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It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond “Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others.” In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements.One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another.A compare and contrast essay should look at a subject in a new way, with fresh insight, using the similarities and the differences between two topics or two perspectives on one topic.
And in some cases, comparison/contrast is only part of the essay—you begin by comparing and/or contrasting two or more things and then use what you’ve learned to construct an argument or evaluation.
Consider these examples, noticing the language that is used to ask for the comparison/contrast and whether the comparison/contrast is only one part of a larger assignment: You may want to check out our handout on Understanding Assignments for additional tips.
Here are a few hypothetical examples: Notice that some topics ask only for comparison, others only for contrast, and others for both.
But it’s not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast.
This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken.
Compare And Contrast Intro Paragraph Essays Popular Essay Topics
Stephanie Wong Ken holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University.In the central area where they overlap, list the traits the two items have in common.Assign each one of the areas that doesn’t overlap; in those areas, you can list the traits that make the things different.Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper.These are by no means complete or definitive lists; they’re just here to give you some ideas—you can generate your own questions for these and other types of comparison. Ask yourself these questions: Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels.By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them.Some assignments use words—like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences—that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast.For the point-by-point structure, each similarity (or difference) for one object is followed immediately by the similarity (or difference) for the other. The former is easier to write, while the latter is generally clearer as it ensures that the similarities/differences are more explicit.This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective.This page gives information on what a compare and contrast essay is, how to structure this type of essay, how to use compare and contrast structure words, and how to make sure you use appropriate criteria for comparison/contrast.There is also an example compare and contrast essay on the topic of communication technology, as well as some exercises to help you practice this area.