Students have to write essays almost daily. Some of them are easy to complete, but some may cause trouble. One of such essay types can be the compare-and-contrast one. And if this is the assignment that makes you feel confused, then this unchallenging guide is for you!
To understand every smallest piece of this kind of assignment, you have to learn:
- What a Compare-and-Contrast Essay Is
- What Is the Purpose of Such Essays?
- How to Choose a Topic for This Essay Genre
- What Is the Best Structure for a Compare-and-Contrast Essay?
- About the Writing Process As It Is
Sure thing, this guide won’t be the only way to write the best essay your professor has ever read. Following some tips has nothing to do with forgetting about your creative vision! So, never put your original ideas back.
What a Compare-and-Contrast Essay Is
If you know it already, save your time and skip this introductory part. Yet, if this “genre” is new to you, then we go to the explanation.
Compare-and-Contrast papers explain themselves by their designation. So, your task is to juxtapose two objects of observation and point out their resemblance and contradistinctions. Sometimes your professor might ask you to work with three, four, or even more objects. Even though this is a rarity, this still happens, in the history class especially. Like, when you’re learning about the conflicts of the XX century, you’ll have to see how the Soviet Union, Germany, and Italy positioned themselves. And when topics like this come up, you can’t ignore one of the “characters”, as their relation is too noticeable.
Even though some of the objects may seem more important than others, you shouldn’t ignore any of them. In your essay, there are no things that aren’t worth full elucidation. So, you have to balance the extent of their showcasing.
This is the only kind of essay that covers more than one topic. Of course, this means that there are peculiarities of elucidation. You have to focus on two or more characters but grasp them evenly.
What Is the Purpose of Such Essays?
Mainly, your professor asks for it to test your analytical abilities. Writing compare-and-contrast papers requires you to divide each object into small components. Only in this manner, you can notice what they have in common and what are the disparities.
It will also test your structuring skills. It’s of more significance here as you’re working with multiple topics.
Sure thing, your argumentation plays an important role. Even though it’s your vision of how your objects are alike and different, you need evidence to back your thoughts up.
How to Choose a Topic for This Essay Genre
If your professor decided it for you, then you don’t have to think extra. But if you need to choose it by yourself, then pick out objects that have something obvious in common.
When you point out the similarities, you’ll see the differences automatically. It’s a bit easier than doing it vice versa, but you still may have other preferences.
The real-life connection between your objects isn’t obligatory. So, your essay can be about the same things that existed in different countries. For instance, you can take a look at the implementation of different architecture styles in two or more countries.
Here are some obvious topic options:
- attitudes towards propaganda in XX century and today;
- Greek and Roman culture;
- themes of homosexuality in Greek culture and today;
- the early period of creativity of the writer/artist and further development;
- conservatism and traditionalism;
- the image of a “strong leader” in countries with a totalitarian system;
- Feminism in XX century and today;
- medicine of the ancient world versus medicine of the Middle Ages.
What Is the Best Structure for a Compare-and-Contrast Essay?
The outline of such essays is standard.
In the introduction, you state the thesis and explain why your objects are worth comparing. Then in the body text, you lay out your argumentation, juxtapose all components given the volume of your paper. In your conclusion, you have to restate your thesis and condense the meaning of your research. So, nothing special, it’s almost the same as in other cases.
Yet, the actual comparing process in this kind of essay can be different. So, your essay writing can go in:
- Blocks. This is a method where you fully depict the first object and then go to the second to do the same thing. So, the subjects go in a row.
- Alternating way. This is the way of essay writing when you take one aspect and depict it regarding every subject. Then you write about another aspect, and another, and another.
- Similarities/differences organization. This way of essay writing is somewhat like creating blocks. Yet, if in the first case blocks are about subjects alone, here your blocks are about the likeness and contrast of your subjects.
About the Writing Process As It Is
Again, as with any other essay, you need to go through several steps. The phases are:
This is not the essay writing yet, it’s the preparation for it. Write everything without deep analysis. Point out all the obvious things. If it seems like there is a similarity or a difference, write it down too. In any case, you have no obligations to use every single idea.
Gather materials that can back your thoughts up. You’ll need evidence in any case. Moreover, you can find more components that seem to be alike or contrasting.
Deciding the structure
This will depend on which ideas you have. But if you choose the block method, you won’t make a mistake in any case.
It’s not obligatory. You can start writing what you want to submit instantly. Still, anything you write will be a draft first and foremost. It will be a valid essay only after proofreading and editing.
One of the most tedious parts as you have to re-read what you’ve written multiple times. There may be a problem if you chose the wrong structure. If this point is okay, then just eliminate grammatical and other flaws and typos, and you’re ready to go.
Compare-and-contrast essays are not what should make you nervous. It won’t be tougher than writing other essays as long as you’re diligent in the process of essay writing. And remember that you can customize your essay as you wish! No requirements should make you block your creative energy.