How to Prepare a Compare and Contrast Essay

Writing compare and contrast essays in five steps

Compare and contrast essay
Did your teacher ask you for a compare and contrast essay and you don’t know how to begin? Don’t panic! Compare and contrast essays are not hard to prepare. This kind of essay is characterized by a basis for comparison, developed in different point or sequences, and analogies, always between two (or sometimes more) terms. Here we will show you how you can write a good essay of this kind just by following five simple steps.

Step 1: Choose the topic

Maybe it was the teacher who provided the topic. Maybe it is you who has to find the appropriate one. Anyway, thinks about two or more terms that can easily be related. For example, the economic crisis of 2008 with the crack of 1929.

Step 2: Choose the focus

Once you have picked the terms, decide the focus of your compare and contrast essay. Are you going to compare or to contrast?
While the structure is basically the same, the difference is that while a comparison focuses on the similarities between the terms, a contrast essay highlights its differences. For example, you may choose to write an essay about Hemingway and Faulkner. You may have a lot to say about them that keeps both writers close to each other (for example, the influence on contemporaries, the fact that they were both Nobel prize winners, etc). But you may choose to focus on the differences instead, in which case your essay will be a typical contrast.

Step 3: Plan and organize your essay

Compare and contrast essays should have a structure similar to this one:
– An introduction.
– One or two paragraphs discussing the less important things (that is, similarities if it is a contrast essay, differences if it is a comparison essay).
– Other one or two paragraphs, now referring to the main things.
– An essay conclusion, in where you close your work and give some general ideas on other facts that could have been compared.
Another possible structure begins by describing the first item, and then describing the second one by comparing different aspects of it with the first one.

Step 4: Write a good introduction

You can’t compare a writing desk with a crow, as Lewis Carroll humorously demonstrated in Alice in Wonderland. So prove from the beginning your whole essay has a point. You may find obvious the reasons you choose for comparing the given items. But the reader will not necessarily share your opinions. So you want to start your comparison by explaining the purpose of your work: for example, what do Vietnam War and WWII have in common?

Step 5: Quote plenty of authorities

Your comparison can’t be based on common sense alone, and it has probably been done before. Who has written something about it? Check the library, surf the web and read as much as you can. And then, build your comparison with the help of authorities you can quote.

There you have it! A great comparative essay in five steps!

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