Compare and Contrast: Important Things You Should Know

In your life as a student, you will have to perform various types of writing assignments. Each assignment will have its importance and requirements. From academic writing to content, you will encounter numerous kinds of writing assessments. One of the most common writing assignments is to compare and contrast essay.

“In this sort of a writing assignment, usually two subjects have the focus; the analysis revolves around finding the similarities (in comparison) and differences (in contrast) than one another,” says Chris Larsen, a writer at WritingMetier.

The importance of such assignments lies with how instructors encourage students to make valuable connections between ideas and text by using their critical thinking, going beyond general summaries or plans, and reflecting on more in-depth analysis.

There are words that people often use simultaneously without realizing how different they are. When it comes to understanding the difference between ‘compare’ and ‘contrast,’ one needs to understand the difference first.

bored young woman with laptop computer

In writing, we compare things that have similar elements, whereas, in contrast, we discuss those that are different. In a compare and contrast essay, we analyze two different subjects by first comparing them and then contrasting them.

The critical thing to keep in mind that for a good compare and contrast essay, you need to choose subjects that are meaningfully connected to one another. The purpose behind such an article is not to shed light on the apparent aspects but illuminate the unexpected, subtle similarities. For example, if you want to contrast two subjects, you would not do it between oranges and apples as they serve differently. However, you might distinguish and compare two different types of apples or oranges while engaging in subtle differences. For instance, concerning the kind of apples, Granny Smiths might be acidic and tart while Red Delicious are sweet. To distinguish similar elements of the same category will allow the readers to understand your essay more easily, serving the purpose and the meaning behind a compare and contrast essay.

While focusing on the comparison, you need to focus on and choose unrelated subjects. For comparison, you may not go for the oranges and apples and their types. Instead, you will compare how oranges and apples are similar. You might talk about how apple and oranges are both sources of carbohydrates. Conclusively, the more different the subjects are, the more interesting the comparison will be.

Structure of Compare and Contrast Essay

For a compare and contrast essay, a clear thesis is outstanding that elaborates on the two chosen subjects, stating why they are being contrasted or compared or both. The argument could light on both aspects of the essay if that is what you are going to do. Remember, the essential element of doing a compare and contrast essay is that you present useful, relevant information to the readers. Here’s an example of a thesis which is more towards contrasting aspect of the article:

Thesis statement: While organic vegetables are more costly than conventionally grown vegetables, they are more useful concerning health outcomes and worth the extra money.

You can organize your paper following two ways:

1. Subject by Subject

Start your essay by writing everything you want to about the first subject you have chosen. Make sure you have covered all the points you wanted to. Then move on to the second subject and repeat the same steps. Give both questions their attention and space. Use several paragraphs if you wish regarding both issues. For example, concerning the apple and oranges example, you might want to start with an introduction on apple, then something about its seasonal important and then about the health benefits followed by a conclusion.

The subject to subject is referred to as lens comparison, and it is a logical choice where you are using one theme to understand the other. For example, you may have a task to compare the poem you had recently read in your class with the one which has always been your favorite ones.

2. Point by Point

Rather than address one subject at just one time, you take one end and compare it with the other one at the same time. Depending on what you want to say, the outcome of this approach might be different. For example, you can describe the prices of apples and oranges in one paragraph, contrasting the healthy benefits of both the fruits in another and so one. The main point you need to keep in mind with this approach is that both subjects need to be dealt with simultaneously.

The strategy you choose for organizing the essay depends on you want to convey the message. Also, it depends on the audience you are willing to connect with alongside the purpose of the article. You might want to consider the approach based on the subjects and their nature. It is vital to keep that in mind as subjects, sometimes, can be better complimented when being compared and contrasted alongside rather than by the subject to subject approach. Once you are done with analyzing the chosen topics, come up with a conclusion that successfully summarizes the major points of the essay, reinforcing the thesis.

Compare and contrast essays are fun to do and are essential in schools as learning assignments. They help a lot in building a critical approach among students.

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