To promote analytical reasoning and critical thinking in students teachers often assign compare and contrast essays. This type of essay normally looks at a subject in rather a new way, offering fresh insight and utilizing the differences and similarities between two topics.
Many compare and contrast papers bring one or several subjects into a sharp focus, offering a fresh way of viewing or showing that one subject supplants the other. In order to succeed in comparing and contrasting effectively, you’re bound to create fresh connections or distinctions between two things. Keep reading to learn how to start a compare and contrast essay.
If your advisor has already assigned you a topic, you might be contrasting a pair of things, falling into the same category, while differing from each other. You know that dogs and cats are animals. However, in many regards they differ from each other.
Then, you’re expected to create a list of differences and similarities. In a new document you should create two columns for every subject for the similarities and also two ones for the differences.
- Mention as many differences and similarities as you can. Here above we’ve told above cats and dogs. Being domesticated animals, their temperaments greatly differ. Dogs want to play and walk outside, while cats appear to be solely indoor pets.
- Ponder over one or two significant differences as well as similarities between the two subjects. For instance, if you pick up abortion rights, keep in mind that the pro-life stance considers fetuses to be full formed human beings, and it generally fits most religious beliefs. On the contrary, the pro-choice stance considers fetuses to be just undeveloped eggs, and it definitely gets along with scientific beliefs.
- In order to focus your list, pick up categories for the purpose of classifying the differences and similarities between the two subjects. For the abortion rights, you are free to use such categories as women’s rights, legal details, religious beliefs, and scientific stance. Then you require separating every item on the list into the categories mentioned above.
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Create a Venn diagram of your theme
Draw huge overlapping circles. Each circle stands for one subject. You should list the features of the two subjects shared by them in the center where the circles overlap.
In the areas where the circles don’t overlap you require listing the features making those subjects different. Try to be specific when listing phrases and words for every subject.
- Once you finish listing 5-7 similarities and 10-15 differences, have the most crucial ones circled in every list. After this you require matching minimum three opposites from one circle to the other.
- You should review the list and spot three different categories, illustrating these traits. As for the abortion rights theme, you might place scientific studies of the fetus on the pro-choice side, while on the pro-life side you can accommodate religious belief in life of the fetus. One probable category could potentially become the debate of the fetus’ life.
Answer the questions: what, who, when, where and how
These are the questions traditionally asked by reporters. Apply them to your theme and obtain a sense of every perspective.
- If you contrast and compare two historical periods, you might ask when they took place. You might also want to know the most crucial changes during those periods and why they’re considered to be significant or not. Don’t forget to enumerate key consequences.
- If you contrast and compare two theories or ideas, you need to ask: Who was their creator? What’s the key point of every theory? How do they apply to various situations? How are they supported?
- When comparing and contrasting two pieces of art, ask these questions: What’s their overall mood or tone? What does every piece of art illustrate? How did their creators depict them? What do they address?
- If you contrast and compare two personalities, specify their age, their place of birth, habits, lifestyle, education, tastes, interests, not to mention their race, gender, profession and social position. Are there any relationships between them?
Minds gaps in your research or knowledge
Your instructor might require you to conduct deep research on rather a complicated topic, such as abortion rights. On the other hand you m might be free to illustrate something less serious, such as why you like dogs much less than cats. Having completed your brainstorming, identify aspects of the paper you might require for your research.
Your advisor might ask for a discussion of more than one difference or similarity between the two perspectives. If there are any gaps in your knowledge, identify them. It will help you to conduct your research much better.
Make an outline
That’s another crucial point in our guide on how to start a compare and contrast essay. You should create your thesis statement. You’ll use it to make a focused argument. It will also serve as a suitable road map not only for you, but also for your audience.
- Your thesis needs to not the major differences and similarities of both subjects. You might write that although cats and dogs are both perfect pets, their breeding and temperaments set them apart.
- “So what” – that’s the question your thesis needs to answer. Why on earth should anybody care about the negatives and the positives of owning a dog or a cat? Your audience might wonder why you decided to contrast and compare exactly cats and dogs and not other pets, such as birds, rabbits or reptiles. If you address this question, your thesis will be much stronger, and it will strengthen your paper in general.
- Your final thesis might state that cats and dogs are ideal pets, and they outperform other domesticated animals in terms of popularity. Nevertheless, the low maintenance as well as trouble-free temperament of cats makes them the best choice for most households. As for an alternative thesis, it might ascertain that both dogs and cats are excellent pets, but your choice depends on your finances, lifestyle as well as living accommodations.
Organize your essay using the block method
If you want to know how to start a compare and contrast essay, you should be aware of the so-called block method. The method suggests that every paragraph in the paper addresses one theme only from the pair or themes and considers the shared aspects or features you came up with when brainstorming. Here’s the very essence of the method:
- Introduction: Here you are expected to introduce the general theme. After this you require introducing two specific topics. You should conclude with your thesis statement. It should address what should be covered in the paper.
- Body paragraph: It starts with the topic sentence for theme 1. You can write that cats turn to be cost-effective in terms of maintenance compared to dogs.
- Leads into aspect 1: Here you should illustrate your lifestyle, including at least two details. For instance, you can write that you don’t need to watch your cat, and it’s easy to take care of if you travel.
- Leads into aspect 2: Specify your expenditures with at least two details. You can stress that healthcare and food for cats are quite affordable.
- Leads into aspect 3: Tell about your living accommodations, mention at least two details. Here you can stress that cats aren’t intrusive compared to dogs, and they take up little space. After this you should conclude the paragraph 1 with a transitional sentence.
- Body paragraph 2: it should follow the same structure, including up to three aspects as well as two supporting details for every aspect.
- Body paragraph 3: It shares the same structure with the previous paragraphs. It can develop the comparison you made in the two paragraphs above. You’re also free to utilize crowd sourced feedback, scientific data or your personal experience. For instance, you might have been in a position where you had to choose between a cat and a dog and your final decision was based on your finances, lifestyle and also your living situation.
- Conclusion: Here you’re expected to offer a brief summary of your crucial points, an evaluation of your analysis, a restating of your thesis statement as well as any future developments, which might sway your contrast and compare to one theme over the other.
It makes sense to let your friend read your thesis or introduction. He or she might spot newly overlooked glitches.