When you write a comparison or contrast essay, your opinion about the two elements in question becomes your thesis statement.
Sample Thesis Statements Wendy’s Restaurant’s spicy chicken sandwich is preferable to Chick fil A Restaurant’s spicy chicken sandwich. Democrats and Republicans ultimately want the same thing for our country. Android phones provide better options than I- phones. Vaseline works just as effectively as Carmex to prevent chapped lips. Which theses are for comparison essays? Which are for contrast essays?
There are two patterns for comparison or contrast essays. One pattern is the Point by Point Pattern. The other pattern is the Block Pattern. These patterns do not follow the typical five paragraph essay structure. These structures actually have five – eight paragraphs.
Point By Point Structure/Outline Sample Point by Point Outline Thesis: Point 1 A. B. Point 2 A. B. Point 3 A. B. Conclusion Android phones provide better options than I-Phones. Social media sharing options through Apps. Android I-phone Free Apps options Android I-Phone Music listening options Android I-Phone Conclusion
Block Structure/ OutlineSample Block Outline Thesis: A. Point 1 Point 2 Point 3 B Point 1 Point 2 Point 3 Conclusion Android phones provide better options than I-Phones. Android Phones Social media sharing options Free Apps Music listening choices I-Phones Social media sharing options Free Apps Music listening choices Conclusion
Point By Point StructureBlock Structure Thesis: Point 1 A. B. Point 2 A. B. Point 3 A. B. Conclusion Thesis: A. Point 1 Point 2 Point 3 B Point 1 Point 2 Point 3 Conclusion
Point By Point Structure Sample Block Structure Sample Android phones provide better options than I-Phones. Social media sharing options through Apps. Android I-phone Free Apps options Android I-Phone Music listening options Android I-Phone Conclusion Android phones provide better options than I-Phones. Android Phones Social media sharing options Free Apps Music listening choices I-Phones Social media sharing options Free Apps Music listening choices Conclusion
Point By Point Use when a focus on the points is more effective (for example, why one object is better than another would focus on the points). Block Use when a complete, overall focus on the objects is more effective (for example, why one time period is better than another).
Avoid comparing and contrasting for no apparent reason. A thesis statement that states “There are similarities and differences between the two stories” will not engage the reader. A reader would respond “So what? Who cares?” to this type of thesis. Find a purpose that will draw in your reader. For example, “The two creation stories both have a forbidden element” is not as engaging as “While temptation is usually negative, it has long-term positive outcome in both creation stories.”
Describe your subjects clearly and distinctly by using vivid examples. Beware a tendency to overelaborate on one object and then skimp on the other, especially in an essay that claims x is better than y. Give each object reasonable treatment so you can show that you know both sides and have made a valid judgment.
You must use transitional phrases to ensure a smooth transition from one point to another and from one subject to another. Without transitions, your argument will be difficult to follow and seem to jump back and forth without a clear point. See compare/contrast transitions on the next slide.
Comparison Also Similarly Too Both Like Have in common Share the same In the same manner Not only…but also Contrast However On the other hand In contrast Unlike But Nevertheless Instead of While
Keep it unbalanced. Have two comparisons and one contrast or two contrasts and one comparison. Consider the one as your counterargument. Write the introduction and conclusion according to the structure you currently use.
Determine if you will compare or contrast based on the Venn Diagram. Next, determine which format you want to use. Point by Point Pattern emphasizes the points and Block Pattern emphasizes the objects.
Try both outlines and see which one you prefer.
Using the outline, write a draft of the essay, including ACTS, three to six body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Leave the draft alone for at least 12 hours (if time permits). Revise for elements of the comparison or contrast essay such as the following: Focus - An engaging, purposeful thesis statement Support - Evidence from each object to support each point Coherence - Transitions from point to point, transitions from object to object, and transitions from paragraph to paragraph Unity - A strong conclusion that summarizes the body of the essay and leaves an impact on the reader (think clincher)
Leave the draft alone for at least 6 hours (if time permits). Edit for punctuation, grammar and spelling. Are Commas used correctly? Do the subjects and verbs agree? Are the correct too, your, and its used? Are the sentences complete – no fragments or run-ons? Did you do a grammar and spell check on the typed essay? Is the essay double-spaced in Times New Roman font? Is the essay in APA format?
Leave the draft alone for at least 3 hours (if time permits). Score the essay using the rubric or check the essay according to the guidelines for the essay. Revise the essay as needed.
Type or write the final draft. Note that some steps in the writing process occur simultaneously- revise, edit, and reflect while typing the final draft.