Two Simple Ways to Structure a Compare and Contrast Essay

Although the compare and contrast essay is generally viewed as a relatively simple assignment to complete, many compare and contrast essays fall through simply due to poor structure. When you’ve read this article, you’ll have a clear idea of how to structure your compare and contrast essay so you can avoid the pitfalls of bad structure. Two surefire structures
There are generally two surefire ways of structuring your compare and contrast essay:
1. The subject-by-subject structure
2. The point-by-point structure

The subject-by-subject structure
Firstly, state everything you have to say bout the first topic in a section of its own. Depending on the topic and length of the essay, this section can be one or more paragraphs.

Secondly, state everything you have to say about the second topic of the compare and contrast essay. Once again, depending on the topic and length of the essay, this section can be one or more paragraphs.

Thirdly, analyze and compare what you’ve said about both topics in a new section. As with the two other sections, this one can be one or more paragraphs.
If you use this approach, you should be careful not to end up simply stating and comparing facts about the two topics – that’s not what your professor wants to see. You need to assume an analytical approach reflecting on similarities and differences and the relative importance of each one.

The point-by-point structure
In the point-by-point structure you assume a different approach. Instead of addressing one topic at a time, you take one point of contrast/comparison at a time and discuss both topics. Using this approach, you must assign each point its own section under which you discuss both topics. In the conclusion, you pick up on your analysis and the observations you’ve made.

Remember, when you use the point-by-point structure, the last point you present is the one that your reader will be left with. It therefore makes sense end with the most important point – the point you are trying to get across. If you are arguing that topic A is better than topic B, you should finish off presenting the strongest argument in favor of topic A.

Examples:
Subject-by-subject compare and contrast essay structure
I. Introduction
II. Topic A
Point 1,2,3, etc.
III. Topic B
Point 1,2,3, etc.
IV. Conclusion

Point-by-point compare and contrast essay structure
I. Introduction
II. First point to compare/contrast
Topic A
Topic B
III. Second point to compare/contrast
Topic A
Topic B
IV. Third point to compare/contrast
Topic A
Topic B
V. Conclusion

A few tips for choosing topics
You should choose topics featuring basic similarities so you have something to compare/contrast. Two totally unrelated topics wont get you far. You could choose to write your essay on e.g.: two painters, two museums, two websites, two documentaries on the same subject, etc.

When you have an idea for your two topics, do a brainstorm and write down all the points you can think of to compare/contrast. Tidy up the raw list and pick out the points that make for the best discussion.

This article originally appeared on http://www.buzzle.com/articles/two-simple-ways-to-structure-a-compare-and-contrast-essay.html

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