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Compare and Contrast Setting Things Side by Side AP English Language and Composition Tanner Kortman Adapted from the Bedford Reader.

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Presentation on theme: "Compare and Contrast Setting Things Side by Side AP English Language and Composition Tanner Kortman Adapted from the Bedford Reader."— Presentation transcript:

1 Compare and Contrast Setting Things Side by Side AP English Language and Composition Tanner Kortman Adapted from the Bedford Reader

2 What is the Purpose of Compare and Contrast To show why one thing is preferred to another, one course of action to another, one idea to another A careful detailed comparison and contrast of choices may be extremely convincing in an argument In order to demonstrate that you know both of your subjects thoroughly, you are often asked to compare their similarities and differences. Because no two subjects, people, ideas are in every respect exactly the same or entirely dissimilar, the two methods, to compare and contrast, are usually inseparable.

3 And in the Real World? This type of writing is helpful in nearly all subject areas and will be utilized within nearly every major one might choose: Political Science: Compare and contrast the presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. Business: Compare and contrast the 1984 Apple Super Bowl advertisement with Apples current marketing strategies to decide which is more successful.

4 And In the Real World? Marine Science: Compare and contrast the mating practices of the Southern Right Whale and the Orca. Literature: Compare and contrast two of the Holy Sonnets of John Donne. Music: Compare and contrast Beethovens Sonatina in F with Sonatina in G. Biology: Compare and contrast the properties of chlorophyll with those of borophyll.

5 The Purpose of Compare and Contrast The purpose of showing each of two subjects distinctly by considering both, side by side. This type of writing doesnt necessarily find one of the subjects better than the other. The purpose of choosing between two things. This type of writing requires that you consider the positive features and the negative, and to choose the subject whose positive features clearly predominate.

6 The Process of Compare and Contrast Choose subjects that display a clear basis for comparison. In other words, they should have something significant in common. This usually works best with two of a kind: two ways of gardening, two mediocre rock bands (like Creed and Nickleback), two mystery writers, two schools of political thought. It can sometimes be effective to find similarities between evidently unlike subjects, like a city and a country town. This brings about ANALOGY, which always equates two very unlike things, and then explains one in terms of the other. i.e. explaining how the human eye works by comparing it to a camera. In ANY Comparison of unlike things, you have to have a VALID reason to bring the two things together. i.e. It is acceptable to compare Generals Grant and Lee; however, it would be difficult to make a comparison between Grant and Mick Jagger.

7 The Process of Compare and Contrast Of course identifying the shared and dissimilar features of your subjects is important; however, it wont be manageable or interesting until you limit it. Therefore, it is wise to select a single basis for comparison and identify it in your thesis. i.e. Dont compare Russia and the United States. Instead, compare childcare services available in Russia and the United States. By limiting your topic, you have developed a single basis of comparison.

8 The Process of Compare and Contrast The basis for comparison will eventually underpin the THESIS of your essay– a claim you have to make about the similarities and dissimilarities of two things or about one things superiority over another. Your thesis will clearly identify your subjects and also act as a purpose of the comparison– whether it is to evaluate or to explain.

9 Organization of the Compare and Contrast Subject by subject: Set forth all of the information that you have on Subject A, then do the same for Subject B. Then, sum up their similarities and differences. In your conclusion, state what you think you have shown. Outline for Jed v. Jake 1. Jed Training Choice of material Technical dexterity Playing style 2. Jake Training Choice of material Technical dexterity Playing style CONCLUSION

10 Organization of Compare on Contrast Point by point: Usually more workable in a long paper than the first method, this scheme allows you to compare and contrast as you go. You consider one point at a time, taking up your two subjects alternately. In this way, you will continually bring the subjects together, possibly in every paragraph. Outline for Jed v. Jake Training Jed: studied under Earl Scruggs Jake: studied under Bela Fleck Choice of Material Jed: bluegrass Jake: jazz-oriented Technical Dexterity Jed: highly skilled Jake: highly skilled Playing Style Jed: rapid-fire Jake: impressionistic

11 Organization of Compare and Contrast For either of the two methods, subject by subject or point by point, your conclusion might be: Although similar in skill, the two differ greatly in aims and personality. Jed is better suited to the Grand Ol Opry and Jake to a concert hall. No matter how you group your points, they have to balance. You cannot discuss something about one subject and not discuss it about the other. If you have nothing to say about it for both, you might as well omit it.

12 Being Flexible With Your Outline As you write, an outline will help you see the shape of your paper and keep your procedure in mind But dont be too simple Few essays are more boring to read then a long, mechanical compare and contrast essay Dont let it be a tennis match: now Jed, now Jake, now Jed, now Jake, now Jed again, now Jake again It is true that you need to mention the same features of both subjects, but there is no law as how you must mention them You dont need to use the same number of words on each subject nor must it be done in the exact order Use your outline as a guide but dont allow it dominate you

13 Focusing on Paragraph Coherence With several points of comparison and alternating subjects, a comparison will be easy for your readers to follow only if you frequently clarify what subjects and what points you are discussing. Two techniques, transitions and repetition or restatement, can guide your readers through this essay

14 Focusing on Paragraph Coherence TRANSITIONS: act as signposts to tell readers where you are, and they, are headed. Some transitions indicate that you are shifting between subjects, either finding resemblance between them (also, like, likewise, similarly) or finding differences (but, however, in contrast, instead, unlike, whereas, yet) Other transitions indicate you are moving on to a new point (in addition, also, furthermore, moreover)

15 Focusing On Coherence TRANSITIONS: Traditional public schools depend for financing, of course, on tax receipts and on other public money like bonds, and as a result they generally open enrollment to all students without regard to background, skills, or special needs. Magnet schools are similarly funded by public money. But they often require prospective students to pass a test or other hurdle for admission. In addition, whereas traditional public schools usually offer a general curriculum, magnet schools often focus on a specialized program emphasizing an area of knowledge or competence, such as science and technology or performing arts.

16 Focusing On Paragraph Coherence REPETITION or RESTATEMENT: Use these to help clarify and link sentences Traditional public schools depend for financing, of course, on tax receipts and on other public money like bonds, and as a result they generally open enrollment to all students without regard to background, skills, or special needs. Magnet schools are similarly funded by public money. But they often require prospective students to pass a test or other hurdle for admission. In addition, whereas traditional public schools usually offer a general curriculum, magnet schools often focus on a specialized program emphasizing an area of knowledge or competence, such as science and technology or performing arts.

17 Checklist for Revising a Comparison and Contrast PURPOSE: What is the aim of your comparison: to explain two subjects or to evaluate them? Will the purpose be clear to readers from the start? SUBJECTS: Are the subjects enough alike, sharing enough features, to make comparison worthwhile? THESIS: Does your thesis establish a limited basis for comparison so that you have room and time to cover all the relevant similarities and differences? ORGANIZATION: Does your arrangement of material, whether subject by subject or point by point, do justice to your subjects and help readers follow the comparison? BALANCE AND FLEXIBILITY: Have you covered the same features of both subjects? At the same time, have you avoided a rigid back-and-forth movement that could bore or exhaust a reader? COHERENCE: Have you used transitions and repetition or restatement to clarify which subjects and which points you are discussing?

18 Kortmans Advice AVOID CLICHES. All of them. They are as old as the hills. BE ORIGINAL. Dont choose to compare things that have undoubtedly been done before or will be chosen by everyone else. REMEMBER THAT I WILL BE READING THIS. I am your audience. PICK SOMETHING YOU KNOW. Dont choose subjects that do not have any significant meaning to you. Own it. DONT BE AFRAID TO TAKE CHANCES. This is the place to try something new. Do it here and NOT on the AP Exam. DONT TAKE THE EASY WAY OUT: It would be sooooo very easy to do subject by subject outline; however, take a chance and try the point by point. HAVE FUN. Writing CAN, I promise you, be an enjoyable process; therefore, allow it to be.

19 David Sedaris Six to Eight Black Men Listen to David Sedaris Six to Eight Black Men from Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim Try and identify the type of compare and contrast Sedaris is using. Is it subject by subject or point by point? Is he assigning value to the different holiday traditions or is he simply stating what is? Why is this piece engaging?


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