There are many ways to structure a compare and contrast essay. Some writers choose to present everything in one paragraph, others choose two paragraphs for each point. Both types of essays can be effective; it really depends on the writer’s preference.
This type of essay is best started with an introductory paragraph that lets your reader know what you’re going to talk about (the topic) and how you will discuss it (through comparing and contrasting). If you can’t choose the topic, you can find some ideas here. The next few paragraphs should go through the first part, comparison, which should pinpoint similarities between items mentioned in the topic. After these first few paragraphs, move on to the second part of this kind of essay, contrast — highlighting differences between items mentioned in the topic. Finally, conclude your essay by summarizing your points and restating the thesis.
A compare and contrast essay is perhaps one of the easiest essays to write. This is because it’s based on comparing two separate items and finding their differences, so you don’t need to provide much background information about them as a writer. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t without its challenges–you’ll still have plenty of work ahead of you if you want to produce a successful piece! The main challenge in writing this kind of essay is simply keeping everything organized during the first draft process. You’ll often find yourself overwhelmed by all the information you’re trying to present, but don’t worry! Your draft can always be edited later to make things better organized and more concise. In order for this essay to work, you’ll need to make sure your points are properly supported with evidence. If readers can see that you’ve used examples and concrete details to support your claims, they’ll be more likely to believe the information presented in this kind of essay.
An important part of writing a compare and contrast essay is choosing which items should be paired together for comparison and contrast. This means that you’re actually establishing the topic of your paper during this step, or at least putting boundaries around it by deciding which two things (or concepts) will serve as its basis. Sometimes these decisions are rather easy–such as when comparing an idea you read about in class to something else relevant that was discussed there. But sometimes this decision-making process can be difficult, especially if you’re comparing two items that aren’t directly related to each other.
When writers are faced with this kind of situation, it’s generally best to start by thinking about what similarities they share. For instance, let’s say your topic is an apple and an orange. If the only thing these two things have in common is that they’re both fruit, you need to think about how else can these two items be compared and contrasted? Are there nutritional differences between them? How do people use them in cooking or baking? Perhaps one tastes better than the other; maybe one has a longer growing season than the other, or perhaps one is cheaper to buy at the store than the other! As long as you keep brainstorming ideas for comparisons and contrasts, you might be surprised by how much material you can come up with. And as this brainstorming is happening, also think about the possible ways to connect these items — for instance, maybe it’s best to explore their connections through a timeline.
As you’re writing your compare and contrast essay, it’s important to remember that this kind of paper is called a “comparison and contrast” essay for a reason! If you only focus on one part and neglect the other, or if you include too much information about both parts and not enough about how they’re different from each other, there’s a good chance your reader will feel confused. To best avoid this problem, try looking at your drafts after every round of edits. It’s during these later stages that you should be asking yourself questions such as: “Is my argument clear?” “Have I used enough examples to support all my claims?” “Did I leave out any important details? Do readers need more background information before moving forward?” Each of these questions can help you determine whether or not your essay is ready for submission.
Getting started on writing a compare and contrast essay isn’t always easy, but it can be made easier by following these simple steps:
- Decide which two items, people, events, etc. will serve as the basis of your comparison and contrast paper. Make sure that they’re each uniquely different from each other so readers don’t get confused about what you’re trying to convey!
- Brainstorm possible connections between both items–if there are too many differences between them, look for similarities to explore instead! Don’t forget to think about how each item connects with another one in relation to our course material.
- If possible, try choosing items that seem to relate most closely with the course material.
- Start your paper by explaining why you decided on the topic, and what exactly it is about both items that make them stand out or worthy of comparison and contrast.
- Throughout your essay, be sure to use both examples (to support your claims) and concrete details (to make your writing more vivid). Don’t forget to ask yourself if each paragraph contains enough information — if not, what exactly needs further explanation?
As long as writers follow these steps when getting started, they can rest assured their compare and contrast essay will probably turn out just fine!