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Which are more significant, the similarities or the differences? Plan to discuss the less significant first, followed by the more significant.

How to Write a Comparative Essay - A Research Guide for Students

Then for organizing your essay, choose one of the plans described below whichever best fits your list. Do not begin writing until you have a point that the similarities or differences you want to use help to prove. Your point should help shape the rest of what you say: For example, if you see that one of your similarities or differences is unrelated to the point, throw it out and think of one that is related.

Or revise your point. Be sure this main point is clearly and prominently expressed somewhere in the essay. After your introduction, say everything you want to say about the first work or character, and then go on in the second half of the essay to say everything about the second work or character, comparing or contrasting each item in the second with the same item in the first. Plan B: Use Plan B if you have only a few, larger similarities or differences. This means that the first paragraph will compare the first aspect of each subject, the second will compare the second, and so on, making sure to always address the subjects in the same order.

This method is especially recommended for lengthy essays or complicated subjects where both the writer and reader can easily become lost.

IELTS 9 TOEFL 30 Full Essay: Compare

Alternate the subjects in each paragraph. Devote every other paragraph to one of the subjects. This means that the first paragraph will compare one aspect of a subject and the second, the same aspect of the other subject; the third paragraph will compare a second aspect of a subject and the fourth, the same aspect of the second subject — and so on, making sure to always address each subject in the same order.

This method is especially recommended for essays where some depth and detail are required.


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Cover one subject at a time thoroughly. This means that the first set of body paragraphs is devoted to addressing every aspect of the first subject and the second set, to addressing every aspect of the second subject, making sure to address each aspect in the same order. This method is only recommended for short essays with simplistic subjects that the reader can easily remember as s he goes along. Write your essay out of order. In many cases, writing your essay from start to finish is harder than writing it out of order.

Also, you'll likely find yourself revising the early parts of your essay once you complete the body of the paper. Instead, you can opt to write your sections out of order. However, you always need to write your thesis statement before you can get started. Body paragraphs first. Work through all that information you've been compiling and see what kind of story it tells you. Only when you've worked with your data will you know what the larger point of the paper is. Conclusion second. Now that you've done all the heavy lifting, the point of your essay should be fresh in your mind.

Start your conclusion with a restatement of your thesis.

Open your introduction with a "hook" to grab the reader's attention. Since you've already written your essay, choose a hook that reflects what you will talk about, whether it's a quote, statistic, factoid, rhetorical question, or anecdote. Then, write sentences about your topic, narrowing down to your thesis statement, which completes your introduction. Write the body paragraphs. Organize your paragraphs using one of the approaches listed in the "Organizing the Content" part below. Once you have defined your points of comparison, choose the structure for the body paragraphs where your comparisons go that makes the most sense for your data.

Be very careful not to address different aspects of each subject. Comparing the color of one thing to the size of another does nothing to help the reader understand how they stack up. Write the conclusion. The conclusion should open by giving a brief, general summary of the points you covered in the body paragraphs, then draw a larger conclusion about your two subjects.

The last sentence of the essay should leave the reader feeling that all the different threads of the essay have been drawn together in a cohesive way. If necessary, make the parameters of your argument more specific. Write the introduction. Start with a general point that establishes the similarity between the two subjects, then move to the specific focus of the essay.

Writing an Outstanding Compare and Contrast Essay: Examples, Topics, Outline

At the end of the introduction, write a thesis statement that first announces which aspects of each subject you plan to compare and then states what conclusion you've drawn from them. Revise your writing. If time is not an issue, the best way to revise your work is to leave it for a day.

Once you settle down to revise, remember that the two most important things to do are to find problems and to fix them. These should be done separately i. Although it is tempting to do them at the same time, it is smarter to do them one by one; this ensures you have checked everything and, ultimately, makes the job quicker and more efficient. Even the best writers know editing is important to produce a good piece. Your essay will not be your best effort unless you revise it. If possible, find a friend to look over the essay, as he or she may find problems that you missed.

It sometimes helps to increase or decrease the font size while editing to change the visual layout of the paper. Looking at the same thing for too long makes your brain fill in what it expects instead of what it sees, leaving you more likely to overlook errors. Christopher Taylor, PhD.


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  5. A comparative essay asks you to compare and usually contrast two or more items. The items you compare can range from texts to arguments to positions on an issue, and more. Yes No. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 8. There is no specific outline form for a comparative essay. You can choose any style of outline that helps organize the way you plan to discuss the similarities between your two items.