Comparison essays are very common assignments in both high school and college. They help you to understand the relationship between two things and draw conclusions. It is important to remember that in addition to listing the points of comparison, you must also have a valid argument about the relationships you see between the two things. After you have come up with an argument, you can then move on to constructing your point-by-point comparison essay.
Begin with some pre-writing strategies. One very helpful pre-writing strategy is called free-writing. This can be done with pencil and paper or on a computer. You then think of the two items about which you will be writing and write down everything that comes to your mind about those items for ten minutes. Write down everything without stopping or worrying about grammar or spelling. From this free-writing exercise, you can see where there are connections and what you still need to understand. These connections and questions will help you construct a valid argument. After you have come up with an argument, you can begin to make a list of connections between the two items. You should have at least three for each item. These connections will become the body of your essay.
Set up your point-by-point comparison paper using the list of connections you have made. There are two ways you can structure a comparison paper. You can divide your paper into two sections. The first section will describe the first item and its relationship to the connections you have made. The second section will describe the second item and its relationship to the connections you have made. Another way to structure your essay is to alternate your points of comparison. This type of paper also has two sections. In the first section, you describe the two items. The second section will give your first comparative point and how it relates to each item, then your second point, and your third.
Include an introduction and a conclusion no matter which method you choose to structure the body of your essay. It is often helpful to write the introduction and conclusion after you have written the body of your paper. A good introduction will introduce your subject in a general fashion and then begin to narrow gradually, ending with your argument. Think of it as a map of the rest of your essay. The conclusion should return to the ideas with which you began your essay and restate your argument. It should leave your reader with a summary of your main points as well as your argument.
- Writing About Literature; Edgar V. Roberts; 2006.
- Perspectives on Argument; Nancy V. Wood; 2007.
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