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Compare and Contrast Essay: Writing Guide

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Compare and Contrast Essay

It is absolutely clear from the name of an essay. You are going to describe similarities and/or differences between two things. The point of the essay is to show the sense of those things, not just how they can be similar or different. And writing such an essay has its rules.

Formulate an Argument

  • You should start with choosing the subjects you would like to write about. Subjects can be related to each other, but they also have to be different, at least slightly, so that you have something to describe.
  • Make sure you can underpin your arguments on each subject with something. It should not be a simple statement that, for instance, a subject A differs from a subject B in whatever it may be. You have to explain each point clearly.
  • Little research before writing. Yes, you have to look through a lot of sources to gather enough information. Otherwise, how are you going to write a compare and contrast essay without any information? What will your arguments be based on? Be patient and spend some time for decent brainstorming.
  • Now when you get something, you can think over the main points of your essay. Make a list of all things you can write and then choose a few that you believe are the most important. Your arguments have to be strong and attracting.
  • Now is the time to write the core of your essay. A thesis. Okay, you have chosen two subjects to compare. A potential reader asks you why. Why are these very things so important? What are you going to show/explain?

Organize an Essay

  • When it comes to writing an essay, you have to deal with a proper structure. Here are some ways to organize yours, which are subject by subject, point by point, and compare then contrast. In the first, you provide information on a subject A, then a subject B. The second one helps describe the same points of different subjects simultaneously. The last one offers to first compare subjects and only then show how they contrast.
  • To make your writing process more organized, you should make an outline. It is a small plan of how your essay will look like, what will follow what. In other words, you will know what you should write about and when. And we remind you that an essay consists of an introduction, a main body (which, in its turn, consists of paragraphs that have their own structure too), and conclusion.
  • An outline may differ depending on a way of organization. If you decided on a subject by subject one, you should first outline the paragraphs of one subject and then of another. But be careful. You should not write a long-read on each subject to show how good or bad, or just different they really are. If your decision is point by point, each paragraph should represent only the same point regarding both subjects. That is you explain a point for one subject, then for another. The compare then contrast way would be great to use if you wan to show how different the subjects are. Your first paragraph can shortly explain the similarities between them. The following paragraphs will tell the reader how the subjects differ from each other point by point (and you remember that each idea is a new paragraph, right?). And don’t forget about organization of the paragraph: a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a concluding one.

Writing an Essay

  • Now when everything is prepared, you only have to put all these pieces together to make the whole picture. Check your notes, stick to your outline, and the essay will be great.
  • After you put the final full stop, you need to take a break, for a day at least, and then return to the essay to edit and proofread it. Because there shouldn’t be any mistakes. Every comma has to be in its right place. Every word has to be written correctly. Every sentence has to follow the rules of the English grammar.
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