1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Two Methods for Writing Comparison Essays

Organizing the Compare-Contrast Essay

By

Two Methods for Writing Comparison Essays

Boy Writes in Class

Michael H/ Digital Vision/ Getty Images
The compare/contrast essay is an excellent method to help students progress in their critical thinking and writing skills. This site has many resources to help you when teaching the compare/contrast essay. Following is an explanation of two methods students can use when writing a comparison essay.

Two methods for writing a comparison essay are the block and the feature-by-feature methods. Use the following information about each format to help your classes write comparison essays.

I. Block Format

Introduction
Begin with a sentence that will catch the reader's interest. This might be a question, a reason people find the topic interesting or important, or something the two subjects have in common. Then name the two subjects and say they are very similar, very different or have many important (or interesting) similarities and differences.

Paragraphs 2 - ?
The next paragraph(s) describe features of the first subject. Be sure to include examples proving the similarities and/or differences exist. Do not mention the second subject.

Make new paragraphs to avoid very long paragraphs.

Paragraphs ? - ?
The next section must begin with a transition showing you are comparing the second subject to the first.

For each comparison, use compare/contrast cue words such as like, similar to, also, unlike, on the other hand.

Be sure to include examples proving the similarities and/or differences exist.

Make new paragraphs to avoid very long paragraphs.

Conclusion
In the final paragraph, give a brief, general summary of the most important similarities and differences. End with a personal statement, a prediction, or another snappy clincher.

II. Feature by Feature (or Point by Point) Format

Introduction
Begin with a sentence that will catch the reader's interest. This might be a reason people find the topic interesting or important, or it might be statement about something the two subjects have in common. Review opening sentences in your English text for additional ideas.

Then name the two subjects and say that they are very similar, very different or have many important (or interesting) similarities and differences.

Paragraph 2
Transitions beginning each paragraph are made by repeating ideas, phrases or words. Without transitions, the essay will sound choppy and disjointed.

Discuss how both subjects compare on feature one.

For each comparison, use compare/contrast cue words such as like, similar to, also, unlike, on the other hand.

Be sure to include examples proving the similarities and/or differences exist.

Paragraphs 3 - ?
Transitions beginning each paragraph are made by repeating ideas, phrases or words. Without transitions, the essay will sound choppy and disjointed.

Continue the pattern set in paragraph 2 discussing a new feature in each new paragraph.

For each comparison, use compare/contrast cue words such as like, similar to, also, unlike, on the other hand.

Be sure to include examples proving the similarities and/or differences exist.

Conclusion

In this paragraph, give a brief, general summary of the most important similarities and differences.

End with a personal statement, a prediction or another snappy clincher.

More resources for writing the compare/contrast essay.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.