Writing a Compare & Contrast Essay

Compare & Contrast Essay

Compare and contrast is a rhetorical style that discusses the similarities and differences of two or more things: ideas, concepts, items, places, etc. This rhetorical style is one that you’ll often see as a complete essay, but you may also use it quite a lot within paragraphs of any essay in which you need to make some comparison to help illustrate a point.

Writing a Compare & Contrast Essay

A compare and contrast essay does two things: It discusses the similarities and differences of at least two different things. First, you must find a basis of comparison to be sure that the two things have enough in common. After that, you identify their differences. You may structure the compare and contrast essay using either the alternating method (stating one aspect of one thing and immediately discussing the same aspect of the other item and how they are similar or different) or the block method (discussing all of the aspects of one thing and then discussing all of the aspects of another).

It is critical to note that when you write a compare and contrast essay, be sure that the two things have enough in common. Even if you have many differences to analyze, if the topics or items you are comparing don’t have much in common, your audience may wonder why you are writing about the two things. For example, you would have difficulty writing an essay comparing and contrasting your favorite television program with a popular vacation spot in your state.

In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its requirements. One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on how certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and different from (this is the contrast) one another. By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them.

Writing a Compare & Contrast Essay

Critical Essay

A critical essay is a form of academic writing that analyzes, interprets, and evaluates a text. In a critical essay, an author claims how particular ideas or themes are conveyed in a text and then supports that claim with evidence from primary and secondary sources.

In casual conversation, we often associate “critical” with a negative perspective. However, in a critical essay, the word “critical” means discerning and analytical. Critical essays analyze and evaluate the meaning and significance of a text rather than judging its content or quality.

What Makes an Essay “Critical”? 

Imagine you’ve just watched the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” If you were chatting with friends in the movie theater lobby, you might say something like, “Charlie was so lucky to find a Golden Ticket. That ticket changed his life.” A friend might reply, “Yeah, but Willy Wonka shouldn’t have let those raucous kids into his chocolate factory in the first place. They caused a big mess.”

These comments make for an enjoyable conversation, but they do not belong in a critical essay. Why? Because they respond to (and pass judgment on) the raw content of the movie, rather than analyzing its themes or how the director conveyed those themes.

On the other hand, a critical essay about “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” might take the following topic as its thesis: “In ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,’ director Mel Stuart intertwines money and morality through his depiction of children: the angelic appearance of Charlie Bucket, a good-hearted boy of modest means, is sharply contrasted against the physically grotesque portrayal of the wealthy, and thus immoral, children.”

This thesis includes a claim about the film’s themes, what the director seems to be saying about those themes, and what techniques the director employs to communicate his message. In addition, this thesis is both supportable and disputable using evidence from the film itself, which means it’s a strong central argument for a critical essay.

Therefore, you should always remember this: a critical essay is academic writing where the author analyzes and evaluates a text. For an essay to become critical, you need to claim a text’s particular ideas and then support that claim with evidence.

Argumentative Essay

Argumentative essays serve a similar purpose as expository; however, they are more in-depth. In other words, they are based on adequately -researched qualitative and quantitative data sourced through primary or secondary sources. These materials play a central role in providing the required backup to the points to be presented. In several instances, such essays will prompt you to consider core points, which at times might oppose your perspective on an issue or topic.

So far, these are the most regular types of essays you might get yourself being requested to write. Argumentative essays can be short or long, but generally, they all aim at persuading your reader concerning the soundness of your argument about a given topic.

More times, argumentative essays are for advanced levels of education, primarily high schools, colleges, or universities. This implies that one will need to perform research, write notes, and most importantly, use your lecture notes. Therefore ensure to take good notes.

The general structure should be kept similar to that of an expository essay, with only an exception of counterpoints often added to depict the other side of the argument. In this respect, an argumentative essay helps you become a good presenter and debater. It also enables students to acquire new and balanced perspectives of today’s issues.