Compare & Contrast
Compare-contrast is the process of identifying how things are alike and different. Comparison refers to how two things are alike; contrast refers to how they are different. This is one of the most difficult text structures for students to understand because it requires evaluating and synthesizing. In addition, it has many variations, which can often be confusing to students. Strictly speaking, comparison deals with likenesses. Contrast deals with differences. An equally intriguing contrarian strategy is to take two seemingly identical items and reveal clear-cut, insightful difference. Correspondence and balance are important in the essay. Texts that students encounter are often a combination of different compare-contrast structures:
- · The Method:
A good comparison/contrast essay serves a purpose. Most of the time the purpose is one of two:
Demonstrating two subjects explicitly side by side, this is educational. The essay does not take a stand in an argument; it presents the facts up front.
- Decide between the two which is best. Give examples of both but demonstrate how one clearly outweighs the other.
Organization: Students can organize their comparison by in two ways:
Subject by Subject:
Clearly give facts about each subject one at a time, and then state their differences; followed by their similarities. Discuss and elaborate the value or merits of the subject to explain a line of reasoning.
Point by Point:
Slowly compare and contrast one point at a time. This way the two subjects appear side by side throughout the greater part of each paragraph. Discuss and elaborate the value or merits to explain the functions of the point of the said comparisons.
Read two essays from the assigned readings from Patterns for College Writing. Comparison and contrast writing is usually organized in either "block organization" or "point by point organization." Students should use library sources and reference books to explain and examine characters, thematic differences ideas, and things then move to the similarities.
How do the authors use transitional words and expressions to maintain coherence throughout the story? Use quotations from the essays to illustrate your points and document the sources you use.