Comparison/Contrast Essay Introduction A Writer’s Checklist Choosing a subject Identifying points of comparison Gathering and organizing support Writing a main idea statement Arranging details A Writer’s Model Your Turn: Write a comparison-contrast essay
Introduction Think about some of the ways you and a friend or family member are alike. You might have similar physical features, share the same taste in movies, or enjoy playing basketball together.
Introduction Chances are that you and this person will also have important differences. For instance, your friend is an early riser, but you love to sleep in on a Saturday. Discovering how two things are alike and different is comparingandcontrasting.
A Writer’s Checklist When you write a comparison-contrast essay, you should: • Choose subjectsthat have basic similarities and differences. • Identify points of comparisonabout which you can write. • Gather supporting details and organize informationin preparation for writing. • Write a main idea statementfor your essay and arrange detailsusing the block or point-by-point styles.
Choosing a subject You can compare and contrast any two things that have at least a little something in common. For instance, you could compare: a new car and a work truck a country singer and a rapper a famous actress and a star athlete
Choosing a subject A game show and a comedy are both shown on television for entertainment. While a comedy tells a story with fictional characters, a game show features real contestants competing for prizes. When you choose yoursubjects for a comparison and contrast essay, you should select two things that not only have basic similarities, but also differences. For example, how are a television game show and a comedy both alike and different?
Choosing a subject You must also choose specific subjects that are narrowenough to compare in an essay. To narrow your subjects: Write downa broad categorythat you know well. For example, “winter sports.” Ask yourself, “Can I break this category intosmallergroups?” For example, snowboarding, skiing, ice skating, ice hockey, and so on. If so, choosetwoof these specific groups to discuss in an essay. These will be yournarrowed subjects. For example, you could compare and contrast snowboarding and skiing.
Choosing a subject Ryan started with broad categories which he then narrowed until he had two subjects to compare. Broad Narrower Specific Baseball Musical instruments Hockey Team sports Soccer Sports Basketball Individual sports Football Cars
Identifying points of comparison Begin planning your essay by asking yourself: How are they different? How are my two subjects alike? The larger areas of similarity and difference will help clarify the points of comparison that you can use to organize your essay.
Identifying points of comparison A point of comparison allows two subjects to be reasonably compared and contrasted. For instance, a point of comparison between clarinets and trumpets could be the their appearance . . . or their sound.
Identifying points of comparison Think of two or three points of comparison for your subjects and choose the ones you know the most about. Baseball and Soccer: Possible Points of Comparison - objective of the sport -history of the sport -rules and how to play the sport I know about: the objectives of baseball and soccer and how to play them Points of comparison: objectives of baseball and soccer; how to play baseball and soccer
Gathering and organizing support The cornerstone of a good comparison-contrast essay is the details. List as many details as you can think of for each point of comparison. Make sure that each detail relates directlyto your point of comparison. • Details for: Objective of the sport • soccer: teams of 11 players trying to score more goals than other team • baseball: teams of 9 players trying to score more runs than other team
Gathering and organizing support Subject 2 Subject 1 A Venn diagram can help you organize your essay. A Venn diagram features two circles that represent your subjects. The overlapping section holds details the subjects have in common; the non-overlapping sections hold details that make the subjects different. Both
Gathering and organizing support Here is an example of a Venn diagram used to compare and contrast soccer and baseball. Soccer Baseball use feet, legs, and head to move the ball only goalkeeper can use hands active sport with a lot of running play until game clock runs out use hands to throw and catch the ball also use hands to hit ball with a bat slower pace with short bursts of activity teams take turnsfielding and batting, called innings Both large teams try to outscore the other team players occupy various positions on the field
Writing a main idea statement Ever watched a television program and thought, “Why am I watching this?” Maybe the show didn’t have any clear point or message. In a comparison-contrast essay, you get to the point by writing a main idea statement, or thesis. This summarizes the main idea of your entire essay.
Writing a main idea statement The main idea statement of your essay, which you can usually write in one or two sentences, provides your readers with several pieces of keyinformation: thepurposeof youressay yourpoints of comparison thesubjectsyou arecomparing andcontrasting
Writing a main idea statement Here is how Ryan crafted a main idea statement for his essay: Subjects: soccer and baseball Purpose: helping readers choose a sport to play Point of Comparison: objectives of the sports and rules/how to play the sports Main Idea Statement: Both of these sports offer an enjoyable, exciting team activity. However, the rules and style of play for these sports are very different.
Arranging details Now you can begin to craft the body of your essay. Organize your writing using the block style. In the block style, you present all of your information about one subject and then all of your information about the other subject. points of comparison about first subject points of comparison about second subject
Arranging details The example below shows how Ryan’s ideas look when organizedusing the block style: Subject 1: Soccer - objective of soccer - rules of/how to play soccer Subject 2: Baseball - objective of baseball - rules of/how to play baseball Main Idea Statement: Both of these sports offer an enjoyable, exciting team activity. However, the rules and style of play for these sports are very different.
A Writer’s Checklist Use the checklist below as you look at the following Writer’s Model and as you evaluate your own comparison-contrast essay. • Choose subjectsthat have basic similarities and differences. • Identify points of comparisonabout which you can write. • Gather supporting details and organize informationin preparation for writing. • Write a main idea statementfor your essay and arrange detailsusing the block or point-by-point styles.
Participating in a team sport is a great way to exercise and make friends. You can also learn valuable lessons about cooperation and teamwork through these activities. You will find many different sports to choose from when looking to join a team. I would suggest considering soccer or baseball. Both of these sports offer an enjoyable, exciting team activity. However, the rules and styles of play for these sports are very different. attention-grabbing opener main idea statement
Soccer is a sport that features two teams of eleven players each. These players occupy a variety of positions on the field of play. The object of the sport is to score more points, or goals, than the opposing team. In soccer, players must use their feet, legs, and heads to move the ball towards the goal. Only goalkeepers can use their hands and arms in the field of play. Soccer is a very active sport, in which players constantly run up and down the field until the game clock runs out. first subject: soccer point of comparison: objective of soccer point of comparison: rules and how to play
Like soccer, baseball also features two large teams of players in various positions. The object of this sport is also to score more points, or runs, than the opposing team. Where soccer players primarily use their feet, baseball players use their hands to throw and catch the ball, as well as to hit the ball with a bat. The action in baseball games has a slower pace, occurring in short bursts of activity. Baseball teams also take turns playing in the field and batting during a game. These are called innings. second subject: baseball point of comparison: objective of baseball point of comparison: rules and how to play
Soccer and baseball are both excellent choices if you are seeking a team sport in which you can take part. They both offer exciting competition and friendship with a large group of teammates. You might choose soccer if you are looking for a very active sport in which you will run a great deal while trying to score goals. Baseball might be a good choice if you are looking for a more relaxed, yet varied sport. With either choice, you are very likely to have fun! summary of similarities summary of differences strong closing sentence
Your Turn: Write a comparison-contrast essay Write a comparison-contrast essay in response to one of the prompts below. Then use the Writer’s Checklist as a guide to writing, evaluating, and revising your work. Compare and contrast a documentary film or television program with an informative article on the same subject. Compare and contrast a place that you visit frequently with the city or town in which you live.