How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

An assignment to write a comparative essay can cause conflicting feelings in students. On one hand, this essay is an opportunity to explore and gain a lot of knowledge. On the other hand, it is demanding in the sense that you have to focus on two subjects, unlike the other papers.

Having handled essays of this kind for several years, we have done a research for more insights on how to write a compare and contrast essay. These include the definition, how to understand the topic, selecting a structure, and strategizing before writing the essay.

Read on to have a better understanding.

What is a Comparative Essay?

Accessing the wrong definition of a comparative essay can lead you to write the unsuitable content for it. Thus it is significant to understand what it entails.

A comparative paper is a type of essay where the author focuses on how two subjects are similar or different from one another. It is common for most students to use the words compare and contrast as synonyms, but they are not. In this essay, comparison stands for the similarity, and contrast stands for the differences.

Comparative Essay Introduction

The introduction of an essay influences the audience decision whether they will continue reading your essay or not. Due to this, you have to make it captivating.

To make your introductory paragraph appealing to the reader, you can start by writing an intriguing fact about the subjects. Alternatively, you can begin with a question which you will address later in your thesis statement. It is also essential to give the background information of your subjects.

You also have to give the reader an overview of the two items and reveal their relationship. End your intro with a clear thesis statement.

Developing the Similarities and Differences

After completing your introduction, start writing the body of your essay. Explain the similarities and the differences between the two items in discussion.

There are three methods of comparing and contrasting:

Method 1: Block Arrangement

In the block method, you organize the paragraphs according to the subjects. You discuss the first item in one paragraph, and the other in the next in details. All the details that you give in the first paragraph should be in the next in the same order.

Method 2: Point by Point Arrangement

In this method, all the paragraphs are organized in line with the details. You discuss the first object according to a specific point and immediately talk about the second object according to that same point. 

Method 3: Similarities and Differences Arrangement

In this arrangement, you write the similarities of the two subjects in one paragraph, then the differences between them in another. 

Comparative Essay Writing Process

Step 1: Read the Topic to Understand 

Some students read the topic in a rush without comprehending what the instructor requires them to do. The consequence of not understanding a topic is writing about another one. You may hear some of your classmates complaining about how they got a low grade after dedicating their time to writing an essay, most probably they wrote out of topic. 

To get to the point of understanding, read the topic several times, and deduce its meaning. Even if it takes you a lot of time, it is worthwhile. 

Step 2: Identify the Points of Comparison and Contrast

Research about the two objects then list down on a paper the points of similarity and difference in the two items. If you are writing about two places, you can tell how the weather, terrain, etc. of place A is similar or different to that of place B. 

You can also use a Venn diagram, i.e., two circles overlapping each other. Let one circle represent subject A and the other circle to represent subject B, then list the points of similarity in the intersection and the points of difference in the individual circles-the part with no overlap.

Step 3: Writing Your Draft

Start with an interesting introduction, and then develop your body with the method of your choice. Finalize by wrapping up your essay in the conclusion part. In case you need help to craft your paper, you can contact us on our website.

Step 4: Revise the Draft

While writing, you might have made some grammatical and spelling mistakes, this is the time for you to correct such errors. Edit them and give a tutor or a friend to read. It is easier for a third party to identify the mistakes. If they see any, they will inform you to rectify.

Step 5: Publish Your Final Essay, and Hand It In

Now, it’s time to write your final essay. When your final copy is ready, go through it and hand in the piece to your instructor.

Tips for Compare and Contrast Essay Writing

Tip 1: Use Linking Words or Phrases 

Irrespective of the method you choose, in the course of writing a comparative essay, you should use linking words or phrases. The two links help the reader to comprehend the concepts you are discussing, whether you are comparing or contrasting the subjects.

Tip 2: Apportion Equal Weight to the Two Aspects

You may get the temptation of writing many similarities and few differences or the other way round. Do not give in to it allocate equal discussion for the two, avoid having one aspect being shallow, and the other discussed profoundly.

Final Thoughts

Are you struggling to learn how to write a compare and contrast essay? Craft a captivating introduction. You can start with a question that you will answer later in your thesis statement. Such a hook will grasp the attention of your audience to read your paper to the end.

An excellent essay is also built on a correct structure. You should use the supporting paragraphs to develop the similarities and differences clearly for the audience to understand the idea you want to convey. You can do this by employing proper linking words and phrases.

Lastly, avoid introducing new ideas in the conclusion. With all these guidelines in place, you can confidently give the essay to your instructor.

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