Writing Comparison or Contrast Essays
A Comparison or Contrast essay is an essay in which you either compare something or contrast something. A comparison essay is an essay in which you emphasize the similarities, and a contrast essay is an essay in which you emphasize the differences. We use comparison and contrast thinking when deciding which university to attend, which smartphone to buy, or whether to vacation at home or abroad.
When comparing or contrasting something, writers have two classic organizational patterns from which to choose. One is called block arrangement of ideas; the other is called point-by-point or alternating arrangement of ideas. Suppose you are interested in showing the differences between vacationing in the mountains and vacationing at the beach. You will then write a contrast essay. One way to arrange your material is to use the block arrangement which is to write about vacationing in the mountains in one paragraph and vacationing at the beach in the next. If you mention a particular point in the mountains paragraph, you must mention the same point in the beach paragraph, and in the same order. The following outline shows this block organization. The first paragraph (the introduction) is followed by the mountains paragraph, then the beach paragraph, then the conclusion. The fully developed essay is just four paragraphs.
Block Organization in Four Paragraphs
Introduction: Get your reader's attention and state your purpose which is to discuss the differences between vacationing in the mountains or at the beach. II.
Vacationing in the Mountains, (A) the climate, (B) the types of activities, and (C) the location. III.
Vacation at the Beach, (A) the climate, (B) the types of activities, and (C) the location. IV.
Conclusion: Summarize your ideas and leave the reader with a good impression.
A second way to organize this material is to discuss a particular point about vacationing in the mountains and then immediately to discuss...
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