Academic writing tasks can be a real headache for most high school and college students. When initially receiving the task of writing a compare and contrast essay, the student will probably assume that the assignment will be a pushover. However, when they start, things turn out to be not as simple as once imagined. Like many other academic assignments, a compare and contrast essay must correspond to a certain structure and have a coordinated plan. Besides, this type of paper is a little different from other types of essays because it requires an ability to compare facts, highlighting the contrasting things, and must show student’s skills in information analysis. Thus, in order to write an authentic and good essay, you must have certain skills. In this article, we want to teach you some of them.
First, we shall understand how to start a compare and contrast essay
If you are trying to understand how to write a compare and contrast essay, and namely how to create interesting and outstanding work, you should start with identifying two or more subjects that have enough differences and similarities that make them amenable for a meaningful comparison. You have the full freedom of choice at this stage. For example, it can be two different characters from one book, actors or two football teams. Then, you should find at least a few points on which they can be compared by using the data found during the research, known facts, and examples that will help impress and captivate your readers.
Analyze the question attentively!
As with any other academic paper, this one requires thorough knowledge of the topic. You may have lots of great compare and contrast essay ideas for writing, but if they do not correspond to a given topic, the essay will not earn you an A! Review the guiding questions (or title, if any) and underline the key points. Keep a list of them in front of you throughout the whole writing process, and it will help you stay focused on the given theme without deviating from it.
What exactly does the teacher want to see in your work? What do you want to show? There is just one answer to both questions: just like other essays, this one strives to reveal your personal opinion about the problem, person, situation, etc.
Remember, you cannot just say that the first character is good and the other one is bad. If you want to prove that one of the characters is better than the other one, you have to prove your point using facts from the book (if the characters are taken from there) that would provide objective characteristics of them.
Create a List of Similarities and Differences
Yes, in addition to comparisons, you still need to point out the contrasts! Therefore, the most effective way to begin the work on the essay is to make a detailed list of similarities and differences; it will be a kind of outline for your work that later will help you to write the paper faster.
If you want to use a template to finish the paper sooner most likely you will not succeed because it’s assumed that the work will not just involve stereotyped comparisons, but will also reflect your individual point of view.
Analyze this list
There is a possibility that you have missed out on something important! Carefully read the list again and try to see some logical pattern in the points, this will help you to decide what will serve as a basis for comparison.
Set the Basis for Comparison
By defining the basis, you set the context of comparison: how will the two objects be compared further? The basis for comparison should have a specific thesis or idea that determines the goals that a student is trying to pursue by comparing the two objects.
The base for your paper can be a simple theory, question or problem. Most importantly, you have to be confident that the comparison of the chosen subjects can help you reach the writing goals that you have set, all the while answering the main question by proving your theory or offering solutions to the problem.
Study the compared objects
In order to compare objects or characters properly, you have to study them. Being meticulous in characterizing traits is important. There might be more sides to the person, problem or situation that have not been properly considered. For example, we have Robin Hood. He was a robber and a thief; however, he was always considered as a positive, kind and honest character. Then, we can take the automobile engine as another example. The fact that the engine does not have a big volume (cubic centimeters) does not mean that it is not powerful and so on.
As you can see, half of your success depends on the chosen topic, so you will have to analyze, characterize and compare chosen subjects depending on the topic.
Writing the work
The compare and contrast essay has a similar structure to other essays and consists of three parts and generally can fit into 5 paragraphs. To give you a better understanding of how to write this type of work, we will give a full description to each part.
1) Introductory Clause (Introduction)
This part introduces the reader to the essay topic and leads to the disclosure of key aspects of the work. You can explain the theme of the work, reveal its essence, and ask the question, which should be answered in the main body part and summarized in the conclusion. Let's say you are comparing two characters from the book. In this case, your intro can explain to the reader what the book is about and tell a bit about each character that you are planning to compare. To finish of the intro paragraph, put together an informative thesis that will be proven in your body paragraphs. This statement should highlight the key aspects that come from comparing the two parties!
2) Main clause (Body Paragraphs)
This is a foundation of the work and therefore, is the most important part of the composition. It reveals the topic and explains the essence of the work. In the beginning, you should describe characters in details. Briefly describe events that occurred with them and the actions of these characters, giving them a preliminary assessment. In this part of the work, you will be comparing your objects by providing examples, facts and arguments that should persuade the reader to your point of view. However, you should not make any specific statements yet.
3) Final clause
Just like the intro, your final clause should not be too long. The conclusion should present a concise summary of the whole work and draw logical conclusions based on everything that was stated in the paper earlier. To get a high grade for this work, a student must ensure that the conclusion of his essay is logical, laconic and straight to the point. Here you can give the final characterization of your subjects, for example, stating some of their key qualities in comparison with each other. To fully complete your work, offer an overall significance statement that describes the importance of the research you have done and of the conclusions you have made!
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