Project #28907 - Comparison and Contrast Essay


(750-1000 words, 20 points)

OVERVIEW AND INSTRUCTIONS (excerpted from Writing Paragraphs and Essays by Marilyn Fry):

For this essay you will use both the Personal Description and Comparison methods of development. You will use Personal Description to introduce your topic, and then you will compare and contrast two things.  This is a personal essay, so you will choose your own topic.


You might want to compare people:  for example, two of your friends or two aunts or two cousins or two of your children.  You might decide to compare two classes you have taken or the teaching styles of the two instructors.  You could comare two places you have lived or two schools you have attended or two jobs you have had.  You might want to compare two products, two brands of something.  If you like, you could compare two books you have read on the same subject or compare the book with the movie based on the book.  The choices are endless.  (You can also glean ideas from the example essays in your text, but be aware that these do not show you the required structure for this assignment.)  Here is a list of possibilities:



  1. Two college teachers (or college pressures or college courses)
  2. Two pet owners (or pets)
  3. Two drivers
  4. Two churchgoers
  5. Two internet users
  6. Two friends, bosses, or relatives
  7. Two talk show hosts or talk shows
  8. Two sports announcers (or fans)
  9. Two herbal remedies or alternative medicines
  10. Two laundromat users
  11. Two people waiting in line
  12. Two cell phone users you know
  13. Two break-ups you've had


Use your favorite prewriting techniques.  Choose your subject and formulate a thesis statement.  Your thesis statement will always be a comparison statement:  "A and B are very similar"; "A and B are quite different"; "A and B are similar in...ways but different in...ways."


Next, choose a plan of organization.  A comparison essay can be organized three main ways.


1.  Topic-Topic (Block)

A.  Introuduction

B.  All about A

C.  All about B

D.  Conclusion (Comparison/Contrast of A and B)


2.  Likenesses-Differences

A.  Introduction

B.  Similarities (likenesses) between A and B

C.  Differences between A and B

D.  Conclusion


3.  Item-Item (Point-by-Point)

A.  Introduction

B.  Item 1 (Comparison of A and B on item/point 1)

C.  Item 2 (Comparison of A and B on item/point 2)

D.  Item 3 (Comparison of A and B on item/point 3)

E.  Conclusion



Notes about Topic-Topic organizational plan:
  • This plan only has 2 body paragraphs.  One is about one thing being compared.  The other is about the other.  For example, if you are comparing Apple computers with PCs, after your introduction the first body paragraph would be about Apples.  The second body paragraph would be about PCs, giving similar information in the same order about the PCs as the information was given in the first body paragrah.  Then the two would be compared in a long concluding paragraph.
  • This organization appears easy, but it is often not successful.  The most common mistake writers make is forgetting to actually compare and contrast the two topics in the conclusion.  Instead they simply summarize.  Although it may feel unnatural, the concluding paragraph is where the actual comparison takes place.  Therefore, the conclusion will be much longer than usual. 
  • Remember!  Here's the kicker.  You can't bring in new information to a conclusion, so all the points that you compare and contrast there must be ones you've mentioned in the body paragraphs already.  In those paragraphs these were points of description, but in the conclusion they are used as points of comparison and contrast.
  • Writing topic sentences for this format is difficult.  The topic sentence has to summarize the totality of a person or thing; it needs to be quite specific.  It is not enough to say "My cousin Mary is a nice person."  That is too vague.  You would have to spell out the things that make Mary "nice."  "My cousin Mary is a friendly and outgoing person who cares about other people and the environment."  Even that topic sentence would not allow you to write about other things about Mary:  how she looks, what her other interests are, what her occupational goals or hobbies are, etc.
  • Some writers don't go into enough detail in the body paragrahs:  they simply give a general summary of the subject rather than telling all about it.  Each person or thing should be defined, described, and explained in detail.  The same order of information should be used in each body paragraph.  If you are comparing two friends, Sally and Jane, in the first body paragraph, which is all about Sally, you might begin by describing Sally's appearance and then go on to discuss her personality and then describe her interests and hobbies and, last, tell about her educational level and occupational goals.  If that is the order you use in the first body paragraph, then the second body paragraph about Jane should follow the same order.  You should first tell about Jane's appearance; then her personality; then her interests and hobbies; and last, her education and career goals.


Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 04/26/2014 08:00 pm
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