Writing a comparison and contrast essay

The ultimate purpose of a comparison and contrast essay is to do proper research and analyze the differences, as well as similarities between two objects, which can be whatever you wish. A well-written essay of this particular kind should not only highlight how the chosen objects are similar or different, or both at the same time. In fact, you have to use these points while developing a meaningful and strong argument supporting your idea, or, so to say, the key message. While sometimes it may be a little challenging to accomplish this type of essay, with a piece of hard work and some practice, you will be able to write an effective paper. In this article, you will find essentials for writing this kind of paper, some guidelines and tips. However, we also would like to offer you an additional option. In case if you feel uncertain about your writing skills, or if you don’t have enough time to be spent on writing, or for any other reason you want someone to help you with this deal, please contact us and we will provide you with all kinds of needed professional assistance, including proofreading and writing service.

Understanding the essay type

Essays where you have to compare something are multi-paragraph papers that should provide an explanation in what ways two or more objects are similar or different. Here are some basic specificities of this essay type you have to consider:

  • When talking about comparing, we should mean description of the similarities between the objects. For example, we are comparing characters from a book, we may discuss their backgrounds, features and traits, appearances and relationships with other characters of the story. In other words, the comparison shows what they have in common.
  • When talking about contrast, we should describe what is different between the chosen objects. You may choose two political leaders, for example, and think about their political strategies, the way they accomplish their speeches, the level of trust of people to them, etc.
  • Basically, this kind of essay can cover any issue, but you still have to choose only relevant objects. Relevance is something you need to remember when deciding what to write about.

How to choose relevant objects to compare

Eventually, first thing to do when dealing with a comparison and contrast essay is choosing the objects to compare. Unless you are already assigned with a certain topic, you will have to choose it on your own. These objects should be different enough, but they also have to be similar at least somehow, otherwise you won’t be able to provide a complete discussion. There are some tips to consider when choosing your objects:

  • Pick objects that fall into the same category, while also have some considerable differences. For example, you can’t compare food to a movie. You can compare either two dishes, or two movies.
  • Choose objects that don’t seem to fall into the same category, although have an unexpected similarity. For instance, you can pick to compare bees and people. While they seem impossible to compare, it is interesting how bees can organize their tiny community, very similar to how people organize huge corporations.
  • Finally, you can choose two things that seem to be totally the same, but are actually absolutely different.

Before you make the final decision, make sure that those things can be researched and discussed in a meaningful manner. In other words, if you want your paper to be effective and to bring you a high mark, just pointing at something in common or at different features is not really enough. A well-written essay is the one where you not only inform your readers, but also explain your point, so that they could understand why you think so. Therefore, we suggest you asking yourself the following questions:

  • What will you personally and your readers learn from your essay? Is there something about the objects that can be unfolded only if you think about them together, while it’s impossible to notice it when looking at them separately?
  • After all, so what? If you ask yourself this question, you will understand if these two things are actually worthy of comparing. Because if they are not, why even bothering yourself comparing them?
  • Is it enough of sources of information to collect the needed information and provide a meaningful discussion? Make sure you know where to look for the info before you make the final decision.

How to get your writing started

A good idea is to brainstorm your topic. In fact, brainstorming is always a good idea. Since it’s almost impossible to just jump straight to the first paragraph right after you have chosen the objects to compare, you will have to do some preparations first. Brainstorming will help you come up with your thesis statement. Here are some tips how to do it:

  • There’s quite a popular method to brainstorm called “Venn diagram”. You need to take a pen and a paper sheet and draw a set of circles. In the center of the circles you provide info on the similarities and on the outer side of the circles jot down the differences.
  • Another option is to make two lists. On the first one you write down all the features of one object and on the second all the features of the second object. Then, you will make links to what is similar and different between them.
  • Determine your main points. While there may be quite a long list, you will not be capable of providing all the features in your comparison and contrast essay. This is why, a good idea would be to find the key points throughout both lists which seem to be the most important.
  • Use your key points to build the thesis statement. A thesis itself is where you provide the main idea of your writing.

Dealing with the structure of your paper

Making a good structure is highly important if you want to get high grades. Besides, a well-structured essay is always better to understand and perceive on the whole. There is a number of different ways to create a proper structure and you need to choose the one that would serve your purpose better than others.

  • Object by object. This kind of organization foresees that you provide all the features of one object first, and then, you write down all the features of another object. In fact, this is the easiest way to structure your comparison and contrast essay and it’s hardly the best. However, it’s strength is that you will not get confused, since all the features will be listed one by one.
  • Point after point. This kind of structure foresees that you list the points according to your discussion. The strength of this kind is that it makes your writing crystal clear and, eventually, understandable. The weakness, however, is that you will have to chase different points, which may be confusing to you during the writing.
  • Comparison first and then, contrast. This kind is similar to the first one, although you don’t list the feature of both objects separately, but provide them while comparing and contrasting at the same time. It is actually a very popular structuring type among students, because it allows to highlight your key points and not get confused and the same time.

Final steps before your essay is ready

Now it’s a perfect time for you to come up with a catchy title. A nice title will not only announce something important about the paper’s topic, but will also grab the reader’s attention. Taking into consideration your target audience, you may use different techniques, beginning with a joke and finishing with a provoking statement.

When your title is ready, you need to give yourself some time for a break. You will have to look at your essay with a fresh eye in order to evaluate it appropriately and make sure it’s written just perfect. When reviewing your paper, pay special attention to the bias, which is too much negativity. Check if there are any 1st person pronouns, because they are usually not allowed to use when writing essays.

The final step, of course, is going to be proofreading. So make sure to correct all the errors, including grammar mistakes, and pay attention to the way your essay sounds on the whole. It’s ok to ask someone to proofread your paper as well and give you some comments or maybe even an advice. However, consider their opinion but keep your own style, because you will not please everyone anyway.

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