Date of publication: 2017-08-24 10:59
Begin by saying everything you have to say about the first subject you are discussing, then move on and make all the points you want to make about the second subject (and after that, the third, and so on, if you 8767 re comparing/contrasting more than two things). If the paper is short, you might be able to fit all of your points about each item into a single paragraph, but it 8767 s more likely that you 8767 d have several paragraphs per item. Using our pizza place comparison/contrast as an example, after the introduction, you might have a paragraph about the ingredients available at Pepper 8767 s, a paragraph about its location, and a paragraph about its ambience. Then you 8767 d have three similar paragraphs about Amante, followed by your conclusion.
But it 8767 s not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast. 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 8767 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:
Sometimes a particular point of comparison or contrast might be relevant but not terribly revealing or interesting. For example, if you are writing a paper about Wordsworth 8767 s 8775 Tintern Abbey 8776 and Coleridge 8767 s 8775 Frost at Midnight, 8776 pointing out that they both have nature as a central theme is relevant (comparisons of poetry often talk about themes) but not terribly interesting your class has probably already had many discussions about the Romantic poets 8767 fondness for nature. 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.
Piecing: giving pieces of the information for each individual subject in each paragraph arranging the information by topic rather than by subject.
Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. These are by no means complete or definitive lists they 8767 re just here to give you some ideas—you can generate your own questions for these and other types of comparison. You may want to begin by using the questions reporters traditionally ask: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? If you 8767 re talking about objects, you might also consider general properties like size, shape, color, sound, weight, taste, texture, smell, number, duration, and location.
Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels. For most literature classes, the fact that they both use Calson type (a kind of typeface, like the fonts you may use in your writing) is not going to be relevant, nor is the fact that one of them has a few illustrations and the other has none literature classes are more likely to focus on subjects like characterization, plot, setting, the writer 8767 s style and intentions, language, central themes, and so forth. 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.
If you want to write a successful compare/contrast essay, you'll need to avoid writing about really obvious differences and similarities. For example:
Sometimes you may want to use comparison/contrast techniques in your own pre-writing work to get ideas that you can later use for an argument, even if comparison/contrast isn 8767 t an official requirement for the paper you 8767 re writing. For example, if you wanted to argue that Frye 8767 s account of oppression is better than both de Beauvoir 8767 s and Bartky 8767 s, comparing and contrasting the main arguments of those three authors might help you construct your evaluation—even though the topic may not have asked for comparison/contrast and the lists of similarities and differences you generate may not appear anywhere in the final draft of your paper.
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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.
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Our handout on Organization can help you write good topic sentences and transitions and make sure that you have a good overall structure in place for your paper.
First make the list of all common features that certain things share. State their similarities and then make another list and state all the differences these things possess.