A comparative essay is a type of argumentative essay that you will become familiar with during your college career and beyond, if you choose to continue your formal education. A comparative essay requires you to compare and contrast two or more things. As in all types of essays, your comparative essay thesis offers your audience a road map to your argument. Developing a strong thesis statement often takes time, but it will help you to write a well-organized, cogent and succinct essay.
Establish the context of your thesis by deciding which things you are comparing. If this information is not provided for you in an essay question, you must compare things that are related or in the same category. For example, you may compare types of clothing, types of bugs or types of political systems.
Use pencil and paper to brainstorm similarities and differences between the items you are comparing. For example, you may compare the political systems of the United States and Cuba. Both political systems are similar because they have a President or Head of State. However, the President is a dictator in Cuba, whereas the President of the United States is elected in a representative republic.
Make a decision on the similarities and differences that you will use for your comparison. Establishing your grounds for comparison will make composing your thesis effortless. These grounds for comparison should answer the questions: How am I comparing my items? On what basis am I comparing them? Short essays will only require a few comparison items. Use a minimum of three items as a good rule of thumb.
Compose your comparative essay thesis on the word processing program on your computer. In order to propose a strong thesis, you must make an argument. You should take a stand and include what things you are comparing, why you are comparing them and how you are comparing them. As you spell out the relationship of the items you are comparing, your thesis will be complete when you include your conclusion.
- Research your essay thoroughly before you work on your thesis, so you can avoid changing your thesis significantly during the writing process.
- Beware of large subjects for comparison. For example, comparing trees in North America with trees in Australia would fill a book. Be specific and narrow your topic to something like desert shrubs found in arid areas of North America and Australia.
- Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images