A comparison shows how two subjects are similar; a contrast shows how two subjects are different. People compare and contrast in both writing and life. In writing, you must first decide whether you will compare, contrast, or do both.
Follow these steps when writing a comparison/contrast essay:
Identify similarities and differences.
If you have two items to compare or contrast, figure out how they are similar and how they are different.
You will need to find at least two- three points for comparison or contrast. Then write the detailed characteristics for each point.
State your purpose in the thesis sentence. Identify the two subjects that you will compare or contrast and focus on the similarities, differences, or both. The thesis may also indicate which points you will compare or contrast.
Choose a pattern to organize your essay.
The two major patterns for organizing a comparison/contrast essay are:
Block--also known as Subject by Subject (Whole-to-Whole)
You write first about one of your subjects, covering it completely, and then you write about the other, covering it completely.
Each subject is addressed in a separate paragraph.
The points of comparison or contrast will be the same for each subject and will be presented in the same order.
Point by Point
Each point is addressed in a separate paragraph.
You discuss both of your subjects together for each point of comparison and contrast.
Maintain consistency by discussing the same subject first for each point.
Use appropriate transitions. Transitions are important in comparison/contrast writing, especially with the point by point organization, to avoid confusion. Without transitions, the points you are comparing/contrasting may blur into one another. Also, a variety of transitions prevent monotony.
A list of transitions follows:
For comparison: like, same, both, the same as, similar, in the same way, most important, similarly, as, too, have in common, as well as.
For contrast: although, however, differ, unlike, even though, yet, but, instead, on the contrary, on the other hand, whereas, while, unless, contrary to, the reverse.
Remember the so what factor. Why are you comparing/contrasting these two things? Your conclusion may provide a final evaluation.