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Choosing a Topic for Comparison Essay

❶A comparison essay or a Compare and Contrast essay is a commonly used type of writing assignment in various classes of high school and college, from art to science. Considering the right structure for your essay is one of the key points of success.

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Comparison Essay Structure
How to Compare Two Characters

This set of overlapping circles can help you visualize where your subjects are similar and where they differ. Major points of difference are also good to note. Consider your main points. Instead, choose a few points that seem to be particularly important. These are points of comparison ways they are similar. These are points of contrast ways they are different.

These points of contrast can often be good places to start thinking about your thesis, or argument. Do these differences make one animal a superior type of pet? Or a better pet choice for a specific living situation e. Show readers why one subject is more desirable than the other. If your teacher recommends this form, go for it. However, you should be aware that especially in college, teachers and professors tend to want students to break out of this limited mode. Decide on a structure. There are several ways to organize a compare-and-contrast essay.

Which one you choose depends on what works best for your ideas. This organization deals with all of the points about Topic A, then all of the points of Topic B. For example, you could discuss all your points about frozen pizza in as many paragraphs as necessary , then all your points about homemade pizza.

This type of organization switches back and forth between points. For example, you could first discuss the prices of frozen pizza vs. The disadvantage is that you do switch back and forth between topics, so you need to make sure that you use transitions and signposts to lead your reader through your argument.

This organization presents all the comparisons first, then all the contrasts. Putting the contrasts last places the emphasis on them. However, it can be more difficult for your readers to immediately see why these two subjects are being contrasted if all the similarities are first.

Outlining your essay will help you work out the main organizational structure and will give you a template to follow as you develop your ideas. No matter how you decided to organize your essay, you will still need to have the following types of paragraphs: This paragraph comes first and presents the basic information about the subjects to be compared and contrasted.

It should present your thesis and the direction of your essay i. These are the meat of your essay, where you provide the details and evidence that support your claims. Each different section or body paragraph should tackle a different division of proof. It should provide and analyze evidence in order to connect those proofs to your thesis and support your thesis.

Many middle-school and high-school essays may only require three body paragraphs, but use as many as is necessary to fully convey your argument. This paragraph acknowledges that other counter-arguments exist, but discusses how those arguments are flawed or do not apply. This paragraph summarizes the evidence presented. It will restate the thesis, but usually in a way that offers more information or sophistication than the introduction could.

Take it to the next level! Outline your body paragraphs based on subject-to-subject comparison. Let's say you're working with the following statement: This method of organization can be unwieldy, so if you choose it, be sure not to let your paragraphs become page-long lists of points about each subject. A subject-to-subject body paragraph outline could look like this: Body Paragraph 1 Woods: Types of Activities and Facilities Conclusion.

Outline your body paragraphs based on point-by-point comparison. This is the more common method used in the comparison and contrast essay. For example, in this case, you could write one paragraph describing the weather in both the woods and the beach, one paragraph describing the activities in each location, and a third describing the facilities in both. Here's how the essay could look: Discuss first difference between woods and beaches: Woods Beach Body Paragraph 2: Discuss second difference between woods and beaches: Woods Beach Body Paragraph 3: Discuss third difference between woods and beaches: Outline your body paragraphs based on compare then contrast.

This type of organization works best for when you want to emphasize the contrasts between your subjects. First, you discuss how your subjects are similar. Introduction Body Paragraph 1: Similarity between woods and beaches both are places with a wide variety of things to do Body Paragraph 2: First difference between woods and beaches they have different climates Body Paragraph 3: Second difference between woods and beaches there are more easily accessible woods than beaches in most parts of the country Body Paragraph 4: Emphasis on the superiority of the woods to the beach Conclusion.

Organize your individual body paragraphs. Once you've chosen an organizational method for your body paragraphs, you'll need to have an internal organization for the body paragraphs themselves. Each of your body paragraphs will need to have the three following elements: This sentence introduces the main idea and subject of the paragraph. It can also provide a transition from the ideas in the previous paragraph.

These sentences provide concrete evidence that support the topic sentence and main idea. Use your brainstorming ideas to fill in your outline. Look at the lists and diagrams you generated to help you find the evidence for your comparisons and contrasts.

The most common five methods to grab your reader's attention, commonly used by professionals, are the following: Give a brief historical review of your topic for help reader to better understand it Start from a little story or an anecdote, which leads the reader into your topic Try to use a surprising statement — something disgusting, joyful or even shocking "Dropping" the name of a well-known person celebrity usually gets the reader's attention State straight out what your essay is going to be about, simply and clearly.

High school students often find it difficult to view their teachers as anything but "the enemy. Some teachers are "cool," while others are "tough. Strict maintains a highly structured classroom atmosphere to keep her pupils disciplined and motivated, Mr. Lax downplays structure in order to allow his students to push themselves.

She collects homework every day at the beginning of class; to turn it in five minutes late is to turn it in a whole day late. Every piece of writing, whether it is a journal entry or a formal essay, must be typed and stapled. Last but not least, all homework must display a sophisticated level of thinking and writing.

Also, a variety of transitions prevent monotony. Like, compared to, similar to, similarly, by analogy, likewise, in the same way, as well, both, too. Unlike, conversely, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, still, although, while, but, even though, although, despite, yet, regardless, on the one hand … one the other hand.

The conclusion of a comparison essay is just as important as the introduction. The conclusion seals the comparison essay and tries to close the issue. Be specific, and always have reasons for your choices. Approach the decision of what to compare methodically. First, look at all the ways that people can be alike or different sex, age, motivation, religion, etc. Second, look at the many ways characters can be alike or different in literary works: Finally, consider how you will compare the characters.

Conceptually, you will have addressed a number of the "how" questions by answering what and why, but you will also want to focus your comparison. Are you examining how the characters speak for themselves—or how other characters respond to them? How they see the world—or how the work's conclusion passes judgment on their perspectives? As individuals—or as representatives of their class, race, family, region?

Work with those questions until your answers cut to the heart of the work in question. The final "how" question to answer is how to structure your own essay.

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