Which thesis should be used for a compare-and-contrast essay

Let's say you're writing a paper on global food distribution, and you've chosen to compare apples and oranges. Why these particular fruits? Why not pears and bananas?

How to Write a Comparative Analysis

For instance, in a paper asking how the "discourse of domesticity" has been used in the abortion debate, the grounds for comparison are obvious; the issue has two conflicting sides, pro-choice and pro-life. In a paper comparing the effects of acid rain on two forest sites, your choice of sites is less obvious. A paper focusing on similarly aged forest stands in Maine and the Catskills will be set up differently from one comparing a new forest stand in the White Mountains with an old forest in the same region. You need to indicate the reasoning behind your choice.

The grounds for comparison anticipates the comparative nature of your thesis. As in any argumentative paper, your thesis statement will convey the gist of your argument, which necessarily follows from your frame of reference. But in a compare-and-contrast, the thesis depends on how the two things you've chosen to compare actually relate to one another.

How to Write Compare and Contrast Essay - EssayMasters

Do they extend, corroborate, complicate, contradict, correct, or debate one another? In the most common compare-and-contrast paper—one focusing on differences—you can indicate the precise relationship between A and B by using the word "whereas" in your thesis:. Whether your paper focuses primarily on difference or similarity, you need to make the relationship between A and B clear in your thesis.

This relationship is at the heart of any compare-and-contrast paper.

What is an Outline and Why is It Important?

Organizational Scheme. Your introduction will include your frame of reference, grounds for comparison, and thesis. There are two basic ways to organize the body of your paper. If you think that B extends A, you'll probably use a text-by-text scheme; if you see A and B engaged in debate, a point-by-point scheme will draw attention to the conflict.

Be aware, however, that the point-by- point scheme can come off as a ping-pong game. Point-by-Point Arrangement compare and contrast paragraphs has the following structure:. In case of a standard five-paragraph essay, it is enough to include three paragraphs like in our outline. Otherwise, the number of paragraphs can vary depending on the complexity of the topic. It is better to adhere to Block Arrangement , when your comparison and contrast essay is brief or compared objects are challenging to analyze.

Compare and contrast essay structure

This organization pattern suggests you should analyze all chosen features. Obviously, in context of lengthy paper, this pattern would be challenging to follow. But when the text is short, this organization method may be relevant. No matter the pattern of arrangement, we recommend you to start each compare and contrast paragraph with a topic sentence. It should briefly explain the content of the whole paragraph, also include them in outline.

Professors of the US colleges are quite demanding in this respect, and failure to include strong topics can result in significant deduction of points. For an outline, it is enough to restate a thesis statement for a conclusion. But we recommend you to expand the conclusion, when using the outline to write a compare and contrast essay. It should not only repeat your thesis in other words, but also discuss the significance of the outcomes of your comparative or contrasting analysis.

In order to make a compare and contrast outline and eventually future essay perfect, it is sound to ensure that there are proper transitions between ideas and that each idea has signal words that introduce the point of either comparison or contrast.


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Here are signal words you should use in a comparison essay : similarly, too, just as, also, both, comparatively, same as, as well as, like, in the same way. The usage of these words clarifies the links between the analyzed objects, making them seem either similar or different. You should mind that in case of a block pattern of arrangement of compare and contrast paragraphs, majority of signal words will be presented in the paragraph that discusses the second object.

Be sure to include many of the mentioned linking words in the second paragraph, because otherwise, you risk to summarize the features of objects instead of comparing and contrasting them. Feature 1: Improvement of health needs factual support like cited evidence from sources. The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience. Given that compare-and-contrast essays analyze the relationship between two subjects, it is helpful to have some phrases on hand that will cue the reader to such analysis.

See Table Create an outline for each of the items you chose in Note Use the point-by-point organizing strategy for one of them, and use the subject organizing strategy for the other. First choose whether you want to compare seemingly disparate subjects, contrast seemingly similar subjects, or compare and contrast subjects. Once you have decided on a topic, introduce it with an engaging opening paragraph. Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction, and it should establish the subjects you will compare, contrast, or both as well as state what can be learned from doing so.

The body of the essay can be organized in one of two ways: by subject or by individual points. The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your audience and your purpose. You may also consider your particular approach to the subjects as well as the nature of the subjects themselves; some subjects might better lend themselves to one structure or the other. Make sure to use comparison and contrast phrases to cue the reader to the ways in which you are analyzing the relationship between the subjects.

After you finish analyzing the subjects, write a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and reinforces your thesis. See Chapter 15 "Readings: Examples of Essays" to read a sample compare-and-contrast essay.

What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

Many business presentations are conducted using comparison and contrast. The organizing strategies—by subject or individual points—could also be used for organizing a presentation.

Keep this in mind as a way of organizing your content the next time you or a colleague have to present something at work. Choose one of the outlines you created in Note Be sure to include an engaging introduction, a clear thesis, well-defined and detailed paragraphs, and a fitting conclusion that ties everything together. Previous Section. Table of Contents. Next Section.


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Explain organizational methods used when comparing and contrasting. Understand how to write a compare-and-contrast essay. The Purpose of Comparison and Contrast in Writing Comparison In writing, to discuss things that are similar in nature.