Writing a compare and contrast essay requires you to be innovative. You need to make new connections and express things in a way that is unique—that is the secret of getting beautiful content across. How do you really define the objects you want to compare? Here are some pointers to consider:
- If two things go in the same category but have a certain difference, you can definitely do a compare and contrast piece:
a. Football and Tennis (both sports but very different in execution)
b. Cats and Eagles (both animals but they are very different)
c. Writing and Painting (they are art forms but they are different in execution)
- Plot out characteristics of each idea or object and note where they are the same or different. You could list them separately and highlight or connect where they are similar or different.
- Ask yourself these questions so that you can seamlessly start your draft well:
a. Have I noticed at least one important way they are similar and/or different to justify comparing and contrasting them?
b. Am I well-informed about the writing topic so that the text is properly written?
c. What are the specific instructions of my instructor do I have to compare OR contrast or compare AND contrast?
Have I noticed at least one important way they are similar and/or different to justify comparing and contrasting them?
A successful essay takes into consideration meaningful content—something that is not obviously seen but very much true. When you write you need to be able to identify at least one important way the two objects are different or similar so that you can understand how to really define your essay. For example:
– Do not focus on how eagles and cats are predators; focus on how they can influence their ecosystems.
– Do not focus on how tennis has far fewer players than football does; focus on how their “goals” are distinctly different.
Be vigilant and explore things that are not readily visible or easily known.
For the eagles and cats example, they can influence the ecosystem because of their ability as predators. You are taking something what we know and sharing with others a useful trait of influence they can deliver to their own ecosystems. Tennis and football consider a “goal” differently, but you can talk about how this works and how players strategize to make that goal. Being vigilant isn’t rocket science—you are just focusing on taking new perspectives on ordinary things.
Am I well-informed about the topic so that the is properly written?
Make sure you do your research so that you can get the best information out of the objects you are comparing. Well-informed material is better than one thrown together because of familiarity—being adventurous definitely has its perks. Be attentive to what your instructor requires of you, whether they are multiple differences or similarities and be prepared to develop your topic as extensively as needed.
Instructors vary on how they want you to write your content. Some may want you to choose to emphasize on comparisons while others would prefer contrasts depending on the writing style expected. Some also would rather you do both so you can really attack the topic in a diverse way. What you should do is to construct your thesis statement in a way that reflects what your instructor demands.
For instance, if the topic were to be about physical sciences, here are some different thesis statements that would depend on whether the papers is to be written from a compare/contrast perspective or just writing in plain contrast.
Compare/Contrast: In understanding how the physical sciences explore the world around us, while both Biology and Chemistry explore the framework of how things exist, Biology focuses more on understanding life cycles whereas Chemistry focuses more on understanding the building blocks of matter.
Contrast: In understanding how the physical sciences explore the world around us, Biology focuses on life cycles but Chemistry focuses on the building blocks of matter.
The Structure of Your Writing
In developing your essay, you can approach it in two ways: piecing and chunking.
Piecing: This is a more skeletal approach where you lobby back and forth between topics. For instance, if you’re talking about Cats and Eagles:
- Similarities and Differences in Cats and Eagles’ Appearances
- Similarities and Differences in Cats and Eagles’ Predatory Behaviors
III. Similarities and Differences in Cats and Eagles’ Ecosystem Influences
Chunking: This is more dynamic in nature where you chunk together distinct traits of a topic then you segue with similarities before talking about the other subject. For instance:
- Cats are unique because…
- Cats and eagles are similar as…
III. But eagles are unique because…
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