Compare and Contrast Essay Tips for Students

Compare and Contrast Essay Tips for Students
Have you ever fought with anyone over a remote? You wanted to watch Game of Thrones while your younger sister was set on My Little Pony. You shouted at each other each listing the benefits of your favorite show. If you make a transcript of this fight and edit it a little, you’ll have a basic compare and contrast essay about your favorite TV shows. Can’t believe it can be this simple? Let’s delve into the intricacies of homework assignments and share a few helpful essay writing tips along the way.

What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

This assignment examines the common and disparate characteristics of two or three subjects (sometimes more). This is a typical college essay, as professors can assess your understanding of the class by comparing or contrasting two speeches, novels, theories, treatments, lawsuits, etc. High school teachers also enjoy these papers, though they assign topics that do not require in-depth research requisite for college-level essays.

Short five-paragraph essays may include only similarities or only differences. However, other assignments, like argumentative or persuasive essays, can include comparative aspects. For example, you can discuss the disparities between the three writers’ styles, before arguing which one had the most significant impact on world literature or genre.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

Writing this paper starts long before you open your laptop staring at a blank screen and lasts long after you type the last period. High schoolers and college students do not appreciate the value of prewriting and editing. If you do them right, these steps save you hours and significantly increase your chances of getting a high grade. Let us share the process professional academic writers use when writing an A-worthy paper.

Prewriting Steps

If you’ve procrastinated for too long and have mere days to finish the assignment, you will be tempted to skip these steps and jump straight into writing a compare and contrast essay. The result you will receive is going be a C at best. Don’t turn your assignment into a jumbled mess by skipping prewriting. It doesn’t take long and will make your life so much easier! All you have to do is:
  1. Understand the assignment. Read the prompt and underline the key phrases and words. Don’t go looking for differences, if the professor wants you to compare, and commonalities won’t help you contrast the subjects. If you aren’t 100% sure you have the full grasp of the prompt, contact your TA or professor and ask for clarification. There are no stupid questions in school, so there’s no need to be embarrassed.
  2. Select the subjects to discuss. Skip to the next step if your prompt includes the specific topic. Otherwise, consider what’s relevant to your class, major, academic and career interests. Browse your old essays for ideas or skim through the list of the recommended course reading to get inspired.
  3. Brainstorm commonalities and differences. Open a notepad and grab a pencil. Draw rings overlapping in the middle. Designate one ring to each of your comparison subjects. Fill the overlapping section of the Venn diagram (that’s what scientists call it) with things all subjects share. The more commonalities you note, the better. Afterwards, mark the disparities in the independent parts of the circles. If you have a few days to spare, brainstorm the topic and fill the chart with everything that comes to mind. Even the silliest things can make a perfect essay.
  4. Identify comparison aspects. Now is the time to clean up your brain dump and select the few critical elements you will use in the paper. To organize the information, create a table, listing the essential aspects in the left column and corresponding data in the columns named after your comparison subjects. Discard all data points that are boring, obvious, or irrelevant to your topic. Consider the ideas you wish the audience to take away. For example, if you contrast two writers, their writing style, preferred genre, literary devices, and awards are all relevant to a Literature class, while the writer’s predilection towards drinking, their love life, and gambling habits are more important for a Social Studies course.
  5. Outline the paper. Before you roll your eyes and skip onto the following step, hear us out. Creating an outline is important, but tedious, so we’ve devised a better way to do it. Instead of making a numbered list and following the formal format, imagine yourself writing a tweet or a Facebook post. Think of one sentence to describe each idea you want to introduce in the paper. Type them and shuffle them around until their sequence makes sense. When you start writing, you’ll turn them into your topic sentences, saving time. Read on to learn about our take on the easiest ways of structuring these papers.

Compare and Contrast Essay Structure

All papers comprise the same three ingredients. It’s what you put in them that sets out outstanding writing from mediocre. Follow our advice to dazzle the professors with your talent.

Introduction

If you have no clue how to start a compare and contrast essay, begin with introducing the subjects to be discussed. Explain why you consider them important for your readers. Throw in a meaningful quote, anecdote, or statistics to take the place of the hook. And don’t forget to include a thesis statement, otherwise, don’t expect a high grade. Within the thesis, point out the critical points and blend them together. Think of it as a one-sentence outline of the paper. In other words, the reader should be able to understand what your essay is about by reading this single sentence.

Body Paragraphs

There are two approaches to structuring main body paragraphs:

  1. Subject-by-subject. After the introduction, you devote two or more sections to the main traits of the first subject, and then do the same to the second subject. This approach is easier, however without careful planning and editing it can make the paper look like a simple list of qualities, instead of an analysis. To give more substance to this structure, build a strong thesis statement and add at least one passage before the conclusion to tie all points together and show their relationships.
  2. Point-by-point. With this approach, every paragraph discusses one aspect across all comparison subjects. You can contrast the commonalities and disparities and analyze them logically, without repeating yourself and breaking the flow. If your assignment is on the long side, you can dedicate separate passages to describe the same aspect across subject No1 and subject No2.

Conclusion

While crafting your compare and contrast essay conclusion, reiterate the thesis and remind the readers why you’ve chosen these particular subjects and their aspects. Once again explain why they are essential and why the audience should care. Wrap up with a final thought, but don’t drag out the final passage too long.

Whichever structure you choose, keep the flow going by using cue words that signal your intentions (like, compared to, whereas, also, unlike, while). These phrases help readers keep up with your train of thought and relate to your reasoning. Transitions between paragraphs are equally essential to tie the different subjects or aspects together and make the paper cohesive.

Post-writing Routine

One might argue editing and proofreading are even more critical to your final grade than prewriting steps. So don’t rush to submit the paper as soon as you save the file. Instead, follow our routine that is 100% guaranteed to improve your writing.

  1. Switch focus for a few hours (days). After concentrating on the same paper for a week, you can no longer assess it objectively. Before you edit and proofread the essay, let yourself relax, focus on other subjects, and have a full nights sleep. Even a 30-minute power nap can make the difference between alert and confused.
  2. Turn into your worst nightmare. Unless you are in an English or Literature class, your grammar and spelling will matter less than inconsistency, an illogical conclusion, and a poor excuse of a thesis statement. If you only have time for editing or proofreading, but not both, always go with editing. First, delete redundancies, filler words, and phrases to make your writing concise. Then, read the paper with fresh eyes and consider shuffling the paragraphs to make transitions easier. Finally, add new points or data you haven’t considered before if you’ve come up with it over your short break.
  3. Proofread like a pro. This means forget about regular Word spell check and use professional software. There are online tools, like Grammarly, that will point at mistakes you would normally overlook. Ask your friends or family members to look at the paper to catch typos even AI-powered software doesn’t notice.

Every small improvement gets your paper a little close to being perfect and deserving the A+ you dream about and the professor’s praise your classmates will be jealous of.

Who Will Help You out When You’ve Fallen Behind?

Everyone can fall behind, even a true time-management guru and a straight-A student. Sometimes we fall ill, get caught up in the family drama, stay stuck in self-pity after a nasty breakup. As a result, classes and grades take a back seat, and once we resurface the pileup of assignments hits us full-force.

You can try to weather the storm on your own, but there is nothing wrong with seeking homework help. Start by visiting your professors, TAs, joining study groups or finding a tutor. Once you realize the scale of the problem, Homeworkfor.me might be your only chance to stay afloat without dropping out of classes and college. Our experienced writers are ready and waiting for your orders. Their expertise ensures you get flawless papers in time for submission deadlines.

Don’t hesitate. Let us take care of your homework troubles!
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