How to a write compare and contrast essay

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

The compare and contrast essay is a popular assignment in many academic writings. This type of paper requires the writer to explore two subjects, discuss their similarities and differences, and provide evidence for their claims.

The best way to get started on this assignment is by creating an outline that contains three sections: the introduction, the body paragraphs that will each focus on one topic, and a conclusion paragraph that summarizes what was discussed in the paper. This post will break down the process for you. 

What is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

A compare and contrast essay is an assignment commonly assigned to students in high school and college. It helps them see the world from a new perspective. This type of paper requires a writer to explore two different subjects, discuss their similarities and differences (using evidence), and provide an overall summary of what was discussed within the body paragraphs.

The assignment must be done using original ideas or evidence. Do not simply rehash from a textbook or other source. You will need to do some research on your own before beginning the paper.

Your academic essay may compare things like historical figures, the structure of a building, policies, and different types of literature. They may also include fairly easy topics like comparing and contrasting cats, etc.

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What’s the Difference Between Comparison and Contrast?

While many students confuse these two words, it is essential to keep them separate when writing a compare and contrast essay.

Comparison – involves looking at both subjects and finding their similarities.

Contrast – looks at the differences between both of the subjects

In other words, a comparison is used when discussing two or more items that share similar characteristics, while contrast is often employed to examine how one thing differs from another. It is essential to use the correct word for the job.

To Write an Outstanding Compare and Contrast Essay:

Do I Have to Use a Thesis Statement?

The short answer is no. You do not need to include a thesis statement if your instructor doesn’t require it. However, if you happen to be writing one, ensure that it is clear and concise. The best way to do this is by using a precise verb such as “identifies” or “compares.”

What Structure Should My Compare and Contrast Essay Follow?

The two common structures that most compare and contrast essays follow are the block or point-by-point methods.

The block method is often easier to follow. It involves discussing both subjects in the same paragraph and then narrowing it down into a comparison or contrast statement. This helps the reader understand each paragraph before moving on to the next one. In this instance, you would start by writing your opening sentence, which contains the keywords “compare” or “contrast.” For example, you might write:

“It can be difficult to compare and contrast two subjects that are so different from one another. To do this effectively, it is important to consider a few things when writing an essay about both of these topics.”

The second method involves making a clear comparison or contrast statement in the first paragraph and then using each subsequent paragraph to explore one of the topics. This is more difficult to follow due to its lack of organization. It will work if you have plenty of time for revision.

Example of the Block Method:

Point One: Taxation in Japan and the United States

Japan has an income tax with exemptions for low-income citizens while the US does not.

Japan’s income tax provides healthcare, education, and child care for the citizens of Japan, while the US does not have federally funded benefits.

Point Two: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Industry

Industries in Japan use catalytic converters to reduce carbon monoxide emissions. In contrast, most industries in the US do not use this technology or any other technology to reduce carbon monoxide emissions.

Industries in Japan must provide employees with training and information about the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, while this is not required by law in the US.

Example of the Point-by-Point Method:

Taxation in Japan and the United States are very different due to their cultural differences. In Japan, citizens pay income taxes, and those who make more money are taxed a higher percentage. Citizens of the United States do not have to pay income taxes, but they pay tariffs on certain imported goods that come into the country.

Japan’s income tax provides healthcare, education, and child care for the citizens of Japan, while the US does not have federally funded benefits.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a significant issue in both countries, but the effects are more severe for workers in Japan. Industries must provide employees with training and information about the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, which is not required by law in the US.

Example of Both Methods:

In both Japan and the US, there are two ways of life: one for those who have money and another for those who do not. In Japan, citizens pay income taxes, and those who make more money are taxed a higher percentage than low-income citizens. Citizens of the United States do not have to pay income taxes, but they pay tariffs on certain imported goods that come into the country.

Japan’s income tax provides healthcare, education, and child care for the citizens of Japan, while the US does not have federally funded benefits.

In both countries, carbon monoxide poisoning is a significant issue because it affects the workers in those industries. However, industries in Japan must provide employees with training and information about the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, while this is not required by law in the US.

What Should Be Included in Each Body Paragraph of a Compare and Contrast Essay?

Each body paragraph should include:

  • A topic sentence
  • An explanation of the first subject (using details and evidence)
  • A comparison or contrast statement to relate it to the second body paragraph’s topic
  • A description of the second body paragraph’s topic (again, using evidence and details)

Step by Step Process for Writing Compare and Contrast Essays

Compare and Contrast essays should generally have five paragraphs: introduction, body (1), body (2), conclusion, and works cited page (optional)

1) Choose a topic

Choose something that interests you. Try not to use anything too broad or general for your compare and contrast essays. Make sure it’s something that can be compared and contrasted with another element in a clear way. They should be equal in length, so the reader doesn’t get bored reading one more than the other.

2) Brainstorm

Start by making a list of similarities and differences. You can use a Venn diagram or color-coding to help. Write down all of the things that occur to you, even if they don’t seem to make perfect sense at first glance.

3) Introduction

The introduction is followed by three body paragraphs.

·       First body paragraph

The first body paragraph is the introductory paragraph. It should have a topic sentence that includes words and phrases like “compare” or “contrast.”

·       Second body paragraph

Second body paragraphs should begin with a comparison or contrast statement followed by details or evidence which support that statement.

·       Conclusion

Include any final thoughts or points that they might want to make. Keep the conclusion short and sweet, but some instructors may allow for more discussion here if you have time to spare. You can also add information about how these things relate to modern society if you feel it is necessary.

Add a work cited page if needed.

4) Proofread your essay

Correct spelling mistakes and edit all grammatical errors before submitting.

How to Make Effective Essay Comparisons

A compare and contrast essay is about finding connections between ideas and then presenting those findings. The actual writing process involves moving from general to more specific, or “broadening,” as it’s called in academic terms. This type of essay is a great way to show off research skills, critical thinking abilities, and your ability to communicate with an audience because rather than focusing on a single point, it requires you to explain several different points.

Fig: An effective essay comparison-move from general to more specific

The introduction should contain a clear statement of your topic sentences and how you plan to approach them. Keep the introduction focused.

The first body paragraph – introduce your comparison topic. If your essay uses a general statement as an introduction, qualify that statement with a specific subject or example so that readers will have an idea of what you’re referring to.

For example, the general introduction might be “refugees are often mistreated.” Still, a specific introductory sentence would be something like: “Refugees seeking asylum in the United States are often detained for months after crossing the border because many Americans do not understand their rights.”

Provide the evidence or details that support your general statements.

The second body paragraph- begin with a comparison or contrast statement followed by details or evidence which support that statement. For example, if you had a thesis like “Refugees are often mistreated because of American ignorance,” your second body paragraph might contain something along the lines of:

“The United States has historically struggled with immigrants seeking asylum from other countries. The issue is one of illegal entry, but when those refugees enter illegally, they are not being rewarded as their home countries are, which in turn makes them feel unwelcome.”

Examples of How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

A good essay always has solid examples and evidence to support it. The following compare and contrast essay examples are only meant to show what a writer can do with their essay, not necessarily what they should do to get the highest score possible on any given assignment.

A Compare and Contrast Essay: Crime, Punishment, and the Death Penalty

The introduction gives a general opinion of how people want criminals to be punished and then further details about their stance on capital punishment.

The first body paragraph discusses how the death penalty is generally viewed as an effective deterrent, but other options might be more appropriate for certain crimes. It also discusses the view of some Americans that life imprisonment is more humane and sufficient for certain criminals.

The second body paragraph focuses on how prison conditions can be improved through lower inmate populations, better staffing, updated facilities, increased security, and an end to overcrowding, which causes a higher risk of violence between inmates.

The conclusion uses the information from both body paragraphs to discuss how everyone agrees that crime should be prevented, but there may be more effective ways of doing so.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay of Two or More Subjects

It is possible to compare and contrast more than two subjects, so it is essential to include a title that states the number of subjects being written about. The writer should always compare and contrast one item or person at a time, giving each equal attention in the way they are written.

Another helpful tip for writing comparisons and contrasts is to provide specific detailed information about what makes an item similar or different from another and what caused that difference or similarity to happen.

What Are Some Common Compare and Contrast Essay Topics?

Many common topics can be written about in a compare and contrast essay, so it can be challenging for students to find one to do for class or work.

Some topics that writers can choose from include:

  • Two movies with similar plots but different styles of directing.
  • The differences between a hotel room in the city, suburbs, and countryside.
  • Comparing two novels on similar subjects but written in different periods
o Comparing diploma and degree education
o Virtual vs real (traditional) classroom
o Compare and contrast living in the village vs living in the city

What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make With Compare and Contrast Writing?

There are a few common mistakes that people tend to make when writing about compare and contrast. The writer needs to learn how to do this type of essay correctly.

Sometimes writers will use too many words or phrases that confuse the reader instead of making the essay more interesting and engaging.

Other times, a writer might choose their words or phrases poorly, leading to the reader not understanding what is being discussed. Some other common mistakes people make for this style of writing include using a negative tone when presenting information about one subject and not focusing on both subjects equally.

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Summary

To conclude, here is a quick recap of the steps on how to write a compare and contrast essay;

  • Choose two or more subjects that you want to compare and contrast;
  • Come up with a topic for your essay;
  • Create an outline of how many paragraphs you need, what each paragraph will talk about, and which order they should go in;
  • Write each paragraph in its own space.
  • Bring all of the paper together into one single essay.
  • Proofread for errors and correct them if they are not too many or too severe.
  • Please read over the essay once more to make sure it flows well.
  • Submit your work.

We hope that the information we have provided has made it easier for you to write compare and contrast essay. Thank you for reading!

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