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The purpose of a compare and contrast essay is to analyze the differences and/or the similarities of two distinct subjects.A good compare/contrast essay doesn’t only point out how the subjects are similar or different (or even both! It uses those points to make a meaningful argument about the subjects.Sticking to a recommended essay structure is the only way to properly outline and write it, paragraph by paragraph from the introduction to conclusion, without mistakes.
You can, and probably do, use comparison and contrast to describe things, to define things, to analyze things, to make an argument -- to do, in fact, almost any kind of writing.
When they are comparing and contrasting, for example, two ideas, like corsets and footbinding, most writers structure their essays one of four ways. Writers using a comparison/contrast structure might begin by discussing the ways in which corsets are similar to footbinding, then they move to a description of the ways in which the two ideas are different.
This method is probably the one most students try first, but many evolve past it into something more flexible.
A quick outline that treats first corsets and then footbinding shows one way that such a paper might be structured.
While it can be a little intimidating to approach this type of essay at first, with a little work and practice, you can write a great compare-and-contrast essay!
Start out by naming both of the things you are comparing.
Formulating Your Argument Organizing Your Essay Putting It All Together Sample Body Paragraphs Sample Essay Outline Show 2 more... Article Summary Questions & Answers Related Articles References This article was co-authored by Megan Morgan, Ph D.
Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia.
Many teachers assign topics that ask writers to write an essay comparing and contrasting two or more ideas, but besides its value in organizing an essay, comparison/contrast is also useful as a technique Analogical and metaphorical language: like and as Using lists in your writing: parallelism An Overview of the Writing Process Developing an Introduction Conclusions Essay Organization: The Flow Chart Approach Paragraph Development When Do I Begin a New Paragraph Cohesion Brainstorming Focused Freewriting Invention Questions for Argument and Persuasion Invention Questions for Writing about Cause and Effect Invention Questions for Comparing and Contrasting The various rhetorical modes and types of writing This handout was written by Sharon Cogdill for the Write Place, St. Cloud, MN, and may be copied for educational purposes only.
If you copy this document, please include our copyright notice and the name of the writer; if you revise it, please add your name to the list of writers.