Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels. For most literature classes, the fact that they both use Calson type (a kind of typeface, like the fonts you may use in your writing) is not going to be relevant, nor is the fact that one of them has a few illustrations and the other has none; literature classes are more likely to focus on subjects like characterization, plot, setting, the writer’s style and intentions, language, central themes, and so forth. However, if you were writing a paper for a class on typesetting or on how illustrations are used to enhance novels, the typeface and presence or absence of illustrations might be absolutely critical to include in your final paper.
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After researching various human-made disasters such as the BP oil spill, the sinking of the Titanic, and the Great Chicago Fire, students share their research in oral presentations. Then students pair up to compare and contrast their disasters using the Venn Diagram Student Interactive or the Venn diagram Mobile App.
Using the book , students look a closer look at medieval times to see if the novel accurately portrays this time in history. Looking at key sections of the book, students will use the Compare and Contrast Guide and Map to help them decipher between fact and fiction.
This interactive graphic organizer helps students develop an outline for one of three types of comparison essays: whole-to-whole, similarities-to-differences, or point-to-point. A link in the introduction to the give students the chance to get definitions and look at examples before they begin working. The tool offers multiple ways to navigate information including a graphic on the right that allows students to move around the map without having to work in a linear fashion. The finished map can be saved, e-mailed, or printed.
Depending on your assignment, such essays can be comparative only (looking only at similarities), contrasting only (pointing out the differences) or both comparative and contrasting.
This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective. It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond “Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others.”
In order to write a good essay, first you need to have a good topic for it, i.e. a topic that lets you easily demonstrate your writing skills and get a high grade easily.
In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements. One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another. By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them.
Some assignments use words—like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences—that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast. Here are a few hypothetical examples:
What does that mean specifically regarding the comparison essay? Very simple: the subjects must be easy comparable, so you don’t need to work too hard to point out their similarities or differences. For example:
A comparison essay (or a essay) is a commonly used type of writing assignment in various classes of high school and college, from art to science. In a comparison essay you should critically analyze any two subjects, finding and pointing out their similarities and/or differences.
But it’s not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast. And in some cases, comparison/contrast is only part of the essay—you begin by comparing and/or contrasting two or more things and then use what you’ve learned to construct an argument or evaluation. Consider these examples, noticing the language that is used to ask for the comparison/contrast and whether the comparison/contrast is only one part of a larger assignment: