The similarities and differences
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A Comparison or Contrast essay is an essay in which you either compare something or contrast something. A comparison essay is an essay in which you emphasize the similarities, and a contrast essay is an essay in which you emphasize the differences. We use comparison and contrast thinking when deciding which university to attend, which car to buy, or whether to drive a car or take a bus or an airplane to a vacation site. In this section, two classic organizational patterns of a comparison or contrast essay will be discussed. One is called block arrangement of ideas; the other is called point-by-point or alternating arrangement of ideas. Suppose you are interested in showing the differences between vacationing in the mountains and vacationing at the beach. You will then write a contrast composition.
One way to arrange your material is to use the block arrangement which is to write about vacationing in the mountains in one paragraph and vacationing at the beach in the next. If you mention a particular point in the mountains paragraph, you must mention the same point in the beach paragraph, and in the same order. Study the following outline, which shows this kind of organization. The introductory paragraph is followed by the mountains paragraph, the beach paragraph, then the conclusion; the fully developed essay is just four paragraphs. Block Arrangement (four paragraphs)
Introduction in which you state your purpose which is to discuss the differences between vacationing in the mountains or at the beach
B. Types of Activities
B. Types of Activities
A second way to organize this material is to discuss a particular point about vacationing in the mountains and then immediately to discuss the same point about vacationing at the beach. This is called point-by-point or alternating arrangement. An outline of this organization follows. Point-by-Point or Alternating Arrangement (five paragraphs)
Introduction in which you state your purpose which is to discuss differences between vacationing in the mountains or at the beach
First difference between mountains and beaches is climate
Second difference between mountains and beaches are types of activities
Third difference between mountains and beaches is the location
Application: Block or Point-by-Point
Examine the comparison or contrast essays that follow, and decide whether the authors used block arrangement or point-by-point (or alternating) arrangement. Notice how other authors structure their essays. Five paragraphs or four? Block arrangement or point-by-point arrangement? Noticing these things will help you become a better, more conscious reader and writer.
Vacationing at the Beach or in the Mountains
People are always looking forward to their vacation period. There are many options where to choose. I think that the two most common places people choose for taking a vacation are the beaches and the mountains. Both places offer a variety of fun activities. The beach offers activities that the mountain cannot offer and vice versa. The mountain and the beach are totally different. The purpose of this essay is to contrast the climate, types of activities and locations of beaches and mountains. I’m going to discuss mountains first. The three aspects I’m going to discuss are climate, types of activities and location. Climate is always important in order to enjoy vacations. If a person dislikes cold weather, he or she might have a hard time in the mountains. The cold climate in the mountains is the first barrier to enjoying them, but the climate and the temperature of these zones also determine the types of activities they offer. Snowboarding, mountain climbing, mountain biking, hiking, and skiing are some activities people can enjoy when going to the mountains.
There are many regions that have mountains where people can go and have a great vacation. Canada is a country located in North America and contains many mountain vacation sites where people can go and have fun. I’m going to discuss the beach second. The three aspects I’m going to discuss are climate, types of activities and location. Warm climate is one of the most important features that the beach has. Sun and fun are two words that describe the beach. The temperature in those places is always hot. The sea and the warm climate determine the activities that are available at the beach. People can swim, play volleyball, play soccer, and ride water bikes. In most coastal sites, there are discos and restaurants where people can dance or party throughout the night. Mexico offers many amazing coastal sites to visit. Acapulco and Cancun are two of the most beautiful and famous beaches in the word. It doesn’t matter what place a person decides to choose. The fun is 100% guaranteed. People often choose one of these two options to spend their vacations. Depending on what the person likes is what he or she will choose. I like the beach better than the mountains, but sometimes it is better to take a risk and try a different place to enjoy. (399 words)
Is the essay above organized using block or point-by-point arrangement of details? Note first the essay is four paragraphs, (1) an introduction, (2) a paragraph about vacationing in the mountains, (3) a paragraph about vacationing at the beach, and (4) a conclusion. This is the block arrangement, the first block containing information about mountains and the second block containing information about the beach. The following essay contrasts eating fresh foods and canned foods. Is its organization block or point-by-point? How many paragraphs does it contain? How many “differences” between fresh foods and canned foods does the author discuss?
Consuming Fresh Foods Instead of Canned Foods
Eating is an activity that we as humans do at least two times a day. We live in a world where the variety of food is immense, and we are responsible for what we eat. We decide what we are about to eat and how it will affect our bodies. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the differences between eating fresh foods instead of canned foods. The three main differences are flavor, health benefits, and cost. The most notable difference between these two kinds of foods is their flavor. Fresh foods have great flavor and taste because they keep all their natural conditions. Canned foods however, lack a lot of its flavor characteristics because there are some other chemical products added to the natural foods. It is logical that the fresh foods will have a greater taste and flavor when consumed just because of the time in which they have been prepared. Comparing both types of foods we notice another difference.
There is a health factor that affects both of them. Canned foods lose some of the original fresh food nutrients when stored, and also it has to be tinned with many conservatives and chemical factors that prolong the shelf life and apparent freshness of the food but could also become toxic if consumed too often. Yet another difference between these two types of foods is the cost. Canned foods are much more expensive than fresh foods. Here the benefit of buying tinned foods is that they are easier to find, for example, in a supermarket instead of the market like the fresh foods, and they require less work to prepare than fresh foods, just open and serve. Here are the main three differences between buying fresh foods and buying canned foods. As we can see it comes down to a personal choice, based on the time each person has, the money and the importance he/she gives to his/her nutrition and health. Therefore it is important that you consider your possibilities and choose the best type of foods for your convenience and lifestyle. (347 words)
The essay above is the “classic” five paragraph essay that all non-native speakers of English should learn to write. This essays also contains the “classic” point-by-point organization, each point stated and developed in a
single paragraph. The essay contains five paragraphs that contrast three differences between fresh and canned foods. The essay includes (1) an introduction, (2) the development of the first difference (flavor), (3) the development of the second difference (health benefits), (4) the development of the third difference (cost), and (5) a conclusion. In the true classic tradition, the three main differences in this contrast essay—flavor, health benefits, and cost—are stated both in the introduction and the conclusion as well. My own observation is this: US kids are taught to organize and write five paragraph essays like this from early childhood, but they rarely attain the degree of perfection of the essay above. This ends the first part of this page, the explanation of the differences between the classic organizational styles of comparison and contrast essays, (1) block and (2) point-by-point or alternating arrangement.
How to Support Your Point of View though Comparison and Contrast It was stated in the first part of this paper that we use comparison or contrast in nearly everything we do. When deciding what to eat, for example, we often choose between fresh foods or canned foods, exactly as the writer above described. However, do you know the preference of the previous author? Did he state it directly? Why or why not? What other ways could this essay have ended? An important point to remember when writing comparison or contrast essays is that many times writers use comparison or contrast to support a personal point of view. Whenever possible and appropriate, writers should support their own views. For example, the following paragraphs are from the book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Persig. Note that Persig’s description of the differences between riding in a car and riding a motorcycle is not neutral. Instead, Persig uses comparison and contrast to serve a persuasive aim: to show the reader why riding a motorcycle is more stimulating than driving a car (Persig, by Heffernan and Lincoln). Which do You Prefer?
You see things vacationing on a motorcycle in a way that is completely different from any other. In a car you’re always in a compartment, and because you’re used to it, you don’t realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You’re a passive observer, and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle the frame is gone. You’re completely in contact with it all. You’re in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming. That concrete whizzing by five inches below your foot is the real thing, the same stuff you walk on. It’s right there, so blurred you can’t focus on it, yet you can put your foot down and touch it anytime, and the whole thing, the whole experience, is never removed from immediate consciousness. Persig’s choice of travel is obvious.
In a car, you are in a compartment seeing just more TV, a passing observer. On a motorcycle, however, you’re in contact with it all, the real thing, the whole thing, the whole experience, never removed from immediate consciousness. In writing a comparison or contrast essay, use contrast to show your own preference, to support your own point of view, to persuade the reader which option you prefer.
How to Write an Effective Comparison or Contrast Essay: Summary
1. Know what organizational style you are using. Whether you use the block arrangement or point-by-point arrangement, you should be able to identify it. Being able to identify your organization will not only help you in the organization of your own writing, but it will also help your reader follow the points you make.
2. State your organization. Remember the “straight line of development” that was discussed in the introduction requires that you “tell your audience what you are going to tell them; then tell them; then tell them what you told them.” An important objective in academic writing is clarity, and stating your organization always contributes to clarity. Err on the side of clarity!
3. Keep your audience in mind. Be sure your reader can relate to your topic. After you finish writing, read your essay from the perspective of your audience. How will they respond to your ideas? Will they understand what you have written? Will they agree with your main point? Will the support appear logical to them?
4. Say what you want to say. Write like Robert Persig did in his book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. In your essay, make your preference clear as Persig did when he contrasted the difference between vacationing by car or motorcycle. Finally, to further clarify how it would be possible to say what you want to say in your writing, consider which of the following options would YOU prefer, and why? To support your point in each essay, what characteristics would you choose to contrast, and what support would you use? Can you think of any other topics that might be fun to contrast?
A. Vacationing in Paris or taking a three-week trip down the Amazon.
B. Growing up in a small town or growing up in a large city.
C. Working for large company or running your own business.
Comparison and Contrast Essay
In this kind of essay, the aim is to show the similarities and differences of two items, two people, two countries, or how something or someone has changed. When comparing two things, we focus more on the similarities though we may mention the differences shortly. When contrasting two things, we point out the differences between them.
The most important point to consider while planning a comparison and contrast essay is choosing comparable items. e.g. Middle East Technical University and Bogazici University.
We have to make sure that these two items have enough points to be compared. After writing the comparable points as a list, location, size, reputation, specialty, social clubs, sports facilities, we have to eliminate some of them and choose 2-3 from the list that can lead to full supported paragraphs. location size specialty
Two patterns of organization are possible:
In this pattern, the organization is as follows:
thesis statement: METU and BOUN are Turkey’s two very prestigious universities with some differences in their specialties, facilities, and locations.
Below are the steps you can use to teach the compare/contrast essay. They have been used in regular high school classes where reading levels ranged from fourth to twelfth grade.
Discuss practical reasons for comparing and contrasting.
Discuss reasons for learning to write about similarities and differences. Comments: Selecting subjects that matter to students is critical for this step. One might be to compare two models of cars and then write a letter to a benefactor who might buy them one. Another would be a store manager writing to a buyer about two products. Academic topics such as comparing two organisms, two wars, two approaches to solving a math problem may also be useful.
Show a model compare/contrast essay.
Comments: Explain that there are two ways to write the essay but don’t go into any detail on that yet.
Explain compare/contrast cue words.
Comments: Explain that when comparing, students should mention differences but focus on similarities. Conversely, when contrasting they should mention similarities but focus on differences.
Teach students how to use one of two compare/contrast charts Comments: Spend a few classes on this. Although it seems simple, students doing it for the first time perform better if not rushed through this step. Working in teams, with a partner, or in a group is helpful.
List and model the Writing Den’s cue words to show similarities and differences. Comments: Many tenth graders have difficulty thinking of these words if this step is skipped. Provide model sentences with these words which they can use until they become comfortable with them.
Explain charts showing how to organize compare/contrast paragraphs and essays. Comments: Have students write the block style first since it is easier. Students should be told that the block is better to show similarities and the feature-by-feature is better to show differences.
Provide guided practice in writing the first draft.
Comments: Guide students through their first essay providing help with an introduction and transition sentences. It is helpful to allow students to use a chart they have completed as a class or one that they have done independently and that you have checked. Do not assume they understand the chart until they have done one correctly.
Provide in-class writing time.
Comments: By giving in-class writing time, many more students will work on the assignment. Without it, students with little motivation may not write the essay. Walk around asking who needs a little help to get more participation from reluctant learners.
Review the steps in the writing process.
Review editing suggestions and give time for revision.
Comments: Explain that after writing their essay, students should edit and revise. They should continue the cycle of editing and revising until they are satisfied with the quality of their essay. Explain the advantages of revising on the computer. For editing tips, Check Suggestions for Revising Drafts from the University of North Carolina Writing Center.
Review the SWAPS Proofreading Guide and give students time to proofread their essays. Comments: You may photocopy and review the proofreading guide. A companion error analysis grid is available for students to record errors in order to identify problem areas.
Have students evaluate their peers’ essays using a Compare/Contrast Rubric. Comments: Students evaluate using the rubric. Staple a rubric to each essay and have students evaluate them. Be sure to check off on a roster the names of students who turn in essays because they could be stolen during the peer evaluation activity. I require students who have not finished to submit their essay for peer evaluation after writing Not Finishedat the top of their papers. This helps peers realize the essay is incomplete. More importantly, taking their paper forces them to participate in the evaluation activity rather than trying to finish the essay in class. These students will gain greater benefits by reading the better essays. I’ve had good results giving 25 points each for evaluating three essays and another 25 points for quiet participation.
Review the proofreading guide briefly and then devote half a period to proofreading one another’s essays. Comments: Tell students to read their essay aloud or to have someone else read it to them to catch errors. Have students proofread several essays and sign their names at the top of the paper: “Proofread by ________.” Student Handouts
Compare/Contrast Prewriting Charts
Organizing Compare/Contrast Paragraphs
Organizing The Compare/Contrast Essay
Compare/Contrast Essay Rubric
Two Compare/Contrast Charts
Teaching Writing for ESL Students
Teaching the Compare Contrast Essay
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics – 101 Ideas for Great Essays Organizing the Compare-Contrast Essay
50 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Video
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته طبعا هاي طالبه من الطالبات طلبت مني هالنوع من ال Essay فقلت بحطلها اياه اهنه عشان تشوفه و انتو الي تبونه تقدرون تستفيدون منه مب بس هي.. خخخ أنا خلصت من أربع سنوات ناسيه السالفه هاي.. أنا شرحته خطوه بخطوه Step by Step عشان تستوعبونه ^^ ” خخخ طبعا هاذا موجه لها هي” شوفي.. أنا بقولج كيف تبدين من أول و يديد عشان تفهمين شو السالفه و كيف تقدرين ترتبين تفكيرج في هالنوع من الكتابات.. و أنصحج لا تكررين الجمل و انتبهي حق النحو و أقولج اذا المس قالت شي قوليلها منو علمج عشان ما تيلس تتفلسف عليج و
طبعي الطريقه و الخطوات من النت لا تنسين.. بحاول أعطيج روابط تفيدج أحينه و بتفيدج في الجامعه أو الكليه يوم بتسيرين.. أول شي لازم تعرفين الكلمات الي بتستخدمينها في المقارنه
نحنا في الكليه كنا نسميه
Comparing and Contrasting
و معناته المقابلة بين شيئين بغية إظهار الفروق
انزين.. أحينه لازم تحفظين هالكلمات الي بتستخدمينها في المقارنه عدل
أصلا شي طريقتين في التعبير.. بس أنا بعطيج الأسهل عشان مستواج بس
أول شي هاتي ورقه و قلم.. سوي جدول في المتشابهات و الفروقات
يعني مثلا يوم بتقارنين بين دولتين
و انتي كملي عاد الباقي الي بتحصلينه.. فكري شوي فيها
هاذا نموذج و بشرحلج شو تسوين
Your introduction — like the five-paragraph-essay, should open generally (with a quotation, anecdote, generalization), and lead into the thesis statement. هاذي المقدمه.. طبعا تكتبين عن موضوعج بشكل عام.. يعني مثلا يوم بتقارنين بين شيئين.. ما تدشين في الموضوع على طول.. قولي مثلا هالشي و هالشي في بينهم تشابه كبير “هاذا لو كانو مثل بعض في كل شي و في فروقات بسيطه” و هاذا مثال أنا كتبته لج بس بالعربي و انتي ترجميه هالدولتين مجاورتين لبعض و في تشابه كبير بينهم من حيث اللغة و الديانه و الجغرافيه و … إلخ ولكن توجد هناك
يعض الفروقات البسيطه بينهما و بعدين بقولج شي..أصلا المقدمه تحتوي على 3 أو أربع جمل فقط
2.All Comparisons (Topics 1 and 2)
This section — which should consists of several paragraphs — should go through all similarities you find in the two topics on which you are writing. There should be at least three comparisons (essentially three short body paragraphs) in which you give an example from both topics of comparisons in each. اهنه عاد تكتبين ان مثلا هاي و هاي متشابهين في هاذا و عطي مثال على كل دوله.. ابدي ادخلي في الموضوع.. مجرد تكتبين بس 3 جمل فقط لا غير و قصااار و عليهم أمثلة
3.All Contrasts (Topics 1 and 2)
This section — which should consist of several paragraphs — should go through all differences you find in the two topics on which you are writing. There should be at least three contrasts (essentially three short body paragraphs) in which you give an example from both topics of comparisons in each. اهنه اكتبي التناقضات ” الأشيا الي ما يتشابهون فيها” و عطي مثال على كل جمله نفس ما سويتي قبل
This conclusion is wrapping up everything you have just proven in your paper. It should restate the thesis in a new, more official way, and you should feel quite confident in your writing.
الخاتمه هي التنهي كل شي بس بالمختصر المفيد و سريع لكن باسلوب ثاني و تكون على ما أظن بس جملتين^^ أتمنى انج استفدتي.. ————————————————————————————————–
also, again, as well as, besides, coupled with, furthermore, in addition, likewise, moreover, similarly Consequence:
accordingly, as a result, consequently, for this reason, for this purpose, hence, otherwise, so then, subsequently, therefore, thus, thereupon, wherefore Generalizing: as a rule, as usual, for the most part, generally, generally speaking, ordinarily, usually
Exemplifying: chiefly, especially, for instance, in particular, markedly, namely, particularly, including, specifically, such as
Illustration: for example, for instance, for one thing, as an illustration, illustrated with, as an example, in this case
Emphasis above all, chiefly, with attention to, especially, particularly, singularly
Similarity: comparatively, coupled with, correspondingly, identically, likewise, similar, moreover, together with
Exception: aside from, barring, besides, except, excepting, excluding, exclusive of, other than, outside of, save
Restatement: in essence, in other words, namely, that is, that is to say, in short, in brief, to put it differently
Contrast and Comparison: contrast, by the same token, conversely, instead, likewise, on one hand, on the other hand, on the contrary, rather, similarly, yet, but, however, still, nevertheless, in contrast
Sequence: at first, first of all, to begin with, in the first place, at the same time, for now, for the time being, the next step, in time, in turn, later on, meanwhile, next, then, soon, the meantime, later, while, earlier, simultaneously, afterward, in conclusion, with this in mind,
Summarizing: after all, all in all, all things considered, briefly, by and large, in any case, in any event, in brief, in conclusion, on the whole, in short, in summary, in the final analysis, in the long run, on balance, to sum up, to summarize, finally
Diversion: by the way, incidentally
Direction: here, there, over there, beyond, nearly, opposite, under, above, to the left, to the right, in the distance
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The Compare/Contrast Essay
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The compare/contrast essay is easy and rewarding to teach because: You can convince students there is a reason for learning it. You can teach it effectively in a few steps.
You can see students’ critical thinking skills improve as they learn to write the essay. Once mastered, students feel proud of their ability to systematically compare and contrast two subjects. In this feature you will find:
Step by step instructions for teaching the compare/contrast essay. A compare/contrast chart for planning the essay. (A student handout by your guide.) Organizing a compare/contrast essay. (A student handout by your guide.) Organizing a compare/contrast paragraphs. (A student handout by your guide.) A Net link to a compare/contrast cue word list.
Links to Web pages with editing /proofreading tips.
A proofreading guide. (A student handout by your guide.)
A compare/contrast rubric for teacher and peer evaluations. (A student handout by your guide.) * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Steps for Teaching
The Compare/Contrast Essay
Below are the steps I have used fairly successfully to teach the compare/contrast essay to regular classes of high school sophomores whose reading levels range from fourth to twelfth grade. Beside each step I’ve made a few comments that may make things go more smoothly. *
Discuss practical reasons for comparing and contrasting.
Discuss reasons for learning to write about similarities and differences. Selecting subjects that matter to students is critical for this step. One might be to compare two models of cars and then write a letter to a benefactor who might buy them one. Another, would be a store manager writing to a buyer about two products.
Academic topics such as comparing two organisms, two wars, two approaches to solving a math problem may also be useful. 2
Show a model compare/contrast essay.
Explain that there are two ways to write the essay but don’t go into any detail on that yet. 3
Explain compare/contrast cue words.
Explain that when comparing students should mention differences but focus on similarities.
Conversely, when contrasting they should mention similarities but focus on differences. 4
Teach students how to use my compare/contrast chart.
I spend two or three periods on this. Although it seems simple, students doing it for the first time perform better if not rushed through this step.
Working in teams, with a partner or in a group is helpful during this step. 5
List and model use of cue words used to show similarities and differences from the Writing Den. Source
I have found many tenth graders have difficulty thinking of these words if this step is skipped.
It is helpful to provide model sentences with these cue words which they can use until they become comfortable with them. 6
Explain my charts showing how to organize compare/contrast paragraphs and essays. I usually have students write the block style first since it is easier. Students should be told that the block is better to show similarities and the feature by feature is better to show differences. 7
Provide a guided practice in writing the first draft.
Guide students through their first essay providing help with an introduction and transition sentences. It is helpful to allow students to use a chart they have completed as a class, or one that they have done independently and that you have checked. Don’t assume they understand the chart until they have done one correctly. 8
Provide in-class writing time.
By giving in-class writing time, many more students will work on the assignment. Without it, students with little motivation usually won’t write the essay.
I walk around the help asking who needs a little help and find I get more participation from reluctant learners this way. 9
Review the steps in the writing process.
Review editing suggestions and give time for revision.
Explain that after writing their essay, students should edit and revise. Tell students they should continue the cycle of editing and revising until they are satisfied with the quality of their essay. Explain the advantages of revising on the computer. For editing tips, Check Suggestions for Revising Prose and Basic Prose Style and Mechanics by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 10
Review my SWAPS Proofreading Guide and give students time to proofread their essays. You may a photocopy and review my proofreading guide, SWAPS. A companion error analysis grid is available for students to record errors in order to identify problem areas. 11
Have students evaluate their peers’ essays using my Compare/Contrast Rubric. Students evaluate using the rubric, staple rubric to the essay and then place the essay on a desk in the front of the room for another student to pick up and evaluate.
Be sure to check off on a roster or seating chart the names of students who turn in an essay because essays could be stolen during the peer evaluation activity.
I require students who have not finished to submit their essay for peer evaluation after writing Not Finished at the top of their papers. This makes them feel like their peers will know that they knew the essay was incomplete. More important, taking their paper forces them to participate in the evaluation activity rather than trying to finish the essay in class. These students often benefit more than the others by reading the essays of better students. I’ve had good results giving 25 points each for evaluating three essays and another 25 points for quiet participation. 12
Review the proofreading guide briefly and then devote half a period to proofreading one another’s essays. Tell students to read their essay aloud or to have someone else read it to them to catch errors. Have students proofread several essays and sign their names at the top of the paper.. “Proofread by ________.”