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How do I write a compare and contrast essay? I need step-by-step details if possible. I...
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Middle School Teacher
Do you mean a comparison/contrast essay? This is an essay that compares two topics, telling the reader both how they are alike and how they are different.
A compare/contrast essay is usually a MINIMUM of four paragraphs long. The first paragraph is the lead in, where you identify the topic(s) and state your thesis. The second and third paragraphs deal with the similarities and differences. The final paragraph is the conclusion/summary.
Start with the introduction. The second paragraph would then include several ways in which the two topics are alike, the similarities they have, etc. I would suggest having at least three or four connections between them. The third paragraph would include the differences between them, again citing at least three or four differences. The summary paragraph would then emphasize the most important factors that support your thesis.
A second choice is a bit longer. It would start with your introduction again. However, the second paragraph would only talk about one of the topics, listing as many details about it as you can that relate to your thesis. You would not mention the second topic at all. The third paragraph would then discuss the second topic only. This format would then include an additional paragraph where you analyze the two topics, choosing specific details that support your opening statement. Your final paragraph would be your closing.
Posted by lrsj49341 on November 30, 2008 at 6:13 AM (Answer #1)
Let's begin with your question about how to generate "a goo(d) and interesting opener". Because an essay is not prose, you needn't worry about grabbing your teacher's attention. Having said that, in place of a "good opener" you need a pithy thesis that: 1) announces the two topics that you will be comparing, and 2) succinctly expresses the primary difference that you will be articulating throughout your essay. Depending on the level of your class and your teacher's expressed preference, this thesis should either be the first or last sentence of your opening paragraph.
It is very difficult to simplify essay writing to basic 1,2,3 steps, but there ARE some ways to make the task easier to grasp. As a 10th grader, you should focus on a 5 paragraph essay unless your teacher has specified otherwise. In a compare and contrast essay, it is best to have a primary topic that you outline and compare the secondary topic against. For example, if you're writing about two of Shakespeare's sonnets, for your intro pick three aspects of the 1st sonnet that you'd like to profile. Be clear about your points so that when you contrast the 2nd sonnet you have concrete statements to base them on. Then explain how the 2nd sonnet contrasts to the first. Each body paragraph begins with a sub-thesis stating an explicit point about the 1st sonnet and compares the 2nd sonnet's differences within this aspect. Use the body of these paragraphs to flesh out your point, using quotations from the text.
Posted by montgoml on December 1, 2008 at 12:53 AM (Answer #2)
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