Good luck! Getting Started with Essay Writing. Course 2 of 5 in the Academic English: Writing Specialization. Enroll for Free.
From the lesson. Taught By. Tamy Chapman Instructor, International Programs.
Helen Nam Instructor. Try the Course for Free. Explore our Catalog Join for free and get personalized recommendations, updates and offers. Get Started. One is tiny and flies, and the other is huge and swims, but they both use sonar to hunt. You could pick two subjects that might appear to be the same but are actually different. For example, you could choose "The Hunger Games movie vs. Make sure that your subjects can be discussed in a meaningful way. In other words, why bother putting these two things together?
Brainstorm your topic. Take a little time to brainstorm about how your chosen subjects are similar and different. This will help you see which points are the major ones you want to focus on, and can help guide you when you formulate your thesis.
How To Start A Compare And Contrast Essay?
This set of overlapping circles can help you visualize where your subjects are similar and where they differ. Major points of difference are also good to note. Consider your main points. Instead, choose a few points that seem to be particularly important.
These are points of comparison ways they are similar. These are points of contrast ways they are different. These points of contrast can often be good places to start thinking about your thesis, or argument. Do these differences make one animal a superior type of pet? Or a better pet choice for a specific living situation e. Develop your thesis.
For example: Show readers why one subject is more desirable than the other. Example: "Cats are better pets than dogs because they require less maintenance, are more independent, and are more adaptable. Example: "New York City and San Francisco are both great cities for young professionals, but they differ in terms of their job opportunities, social environment, and living conditions. Example: "While both The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird explore the themes of loss of innocence and the deep bond between siblings, To Kill a Mockingbird is more concerned with racism while The Catcher in the Rye focuses on the prejudices of class.
If your teacher recommends this form, go for it. However, you should be aware that especially in college, teachers and professors tend to want students to break out of this limited mode. Decide on a structure. There are several ways to organize a compare-and-contrast essay. Which one you choose depends on what works best for your ideas. This organization deals with all of the points about Topic A, then all of the points of Topic B. For example, you could discuss all your points about frozen pizza in as many paragraphs as necessary , then all your points about homemade pizza.
This type of organization switches back and forth between points. For example, you could first discuss the prices of frozen pizza vs. The disadvantage is that you do switch back and forth between topics, so you need to make sure that you use transitions and signposts to lead your reader through your argument. Compare then contrast. This organization presents all the comparisons first, then all the contrasts.
Putting the contrasts last places the emphasis on them. However, it can be more difficult for your readers to immediately see why these two subjects are being contrasted if all the similarities are first. Outline your essay. Outlining your essay will help you work out the main organizational structure and will give you a template to follow as you develop your ideas.
No matter how you decided to organize your essay, you will still need to have the following types of paragraphs:  Introduction. This paragraph comes first and presents the basic information about the subjects to be compared and contrasted. It should present your thesis and the direction of your essay i. Body Paragraphs. These are the meat of your essay, where you provide the details and evidence that support your claims. Each different section or body paragraph should tackle a different division of proof. It should provide and analyze evidence in order to connect those proofs to your thesis and support your thesis.
Many middle-school and high-school essays may only require three body paragraphs, but use as many as is necessary to fully convey your argument.
Steps In Writing A Compare And Contrast Essay
This paragraph acknowledges that other counter-arguments exist, but discusses how those arguments are flawed or do not apply. This paragraph summarizes the evidence presented. It will restate the thesis, but usually in a way that offers more information or sophistication than the introduction could.
Remember: your audience now has all the information you gave them about why your argument is solid. Take it to the next level! Outline your body paragraphs based on subject-to-subject comparison. Let's say you're working with the following statement: "When deciding between whether to go camping in the woods or spend a day at the beach, one should consider the following points: the weather, the types of activities each location offers, and the facilities at each location.
This method of organization can be unwieldy, so if you choose it, be sure not to let your paragraphs become page-long lists of points about each subject. A subject-to-subject body paragraph outline could look like this:  Introduction: state your intent to discuss the differences between camping in the woods or on the beach.
Outline your body paragraphs based on point-by-point comparison.
This is the more common method used in the comparison and contrast essay. For example, in this case, you could write one paragraph describing the weather in both the woods and the beach, one paragraph describing the activities in each location, and a third describing the facilities in both. Woods Beach Body Paragraph 2: Discuss second difference between woods and beaches: types of activities. Woods Beach Body Paragraph 3: Discuss third difference between woods and beaches: available facilities.
Woods Beach Conclusion. Outline your body paragraphs based on compare then contrast.
This type of organization works best for when you want to emphasize the contrasts between your subjects. First, you discuss how your subjects are similar. Organize your individual body paragraphs. Once you've chosen an organizational method for your body paragraphs, you'll need to have an internal organization for the body paragraphs themselves.
Each of your body paragraphs will need to have the three following elements: Topic sentence: This sentence introduces the main idea and subject of the paragraph.
2 Formats for Use in the Compare-Contrast Essay
It can also provide a transition from the ideas in the previous paragraph. Body: These sentences provide concrete evidence that support the topic sentence and main idea. Conclusion: this sentence wraps up the ideas in the paragraph. Use your brainstorming ideas to fill in your outline. Look at the lists and diagrams you generated to help you find the evidence for your comparisons and contrasts. If you are having trouble finding evidence to support your argument, go back to your original texts and try the brainstorming process again.