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Writing a Compare/Contrast Essay
As always, the instructor and the assignment sheet provide the definitive expectations and requirements for any essay. Here is some general information about the organization for this type of essay:


A comparison essay notes either similarities, or similarities and differences.



A contrast essay notes only differences.



The comparison or contrast should make a point or serve a purpose. Often such essays do one of the following:
Clarify something unknown or not well understood.
Lead to a fresh insight or new way of viewing something.
Bring one or both of the subjects into sharper focus.
Show that one subject is better than the other.



The thesis can present the subjects and indicate whether they will be compared, contrasted, or both.



The same points should be discussed for both subjects; it is not necessary, however to give both subjects the same degree of development.



Some common organizational structures include: (see note below)
Block method (subject by subject)
Point by point
Comparisons followed by contrasts (or the reverse)



Use detailed topic sentences and the following connecting words to make the relationship between your subjects clear to your reader:

Connectors That Show Comparison (Similarities)
In additon

Correspondingly

Compared to

Similarly

Just as

As well as

Likewise

Same as

At the same time

Connectors That Show Contrast (Differences)
However

On the contrary

On the other hand

Even though

In contrast

Although

Unlike

Conversely

Meanwhile

See the other side of this page of a detailed example for both the Block Method and the Pointby-Point method. For a blank chart to organize your own essay, use the Compare/Contrast Essay Worksheet
2/09

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