If you want to write a successful compare/contrast essay, you'll need to avoid writing about really obvious differences and similarities. For example:
No mention of Topic A should be made here.
The next section is where you compare the two elements you have chosen to pit against each other and bring out the similarities and differences in them optimally.
Finally, a complete summarization and good conclusion to reaffirm the thesis stated in the introduction.
Notes on this lesson's comparison and contrast features: Students explore similarities between abstract ideas and concrete nouns, ultimately creating a four-part poem that builds a metaphor.
Long before we published our Going Deep with Compare & Contrast Thinking Guide, Nevada teachers were already creating lessons for WritingFix that were inspired by having students compare and contrast. Below, we offer you our collection of lessons that require comparative thinking that have had a long history here at WritingFix.
"The writing process is another set of 'matches' for our students. I have found comparing and contrasting to be highly effective in increasing students’ ability to formulate ideas during the pre-writing stage. Shirley Dickson’s article, ',' reminded me how students need to be presented with text structures to fully understand how to write in the genre form we are asking of them. Having students compare one text structure with another and allowing them to use this as a launching pad for writing is a way to support all of our students in becoming better writers.
Plan A: Use Plan A if you have many small similarities and/or differences. 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. In this format, all the comparing or contrasting, except for the statement of your main point, which you may want to put in the beginning, goes on in the SECOND HALF of the piece.
Then for organizing your essay, choose one of the plans described below whichever best fits your list. Finally, and this is important, what main point (thesis) might you make in the essay about the two people/things being compared? 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.
Plan B: Use Plan B if you have only a few, larger similarities or differences. After your introduction, in the next paragraph discuss one similarity or difference in BOTH works or characters, and then move on in the next paragraph to the second similarity or difference in both, then the third, and so forth, until you're done. If you are doing both similarities and differences, juggle them on scrap paper so that in each part you put the less important first ("X and Y are both alike in their social positions . . ."), followed by the more important ("but X is much more aware of the dangers of his position than is Y"). In this format, the comparing or contrasting goes on in EACH of the middle parts.
Finally, the business of a comparison and contrast essay is frequently (but not always) to demonstrate a preference for one thing over another. The trick is to allow the preference to grow out of the comparison without actually stating the obvious. Let the reader figure out the preference from the language we use in the contrast; let the language do its work.
For instance, comparing the achievements of Nikola Tesla and Gabriel Batistuta in any way will be an effort in vain as only then will you be able to do optimal justice to your essay.
To write a comparison or contrast essay that is easy to follow, first decide what the similarities or differences are by writing lists on scrap paper. Which are more significant, the similarities or the differences? Plan to discuss the less significant first, followed by the more significant. It is much easier to discuss ONLY the similarities or ONLY the differences, but you can also do both.
As examples, one can compare and contrast the two mythologies in terms of characters, form and structure, creation myths, and mythology’s relevance to life.
"W.B. Yeats once wrote, 'Education is not the filling of the pail, but the lighting of the fire.' In 1923, Yeats won the Nobel Prize in Literature for writing inspirational poetry in such an artistic form that it was said to inspire the spirit of the whole nation. I guess you could say his poetry set people on fire. I decided that’s what I wanted to do, light the fire for my students. I wanted them to be able to compare and contrast ideas across the curriculum and then write about those comparisons in a thoughtful manner. The Yeats quote inspired me to ask the question, 'How do we light the fire in our students’ thinking? What can we use for matches to ignite this fire?'