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Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay

The Definitive Guide to Writing a Compare And Contrast Essay

Do you need to write a comparison and contrast essay for an assignment? If yes, then you will need to learn the proper format for the essay and also understand how to start on the writing process.
Tulika Nair
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
One of the most common assignments where essay writing is concerned in American schools is getting the students to write a comparison and contrast essay. As the name suggests this form of essay is one in which you compare two subjects and emphasize on the similarities and differences. While every person on the planet adopts a different approach to writing an essay, there are some universally accepted rules. As is the case with any other form of essay, the most important thing in such an essay is its format. Without a proper structure, even excellent content cannot save an essay.
The Writing Process
Before we take a look at the format, it is important that we understand the process of writing an essay of this type. First and foremost it is necessary to choose an essay topic. There are many topics that you can choose from. Once you have made a selection, it is important for you to think about how you would like to write the essay. This step may be made easier by researching the topic at hand. Gather all the possible information that you can about the topic. With the Internet, it is very easy to research topics but be wary. Information on the net can often be faulty. Therefore, it may also be a good idea to refer to different books and magazines for your information.
The next important step will decide on the basic content of your essay. These outlines are easy to format once you are sure about your content. One of the easiest writing techniques to use to create the outline is to make Venn diagrams. This will allow you to compare and contrast different features of the subject at hand in a pictorial form making it easy for you to actually write the essay. Draw overlapping circles. In the overlapping area, list out all the similarities and in the other two areas, list out features that are differing. Stick this diagram to the headboard of your table while writing the essay to avoid missing any points where the compare and contrast essay topics are concerned. Alternatively another method that you can employ is to draw a chart or a table and list out the differences and similarities.
Once you have selected a topic, it is time to actually write the essay. There are two different formats that you can employ, both of which are described below.
The first format that you can use is the block format. In this type of essay writing, the introductory paragraph needs to start with an anecdote or a quote of some sort that completely catches the attention of the person reading the essay. It is in this paragraph that you will need to mention the two ideas that you are comparing and contrasting. In the next paragraph, describe one of the features at full length and in full detail along with different examples. In the third section, detail the second feature that you want to compare and contrast. In the next section analyze the differences and similarities between the two features and end the essay with a summary and a proper conclusion.
The second format that you can use for this type of creative writing is the feature by feature format. Self-explanatory as the name is, in this type of an essay the reader will be able to analyze the similarities and differences between the two features because they will be placed together. Unlike the earlier format, in this type of an essay all the similarities are mentioned together and all the differences together. Once you have described all the similarities and differences, you will need to write a concluding or summarizing paragraph.
While submitting a comparison and contrast essay, always remember to give citations and references and properly credit any source of information.