In academic writing,
comparison and contrast is particularly
because it enables you to see familiar things in new ways. "Common
sense" says that two things are the same, but a careful comparison and
contrast demonstrates their important differences. That same common
sense may say that two things are totally incompatible, but when you
and contrast them systematically, you discover their affinities. Making
comparisons helps student writers make decisions and judgments, both in
planning other papers (see the discussion of synthesis) and in the
theses and interpretations of data and ideas. In addition to helping
you decide which of two or more items is more appropriate or more
comparison can help you think about the unfamiliar by allowing you
contrast it with something you already know.
Key features of a comparison Comparison in everyday life A warning about comparison Preparing to write a paper using comparison
Formulating a comparative thesis Organizing a paper using comparison Peer editing comparisons
Once you've introduced the subject, lay out your specific points using either the block or point-by-point method. Both methods flow better when you transition smoothly from one section to the next. Examples of phrases that emphasize comparisons and help transition include "on the contrary," "conversely," "compared to" and "similarly." Develop each paragraph around a topic sentence that outlines the points presented in that paragraph. All of these topic sentences and points of comparison should fit under the thesis you established in the introduction. State each point in specific terms rather than generic observations. Instead of saying one gym has a better atmosphere than another, for example, you might explain how the better gym offers clean facilities with a wide range of equipment that is arranged to allow ample space and flow of traffic. Conclude the essay with a recap of the thesis statement and reasons the reader should care.