Comparison and contrast essays take two completely different subjects, items, or situations and compare them to find surprising similarities or contrasting elements. While they might seem a bit complex at first, if done right, these essays are some of the most exciting assignments you might encounter in college or university.
But before expanding on the intricate details of these essays, let's go through the fundamentals to comprehend what they entail.
What Precisely is an Essay of Comparison and Contrast?
As the name suggests, comparison and contrast essays are pieces of writing that point out the close similarities or subtle differences between two or multiple subjects. These essays provide the perfect opportunity for you to highlight the differences between subjects that are mistakenly related to each other or explore the similarities between two seemingly unlikely objects.
What is the Purpose of Comparison and Contrast Essays?
When writing a paper on any topic, it is crucial to ensure that the readers understand the connection between the points being addressed. For example, suppose you have to write an essay on “Unhealthy eating habits," and you begin your paper by highlighting the “excess workload people face in their daily lives.”
While these two ideas seem unrelated to each other, you can draw a comparison of how people with excessive workloads have no time to eat a proper meal, let alone cook it.
Moreover, the popularity of "fast" foods has risen worldwide because of how easily consumable they are. The concept of "less time" binds these two issues together, making it easier for the readers to understand the relationship between them.
Therefore, comparison and contrast topics relate two or more topics together and allow you to explain them more accurately.
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Difference Between Comparison and Contrast Essays
A comparison essay explores the similarities between two or more subjects, while a contrast essay highlights the differences. Putting them together in a single comparison and contrast essay requires you to highlight both similarities and contrasting elements in the paper.
How to Compose a Comparison and Contrast Essay?
When composing a comparison and contrast essay, you need to focus on two things:
- Your thesis statement
- The essay structure
Like most essays, the comparison and contrast essay comprises three sections – the Introduction, the Body, and the Conclusion.
The introduction contains your comparison and contrast essay thesis statement. The statement establishes the subjects you wish to compare or contrast or both and states what the readers can learn from the comparisons.
The body of your essay lists the similarities and differences you've been able to establish between the subjects of your study. This section is the most challenging part of the essay, where you can choose to elaborate on the comparisons and contrasts using three methods: block, alternation, and similarities and differences.
Finally, the conclusion wraps everything up by summarizing the vital sections of the essay. Since many students wonder, “What’s the best way to end a comparison and contrast essay?" assignment experts suggest avoiding the introduction of new points. Instead, it would be best if you focused on wrapping up loose ends and highlighting the importance of the comparisons.
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What is the Best Way to Write a Comparison and Contrast Essay?
When writing the body of your comparison and contrast essay, there are three ways you can proceed:
Using the block method
Here, you discuss one subject in its entirety before moving on to the other subject in the subsequent paragraph. So, for example, in an essay comparing Moby Dick and The Raven, the author talks about Ahab from Moby Dick in one paragraph and proceeds to explore the narrator from The Raven in the next.
Using alternative method
The alternative method discusses a subject's take on a particular issue immediately, followed by the other subject's take on the same point. Then, you must compare their takes on another aspect in the next paragraph. For example, when comparing the aliens of Arthur Clarke and HG Wells, the author segregates the paragraphs point-wise.
Using similarities and differences
In this method, one paragraph of the essay explores all the subjects' similarities while the other paragraph focuses on the differences. While many essays have used this method to compare subjects, it's best used when you don't have too many points to discuss.
While the three methods are quite popular amongst students, the bet is undoubtedly the second. A point-by-point way of segregating the similarities and differences can help readers immediately catch on to the point you're trying to make.
Choosing a comparison and contrast essay topic is more challenging than it seems. That's why you need to consider several factors, such as the opportunity to explore various aspects, uniqueness, and complexity of the topic.
So, if you’re not sure which issue would suit you best, check out this list of the top trending comparison and contrast essay topics:
- Traditional learning vs. Online learning
- Bachelor's degree vs. Associate degree
- American government vs. British government
- Spending money on survival vs. Spending money on Passion
- Virtual friends vs. Real friends
- Instagram vs. Twitter
- Stranger Things vs. Squid Game
- Institutional learning vs. Homeschooling
- Paper books vs. Audiobooks
- Traditional libraries vs. Digital libraries
When writing these comparison and contrast essays, you’ll have a clearer idea of the topics that might challenge you to dig deeper instead of scratching the surface to find similarities and differences.
Comparison and contrast essays help explain the similarities and differences between two or more subjects, allowing for better comprehension by the readers. While writing such essays can be somewhat challenging at first, the process becomes easier when you understand the structure and different ways to go about the comparison.
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