Compare Contrast Essay - When to Compare and When to Contrast

Compare Contrast Essay - When to Compare and When to Contrast
In a comparison the similarities between two objects are highlighted. In a contrast essay the difference between two objects are brought to light. And in a compare contrast both the similarities and differences are brought to the fore. Unless your assignment specifies which it is you have to do, you may find it difficult to decide which approach to take. But if you are given examples of the situations in which the different approaches are used that would probably make life easier for you.
When do you use a compare contrast format? Whenever you find it necessary to highlight both the similarities and differences between two objects this is the type of paper you have to write. When you compare apple and oranges you may want to show what is similar to both fruits and then when you want to highlight the differences between them you contrast the two. When you want to only compare two ideas you highlight the similarities between the two and in passing mention the differences between them in the introduction. And when you only want to contrast two ideas you only highlight their differences and briefly summarize the similarities between them in the conclusion.

Similarly when it comes to arrangement, you can choose from block arrangement or the alternating arrangement. In a block arrangement the attributes of object A are written in one paragraph and comparative attributes of object B are listed in the next paragraph in the same order as they were listed in the previous paragraph. If you are comparing a holiday in Europe to a holiday in the Asia Pacific you should write about the vacation in Europe in one paragraph and about the vacation in the Asia Pacific in the next paragraph.

In this case the structure of your essay would be: an introductory paragraph in which you will briefly discuss the purpose of the paper which is to compare two holiday destinations. This is followed by a paragraph which discusses Europe as a holiday destination and the next paragraph does the same for Asia Pacific. And last of all you have a concluding paragraph summarizing the two holiday destinations.

In a point-by-point or alternating arrangement you should mention one aspect about object A and then write about the same aspect relation to object B. For instance if you talk about the cost of accommodation in Europe, you must immediately discuss the cost of accommodation in the Asia Pacific. In such an arrangement you will have an introductory paragraph as usual. Then you will have a paragraph discussing a comparable attribute of Europe and then of Asia Pacific; accommodation rates for instance. Then in the next paragraph you will discuss the next attribute; climate for instance.

Both arrangements of compare contrast essays have their advantages and disadvantages , but a point by point gives the reader the scope to weigh two competing attributes immediately rather than having to remember all the aspects of one object and then comparing them with the attributes of the other that follow in the succeeding paragraph.

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