A compare and contrast essay is an assignment in academic writing that involves the examination of several items that belong to one category.
Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Steps
- Choose two items to discuss. Make sure they have both similarities and differences to be analyzed.
- Brainstorm and create an outline out of your ideas.
- Choose the structure of the future essay. It may be either block structure (point-by-point analysis of certain qualities that are similar/different in both items) or point-by-point arrangement (first, the analysis of all similarities, then – the discussion of the differences).
- Create the introduction that includes a thesis statement with a clear explanation why you chose certain items to discuss.
- Write body paragraphs according to the chosen essay structure (block or point-by-point arrangement).
- Make up a conclusion by rephrasing your thesis statement and choosing the best item.
- Edit your essay and correct all the mistakes in word choice, style, structure, etc.
Major Points to Consider
- Paying attention to details is the major concern when writing a compare and contrast essay. Before making a final decision on the items to discuss, take a fresh look on their similarities and differences or try to formulate a different viewpoint from the one that you naturally have.
- One of the rules that predetermine a successful essay is following the structure (block or point-by-point arrangement) strictly. This is the major criterion checked by most professors.
- When writing, think of the readers, their preferences and interests. The choice of items to discuss as well as the main arguments should be based on the values of the audience you plan to address. Change your topic if you feel that your essay will bring no benefit to the readers.
Do and Don’t
- Do begin your essay with a definition of the items you plan to analyze.
- Do conduct research before starting to write in order to find relevant supporting evidence.
- Do follow a certain structure of paragraphs based on the arrangement method you planned to use.
- Do check whether there is coherence among paragraphs.
- Don’t use both essay structures at once.
- Don’t ignore applying transitional words.
- Don’t let your opinion be biased.
- Don’t use conversational language and slang.
- Starting to write without having a clear idea about qualities of the items to be compared and contrasted.
- Developing a too general or popular topic. Instead, try to be original in your choice of the items to be discussed.
- Using tables and charts to illustrate the points of the essay. They are only effective when you prepare the outline.
- Choosing equal items and failing to decide which one is better/more useful/more advantageous.