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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

We often draw an analogy of different subjects in our lives but very rarely do it in a written form. One might say, the university and college are the only places where you share such opinion on the paper. The compare and contrast essay is the common kind of academic assignments with its unique peculiarities. Even if you are great with the spot comparisons, learn more about essay’s structure and requirements before set to writing.

What is Comparison and Contrast Essay?

Comparison and contrast essay may be an independent task or just a part of more large paper. For example, thesis often includes many paragraphs with such elements. An appropriate definition of this kind of paper:

It is the essay in which the student reveals the similarities and differences between two or more things and reinforces his or her findings by arguments.

Professors frequently ask students to compare both abstract notions (such theories, methods or historical periods) and specific things (book characters, personalities, countries, etc.). There are few guidelines to follow during crafting this type of articles.

1. Develop an Argument for the Paper  

Before you start a writing process, you brainstorm your topic and find some outstanding characteristics of two objects. Those things have to be contrasting enough to be compared. The title of your future essay may sound like “Apple vs. Microsoft” or “Differences and similarities in ancient Greek and ancient Egyptian myth”.

You should explain why it is interesting to reflect on these particular objects and pick strong arguments. In the essay, you may prove why Apple, in your opinion, is better than Microsoft. Or, tell how the contrasts of various ancient myths determined the future of each civilization.  

In practice, do not forget to write down the features you found meaningful on the paper. Every thought can be important, so note everything that comes to mind and move on to the next step.

2. Create the Compare and Contrast Essay Structure

The standard template for all essays is a basic scheme Introduction – Main Body – Conclusion. In the introduction, you form a thesis of your essay and present the subject of a further discussion to your audience. This part must be compelling enough to motivate people to read the main body. Therefore, you need to create a hook at the beginning of your article. This can be:

  • interesting fact,
  • personal experience,
  • joke or anecdote,
  • provoking question,
  • bold claim.

Even though the main body usually consists of 3 paragraphs, in some cases you may write more. Here you provide the arguments chosen before and complete a bulk of comparing job.

Contrast Essay Structure

At the end of the research, you conclude all the arguments and repeat your thesis. One paragraph is enough for this part, it shouldn’t be voluminous.

3. Consider the Essentials of Compare and Contrast Essay Format

Whereas it is everything clear about introduction and conclusion, the main body in those papers may be organized using three methods:

✏ Topic by topic

You start with describing one object and allocate its distinguishing points in the beginning. After that, you turn to the second thing and write down everything you know about it in the last paragraphs. This layout is considered to be smooth and understandable. However, it looks more like a list of points than the comparison. It is the most noticeable shortcoming of this setup.

✏ Point by point

The main purpose of this method is an evaluation criterion. For instance, you can assess Microsoft and Apple by innovations, cost of their software or the popularity of key products. Dwelling upon each point, you are gradually revealing the features of both objects at the same time.

✏ Common and different separately

Here you organize your essay in the format "start with the comparison, end with contrast." The order may be reversed if you want to emphasize the common features instead of differences.

4. Outline the Paper

Outlining is 50% of success. If a student does not find it important and disregards this process, he or she spends much more time on writing. Once you create the outline, the paper will compose itself alone. There are various useful techniques  – family tree, rough draft, schemes, and tables.  Outlines mean planning the structure, sketching the approximate variant of essay and organizing of main points in a particular order – the actions which make writing more simple.

5. Verify the Essay using Samples  

If you are not sure whether your essay complies with general requirements, check the examples on the web or ask your professor to provide you with them. It also depends on the university: rules for articles may vary in each.

Seek for a sample on the reputable website you can trust. A ready essay is also a great option which will explain to you how to write a good paper on practice.

6. Use Graphical Elements

The information is being better absorbed in visual form. Dilute the text with images, graphics, tables, diagrams and other elements. However, it is possible only if you type the assignment on your PC. On the lesson you should present the information in an interesting way without any pictures, so structure, hooks, and indisputable points are your best friends.

10 tips to writting great essay

Picture source

Bonus Tips: How to Write Comparison and Contrast Essay Quickly

  • Don’t skip planning. Allocate at least 10 minutes on it.
  • Use brainstorming techniques to come up with decent ideas faster.
  • Always outline.
  • Write the main body first. Students often stumble upon the introduction and don’t know how to start. To avoid such a delay develop the arguments before first and the last parts of the paper.
  • Give the result to your friend for revision. He or she will assess your essay with a fresh pair of eyes and find the mistakes quicker than you.

If you can’t cope with your assignment urgently or don’t have much time on it, ask for assistance in a writing service. Experienced authors will provide you with a sample paper on your topic and may write assignments for you.

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