing. Reporting verbs are used to link your in-text citations to the information cited.

Username Password. Academic Writing What is the academic writing? Academic Style The writing process What is the writing process? Cohesion vs coherence Transition signals Hedging Describing data Writing numbers Using complex grammar Using passive Writing critically Research skills Searching for information Evaluating sources Citing sources What are references and citations?

Subscribe to the newsletter. AWL Words on this page from the academic word list. Dictionary Look it up. Podcast is loading. Too slow? You can also access the Podcast by clicking here. This message will disappear when then podcast has fully loaded. Block Introduction. Point-by-point Introduction. Compare Similarly Likewise also both Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself?

Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. You may want to begin by using the questions reporters traditionally ask: Who? By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations! Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper.

Ask yourself these questions:. Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels. However, if you were writing a paper for a class on typesetting or on how illustrations are used to enhance novels, the typeface and presence or absence of illustrations might be absolutely critical to include in your final paper.

Sometimes a particular point of comparison or contrast might be relevant but not terribly revealing or interesting. Talking about the different ways nature is depicted or the different aspects of nature that are emphasized might be more interesting and show a more sophisticated understanding of the poems.

Be careful, though—although this thesis is fairly specific and does propose a simple argument that atmosphere and delivery make the two pizza places different , your instructor will often be looking for a bit more analysis.

Again, thinking about the context the class provides may help you answer such questions and make a stronger argument. You may find our handout on constructing thesis statements useful at this stage. The danger of this subject-by-subject organization is that your paper will simply be a list of points: a certain number of points in my example, three about one subject, then a certain number of points about another.

This is usually not what college instructors are looking for in a paper—generally they want you to compare or contrast two or more things very directly, rather than just listing the traits the things have and leaving it up to the reader to reflect on how those traits are similar or different and why those similarities or differences matter.

Thus, if you use the subject-by-subject form, you will probably want to have a very strong, analytical thesis and at least one body paragraph that ties all of your different points together. Rather than addressing things one subject at a time, you may wish to talk about one point of comparison at a time.

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Make two lists: one list of similarities, and another of differences. If you are a visual person, a Venn diagram can facilitate this process. Simply create two overlapping circles, one for each of the topics that you are comparing. Traits that differ are noted separately, within those that they share are written in the overlapping space. This is a helpful visual aid, because it organizes similarities and differences clearly.

All you have to do is glance at your Venn diagram to get a sense of the things that you could write about. If you prefer to focus on one subject at a time, jot your lists down on a blank sheet of paper and flip it over to the other side for the other subject. Remember to keep characteristics of the different subjects somewhat parallel.

This will make it easier to structure a good argument. A good compare-and-contrast essay goes beyond a simple listing of similarities and differences to make a meaningful statement about a larger topic. What do these similarities and differences say about the topic? That will be your main argument. There are many possibilities for structuring a compare-and-contrast essay. You could write about one subject in detail, and then switch to the other. You could write two paragraphs about qualities that are common to women they tend to be more compassionate, they are good multitaskers along with some that they share with men they are capable of sacrificing self for the good of others.

Then you would focus on men in the next section. Men usually have superior physical strength and technical skills. You can also go point by point throughout the essay. Craft an outline that fits the structure you have chosen. Traditionally, an essay consists of an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Consider including four body paragraphs instead to give balance to your two subjects.

As you begin to write your essay, back up your assertions with evidence from research, reading, or personal experience. If you are comparing and contrasting cats and dogs, use personal anecdotes about friends and their pets to bolster your arguments. With any information that you include, be sure to explain why it matters in the context of your larger argument. See the examples below. There are two main ways to structure a compare and contrast essay, namely using a block or a point-by-point structure.

This type of structure is similar to the block structure used for cause and effect and problem-solution essays. For the point-by-point structure, each similarity or difference for one object is followed immediately by the similarity or difference for the other.

Both types of structure have their merits. The two types of structure, block and point-by-point , are shown in the diagram below. Compare and contrast structure words are transition signals which show the similarities or differences.

Below are some common examples. When making comparisons or contrasts, it is important to be clear what criteria you are using. Study the following example, which contrasts two people. Here the criteria are unclear. Although this sentence has a contrast transition , the criteria for contrasting are not the same.

The criteria used for Aaron are height tall and strength strong. We would expect similar criteria to be used for Bruce maybe he is short and weak , but instead we have new criteria, namely appearance handsome and intelligence intelligent. This is a common mistake for students when writing this type of paragraph or essay. Compare the following, which has much clearer criteria contrast structure words shown in bold. Below is a compare and contrast essay. This essay uses the point-by-point structure.

Click on the different areas in the shaded boxes to the right to highlight the different structural aspects in this essay, i. This will highlight not simply the paragraphs, but also the thesis statement and summary , as these repeat the comparisons and contrasts contained in the main body. Title: There have been many advances in technology over the past fifty years. These have revolutionised the way we communicate with people who are far away.

Compare and contrast methods of communication used today with those which were used in the past. Before the advent of computers and modern technology, people communicating over long distances used traditional means such as letters and the telephone. Nowadays we have a vast array of communication tools which can complete this task, ranging from email to instant messaging and video calls.

While the present and previous means of communication are similar in their general form , they differ in regard to their speed and the range of tools available. One similarity between current and previous methods of communication relates to the form of communication.

In the past, both written forms such as letters were frequently used, in addition to oral forms such as telephone calls. Similarly , people nowadays use both of these forms. Just as in the past, written forms of communication are prevalent, for example via email and text messaging.

In addition, oral forms are still used, including the telephone, mobile phone, and voice messages via instant messaging services. However , there are clearly many differences in the way we communicate over long distances, the most notable of which is speed. This is most evident in relation to written forms of communication. In the past, letters would take days to arrive at their destination. In contrast , an email arrives almost instantaneously and can be read seconds after it was sent.

In the past, if it was necessary to send a short message, for example at work, a memo could be passed around the office, which would take some time to circulate. This is different from the current situation, in which a text message can be sent immediately. Another significant difference is the range of communication methods. Fifty years ago, the tools available for communicating over long distances were primarily the telephone and the letter.

By comparison , there are a vast array of communication methods available today. These include not only the telephone, letter, email and text messages already mentioned, but also video conferences via software such as Skype or mobile phone apps such as WeChat, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

In conclusion, methods of communication have greatly advanced over the past fifty years. While there are some similarities, such as the forms of communication , there are significant differences, chiefly in relation to the speed of communication and the range of communication tools available.

There is no doubt that technology will continue to progress in future, and the advanced tools which we use today may one day also become outdated. Like the website? Try the books. Enter your email to receive a free sample from Academic Writing Genres. Below is a checklist for compare and contrast essays.

Use it to check your own writing, or get a peer another student to help you. There is a downloadable graphic organiser for brainstorming ideas for compare and contrast essays in the writing resources section. Go back to the previous section about persuasion essays. You need to login to view the exercises.

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Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself? Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. You may want to begin by using the questions reporters traditionally ask: Who? By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations!

Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper. Ask yourself these questions:. Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels. However, if you were writing a paper for a class on typesetting or on how illustrations are used to enhance novels, the typeface and presence or absence of illustrations might be absolutely critical to include in your final paper.

Sometimes a particular point of comparison or contrast might be relevant but not terribly revealing or interesting. Talking about the different ways nature is depicted or the different aspects of nature that are emphasized might be more interesting and show a more sophisticated understanding of the poems. Be careful, though—although this thesis is fairly specific and does propose a simple argument that atmosphere and delivery make the two pizza places different , your instructor will often be looking for a bit more analysis.

Again, thinking about the context the class provides may help you answer such questions and make a stronger argument. You may find our handout on constructing thesis statements useful at this stage. The danger of this subject-by-subject organization is that your paper will simply be a list of points: a certain number of points in my example, three about one subject, then a certain number of points about another.

This is usually not what college instructors are looking for in a paper—generally they want you to compare or contrast two or more things very directly, rather than just listing the traits the things have and leaving it up to the reader to reflect on how those traits are similar or different and why those similarities or differences matter. Thus, if you use the subject-by-subject form, you will probably want to have a very strong, analytical thesis and at least one body paragraph that ties all of your different points together.

Rather than addressing things one subject at a time, you may wish to talk about one point of comparison at a time. Comparing and contrasting can be a useful tool to help organize your thoughts before you begin writing any type of academic text. You might make a table to summarize the key differences between them. You might visualize the key similarities and differences in a Venn diagram.

The point of comparing and contrasting at this stage is to help you organize and shape your ideas to aid you in structuring your arguments. When comparing and contrasting in an essay, there are two main ways to structure your comparisons: the alternating method and the block method. You cover both your subjects side by side in terms of a specific point of comparison.

Your text is structured like this:. One challenge teachers face is identifying and assisting students who are struggling without disrupting the rest of the class. In a traditional classroom environment, the teacher can easily identify when a student is struggling based on their demeanor in class or simply by regularly checking on students during exercises. They can then offer assistance quietly during the exercise or discuss it further after class.

The most commonly cited advantage of distance learning is the flexibility and accessibility it offers. Rather than being required to travel to a specific location every week and to live near enough to feasibly do so , students can participate from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows not only for a wider geographical spread of students but for the possibility of studying while travelling.

However, distance learning presents its own accessibility challenges; not all students have a stable internet connection and a computer or other device with which to participate in online classes, and less technologically literate students and teachers may struggle with the technical aspects of class participation. Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.

Comparing and contrasting is also a useful approach in all kinds of academic writing : You might compare different studies in a literature review , weigh up different arguments in an argumentative essay , or consider different theoretical approaches in a theoretical framework. Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:. Have a language expert improve your writing.

Check your paper for plagiarism in 10 minutes. Do the check. Generate your APA citations for free! APA Citation Generator. Home Knowledge Base Essay How to compare and contrast in an essay. How to compare and contrast in an essay Published on August 6, by Jack Caulfield. Receive feedback on language, structure and layout Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on: Academic style Vague sentences Grammar Style consistency See an example.

When do I need to compare and contrast? How do I choose subjects to compare and contrast? How do I compare and contrast in a structured way?

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