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10.7 Comparison and Contrast

Learning objectives.

  • Determine the purpose and structure of comparison and contrast in writing.
  • Explain organizational methods used when comparing and contrasting.
  • Understand how to write a compare-and-contrast essay.

The Purpose of Comparison and Contrast in Writing

Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay , then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.

The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities. For example, if you wanted to focus on contrasting two subjects you would not pick apples and oranges; rather, you might choose to compare and contrast two types of oranges or two types of apples to highlight subtle differences. For example, Red Delicious apples are sweet, while Granny Smiths are tart and acidic. Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience’s understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay.

Similarly, to focus on comparison, choose two subjects that seem at first to be unrelated. For a comparison essay, you likely would not choose two apples or two oranges because they share so many of the same properties already. Rather, you might try to compare how apples and oranges are quite similar. The more divergent the two subjects initially seem, the more interesting a comparison essay will be.

Writing at Work

Comparing and contrasting is also an evaluative tool. In order to make accurate evaluations about a given topic, you must first know the critical points of similarity and difference. Comparing and contrasting is a primary tool for many workplace assessments. You have likely compared and contrasted yourself to other colleagues. Employee advancements, pay raises, hiring, and firing are typically conducted using comparison and contrast. Comparison and contrast could be used to evaluate companies, departments, or individuals.

Brainstorm an essay that leans toward contrast. Choose one of the following three categories. Pick two examples from each. Then come up with one similarity and three differences between the examples.

  • Romantic comedies
  • Internet search engines
  • Cell phones

Brainstorm an essay that leans toward comparison. Choose one of the following three items. Then come up with one difference and three similarities.

  • Department stores and discount retail stores
  • Fast food chains and fine dining restaurants
  • Dogs and cats

The Structure of a Comparison and Contrast Essay

The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both and the reason for doing so. The thesis could lean more toward comparing, contrasting, or both. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader. Take the following thesis as an example that leans more toward contrasting.

Thesis statement: Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.

Here the thesis sets up the two subjects to be compared and contrasted (organic versus conventional vegetables), and it makes a claim about the results that might prove useful to the reader.

You may organize compare-and-contrast essays in one of the following two ways:

  • According to the subjects themselves, discussing one then the other
  • According to individual points, discussing each subject in relation to each point

See Figure 10.1 “Comparison and Contrast Diagram” , which diagrams the ways to organize our organic versus conventional vegetables thesis.

Figure 10.1 Comparison and Contrast Diagram

Comparison and Contrast Diagram

The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience.

Given that compare-and-contrast essays analyze the relationship between two subjects, it is helpful to have some phrases on hand that will cue the reader to such analysis. See Table 10.3 “Phrases of Comparison and Contrast” for examples.

Table 10.3 Phrases of Comparison and Contrast

Create an outline for each of the items you chose in Note 10.72 “Exercise 1” and Note 10.73 “Exercise 2” . Use the point-by-point organizing strategy for one of them, and use the subject organizing strategy for the other.

Writing a Comparison and Contrast Essay

First choose whether you want to compare seemingly disparate subjects, contrast seemingly similar subjects, or compare and contrast subjects. Once you have decided on a topic, introduce it with an engaging opening paragraph. Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction, and it should establish the subjects you will compare, contrast, or both as well as state what can be learned from doing so.

The body of the essay can be organized in one of two ways: by subject or by individual points. The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your audience and your purpose. You may also consider your particular approach to the subjects as well as the nature of the subjects themselves; some subjects might better lend themselves to one structure or the other. Make sure to use comparison and contrast phrases to cue the reader to the ways in which you are analyzing the relationship between the subjects.

After you finish analyzing the subjects, write a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and reinforces your thesis. See Chapter 15 “Readings: Examples of Essays” to read a sample compare-and-contrast essay.

Many business presentations are conducted using comparison and contrast. The organizing strategies—by subject or individual points—could also be used for organizing a presentation. Keep this in mind as a way of organizing your content the next time you or a colleague have to present something at work.

Choose one of the outlines you created in Note 10.75 “Exercise 3” , and write a full compare-and-contrast essay. Be sure to include an engaging introduction, a clear thesis, well-defined and detailed paragraphs, and a fitting conclusion that ties everything together.

Key Takeaways

  • A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
  • The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
  • The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.

There are two main organizing strategies for compare-and-contrast essays.

  • Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
  • Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
  • Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Comparing and Contrasting

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective. It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond “Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others.”

Introduction

In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements. One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another. By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them.

Recognizing comparison/contrast in assignments

Some assignments use words—like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences—that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast. Here are a few hypothetical examples:

  • Compare and contrast Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression.
  • Compare WWI to WWII, identifying similarities in the causes, development, and outcomes of the wars.
  • Contrast Wordsworth and Coleridge; what are the major differences in their poetry?

Notice that some topics ask only for comparison, others only for contrast, and others for both.

But it’s not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast. And in some cases, comparison/contrast is only part of the essay—you begin by comparing and/or contrasting two or more things and then use what you’ve learned to construct an argument or evaluation. Consider these examples, noticing the language that is used to ask for the comparison/contrast and whether the comparison/contrast is only one part of a larger assignment:

  • Choose a particular idea or theme, such as romantic love, death, or nature, and consider how it is treated in two Romantic poems.
  • How do the different authors we have studied so far define and describe oppression?
  • Compare Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression. What does each imply about women’s collusion in their own oppression? Which is more accurate?
  • In the texts we’ve studied, soldiers who served in different wars offer differing accounts of their experiences and feelings both during and after the fighting. What commonalities are there in these accounts? What factors do you think are responsible for their differences?

You may want to check out our handout on understanding assignments for additional tips.

Using comparison/contrast for all kinds of writing projects

Sometimes you may want to use comparison/contrast techniques in your own pre-writing work to get ideas that you can later use for an argument, even if comparison/contrast isn’t an official requirement for the paper you’re writing. For example, if you wanted to argue that Frye’s account of oppression is better than both de Beauvoir’s and Bartky’s, comparing and contrasting the main arguments of those three authors might help you construct your evaluation—even though the topic may not have asked for comparison/contrast and the lists of similarities and differences you generate may not appear anywhere in the final draft of your paper.

Discovering similarities and differences

Making a Venn diagram or a chart can help you quickly and efficiently compare and contrast two or more things or ideas. To make a Venn diagram, simply draw some overlapping circles, one circle for each item you’re considering. In the central area where they overlap, list the traits the two items have in common. Assign each one of the areas that doesn’t overlap; in those areas, you can list the traits that make the things different. Here’s a very simple example, using two pizza places:

Venn diagram indicating that both Pepper's and Amante serve pizza with unusual ingredients at moderate prices, despite differences in location, wait times, and delivery options

To make a chart, figure out what criteria you want to focus on in comparing the items. Along the left side of the page, list each of the criteria. Across the top, list the names of the items. You should then have a box per item for each criterion; you can fill the boxes in and then survey what you’ve discovered.

Here’s an example, this time using three pizza places:

As you generate points of comparison, consider the purpose and content of the assignment and the focus of the class. What do you think the professor wants you to learn by doing this comparison/contrast? How does it fit with what you have been studying so far and with the other assignments in the course? Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself?

Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. These are by no means complete or definitive lists; they’re just here to give you some ideas—you can generate your own questions for these and other types of comparison. You may want to begin by using the questions reporters traditionally ask: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? If you’re talking about objects, you might also consider general properties like size, shape, color, sound, weight, taste, texture, smell, number, duration, and location.

Two historical periods or events

  • When did they occur—do you know the date(s) and duration? What happened or changed during each? Why are they significant?
  • What kinds of work did people do? What kinds of relationships did they have? What did they value?
  • What kinds of governments were there? Who were important people involved?
  • What caused events in these periods, and what consequences did they have later on?

Two ideas or theories

  • What are they about?
  • Did they originate at some particular time?
  • Who created them? Who uses or defends them?
  • What is the central focus, claim, or goal of each? What conclusions do they offer?
  • How are they applied to situations/people/things/etc.?
  • Which seems more plausible to you, and why? How broad is their scope?
  • What kind of evidence is usually offered for them?

Two pieces of writing or art

  • What are their titles? What do they describe or depict?
  • What is their tone or mood? What is their form?
  • Who created them? When were they created? Why do you think they were created as they were? What themes do they address?
  • Do you think one is of higher quality or greater merit than the other(s)—and if so, why?
  • For writing: what plot, characterization, setting, theme, tone, and type of narration are used?
  • Where are they from? How old are they? What is the gender, race, class, etc. of each?
  • What, if anything, are they known for? Do they have any relationship to each other?
  • What are they like? What did/do they do? What do they believe? Why are they interesting?
  • What stands out most about each of them?

Deciding what to focus on

By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations! Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s relevant to the assignment?
  • What’s relevant to the course?
  • What’s interesting and informative?
  • What matters to the argument you are going to make?
  • What’s basic or central (and needs to be mentioned even if obvious)?
  • Overall, what’s more important—the similarities or the differences?

Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels. For most literature classes, the fact that they both use Caslon type (a kind of typeface, like the fonts you may use in your writing) is not going to be relevant, nor is the fact that one of them has a few illustrations and the other has none; literature classes are more likely to focus on subjects like characterization, plot, setting, the writer’s style and intentions, language, central themes, and so forth. However, if you were writing a paper for a class on typesetting or on how illustrations are used to enhance novels, the typeface and presence or absence of illustrations might be absolutely critical to include in your final paper.

Sometimes a particular point of comparison or contrast might be relevant but not terribly revealing or interesting. For example, if you are writing a paper about Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” and Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight,” pointing out that they both have nature as a central theme is relevant (comparisons of poetry often talk about themes) but not terribly interesting; your class has probably already had many discussions about the Romantic poets’ fondness for nature. Talking about the different ways nature is depicted or the different aspects of nature that are emphasized might be more interesting and show a more sophisticated understanding of the poems.

Your thesis

The thesis of your comparison/contrast paper is very important: it can help you create a focused argument and give your reader a road map so they don’t get lost in the sea of points you are about to make. As in any paper, you will want to replace vague reports of your general topic (for example, “This paper will compare and contrast two pizza places,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in some ways and different in others,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in many ways, but they have one major difference”) with something more detailed and specific. For example, you might say, “Pepper’s and Amante have similar prices and ingredients, but their atmospheres and willingness to deliver set them apart.”

Be careful, though—although this thesis is fairly specific and does propose a simple argument (that atmosphere and delivery make the two pizza places different), your instructor will often be looking for a bit more analysis. In this case, the obvious question is “So what? Why should anyone care that Pepper’s and Amante are different in this way?” One might also wonder why the writer chose those two particular pizza places to compare—why not Papa John’s, Dominos, or Pizza Hut? Again, thinking about the context the class provides may help you answer such questions and make a stronger argument. Here’s a revision of the thesis mentioned earlier:

Pepper’s and Amante both offer a greater variety of ingredients than other Chapel Hill/Carrboro pizza places (and than any of the national chains), but the funky, lively atmosphere at Pepper’s makes it a better place to give visiting friends and family a taste of local culture.

You may find our handout on constructing thesis statements useful at this stage.

Organizing your paper

There are many different ways to organize a comparison/contrast essay. Here are two:

Subject-by-subject

Begin by saying everything you have to say about the first subject you are discussing, then move on and make all the points you want to make about the second subject (and after that, the third, and so on, if you’re comparing/contrasting more than two things). If the paper is short, you might be able to fit all of your points about each item into a single paragraph, but it’s more likely that you’d have several paragraphs per item. Using our pizza place comparison/contrast as an example, after the introduction, you might have a paragraph about the ingredients available at Pepper’s, a paragraph about its location, and a paragraph about its ambience. Then you’d have three similar paragraphs about Amante, followed by your conclusion.

The danger of this subject-by-subject organization is that your paper will simply be a list of points: a certain number of points (in my example, three) about one subject, then a certain number of points about another. This is usually not what college instructors are looking for in a paper—generally they want you to compare or contrast two or more things very directly, rather than just listing the traits the things have and leaving it up to the reader to reflect on how those traits are similar or different and why those similarities or differences matter. Thus, if you use the subject-by-subject form, you will probably want to have a very strong, analytical thesis and at least one body paragraph that ties all of your different points together.

A subject-by-subject structure can be a logical choice if you are writing what is sometimes called a “lens” comparison, in which you use one subject or item (which isn’t really your main topic) to better understand another item (which is). For example, you might be asked to compare a poem you’ve already covered thoroughly in class with one you are reading on your own. It might make sense to give a brief summary of your main ideas about the first poem (this would be your first subject, the “lens”), and then spend most of your paper discussing how those points are similar to or different from your ideas about the second.

Point-by-point

Rather than addressing things one subject at a time, you may wish to talk about one point of comparison at a time. There are two main ways this might play out, depending on how much you have to say about each of the things you are comparing. If you have just a little, you might, in a single paragraph, discuss how a certain point of comparison/contrast relates to all the items you are discussing. For example, I might describe, in one paragraph, what the prices are like at both Pepper’s and Amante; in the next paragraph, I might compare the ingredients available; in a third, I might contrast the atmospheres of the two restaurants.

If I had a bit more to say about the items I was comparing/contrasting, I might devote a whole paragraph to how each point relates to each item. For example, I might have a whole paragraph about the clientele at Pepper’s, followed by a whole paragraph about the clientele at Amante; then I would move on and do two more paragraphs discussing my next point of comparison/contrast—like the ingredients available at each restaurant.

There are no hard and fast rules about organizing a comparison/contrast paper, of course. Just be sure that your reader can easily tell what’s going on! Be aware, too, of the placement of your different points. If you are writing a comparison/contrast in service of an argument, keep in mind that the last point you make is the one you are leaving your reader with. For example, if I am trying to argue that Amante is better than Pepper’s, I should end with a contrast that leaves Amante sounding good, rather than with a point of comparison that I have to admit makes Pepper’s look better. If you’ve decided that the differences between the items you’re comparing/contrasting are most important, you’ll want to end with the differences—and vice versa, if the similarities seem most important to you.

Our handout on organization can help you write good topic sentences and transitions and make sure that you have a good overall structure in place for your paper.

Cue words and other tips

To help your reader keep track of where you are in the comparison/contrast, you’ll want to be sure that your transitions and topic sentences are especially strong. Your thesis should already have given the reader an idea of the points you’ll be making and the organization you’ll be using, but you can help them out with some extra cues. The following words may be helpful to you in signaling your intentions:

  • like, similar to, also, unlike, similarly, in the same way, likewise, again, compared to, in contrast, in like manner, contrasted with, on the contrary, however, although, yet, even though, still, but, nevertheless, conversely, at the same time, regardless, despite, while, on the one hand … on the other hand.

For example, you might have a topic sentence like one of these:

  • Compared to Pepper’s, Amante is quiet.
  • Like Amante, Pepper’s offers fresh garlic as a topping.
  • Despite their different locations (downtown Chapel Hill and downtown Carrboro), Pepper’s and Amante are both fairly easy to get to.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Comparing and Contrasting: A Guide to Improve Your Essays

Walter Akolo

Walter Akolo

Comparing and contrasting in essays

Essays that require you to compare and contrast two or more subjects, ideas, places, or items are common.

They call for you to highlight the key similarities (compare) and differences (contrast) between them.

This guide contains all the information you need to become better at writing comparing and contrasting essays.

This includes: how to structure your essay, how to decide on the content, and some examples of essay questions.

Let’s dive in.

Compare and contrast definition

What Is Comparing and Contrasting?

Is compare and contrast the same as similarities and differences, what is the purpose of comparing and contrasting, can you compare and contrast any two items, how do you compare and contrast in writing, what are some comparing and contrasting techniques, how do you compare and contrast in college level writing, the four essentials of compare and contrast essays, what can you learn from a compare and contrast essay.

At their most basic, both comparing and contrasting base their evaluation on two or more subjects that share a connection.

The subjects could have similar characteristics, features, or foundations.

But while a comparison discusses the similarities of the two subjects, e.g. a banana and a watermelon are both fruit, contrasting highlights how the subjects or items differ from each other, e.g. a watermelon is around 10 times larger than a banana.

Any question that you are asked in education will have a variety of interesting comparisons and deductions that you can make.

Compare is the same as similarities.

Contrast is the same as differences.

This is because comparing identifies the likeness between two subjects, items, or categories, while contrasting recognizes disparities between them.

When you compare things, you represent them regarding their similarity, but when you contrast things, you define them in reference to their differences.

As a result, if you are asked to discuss the similarities and differences between two subjects, you can take an identical approach to if you are writing a compare and contrast essay.

In writing, the purpose of comparing and contrasting is to highlight subtle but important differences or similarities that might not be immediately obvious.

The purpose of comparing and contrasting

By illustrating the differences between elements in a similar category, you help heighten readers’ understanding of the subject or topic of discussion.

For instance, you might choose to compare and contrast red wine and white wine by pointing out the subtle differences. One of these differences is that red wine is best served at room temperature while white is best served chilled.

Also, comparing and contrasting helps to make abstract ideas more definite and minimizes the confusion that might exist between two related concepts.

Can Comparing and Contrasting Be Useful Outside of Academia?

Comparing enables you to see the pros and cons, allowing you to have a better understanding of the things under discussion. In an essay, this helps you demonstrate that you understand the nuances of your topic enough to draw meaningful conclusions from them.

Let's use a real-word example to see the benefits. Imagine you're contrasting two dresses you could buy. You might think:

  • Dress A is purple, my favorite color, but it has a difficult zip and is practically impossible to match a jacket to.
  • Dress B is more expensive but I already have a suitable pair of shoes and jacket and it is easier to move in.

You're linking the qualities of each dress to the context of the decision you're making. This is the same for your essay. Your comparison and contrast points will be in relation to the question you need to answer.

Comparing and contrasting is only a useful technique when applied to two related concepts.

To effectively compare two or more things, they must feature characteristics similar enough to warrant comparison.

In addition to this they must also feature a similarity that generates an interesting discussion. But what do I mean by “interesting” here?

Let’s look at two concepts, the Magna Carta and my third grade poetry competition entry.

They are both text, written on paper by a person so they fulfil the first requirement, they have a similarity. But this comparison clearly would not fulfil the second requirement, you would not be able to draw any interesting conclusions.

However, if we compare the Magna Carta to the Bill of Rights, you would be able to come to some very interesting conclusions concerning the history of world politics.

To write a good compare and contrast essay, it’s best to pick two or more topics that share a meaningful connection .

The aim of the essay would be to show the subtle differences or unforeseen similarities.

By highlighting the distinctions between elements in a similar category you can increase your readers’ understanding.

Alternatively, you could choose to focus on a comparison between two subjects that initially appear unrelated.

The more dissimilar they seem, the more interesting the comparison essay will turn out.

For instance, you could compare and contrast professional rugby players with marathon runners.

Can You Compare and Contrast in an Essay That Does Not Specifically Require It?

As a writer, you can employ comparing and contrasting techniques in your writing, particularly when looking for ideas you can later apply in your argument.

You can do this even when the comparison or contrast is not a requirement for the topic or argument you are presenting. Doing so could enable you to build your evaluation and develop a stronger argument.

Note that the similarities and differences you come up with might not even show up in the final draft.

While the use of compare and contrast can be neutral, you can also use it to highlight one option under discussion. When used this way, you can influence the perceived advantages of your preferred option.

As a writing style, comparing and contrasting can encompass an entire essay. However, it could also appear in some select paragraphs within the essay, where making some comparisons serves to better illustrate a point.

What Should You Do First?

Before you compare two things, always start by deciding on the reason for your comparison, then outline the criteria you will use to compare them.

Words and phrases commonly used for comparison include:

Comparison words and phrases

In writing, these words and phrases are called transitions . They help readers to understand or make the connection between sentences, paragraphs, and ideas.

Without transition words writing can feel clumsy and disjointed making it difficult to read. ProWritingAid’s transition report highlights all of a documents transitions and suggests that 25% of any sentences in a piece include a transition.

ProWritingAid's Transition Report

Sign up for a free ProWritingAid account to use the Transitions Report.

So, how do you form all of this into a coherent essay? It's a good idea to plan first, then decide what your paragraph layout will look like.

Venn diagrams are useful tool to start generating ideas. The, for your essay, you need to choose between going idea by idea and going point by point.

Using a Venn Diagram

A Venn diagram helps you to clearly see the similarities and differences between multiple objects, things, or subjects.

The writing tool comprises two, or more, simple, overlapping circles in which you list down the things that are alike (within the overlapping area) and those that differ (outside the overlapping area).

It’s great for brainstorming ideas and for creating your essay’s outline. You could even use it in an exam setting because it is quick and simple.

Going Subject by Subject

Going subject by subject is a structural choice for your essay.

Start by saying all you have to say on the first subject, then proceed to do the same about the second subject.

Depending on the length of your essay, you can fit the points about each subject into one paragraph or have several sections per each subject, ending with a conclusion.

This method is best for short essays on simple topics. Most university-level essays will go point by point instead.

Going Point by Point

Going point by point, or alternating, is the opposite essay structure from going subject by subject. This is ideal when you want to do more direct comparing and contrasting. It entails discussing one comparison point at a time. It allows you to use a paragraph to talk about how a certain comparing/contrasting point relates to the subjects or items you are discussing.

Alternatively, if you have lots of details about the subject, you might decide to use a paragraph for each point.

Different ways to compare and contrast

An academic compare and contrast essay looks at two or more subjects, ideas, people, or objects, compares their likeness, and contrasts their differences.

It’s an informative essay that provides insights on what is similar and different between the two items.

Depending on the essay’s instructions, you can focus solely on comparing or contrasting, or a combination of the two.

Examples of College Level Compare and Contrast Essay Questions

Here are eleven examples of compare and contrast essay questions that you might encounter at university:

Compare and contrast examples

  • Archaeology: Compare and contrast the skulls of homo habilis, homo erectus, and homo sapiens.
  • Art: Compare and contrast the working styles of any two Neoclassic artists.
  • Astrophysics: Compare and contrast the chemical composition of Venus and Neptune.
  • Biology: Compare and contrast the theories of Lamarck and Darwin.
  • Business: Compare and contrast 2 or more business models within the agricultural industry.
  • Creative writing: Compare and contrast free indirect discourse with epistolary styles.
  • English Literature: Compare and contrast William Wordsworth with Robert Browning.
  • Geography: Compare and contrast the benefit of solar panels with the benefit of wind turbines.
  • History: Compare and contrast WWI to WWII with specific reference to the causes and outcomes.
  • Medicine: Compare and contrast England’s health service with America’s health service.
  • Psychology: Compare and contrast the behaviorist theory with the psychodynamic theory.

So, the key takeaways to keep in mind are:

Have a basis for comparison. The two things need to have enough in common to justify a discussion about their similarities and disparities.

Don’t go back and forth when using the block method. The best way to write your essay is to begin with a paragraph discussing all the facets of the first topic. Then, move on to another paragraph and talk through all the aspects of the second subject.

You can use both alternating and blocking techniques. Combining the two approaches is also an option. You can apply the alternating method in some paragraphs, then switch and use the block method. This method will help you offer a much deeper analysis of the subjects.

Have a reason for comparing the two things. Only select the points of comparison that resonate with your purpose.

Compare and contrast, key takeaways

Comparing and contrasting are essential analytical skills in academic writing. When your professor issues you with such an essay, their primary goal is to teach you how to:

  • Engage in critical thinking
  • See and make connections between words or ideas
  • Move beyond mere descriptions or summaries to developing interesting analysis
  • Get a deeper understanding of the subjects or items under comparison, their key features, and their interrelationships with each other.

The benefits of comparing and contrasting

Ultimately, your essay should enlighten readers by providing useful information.

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Tips for Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay

Tips for Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay

5-minute read

  • 19th August 2022

Compare and contrast essays are a specific form of academic essay with unique requirements, so if you’re a student , it’s important that you to know how to write one. Luckily, we’ve pieced together this guide to help you plan, structure, and put together your essay, complete with tips for comparing and contrasting.

Let’s begin.

1. What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

As you may have guessed, when writing a compare and contrast essay, you’ll need to do two things:

  • Compare the similarities between two or more given subjects.
  • Contrast their differences.

Compare and contrast essays are a common essay style because they allow your teacher or lecturer to assess your understanding of two theories, research methods, literary techniques, or other subjects. These subjects are usually related and may sometimes be confused with one another or are in conflict with each other.

By comparing and contrasting the subjects, you can also improve your analysis skills .

Some examples of compare and contrast essay titles include:

Compare and contrast a Shakespearean sonnet with a Petrarchan sonnet. What are the similarities and differences between anabolic and catabolic reactions? How were Nehru’s political beliefs similar to Gandhi’s? How did they differ?

2. Planning a Compare and Contrast Essay

As with any essay, before you begin writing, you should have a plan . In this case, you’ll first need to identify the similarities and differences between your subjects.

You can do this by writing out a list of all the qualities each subject possesses. Then, you can pick out any similar qualities that show up in both lists, and any qualities that are unique to just one of them. If you’re a visual learner, you might want to draw this as a Venn diagram .

Once you have all the similarities and differences prepared, consider which of them will be the most useful to include in your essay. Ask yourself:

  • How much can you write about each point?
  • What will your conclusion be, and which points support it?
  • How will each point fit into your essay’s structure?

To answer that last question, let’s take a look at some ways to structure your essay.

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3. Structuring a Compare and Contrast Essay

Now that you’ve got a plan for your essay, it’s time to organize it. There are three main structures you can follow when writing a compare and contrast essay: 

  • The block structure: All of the information about one subject (e.g., Shakespearean sonnets) is presented in the first few paragraphs, followed by the subject it’s being compared and contrasted with (e.g., Petrarchan sonnets).
  • The alternating structure: One similarity or difference between both subjects (e.g., rhyme scheme) is explored in one paragraph, followed by a paragraph on another similarity or difference (e.g., use of imagery), and so on.
  • The similarities and differences structure: All the similarities between both subjects are presented, followed by the differences.

There are benefits to each of these structures. The block structure, for example, can be easier to write, while the alternating structure presents each similarity and difference clearly, and the similarities and differences structure focuses on those points rather than the subjects themselves. 

So, when deciding which structure to use, consider what would work best for your essay. If you intend to cover each subject in detail, for example, you might want to choose the block structure. 

On the other hand, if you want to emphasize the connections between each subject, the alternating structure might be best. 

Finally, if you want to conclude that the subjects are either overwhelmingly similar or different to each other, the similarities and differences structure may work in your favor.

Whichever structure you follow, though, you’ll need to include a strong introduction and conclusion.

Your introduction should:

  • Establish the subjects you will be comparing and contrasting.
  • Provide some background about their connection (e.g., “Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnets are poetic forms common in the 14th to 19th centuries”).
  • Explain what you aim to achieve with your essay.

Meanwhile, your conclusion should:

  • Summarize the main similarities and differences you have identified.
  • Make a point regarding the relationship between your subjects.

4. Things to Remember

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when writing your compare and contrast essay:

  • Ensure you are comparing or contrasting the same criteria between each subject. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to compare the line length of a Shakespearean sonnet with the rhyme scheme of a Petrarchan sonnet, as these are two separate categories.
  • Always address both subjects of your essay in any introductions, conclusions, and topic sentences.
  • Use comparison words and phrases such as “similarly,” “like,” and “in the same way” when comparing subjects.
  • Use contrast words and phrases such as “in contrast,” “however,” and “whereas” when contrasting subjects.
  • As with any essay, make sure to back up any arguments you make with evidence and credible sources .

Expert Academic Proofreading

Once you’ve written your compare and contrast essay, don’t forget to have it proofread. Our dedicated essay editing team is available 24/7 to help polish your paper. Try us out with a free proofreading and editing sample .

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Comparison and Contrast Guide

Comparison and Contrast Guide

About this Interactive

Related resources.

This interactive guide provides an introduction to the basic characteristics and resources that are typically used when students compose comparison and contrast essays. The Comparison and Contrast Guide includes an overview, definitions and examples. The Organizing a Paper section includes details on whole-to-whole (block), point-by-point, and similarities-to-differences structures. In addition, the Guide explains how graphic organizers are used for comparison and contrast, provides tips for using transitions between ideas in comparison and contrast essays, and includes a checklist, which matches an accompanying rubric .

  • Student Interactives
  • Lesson Plans

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.

Students explore picture books to identify the characteristics of four types of conflict. They then write about a conflict they have experienced and compare it to a conflict from literature.

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Explore Resources by Grade

  • Kindergarten K

Comparison and Contrast

Learning objectives.

  • Determine the purpose and structure of comparison and contrast in writing.
  • Explain organizational methods used when comparing and contrasting.
  • Understand how to write a compare-and-contrast essay.

The Purpose of Comparison and Contrast in Writing

Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay , then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.

The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities. For example, if you wanted to focus on contrasting two subjects you would not pick apples and oranges; rather, you might choose to compare and contrast two types of oranges or two types of apples to highlight subtle differences. For example, Red Delicious apples are sweet, while Granny Smiths are tart and acidic. Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience’s understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay.

Similarly, to focus on comparison, choose two subjects that seem at first to be unrelated. For a comparison essay, you likely would not choose two apples or two oranges because they share so many of the same properties already. Rather, you might try to compare how apples and oranges are quite similar. The more divergent the two subjects initially seem, the more interesting a comparison essay will be.

Writing at Work

  • Romantic comedies
  • Internet search engines
  • Cell phones
  • Department stores and discount retail stores
  • Fast food chains and fine dining restaurants
  • Dogs and cats

The Structure of a Comparison and Contrast Essay

The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both and the reason for doing so. The thesis could lean more toward comparing, contrasting, or both. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader. Take the following thesis as an example that leans more toward contrasting.

Thesis statement: Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.

Here the thesis sets up the two subjects to be compared and contrasted (organic versus conventional vegetables), and it makes a claim about the results that might prove useful to the reader.

You may organize compare-and-contrast essays in one of the following two ways:

  • According to the subjects themselves, discussing one then the other
  • According to individual points, discussing each subject in relation to each point

See Figure 10.1 “Comparison and Contrast Diagram”, which diagrams the ways to organize our organic versus conventional vegetables thesis.

Figure 10.1 Comparison and Contrast Diagram

Click on Image to Enlarge

Click on Image to Enlarge

The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience.

Given that compare-and-contrast essays analyze the relationship between two subjects, it is helpful to have some phrases on hand that will cue the reader to such analysis. See Table 10.3 “Phrases of Comparison and Contrast” for examples.

Table 10.3 Phrases of Comparison and Contrast

Create an outline for each of the items you chose in Note 10.72 “Exercise 1” and Note 10.73 “Exercise 2”. Use the point-by-point organizing strategy for one of them, and use the subject organizing strategy for the other.

Writing a Comparison and Contrast Essay

First choose whether you want to compare seemingly disparate subjects, contrast seemingly similar subjects, or compare and contrast subjects. Once you have decided on a topic, introduce it with an engaging opening paragraph. Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction, and it should establish the subjects you will compare, contrast, or both as well as state what can be learned from doing so.

The body of the essay can be organized in one of two ways: by subject or by individual points. The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your audience and your purpose. You may also consider your particular approach to the subjects as well as the nature of the subjects themselves; some subjects might better lend themselves to one structure or the other. Make sure to use comparison and contrast phrases to cue the reader to the ways in which you are analyzing the relationship between the subjects.

After you finish analyzing the subjects, write a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and reinforces your thesis. See Chapter 15 “Readings: Examples of Essays” to read a sample compare-and-contrast essay.

Choose one of the outlines you created in Note 10.75 “Exercise 3”, and write a full compare-and-contrast essay. Be sure to include an engaging introduction, a clear thesis, well-defined and detailed paragraphs, and a fitting conclusion that ties everything together.

Key Takeaways

  • A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
  • The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
  • The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.
  • Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
  • Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
  • Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.

Compare/Contrast Essay Example

Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC

By Scott McLean in Writing for Success

Both Washington, DC, and London are capital cities of English-speaking countries, and yet they offer vastly different experiences to their residents and visitors. Comparing and contrasting the two cities based on their history, their culture, and their residents show how different and similar the two are.

Both cities are rich in world and national history, though they developed on very different time lines. London, for example, has a history that dates back over two thousand years. It was part of the Roman Empire and known by the similar name, Londinium. It was not only one of the northernmost points of the Roman Empire but also the epicenter of the British Empire where it held significant global influence from the early sixteenth century on through the early twentieth century. Washington, DC, on the other hand, has only formally existed since the late eighteenth century. Though Native Americans inhabited the land several thousand years earlier, and settlers inhabited the land as early as the sixteenth century, the city did not become the capital of the United States until the 1790s. From that point onward to today, however, Washington, DC, has increasingly maintained significant global influence. Even though both cities have different histories, they have both held, and continue to hold, significant social influence in the economic and cultural global spheres.

Both Washington, DC, and London offer a wide array of museums that harbor many of the world’s most prized treasures. While Washington, DC, has the National Gallery of Art and several other Smithsonian galleries, London’s art scene and galleries have a definite edge in this category. From the Tate Modern to the British National Gallery, London’s art ranks among the world’s best. This difference and advantage has much to do with London and Britain’s historical depth compared to that of the United States. London has a much richer past than Washington, DC, and consequently has a lot more material to pull from when arranging its collections. Both cities have thriving theater districts, but again, London wins this comparison, too, both in quantity and quality of theater choices. With regard to other cultural places like restaurants, pubs, and bars, both cities are very comparable. Both have a wide selection of expensive, elegant restaurants as well as a similar amount of global and national chains. While London may be better known for its pubs and taste in beer, DC offers a different bar-going experience. With clubs and pubs that tend to stay open later than their British counterparts, the DC night life tend to be less reserved overall.

Both cities also share and differ in cultural diversity and cost of living. Both cities share a very expensive cost of living—both in terms of housing and shopping. A downtown one-bedroom apartment in DC can easily cost $1,800 per month, and a similar “flat” in London may double that amount. These high costs create socioeconomic disparity among the residents. Although both cities’ residents are predominantly wealthy, both have a significantly large population of poor and homeless. Perhaps the most significant difference between the resident demographics is the racial makeup. Washington, DC, is a “minority majority” city, which means the majority of its citizens are races other than white. In 2009, according to the US Census, 55 percent of DC residents were classified as “Black or African American” and 35 percent of its residents were classified as “white.” London, by contrast, has very few minorities—in 2006, 70 percent of its population was “white,” while only 10 percent was “black.” The racial demographic differences between the cities is drastic.

Even though Washington, DC, and London are major capital cities of English-speaking countries in the Western world, they have many differences along with their similarities. They have vastly different histories, art cultures, and racial demographics, but they remain similar in their cost of living and socioeconomic disparity.

Online Compare-and-Contrast Essay Alternatives

Ellen Laird compares and contrasts traditional and distance education in I’m Your Teacher, Not Your Internet-Service Provider :

  • http://eec.edc.org/cwis_docs/NEWS_ARTICLES_JOURNALS/Laird_Ellen.pdf
  • http://celt.cui.edu/celt/webct_for_instructors/Laird_Article.htm
  • http://depedia.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=I%27m_your_teacher%2C_not_your_Internet-Service_Provider

Deborah Tannen compares and contrasts conversation styles in Sex, Lies and Conversation: Why Is It So Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other?

  • http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/tannend/sexlies.htm

Alex Wright examines communication patterns, old and new, in Friending, Ancient or Otherwise :

  • http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/weekinreview/02wright.html
  • Successful Writing. Authored by : Anonymous. Provided by : Anonymous. Located at : http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/successful-writing/ . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

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9 Easy Steps for Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay

  • Posted on November 17, 2023 November 17, 2023

Compare and contrast essays are common assignments in middle and high school English classes. They frequently show up in college as well, and while this task may not be explicitly given to professionals, the ability to compare two subjects critically during the writing process is crucial to academics of every age.

Once you master this type of essay , you will see benefits throughout your life. Strong comparison skills will help you write better college entrance essays and argue your point in debates. These skills will improve your test scores and deepen your college papers. Looking professionally, they could aid in easily convincing team members of anything from a new workflow software to a functional coffeemaker to a promotion.

In order to write a good compare and contrast essay , though, you need the ability to formulate a highly-researched and well-structured piece of academic writing . That means understanding the type of essay assigned, familiarizing yourself with this specific writing process , and knowing how to effectively incorporate transition words . It also requires a firm grasp of different styles of citations , in order to lend confidence to your argument and give proper credit to others.

Let’s take a look at what exactly a comparison essay is, what purpose its writing serves, and how to write one in nine easy steps.

What is a Compare and Contrast Essay ?

A compare and contrast essay is exactly what it sounds like. You take two – or sometimes more – items and evaluate the similarities and differences between them. Your paper might tackle any subject, such as science, history, economics, literature, or philosophy.

Comparing essays are different from other types of essays that are commonly assigned in school. For instance, a descriptive essay usually pertains to one subject, book, or idea, exploring it in detail. A persuasive essay, on the other hnad, tries to convince the reader to take one specific course of action.

The main aspect of contrast essay topics is that they consider two subjects or ideas at once. Some of the most common contrast essay examples include comparisons between:

  • Exploring two different scientific methods for similarities and differences in approach
  • Reading contextually two classic novels from the same time period
  • Examining contrasting political systems in the United States or abroad
  • Looking at two different cultures to see values and practices they share and, conversely, do not share
  • Considering two possible approaches to a moral or logistical problem
  • Exploring two methods of farming specifically focusing on productivity, simplicity, and empirical evidence

You could theoretically use this organizational structure to examine two items within the same category for almost any subject.

Purpose of a Compare and Contrast Essay

The purpose of a compare and contrast essay is to point out all the similarities and all differences between two nouns, ideas, et cetera. Considering two ideas fully can naturally transition into an ability to argue for or against a position or stance.

In debate, for example, comparing and contrasting is a critical skill as you must be able to examine the topic from both angles. Obviously, you need to make a case for your own side of the debate, however it is critical you see the other side’s point of view as well. Otherwise, you will find yourself completely unprepared for their arguments. Therefore, comparing the benefits, ideological underpinnings and rhetorical styles that best match both sides of an issue is an excellent lifelong skill.

In literature, you will benefit from the ability to compare two books for themes, writing style, word choice, characterization, and more. Doing so helps you become a better writer yourself, as well as understand the complexity of the human condition.

Knowing how to develop a solid argument, moreover, helps you:

  • Deepen your critical thinking skills
  • Develop eloquence in your speaking and writing
  • Practice using skills such as outlining and reading for clues
  • Explore how context changes meaning

Now let’s explore exactly how to write one, step by step.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

You will complete your compare and contrast essay in three main stages: researching, writing and proofreading. While this might sound like an overly formal approach, it is effective because it allows you to organize your main points ahead of time, using any visual aid you might need to see the similarities and differences.

Once you’ve laid out your points of comparison , you can group them according to likeness. There are two methods for this we will discuss: the alternating method and the block method . These will allow you to craft your main thesis and insert appropriate transitions where needed. Then you’ll add an introduction and conclusion to round out the paper before moving on to proofreading.

Make sure you spend enough time on the research phase. It is tempting to skip over this part and launch into the writing, bypassing the less-exciting step of examining your sources thoroughly. However, this is a good way to miss important points that might reinforce or work against your argument.

Step 1: Conduct Initial Research

Your initial research should answer questions such as:

  • What sources will I use (if given a choice by my teacher or professor)? Do I need additional sources to support or strengthen the research from my first ones? Do I have enough information to write the paper?
  • Do my subjects have enough in common that comparing and contrasting them will be useful? Apples and oranges might be different, but they are at least both types of fruit; apples and cats aren’t a very useful comparison at all.
  • Has anyone else compared these two subjects before? Should I take a look at their work to see what to do/not to do?

Step 2: List Out Similarities & Differences

Next, it’s time to list out what is similar and what is different between your two items. Let’s say you are contrasting two books from the 1800s. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley are both early examples of science fiction, so they make a good pair.

Start by using a Venn diagram , chart, or another visual tool to make a side by side comparison. You might include setting, plot, characters, year written and year set, mood, themes, tone and appearances throughout later pop culture. Make sure your points of comparison are grouped together so you’re not searching for the corollaries later.

Step 3: Develop a Thesis Statement

Once you have rough compare and contrast sentences written out, you can then craft a topic sentence . This is also known as a thesis or thesis statement , in which you lay out the main argument you will make.

For instance, you might write “While The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley both use elements of speculative fiction and folklore differently, they speak to the same innate fear that our humanity is a fragile thing.” This shows the reader that you are going to share both the differences (the main writing elements) and similarities (themes) in the paragraphs to come.

Having established the case you will make, it is time to turn those rough points and thesis sentences into a fully fleshed-out paper. Let’s move on to the writing.

Step 4: Create an Outline

Armed with your main points , you should now elevate your rough content into an outline. There are two main ways to structure a compare and contrast essay ; the alternating method and the block method .

  • Alternating Method : In this method, you alternate between one item and another, back and forth. So in our example, you would first tackle the setting of both books, comparing and contrasting. Next, are the characters, with similarities and differences as well. Work your way down the list, speaking about both subjects in turn. This will buffer your argument throughout.
  • Block Method : With this approach, you instead tackle all aspects of one topic in a block , then the other, subject by subject . That means you would address how Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde uses the setting, characters, time period, and so forth completely. Then you move on to do the same with Frankenstein . In the second block, it makes sense to call out the first book repeatedly, but you will save the main thrust of your argument for the conclusion.

Either approach allows you to create a rough outline of your main points , with additional brainstorming when needed. Afterwards, you can begin with the actual fleshing out of the paper.

Step 5: Write the Introduction

Once you have a thesis statement and an essay outline , the actual essay writing becomes much simpler. Start with the introduction, and plan to have the thesis you created at the end of the intro paragraph(s). Lead up to that statement with a brief description of both items you’re comparing (in this case, the two novels), including pertinent subject matter information such as the author, writing periods, and overarching themes.

Step 6: Write the Body Paragraphs

The most important component of your essay structure is the body paragraphs, and standard essay form asks for three paragraphs. If your essay is longer, instead of using a single paragraph for the first subject , second subject and so on, you might use a whole section. Either way, you will use the first body paragraph as a compare and contrast in the alternating method , or a thorough treatment of the first subject overall. Then, you will address the second subject , and so forth.

Step 7: Write the Conclusion

The conclusion should wrap up your essay overall, driving home the main point of your thesis. Be sure to restate it, not verbatim, but quite closely near the top of your concluding paragraph.

Next, it’s time to make sure you don’t have any outstanding errors or plagiarism that might ruin your grade. Always proofread a paper before turning it in to ensure you are submitting your best work.

Step 8: Check for Spelling & Grammar

First, use a spellchecker to catch errors. Most word processing software offers this tool for spelling and grammar. If you take this approach, make sure it is set correctly to your language and dialect, or mistakes will slip through. Alternatively, you can use an online service, which will help take your writing to the next level.

Step 9: Check for Citation Errors

While most students are honorable and do their own work, it is possible to get caught accidentally plagiarizing simply because you do not know the proper citation rules. For instance, you need to source every quote from a novel, even if you are using the same novel repeatedly and have already cited it in your paper . Sadly, even unintentional plagiarism can lead to serious academic and career consequences, so you must be vigilant.

Luckily, that won’t happen if you use a plagiarism checker like Quetext . Not only does it identify where sources are needed, but it will also help you catch instances of similar wording, which might also require a source citation . Overall, it allows you to:

  • Verify your writing for originality so you don’t get caught for plagiarism , even while summarizing or paraphrasing
  • Flag content in need of citations
  • Add in-text MLA/APA/Chicago-style citations where needed
  • Create MLA/APA/Chicago Style citations for references page

Understanding the meaning, purpose and benefits of a compare and contrast essay will enable you to tackle them more effectively from now on. This is especially true if you use the nine steps listed above, which will earn you points in both high school and college courses. That is, if you properly check that you have not plagiarized from any of your sources.

Using a plagiarism checker will benefit you not only in academic settings, but also in all instances of future writing. Even unintentional plagiarism can lead to severe negative consequences regardless of your profession or standing. Plagiarism checkers provide a simple way to ensure you have properly cited and paraphrased all your writing, and give you peace of mind before submitting any work.

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56 Comparison and Contrast

[Author removed at request of original publisher]

Learning Objectives

  • Determine the purpose and structure of comparison and contrast in writing.
  • Explain organizational methods used when comparing and contrasting.
  • Understand how to write a compare-and-contrast essay.

The Purpose of Comparison and Contrast in Writing

Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay , then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.

The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities. For example, if you wanted to focus on contrasting two subjects you would not pick apples and oranges; rather, you might choose to compare and contrast two types of oranges or two types of apples to highlight subtle differences. For example, Red Delicious apples are sweet, while Granny Smiths are tart and acidic. Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience’s understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay.

Similarly, to focus on comparison, choose two subjects that seem at first to be unrelated. For a comparison essay, you likely would not choose two apples or two oranges because they share so many of the same properties already. Rather, you might try to compare how apples and oranges are quite similar. The more divergent the two subjects initially seem, the more interesting a comparison essay will be.

Writing at Work

Comparing and contrasting is also an evaluative tool. In order to make accurate evaluations about a given topic, you must first know the critical points of similarity and difference. Comparing and contrasting is a primary tool for many workplace assessments. You have likely compared and contrasted yourself to other colleagues. Employee advancements, pay raises, hiring, and firing are typically conducted using comparison and contrast. Comparison and contrast could be used to evaluate companies, departments, or individuals.

Brainstorm an essay that leans toward contrast. Choose one of the following three categories. Pick two examples from each. Then come up with one similarity and three differences between the examples.

  • Romantic comedies
  • Internet search engines
  • Cell phones

Brainstorm an essay that leans toward comparison. Choose one of the following three items. Then come up with one difference and three similarities.

  • Department stores and discount retail stores
  • Fast food chains and fine dining restaurants
  • Dogs and cats

The Structure of a Comparison and Contrast Essay

The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both and the reason for doing so. The thesis could lean more toward comparing, contrasting, or both. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader. Take the following thesis as an example that leans more toward contrasting.

Thesis statement: Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.

Here the thesis sets up the two subjects to be compared and contrasted (organic versus conventional vegetables), and it makes a claim about the results that might prove useful to the reader.

You may organize compare-and-contrast essays in one of the following two ways:

  • According to the subjects themselves, discussing one then the other
  • According to individual points, discussing each subject in relation to each point

See Figure 10.1 “Comparison and Contrast Diagram” , which diagrams the ways to organize our organic versus conventional vegetables thesis.

Figure 10.1 Comparison and Contrast Diagram

Comparison and Contrast Diagram

The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience.

Given that compare-and-contrast essays analyze the relationship between two subjects, it is helpful to have some phrases on hand that will cue the reader to such analysis. See Table 10.3 “Phrases of Comparison and Contrast” for examples.

Table 10.3 Phrases of Comparison and Contrast

Create an outline for each of the items you chose in Note 10.72 “Exercise 1” and Note 10.73 “Exercise 2” . Use the point-by-point organizing strategy for one of them, and use the subject organizing strategy for the other.

Writing a Comparison and Contrast Essay

First choose whether you want to compare seemingly disparate subjects, contrast seemingly similar subjects, or compare and contrast subjects. Once you have decided on a topic, introduce it with an engaging opening paragraph. Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction, and it should establish the subjects you will compare, contrast, or both as well as state what can be learned from doing so.

The body of the essay can be organized in one of two ways: by subject or by individual points. The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your audience and your purpose. You may also consider your particular approach to the subjects as well as the nature of the subjects themselves; some subjects might better lend themselves to one structure or the other. Make sure to use comparison and contrast phrases to cue the reader to the ways in which you are analyzing the relationship between the subjects.

After you finish analyzing the subjects, write a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and reinforces your thesis. See Chapter 15 “Readings: Examples of Essays” to read a sample compare-and-contrast essay.

Many business presentations are conducted using comparison and contrast. The organizing strategies—by subject or individual points—could also be used for organizing a presentation. Keep this in mind as a way of organizing your content the next time you or a colleague have to present something at work.

Choose one of the outlines you created in Note 10.75 “Exercise 3” , and write a full compare-and-contrast essay. Be sure to include an engaging introduction, a clear thesis, well-defined and detailed paragraphs, and a fitting conclusion that ties everything together.

Key Takeaways

  • A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
  • The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
  • The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.

There are two main organizing strategies for compare-and-contrast essays.

  • Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
  • Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
  • Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.

Comparison and Contrast Copyright © 2020 by [Author removed at request of original publisher] is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Macdonald DeWitt Library at SUNY Ulster

Eng 101 oer: comparison.

  • Reading to Write
  • Why We Write
  • Rhetorical Context
  • Brainstorming
  • Proofreading & Editing
  • Paragraph Development
  • Thesis Statements
  • Introductions
  • Conclusions

Transitions & Phrases

  • Peer Reviews
  • Exemplification
  • Classification
  • Cause/Effect
  • Grammar Resources

Learning Objectives

  • Determine the purpose and structure of comparison and contrast in writing.
  • Explain organizational methods used when comparing and contrasting.
  • Understand how to write a compare-and-contrast essay.

The Purpose of Comparing & Contrasting

Comparison  in writing discusses elements that are similar, while  contrast  in writing discusses elements that are different. A  compare-and-contrast essay , then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.

The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities. For example, if you wanted to focus on contrasting two subjects you would not pick apples and oranges; rather, you might choose to compare and contrast two types of oranges or two types of apples to highlight subtle differences. For example, Red Delicious apples are sweet, while Granny Smiths are tart and acidic. Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience’s understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay.

Similarly, to focus on comparison, choose two subjects that seem at first to be unrelated. For a comparison essay, you likely would not choose two apples or two oranges because they share so many of the same properties already. Rather, you might try to compare how apples and oranges are quite similar. The more divergent the two subjects initially seem, the more interesting a comparison essay will be.

The Structure of a Comparison/Contrast Essay

The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both and the reason for doing so. The thesis could lean more toward comparing, contrasting, or both. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader. Take the following thesis as an example that leans more toward contrasting.

Thesis statement:  Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.

Here the thesis sets up the two subjects to be compared and contrasted (organic versus conventional vegetables), and it makes a claim about the results that might prove useful to the reader.

You may organize compare-and-contrast essays in one of the following two ways:

  • According to the subjects themselves, discussing one then the other
  • According to individual points, discussing each subject in relation to each point

See  Figure 10.1 “Comparison and Contrast Diagram” , which diagrams the ways to organize our organic versus conventional vegetables thesis.

Figure 10.1  Comparison and Contrast Diagram

The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience.

Writing a Comparison/Contrast Essay

First choose whether you want to compare seemingly disparate subjects, contrast seemingly similar subjects, or compare and contrast subjects. Once you have decided on a topic, introduce it with an engaging opening paragraph. Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction, and it should establish the subjects you will compare, contrast, or both as well as state what can be learned from doing so.

The body of the essay can be organized in one of two ways: by subject or by individual points. The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your audience and your purpose. You may also consider your particular approach to the subjects as well as the nature of the subjects themselves; some subjects might better lend themselves to one structure or the other. Make sure to use comparison and contrast phrases to cue the reader to the ways in which you are analyzing the relationship between the subjects.

After you finish analyzing the subjects, write a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and reinforces your thesis.

Comparison/Contrast Essays

Ellen Laird compares and contrasts traditional and distance education in  I’m Your Teacher, Not Your Internet-Service Provider :

  • http://eec.edc.org/cwis_docs/NEWS_ARTICLES_JOURNALS/Laird_Ellen.pdf
  • http://celt.cui.edu/celt/webct_for_instructors/Laird_Article.htm
  • http://depedia.com/mediawiki/index.php?title=I%27m_your_teacher%2C_not_your_Internet-Service_Provider

Deborah Tannen compares and contrasts conversation styles in  Sex, Lies and Conversation: Why Is It So Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other?

  • http://www9.georgetown.edu/faculty/tannend/sexlies.htm

Alex Wright examines communication patterns, old and new, in  Friending, Ancient or Otherwise :

  • http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/weekinreview/02wright.html

Student Sample Essay

Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC

Both Washington, DC, and London are capital cities of English-speaking countries, and yet they offer vastly different experiences to their residents and visitors. Comparing and contrasting the two cities based on their history, their culture, and their residents show how different and similar the two are.

Both cities are rich in world and national history, though they developed on very different time lines. London, for example, has a history that dates back over two thousand years. It was part of the Roman Empire and known by the similar name, Londinium. It was not only one of the northernmost points of the Roman Empire but also the epicenter of the British Empire where it held significant global influence from the early sixteenth century on through the early twentieth century. Washington, DC, on the other hand, has only formally existed since the late eighteenth century. Though Native Americans inhabited the land several thousand years earlier, and settlers inhabited the land as early as the sixteenth century, the city did not become the capital of the United States until the 1790s. From that point onward to today, however, Washington, DC, has increasingly maintained significant global influence. Even though both cities have different histories, they have both held, and continue to hold, significant social influence in the economic and cultural global spheres.

Both Washington, DC, and London offer a wide array of museums that harbor many of the world’s most prized treasures. While Washington, DC, has the National Gallery of Art and several other Smithsonian galleries, London’s art scene and galleries have a definite edge in this category. From the Tate Modern to the British National Gallery, London’s art ranks among the world’s best. This difference and advantage has much to do with London and Britain’s historical depth compared to that of the United States. London has a much richer past than Washington, DC, and consequently has a lot more material to pull from when arranging its collections. Both cities have thriving theater districts, but again, London wins this comparison, too, both in quantity and quality of theater choices. With regard to other cultural places like restaurants, pubs, and bars, both cities are very comparable. Both have a wide selection of expensive, elegant restaurants as well as a similar amount of global and national chains. While London may be better known for its pubs and taste in beer, DC offers a different bar-going experience. With clubs and pubs that tend to stay open later than their British counterparts, the DC night life tend to be less reserved overall.

Both cities also share and differ in cultural diversity and cost of living. Both cities share a very expensive cost of living—both in terms of housing and shopping. A downtown one-bedroom apartment in DC can easily cost $1,800 per month, and a similar “flat” in London may double that amount. These high costs create socioeconomic disparity among the residents. Although both cities’ residents are predominantly wealthy, both have a significantly large population of poor and homeless. Perhaps the most significant difference between the resident demographics is the racial makeup. Washington, DC, is a “minority majority” city, which means the majority of its citizens are races other than white. In 2009, according to the US Census, 55 percent of DC residents were classified as “Black or African American” and 35 percent of its residents were classified as “white.” London, by contrast, has very few minorities—in 2006, 70 percent of its population was “white,” while only 10 percent was “black.” The racial demographic differences between the cities is drastic.

Even though Washington, DC, and London are major capital cities of English-speaking countries in the Western world, they have many differences along with their similarities. They have vastly different histories, art cultures, and racial demographics, but they remain similar in their cost of living and socioeconomic disparity.

jill wants to write an essays comparing books and the internet

Key Takeaways

  • A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
  • The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
  • The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.
  • Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
  • Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
  • Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.

This is a derivative of  WRITING FOR SUCCESS  by a publisher who has requested that they and the original author not receive attribution, originally released and is used under CC BY-NC-SA. This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License .

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5.6: Compare and Contrast

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  • Jenifer Kurtz

Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay , then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.

The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities. For example, if you wanted to focus on contrasting two subjects you would not pick apples and oranges; rather, you might choose to compare and contrast two types of oranges or two types of apples to highlight subtle differences. For example, Red Delicious apples are sweet, while Granny Smiths are tart and acidic. Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience’s understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay.

Apples, Green and Red

Similarly, to focus on comparison, choose two subjects that seem at first to be unrelated. For a comparison essay, you likely would not choose two apples or two oranges because they share so many of the same properties already. Rather, you might try to compare how apples and oranges are quite similar. The more divergent the two subjects initially seem, the more interesting a comparison essay will be.

Writing at Work

Comparing and contrasting is also an evaluative tool. In order to make accurate evaluations about a given topic, you must first know the critical points of similarity and difference. Comparing and contrasting is a primary tool for many workplace assessments. You have likely compared and contrasted yourself to other colleagues. Employee advancements, pay raises, hiring, and firing are typically conducted using comparison and contrast. Comparison and contrast could be used to evaluate companies, departments, or individuals.

Exercise 13

Brainstorm an essay that leans toward contrast. Choose one of the following three categories. Pick two examples from each. Then come up with one similarity and three differences between the examples.

  • Romantic comedies
  • Internet search engines
  • Cell phones

Exercise 14

Brainstorm an essay that leans toward comparison. Choose one of the following three items. Then come up with one difference and three similarities.

  • Department stores and discount retail stores
  • Fast food chains and fine dining restaurants
  • Dogs and cats

The Structure of a Comparison and Contrast Essay

The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both and the reason for doing so. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader. Take the following thesis as an example that focuses on contrast.

Thesis statement : Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but they are definitely worth every extra penny.

Here the thesis sets up the two subjects to be compared and contrasted (organic versus conventional vegetables), and it makes a claim about the results that might prove useful to the reader.

You may organize compare-and-contrast essays in one of the following two ways:

  • According to the subjects themselves, discussing one then the other
  • According to individual points, discussing each subject in relation to each point

The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience. See the chart below, which diagrams the ways to organize the organic versus conventional vegetables thesis.

Organize by Subject

Given that compare-and-contrast essays analyze the relationship between two subjects, it is helpful to have some phrases on hand that will cue the reader to such analysis. See the chart below for examples.

Phrases of Comparison and Contrast

Create an outline for each of the items you chose in Exercises 13 and 14. Use the point-by-point organizing strategy for one of them, and use the subject organizing strategy for the other.

Writing a Comparison and Contrast Essay

First, choose whether you want to compare seemingly disparate subjects, contrast seemingly similar subjects, or compare and contrast subjects. Once you have decided on a topic, introduce it with an engaging opening paragraph. Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction, and it should establish the subjects you will compare, contrast, or both as well as state what can be learned from doing so.

The body of the essay can be organized in one of two ways: by subject or by individual points. The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your audience and your purpose. You may also consider your particular approach to the subjects as well as the nature of the subjects themselves; some subjects might better lend themselves to one structure or the other. Make sure to use comparison and contrast phrases to cue the reader to the ways in which you are analyzing the relationship between the subjects.

After you finish analyzing the subjects, write a conclusion that reinforces your thesis while drawing a conclusion based on what you have presented. This conclusion is the “and so” statement for your essay, giving you the place to offer a judgement based on the examination you have just offered.

Many business presentations are conducted using comparison and contrast. The organizing strategies—by subject or individual points—could also be used for organizing a presentation. Keep this in mind as a way of organizing your content the next time you or a colleague have to present something at work.

Exercise 16

Choose two people who are significant in your life and have a similar relationship with you (two friends, two siblings, etc). Make a list of similarities and differences between these people. Consult your list, then draw a conclusion based on the presence of these similarities and differences. Outline the similarities and differences, then write a statement that offers an overall conclusion.

Assignment 5

Choose one of the outlines you created in Exercise 15 or 16, and write a full compare-and-contrast essay. Be sure to include an engaging introduction, a clear thesis, well-defined and detailed paragraphs, and a fitting conclusion that ties everything together.

Key Takeaways

  • A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
  • The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
  • The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.
  • Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
  • Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
  • Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.

External Links

“ Disability ” ( https://tinyurl.com/y99te6e2 ) by Nancy Mairs: In “Disability,” writer Nancy Mairs discusses the experience of being a disabled person in a world focused on the able-bodied. It seems to be titled “Hers” but it is the correct essay.

“ Friending, Ancient or Otherwise ” ( https://tinyurl.com/y85u8ae8 ) by Alex Wright: In “Friending, Ancient or Otherwise,” writer Alex Wright explores the evolution and purpose of friendship in the age of social media.

“ Sex, Lies and Conversation: Why Is It So Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other ? ” ( https://tinyurl.com/y95dpehx ) by Deborah Tannen. In this essay, Tannen compares and contrasts conversation styles. You can view the essay here ( https://tinyurl.com/y9vnjqv8 ) also.

Example Comparison and Contrast Essay: "A South African Storm"

By Allison Howard – Peace Corps Volunteer: South Africa (2003-2005)

It’s a Saturday afternoon in January in South Africa. When I begin the 45–minute walk to the shops for groceries, I can hear thunder cracking in the distance up the mountain in Mageobaskloof. But at 4 p.m. the sky is still light and bright and I am sure—famous last words—I will be fine without an umbrella.

Just the basics: eggs, bread, Diet Coke in a bag slung into the crook of my elbow. Halfway from town, two black South African women—domestic workers in the homes of white Afrikaner families—stop me with wide smiles. They know me; I’m the only white person in town who walks everywhere, as they do. They chatter quickly in northern Sotho: “Missus, you must go fast. Pula e tla na! The rain, it comes!” They like me, and it feels very important to me that they do.“Yebo, yebo, mma,” I say—Yes, it’s true—and I hurry along in flip-flops, quickening my pace, feeling good about our brief but neighborly conversation. These are Venda women.

My black South African friends tell me it’s easy to tell a Venda from a Shangaan from a Xhosa from a Pedi. “These ones from Venda, they have wide across the nose and high in the cheekbones,” they say. But I don’t see it; I’m years away from being able to distinguish the nuances of ethnicity. Today, I know these women are Vendas simply because of their clothing: bright stripes of green and yellow and black fabric tied at one shoulder and hanging quite like a sack around their bodies. They’ve already extended a kindness to me by speaking in northern Sotho. It’s not their language but they know I don’t speak a word of Afrikaans (though they don’t understand why; Afrikaans is the language of white people). They know I struggle with Sotho and they’re trying to help me learn. So they speak Sotho to me and they’re delighted and amused by my fumbling responses. And I am, quite simply, delighted by their delight.

The Venda ladies are right: the rain, it comes. Lightly at first, and by habit I begin trotting to hurry my way home. Just a little rain at first and there are plenty of us out in it. I can see others up ahead on the street and others still just leaving the shops to get back before the real rain begins.

The people who are walking along this swath of tar road are black. Black people don’t live in this neighborhood—or in my town at all, for the most part. They work and board here as domestic workers, nannies, gardeners. Their families live in black townships and rural villages—some just outside of my town; others far away, in places like Venda.

Today, we’re walking together in the rain, and I’m quickening my pace because—after all, it’s raining. That’s what you do in the rain. And even though it’s coming down noticeably harder, it’s 80 degrees and I’m not cold, I’m just wet. My hair is stuck to my forehead and my T-shirt is soaked … and I’m the only one running for cover. And I think: So what? It’s just water and in the middle of the January summer, it’s warm, refreshing water. Why run? Why do we run from the rain?

In my life back in the United States, I might run because I was carrying a leather handbag, or because I wore an outfit that shouldn’t get wet. I would run because rain dishevels and messes things up. Mostly though, we run because we just do; it’s a habit. I’ve done it a hundred times: running to my car or the subway station with a newspaper sheltering my head. I have never not quickened my pace in the rain until today.

It took all of my 27 years and a move to Africa, where I don’t have a leather handbag to shelter or a pretty outfit to protect. I’m wearing an old cotton skirt and a T-shirt, and I’m drenched, and I love it. I learn things here in the most ordinary circumstances. And I feel like a smarter, better woman today because I got groceries in the rain.

But on the long walk home, positively soaked and smiling like a fool, I notice a car pulling over and a man yelling in Afrikaans to get in, get in. I look in the direction I’ve come from and several meters behind me is a woman with a baby tied to her back and an elderly man carrying bags, leading a young boy by the hand. On the road ahead, a woman about my age carries a parcel wrapped in plastic, balanced precariously on her head. There are maybe 20 people walking with me in my reverie of rain and they are black. And the man in the car is white and he’s gesturing frantically for me to get in. Why me? Why not the others? Because I’m white and it’s about race. Everything is about race here.

This man in the car is trying to do something kind and neighborly. He wants to help me and his gesture is right, but his instincts are so wrong. How do you resent someone who is, for no benefit of his own, trying to help? But I do. I resent him and I resent the world he lives in that taught him such selective kindness. This whole event unravels in a few seconds’ time. He’s leaned over and opened the car door, urging me in … and I get in. And we speed past my fellow walkers and he drops me at my doorstep before I have time to think of anything besides giving him directions.

It feels like a mistake because I’m ashamed to think what the Venda women would have felt if he’d ignored them and they had watched me climb into that car. In some ways, the whole episode seems absurd. I’m not going to atone for 400 years of South African history by walking with black people in the rain. If I’d refused his ride, he wouldn’t have thought anything besides the fact that I was certifiably crazy. That’s the thing about being here: I’m not going to changeanything. But I believe it matters in some infinitesimal way that people like the Venda women, and the dozens of people who may walk alongside me on any given day, know that I’m there. In black South African culture it is polite to greet every person you pass. That’s what they do, so I do it, too. On the occasional morning, someone might greet me as “sesi,” sister. I have to believe that matters; I know it matters to me.

I was disappointed in myself for getting into the car because I acted according to the same habit that makes us think rain an inconvenience. Just as we run from the rain, I hopped into that car because I’m supposed to. Conventionally, it makes sense. But convention compels us to do so many things that don’t make any sense at all. Convention misinforms our instincts. And in a larger sense, it is convention that propels Afrikaner culture anachronistically into the future. Ten years after the supposed end of apartheid, I’m living in a world of institutionalized racism. Convention becomes institution—and it’s oppressive and it’s unjust. I know that if I’m going to make it here for two more years, I need to walk in the rain. It’s a small, wasted gesture, but it’s an uncorrupted instinct that makes me feel human.

So much about living here feels like that fraction of a second when the Afrikaner man was appealing to my conventional sensibilities and the people on the street were appealing to my human instincts. It may feel unnatural to reject those sensibilities just as, at first, it feels unnatural to walk in the rain. But if I lose a hold on my instincts here, I’ll fail myself and I’ll fail to achieve those tiny things that matter so much. It’s simple and it’s small; and it’s everything. Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Indeed. Let it rain.

Example Comparison and Contrast Essay #2: Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC

Both Washington, DC, and London are capital cities of English-speaking countries, and yet they offer vastly different experiences to their residents and visitors. Comparing and contrasting the two cities based on their history, their culture, and their residents show how different and similar the two are.

Both cities are rich in world and national history, though they developed on very different time lines. London, for example, has a history that dates back over two thousand years. It was part of the Roman Empire and known by the similar name, Londinium. It was not only one of the northernmost points of the Roman Empire but also the epicenter of the British Empire where it held significant global influence from the early sixteenth century on through the early twentieth century. Washington, DC, on the other hand, has only formally existed since the late eighteenth century. Though Native Americans inhabited the land several thousand years earlier, and settlers inhabited the land as early as the sixteenth century, the city did not become the capital of the United States until the 1790s. From that point onward to today, however, Washington, DC, has increasingly maintained significant global influence. Even though both cities have different histories, they have both held, and continue to hold, significant social influence in the economic and cultural global spheres.

Both Washington, DC, and London offer a wide array of museums that harbor many of the world’s most prized treasures. While Washington, DC, has the National Gallery of Art and several other Smithsonian galleries, London’s art scene and galleries have a definite edge in this category. From the Tate Modern to the British National Gallery, London’s art ranks among the world’s best. This difference and advantage has much to do with London and Britain’s historical depth compared to that of the United States. London has a much richer past than Washington, DC, and consequently has a lot more material to pull from when arranging its collections. Both cities have thriving theater districts, but again, London wins this comparison, too, both in quantity and quality of theater choices. With regard to other cultural places like restaurants, pubs, and bars, both cities are very comparable. Both have a wide selection of expensive, elegant restaurants as well as a similar amount of global and national chains. While London may be better known for its pubs and taste in beer, DC offers a different bar-going experience. With clubs and pubs that tend to stay open later than their British counterparts, the DC night life tend to be less reserved overall.

Both cities also share and differ in cultural diversity and cost of living. Both cities share a very expensive cost of living—both in terms of housing and shopping. A downtown one-bedroom apartment in DC can easily cost $1,800 per month, and a similar “flat” in London may double that amount. These high costs create socioeconomic disparity among the residents. Although both cities’ residents are predominantly wealthy, both have a significantly large population of poor and homeless. Perhaps the most significant difference between the resident demographics is the racial makeup. Washington, DC, is a “minority majority” city, which means the majority of its citizens are races other than white. In 2009, according to the US Census, 55 percent of DC residents were classified as “Black or African American” and 35 percent of its residents were classified as “white.” London, by contrast, has very few minorities—in 2006, 70 percent of its population was “white,” while only 10 percent was “black.” The racial demographic differences between the cities is drastic.

Even though Washington, DC, and London are major capital cities of English-speaking countries in the Western world, they have many differences along with their similarities. They have vastly different histories, art cultures, and racial demographics, but they remain similar in their cost of living and socioeconomic disparity.

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Compare & Contrast Essays How things are similar or different

Compare and contrast is a common form of academic writing, either as an essay type on its own, or as part of a larger essay which includes one or more paragraphs which compare or contrast. This page gives information on what a compare and contrast essay is , how to structure this type of essay, how to use compare and contrast structure words , and how to make sure you use appropriate criteria for comparison/contrast . There is also an example compare and contrast essay on the topic of communication technology, as well as some exercises to help you practice this area.

What are compare & contrast essays?

compare

For another look at the same content, check out YouTube » or Youku » , or this infographic » .

jill wants to write an essays comparing books and the internet

To compare is to examine how things are similar, while to contrast is to see how they differ. A compare and contrast essay therefore looks at the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences. This essay type is common at university, where lecturers frequently test your understanding by asking you to compare and contrast two theories, two methods, two historical periods, two characters in a novel, etc. Sometimes the whole essay will compare and contrast, though sometimes the comparison or contrast may be only part of the essay. It is also possible, especially for short exam essays, that only the similarities or the differences, not both, will be discussed. See the examples below.

  • Compare and contrast Newton's ideas of gravity with those proposed by Einstein ['compare and contrast' essay]
  • Examine how the economies of Spain and China are similar ['compare' only essay]
  • Explain the differences between Achaemenid Empire and Parthian Empire ['contrast' only essay]

There are two main ways to structure a compare and contrast essay, namely using a block or a point-by-point structure. For the block structure, all of the information about one of the objects being compared/contrasted is given first, and all of the information about the other object is listed afterwards. This type of structure is similar to the block structure used for cause and effect and problem-solution essays. For the point-by-point structure, each similarity (or difference) for one object is followed immediately by the similarity (or difference) for the other. Both types of structure have their merits. The former is easier to write, while the latter is generally clearer as it ensures that the similarities/differences are more explicit.

The two types of structure, block and point-by-point , are shown in the diagram below.

Compare and Contrast Structure Words

Compare and contrast structure words are transition signals which show the similarities or differences. Below are some common examples.

  • both... and...
  • not only... but also...
  • neither... nor...
  • just like (+ noun)
  • similar to (+ noun)
  • to be similar (to)
  • to be the same as
  • to be alike
  • to compare (to/with)
  • Computers can be used to communicate easily, for example via email. Similarly/Likewise , the mobile phone is a convenient tool for communication.
  • Both computers and mobile phones can be used to communicate easily with other people.
  • Just like the computer, the mobile phone can be used to communicate easily with other people.
  • The computer is similar to the mobile phone in the way it can be used for easy communication.
  • In contrast
  • In comparison
  • By comparison
  • On the other hand
  • to differ from
  • to be different (from)
  • to be dissimilar to
  • to be unlike
  • Computers, although increasingly small, are not always easy to carry from one place to another. However , the mobile phone can be carried with ease.
  • Computers are generally not very portable, whereas the mobile phone is.
  • Computers differ from mobile phones in their lack of portability.
  • Computers are unlike mobile phones in their lack of portability.

Criteria for comparison/contrast

When making comparisons or contrasts, it is important to be clear what criteria you are using. Study the following example, which contrasts two people. Here the criteria are unclear.

  • Aaron is tall and strong. In contrast , Bruce is handsome and very intelligent.

Although this sentence has a contrast transition , the criteria for contrasting are not the same. The criteria used for Aaron are height (tall) and strength (strong). We would expect similar criteria to be used for Bruce (maybe he is short and weak), but instead we have new criteria, namely appearance (handsome) and intelligence (intelligent). This is a common mistake for students when writing this type of paragraph or essay. Compare the following, which has much clearer criteria (contrast structure words shown in bold).

  • Aaron and Bruce differ in four ways. The first difference is height. Aaron is tall, while Bruce is short. A second difference is strength. Aaron is strong. In contrast , Bruce is weak. A third difference is appearance. Aaron, who is average looking, differs from Bruce, who is handsome. The final difference is intelligence. Aaron is of average intelligence. Bruce, on the other hand , is very intelligent.

Example essay

Below is a compare and contrast essay. This essay uses the point-by-point structure . Click on the different areas (in the shaded boxes to the right) to highlight the different structural aspects in this essay, i.e. similarities, differences, and structure words. This will highlight not simply the paragraphs, but also the thesis statement and summary , as these repeat the comparisons and contrasts contained in the main body.

Title: There have been many advances in technology over the past fifty years. These have revolutionised the way we communicate with people who are far away. Compare and contrast methods of communication used today with those which were used in the past.

Before the advent of computers and modern technology, people communicating over long distances used traditional means such as letters and the telephone. Nowadays we have a vast array of communication tools which can complete this task, ranging from email to instant messaging and video calls. While the present and previous means of communication are similar in their general form , they differ in regard to their speed and the range of tools available . One similarity between current and previous methods of communication relates to the form of communication. In the past, both written forms such as letters were frequently used, in addition to oral forms such as telephone calls. Similarly , people nowadays use both of these forms. Just as in the past, written forms of communication are prevalent, for example via email and text messaging. In addition, oral forms are still used, including the telephone, mobile phone, and voice messages via instant messaging services. However , there are clearly many differences in the way we communicate over long distances, the most notable of which is speed. This is most evident in relation to written forms of communication. In the past, letters would take days to arrive at their destination. In contrast , an email arrives almost instantaneously and can be read seconds after it was sent. In the past, if it was necessary to send a short message, for example at work, a memo could be passed around the office, which would take some time to circulate. This is different from the current situation, in which a text message can be sent immediately. Another significant difference is the range of communication methods. Fifty years ago, the tools available for communicating over long distances were primarily the telephone and the letter. By comparison , there are a vast array of communication methods available today. These include not only the telephone, letter, email and text messages already mentioned, but also video conferences via software such as Skype or mobile phone apps such as WeChat, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. In conclusion, methods of communication have greatly advanced over the past fifty years. While there are some similarities, such as the forms of communication , there are significant differences, chiefly in relation to the speed of communication and the range of communication tools available . There is no doubt that technology will continue to progress in future, and the advanced tools which we use today may one day also become outdated.

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Below is a checklist for compare and contrast essays. Use it to check your own writing, or get a peer (another student) to help you.

There is a downloadable graphic organiser for brainstorming ideas for compare and contrast essays in the writing resources section.

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Author: Sheldon Smith    ‖    Last modified: 08 January 2022.

Sheldon Smith is the founder and editor of EAPFoundation.com. He has been teaching English for Academic Purposes since 2004. Find out more about him in the about section and connect with him on Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn .

Compare & contrast essays examine the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences.

Cause & effect essays consider the reasons (or causes) for something, then discuss the results (or effects).

Discussion essays require you to examine both sides of a situation and to conclude by saying which side you favour.

Problem-solution essays are a sub-type of SPSE essays (Situation, Problem, Solution, Evaluation).

Transition signals are useful in achieving good cohesion and coherence in your writing.

Reporting verbs are used to link your in-text citations to the information cited.

  • Grades 6-12
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34 Compelling Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Topics cover education, technology, pop culture, sports, animals, and more.

jill wants to write an essays comparing books and the internet

Do your writers need some inspiration? If you’re teaching students to write a compare and contrast essay, a strong example is an invaluable tool. This round-up of our favorite compare and contrast essays covers a range of topics and grade levels, so no matter your students’ interests or ages, you’ll always have a helpful example to share. You’ll find links to full essays about education, technology, pop culture, sports, animals, and more. (Need compare-and-contrast essay topic ideas? Check out our big list of compare and contrast essay topics! )

What is a compare and contrast essay?

  • Education and parenting essays
  • Technology essays
  • Pop culture essays
  • Historical and political essays
  • Sports essays
  • Lifestyle essays
  • Healthcare essays
  • Animal essays

When choosing a compare and contrast essay example to include on this list, we considered the structure. A strong compare and contrast essay begins with an introductory paragraph that includes background context and a strong thesis. Next, the body includes paragraphs that explore the similarities and differences. Finally, a concluding paragraph restates the thesis, draws any necessary inferences, and asks any remaining questions.

A compare and contrast essay example can be an opinion piece comparing two things and making a conclusion about which is better. For example, “Is Tom Brady really the GOAT?” It can also help consumers decide which product is better suited to them. Should you keep your subscription to Hulu or Netflix? Should you stick with Apple or explore Android? Here’s our list of compare and contrast essay samples categorized by subject.

Education and Parenting Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Private school vs. public school.

Sample lines: “Deciding whether to send a child to public or private school can be a tough choice for parents. … Data on whether public or private education is better can be challenging to find and difficult to understand, and the cost of private school can be daunting. … According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, public schools still attract far more students than private schools, with 50.7 million students attending public school as of 2018. Private school enrollment in the fall of 2017 was 5.7 million students, a number that is down from 6 million in 1999.”

Read the full essay: Private School vs. Public School at U.S. News and World Report

Homeschool vs. Public School: How Home Schooling Will Change Public Education

Homeschool vs. Public School: How Home Schooling Will Change Public Education

Sample lines: “Home schooling, not a present threat to public education, is nonetheless one of the forces that will change it. If the high estimates of the number of children in home schools (1.2 million) is correct, then the home-schooling universe is larger than the New York City public school system and roughly the size of the Los Angeles and Chicago public school systems combined. … Critics charge that three things are wrong with home schooling: harm to students academically; harm to society by producing students who are ill-prepared to function as democratic citizens and participants in a modern economy; and harm to public education, making it more difficult for other parents to educate their children. … It is time to ask whether home schooling, charters, and vouchers should be considered parts of a broad repertoire of methods that we as a society use to educate our children.”

Read the full essay: Homeschool vs. Public School: How Home Schooling Will Change Public Education at Brookings

Which parenting style is right for you?

Sample lines: “The three main types of parenting are on a type of ‘sliding scale’ of parenting, with permissive parenting as the least strict type of parenting. Permissive parenting typically has very few rules, while authoritarian parenting is thought of as a very strict, rule-driven type of parenting.”

Read the full essay: What Is Authoritative Parenting? at Healthline

Masked Education? The Benefits and Burdens of Wearing Face Masks in Schools During the Pandemic

Sample lines: “Face masks can prevent the spread of the virus SARS-CoV-2. … However, covering the lower half of the face reduces the ability to communicate. Positive emotions become less recognizable, and negative emotions are amplified. Emotional mimicry, contagion, and emotionality in general are reduced and (thereby) bonding between teachers and learners, group cohesion, and learning—of which emotions are a major driver. The benefits and burdens of face masks in schools should be seriously considered and made obvious and clear to teachers and students.”

Read the full essay: Masked Education? The Benefits and Burdens of Wearing Face Masks in Schools During the Pandemic at National Library of Medicine

To Ban or Not: What Should We Really Make of Book Bans?

To Ban or Not: What Should We Really Make of Book Bans?

Sample lines: “In recent years, book bans have soared in schools, reaching an all-time high in fall 2022. … The challenge of balancing parent concerns about ‘age appropriateness’ against the imperative of preparing students to be informed citizens is still on the minds of many educators today. … Such curricular decision-making  should  be left to the professionals, argues English/language arts instructional specialist Miriam Plotinsky. ‘Examining texts for their appropriateness is not a job that noneducators are trained to do,’ she wrote last year, as the national debate over censorship resurged with the news that a Tennessee district banned the graphic novel  Maus  just days before Holocaust Remembrance Day.”

Read the full essay: To Ban or Not: What Should We Really Make of Book Bans? at Education Week

Technology Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Netflix vs. hulu 2023: which is the best streaming service.

Sample lines: “Netflix fans will point to its high-quality originals, including  The Witcher ,  Stranger Things ,  Emily in Paris ,  Ozark , and more, as well as a wide variety of documentaries like  Cheer ,  The Last Dance ,  My Octopus Teacher , and many others. It also boasts a much larger subscription base, with more than 222 million subscribers compared to Hulu’s 44 million. Hulu, on the other hand, offers a variety of extras such as HBO and Showtime—content that’s unavailable on Netflix. Its price tag is also cheaper than the competition, with its $7/mo. starting price, which is a bit more palatable than Netflix’s $10/mo. starting price.”

Read the full essay: Netflix vs. Hulu 2023: Which is the best streaming service? at TV Guide

Kindle vs. Hardcover: Which is easier on the eyes?

Kindle vs. Hardcover: Which is easier on the eyes?

Sample lines: “In the past, we would have to drag around heavy books if we were really into reading. Now, we can have all of those books, and many more, stored in one handy little device that can easily be stuffed into a backpack, purse, etc. … Many of us still prefer to hold an actual book in our hands. … But, whether you use a Kindle or prefer hardcover books or paperbacks, the main thing is that you enjoy reading. A story in a book or on a Kindle device can open up new worlds, take you to fantasy worlds, educate you, entertain you, and so much more.”

Read the full essay: Kindle vs. Hardcover: Which is easier on the eyes? at Books in a Flash

iPhone vs. Android: Which is better for you?

Sample lines: “The iPhone vs. Android comparison is a never-ending debate on which one is best. It will likely never have a real winner, but we’re going to try and help you to find your personal pick all the same. iOS 17 and Android 14—the latest versions of the two operating systems—both offer smooth and user-friendly experiences, and several similar or identical features. But there are still important differences to be aware of. … Owning an iPhone is a simpler, more convenient experience. There’s less to think about. … Android-device ownership is a bit harder. … Yet it’s simultaneously more freeing, because it offers more choice.”

Read the full essay: iPhone vs. Android: Which is better for you? at Tom’s Guide

Cutting the cord: Is streaming or cable better for you?

Sample lines: “Cord-cutting has become a popular trend in recent years, thanks to the rise of streaming services. For those unfamiliar, cord cutting is the process of canceling your cable subscription and instead, relying on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu to watch your favorite shows and movies. The primary difference is that you can select your streaming services à la carte while cable locks you in on a set number of channels through bundles. So, the big question is: should you cut the cord?”

Read the full essay: Cutting the cord: Is streaming or cable better for you? at BroadbandNow

PS5 vs. Nintendo Switch

PS5 vs. Nintendo Switch

Sample lines: “The crux of the comparison comes down to portability versus power. Being able to migrate fully fledged Nintendo games from a big screen to a portable device is a huge asset—and one that consumers have taken to, especially given the Nintendo Switch’s meteoric sales figures. … It is worth noting that many of the biggest franchises like Call of Duty, Madden, modern Resident Evil titles, newer Final Fantasy games, Grand Theft Auto, and open-world Ubisoft adventures like Assassin’s Creed will usually skip Nintendo Switch due to its lack of power. The inability to play these popular games practically guarantees that a consumer will pick up a modern system, while using the Switch as a secondary device.”

Read the full essay: PS5 vs. Nintendo Switch at Digital Trends

What is the difference between Facebook and Instagram?

Sample lines: “Have you ever wondered what is the difference between Facebook and Instagram? Instagram and Facebook are by far the most popular social media channels used by digital marketers. Not to mention that they’re also the biggest platforms used by internet users worldwide. So, today we’ll look into the differences and similarities between these two platforms to help you figure out which one is the best fit for your business.”

Read the full essay: What is the difference between Facebook and Instagram? at SocialBee

Digital vs. Analog Watches—What’s the Difference?

Sample lines: “In short, digital watches use an LCD or LED screen to display the time. Whereas, an analog watch features three hands to denote the hour, minutes, and seconds. With the advancement in watch technology and research, both analog and digital watches have received significant improvements over the years. Especially in terms of design, endurance, and accompanying features. … At the end of the day, whether you go analog or digital, it’s a personal preference to make based on your style, needs, functions, and budget.”

Read the full essay: Digital vs. Analog Watches—What’s the Difference? at Watch Ranker

AI Art vs. Human Art: A Side-by-Side Analysis

Sample lines: “Art has always been a reflection of human creativity, emotion, and cultural expression. However, with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), a new form of artistic creation has emerged, blurring the lines between what is created by human hands and what is generated by algorithms. … Despite the excitement surrounding AI Art, it also raises complex ethical, legal, and artistic questions that have sparked debates about the definition of art, the role of the artist, and the future of art production. … Regardless of whether AI Art is considered ‘true’ art, it is crucial to embrace and explore the vast possibilities and potential it brings to the table. The transformative influence of AI art on the art world is still unfolding, and only time will reveal its true extent.”

Read the full essay: AI Art vs. Human Art: A Side-by-Side Analysis at Raul Lara

Pop Culture Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Christina aguilera vs. britney spears.

Christina Aguilera vs. Britney Spears- compare and contrast essay example

Sample lines: “Britney Spears vs. Christina Aguilera was the Coke vs. Pepsi of 1999 — no, really, Christina repped Coke and Britney shilled for Pepsi. The two teen idols released debut albums seven months apart before the turn of the century, with Britney’s becoming a standard-bearer for bubblegum pop and Aguilera’s taking an R&B bent to show off her range. … It’s clear that Spears and Aguilera took extremely divergent paths following their simultaneous breakout successes.”

Read the full essay: Christina Aguilera vs. Britney Spears at The Ringer

Harry Styles vs. Ed Sheeran

Sample lines: “The world heard our fantasies and delivered us two titans simultaneously—we have been blessed with Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles. Our cup runneth over; our bounty is immeasurable. More remarkable still is the fact that both have released albums almost at the same time: Ed’s third, Divide , was released in March and broke the record for one-day Spotify streams, while Harry’s frenziedly anticipated debut solo, called Harry Styles , was released yesterday.”

Read the full essay: Harry Styles versus Ed Sheeran at Belfast Telegraph

The Grinch: Three Versions Compared

Sample lines: “Based on the original story of the same name, this movie takes a completely different direction by choosing to break away from the cartoony form that Seuss had established by filming the movie in a live-action form. Whoville is preparing for Christmas while the Grinch looks down upon their celebrations in disgust. Like the previous film, The Grinch hatches a plan to ruin Christmas for the Who’s. … Like in the original Grinch, he disguises himself as Santa Claus, and makes his dog, Max, into a reindeer. He then takes all of the presents from the children and households. … Cole’s favorite is the 2000 edition, while Alex has only seen the original. Tell us which one is your favorite.”

Read the full essay: The Grinch: Three Versions Compared at Wooster School

Historical and Political Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Malcolm x vs. martin luther king jr.: comparison between two great leaders’ ideologies .

Sample lines: “Although they were fighting for civil rights at the same time, their ideology and way of fighting were completely distinctive. This can be for a plethora of reasons: background, upbringing, the system of thought, and vision. But keep in mind, they devoted their whole life to the same prospect. … Through boycotts and marches, [King] hoped to end racial segregation. He felt that the abolition of segregation would improve the likelihood of integration. Malcolm X, on the other hand, spearheaded a movement for black empowerment.”

Read the full essay: Malcolm X vs. Martin Luther King Jr.: Comparison Between Two Great Leaders’ Ideologies  at Melaninful

Contrast Between Obama and Trump Has Become Clear

Contrast Between Obama and Trump Has Become Clear

Sample lines: “The contrast is even clearer when we look to the future. Trump promises more tax cuts, more military spending, more deficits and deeper cuts in programs for the vulnerable. He plans to nominate a coal lobbyist to head the Environmental Protection Agency. … Obama says America must move forward, and he praises progressive Democrats for advocating Medicare for all. … With Obama and then Trump, Americans have elected two diametrically opposed leaders leading into two very different directions.”

Read the full essay: Contrast Between Obama and Trump Has Become Clear at Chicago Sun-Times

Sports Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Lebron james vs. kobe bryant: a complete comparison.

Sample lines: “LeBron James has achieved so much in his career that he is seen by many as the greatest of all time, or at least the only player worthy of being mentioned in the GOAT conversation next to Michael Jordan. Bridging the gap between Jordan and LeBron though was Kobe Bryant, who often gets left out of comparisons and GOAT conversations. … Should his name be mentioned more though? Can he compare to LeBron or is The King too far past The Black Mamba in historical rankings already?”

Read the full essay: LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant: A Complete Comparison at Sportskeeda

NFL: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Rivalry Comparison

NFL: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Rivalry Comparison

Sample lines: “Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were largely considered the best quarterbacks in the NFL for the majority of the time they spent in the league together, with the icons having many head-to-head clashes in the regular season and on the AFC side of the NFL Playoffs. Manning was the leader of the Indianapolis Colts of the AFC South. … Brady spent his career as the QB of the AFC East’s New England Patriots, before taking his talents to Tampa Bay. … The reality is that winning is the most important aspect of any career, and Brady won more head-to-head matchups than Manning did.”

Read the full essay: NFL: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Rivalry Comparison at Sportskeeda

The Greatest NBA Franchise Ever: Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers?

Sample lines: “The Celtics are universally considered as the greatest franchise in NBA history. But if you take a close look at the numbers, there isn’t really too much separation between them and their arch-rival Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, you can even make a good argument for the Lakers. … In 72 seasons played, the Boston Celtics have won a total of 3,314 games and lost 2,305 or a .590 winning mark. On the other hand, the Los Angeles Lakers have won 3,284 of 5,507 total games played or a slightly better winning record of .596. … But while the Lakers have the better winning percentage, the Celtics have the advantage over them in head-to-head competition.”

Read the full essay: The Greatest NBA Franchise Ever: Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers? at Sport One

Is Soccer Better Than Football?

Sample lines: “Is soccer better than football? Soccer and football lovers have numerous reasons to support their sport of choice. Both keep the players physically fit and help to bring people together for an exciting cause. However, soccer has drawn more numbers globally due to its popularity in more countries.”

Read the full essay: Is Soccer Better Than Football? at Sports Brief

Lifestyle Choices Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Mobile home vs. tiny house: similarities, differences, pros & cons.

Mobile Home vs. Tiny House: Similarities, Differences, Pros & Cons

Sample lines: “Choosing the tiny home lifestyle enables you to spend more time with those you love. The small living space ensures quality bonding time rather than hiding away in a room or behind a computer screen. … You’ll be able to connect closer to nature and find yourself able to travel the country at any given moment. On the other hand, we have the mobile home. … They are built on a chassis with transportation in mind. … They are not built to be moved on a constant basis. … While moving the home again *is* possible, it may cost you several thousand dollars.”

Read the full essay: Mobile Home vs. Tiny House: Similarities, Differences, Pros & Cons at US Mobile Home Pros

Whole Foods vs. Walmart: The Story of Two Grocery Stores

Sample lines: “It is clear that both stores have very different stories and aims when it comes to their customers. Whole Foods looks to provide organic, healthy, exotic, and niche products for an audience with a very particular taste. … Walmart, on the other hand, looks to provide the best deals, every possible product, and every big brand for a broader audience. … Moreover, they look to make buying affordable and accessible, and focus on the capitalist nature of buying.”

Read the full essay: Whole Foods vs. Walmart: The Story of Two Grocery Stores at The Archaeology of Us

Artificial Grass vs. Turf: The Real Differences Revealed

Sample lines: “The key difference between artificial grass and turf is their intended use. Artificial turf is largely intended to be used for sports, so it is shorter and tougher. On the other hand, artificial grass is generally longer, softer and more suited to landscaping purposes. Most homeowners would opt for artificial grass as a replacement for a lawn, for example. Some people actually prefer playing sports on artificial grass, too … artificial grass is often softer and more bouncy, giving it a feel similar to playing on a grassy lawn. … At the end of the day, which one you will choose will depend on your specific household and needs.”

Read the full essay: Artificial Grass vs. Turf: The Real Differences Revealed at Almost Grass

Minimalism vs. Maximalism: Differences, Similarities, and Use Cases

Minimalism vs. Maximalism: Differences, Similarities, and Use Cases- compare and contrast essay example

Sample lines: “Maximalists love shopping, especially finding unique pieces. They see it as a hobby—even a skill—and a way to express their personality. Minimalists don’t like shopping and see it as a waste of time and money. They’d instead use those resources to create memorable experiences. Maximalists desire one-of-a-kind possessions. Minimalists are happy with duplicates—for example, personal uniforms. … Minimalism and maximalism are about being intentional with your life and belongings. It’s about making choices based on what’s important to you.”

Read the full essay: Minimalism vs. Maximalism: Differences, Similarities, and Use Cases at Minimalist Vegan

Vegetarian vs. Meat Eating: Is It Better To Be a Vegetarian?

Sample lines: “You’ve heard buzz over the years that following a vegetarian diet is better for your health, and you’ve probably read a few magazine articles featuring a celeb or two who swore off meat and animal products and ‘magically’ lost weight. So does ditching meat automatically equal weight loss? Will it really help you live longer and be healthier overall? … Vegetarians appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure  and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than meat eaters. Vegetarians also tend to have a lower body mass index, lower overall cancer rates and lower risk of chronic disease. But if your vegetarian co-worker is noshing greasy veggie burgers and fries every day for lunch, is he likely to be healthier than you, who always orders the grilled salmon? Definitely not!”

Read the full essay: Vegetarian vs. Meat Eating: Is It Better To Be a Vegetarian? at WebMD

Healthcare Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Similarities and differences between the health systems in australia & usa.

Sample lines: “Australia and the United States are two very different countries. They are far away from each other, have contrasting fauna and flora, differ immensely by population, and have vastly different healthcare systems. The United States has a population of 331 million people, compared to Australia’s population of 25.5 million people.”

Read the full essay: Similarities and Differences Between the Health Systems in Australia & USA at Georgia State University

Universal Healthcare in the United States of America: A Healthy Debate

Universal Healthcare in the United States of America: A Healthy Debate

Sample lines: “Disadvantages of universal healthcare include significant upfront costs and logistical challenges. On the other hand, universal healthcare may lead to a healthier populace, and thus, in the long-term, help to mitigate the economic costs of an unhealthy nation. In particular, substantial health disparities exist in the United States, with low socio-economic status segments of the population subject to decreased access to quality healthcare and increased risk of non-communicable chronic conditions such as obesity and type II diabetes, among other determinants of poor health.”

Read the full essay: Universal Healthcare in the United States of America: A Healthy Debate at National Library of Medicine

Pros and Cons of Physician Aid in Dying

Sample lines: “Physician aid in dying is a controversial subject raising issues central to the role of physicians. … The two most common arguments in favor of legalizing AID are respect for patient autonomy and relief of suffering. A third, related, argument is that AID is a safe medical practice, requiring a health care professional. … Although opponents of AID offer many arguments ranging from pragmatic to philosophical, we focus here on concerns that the expansion of AID might cause additional, unintended harm through suicide contagion, slippery slope, and the deaths of patients suffering from depression.”

Read the full essay: Pros and Cons of Physician Aid in Dying at National Library of Medicine

Animals Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Compare and contrast paragraph—dogs and cats.

Compare and Contrast Paragraph—Dogs and Cats- compare and contrast essay example

Sample lines: “Researchers have found that dogs have about twice the number of neurons in their cerebral cortexes than what cats have. Specifically, dogs had around 530 million neurons, whereas the domestic cat only had 250 million neurons. Moreover, dogs can be trained to learn and respond to our commands, but although your cat understands your name, and anticipates your every move, he/she may choose to ignore you.”

Read the full essay: Compare and Contrast Paragraph—Dogs and Cats at Proofwriting Guru via YouTube

Giddyup! The Differences Between Horses and Dogs

Sample lines: “Horses are prey animals with a deep herding instinct. They are highly sensitive to their environment, hyper aware, and ready to take flight if needed. Just like dogs, some horses are more confident than others, but just like dogs, all need a confident handler to teach them what to do. Some horses are highly reactive and can be spooked by the smallest things, as are dogs. … Another distinction between horses and dogs … was that while dogs have been domesticated , horses have been  tamed. … Both species have influenced our culture more than any other species on the planet.”

Read the full essay: Giddyup! The Differences Between Horses and Dogs at Positively Victoria Stilwell

Exotic, Domesticated, and Wild Pets

Sample lines: “Although the words ‘exotic’ and ‘wild’ are frequently used interchangeably, many people do not fully understand how these categories differ when it comes to pets. ‘A wild animal is an indigenous, non-domesticated animal, meaning that it is native to the country where you are located,’ Blue-McLendon explained. ‘For Texans, white-tailed deer, pronghorn sheep, raccoons, skunks, and bighorn sheep are wild animals … an exotic animal is one that is wild but is from a different continent than where you live.’ For example, a hedgehog in Texas would be considered an exotic animal, but in the hedgehog’s native country, it would be considered wildlife.”

Read the full essay: Exotic, Domesticated, and Wild Pets at Texas A&M University

Should Zoos Be Banned? Pros & Cons of Zoos

Should Zoos Be Banned? Pros & Cons of Zoos

Sample lines: “The pros and cons of zoos often come from two very different points of view. From a legal standard, animals are often treated as property. That means they have less rights than humans, so a zoo seems like a positive place to maintain a high quality of life. For others, the forced enclosure of any animal feels like an unethical decision. … Zoos provide a protected environment for endangered animals, and also help in raising awareness and funding for wildlife initiatives and research projects. … Zoos are key for research. Being able to observe and study animals is crucial if we want to contribute to help them and repair the ecosystems. … Zoos are a typical form of family entertainment, but associating leisure and fun with the contemplation of animals in captivity can send the wrong signals to our children.”

Read the full essay: Should Zoos Be Banned? Pros & Cons of Zoos at EcoCation

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A good compare and contrast essay example, like the ones here, explores the similarities and differences between two or more subjects.

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Evaluating an Internet Source

Alys Avalos-Rivera

Having internet access opens the door to an incredible amount of information that can be a great help when you’re doing your homework. However, there are so many options from what you can choose, being selective is essential. Otherwise, you can invest a lot of time just reading, listening to, or watching available sources without getting your assignments done. Moreover, you should also consider the possibility that some of the information you can find on the internet is not totally reliable, appropriate for the audience, or relevant. Therefore, the challenge is to generate some well thought-out guidelines for identifying a source, before you decide to use it for your assignment. The purpose of this lesson to tell people about these guidelines.

Interrogating a source

As a first exercise, take some time to observe the following reference entry. Before clicking the link spend some time observing the details provided in the entry to answer the following questions.

  • What information about the source can you get from this entry?
  • What type of source are you dealing with? How do you know that?
  • What are the details can you get from the entry?

Now click on the link and try to find out if your guesses were accurate.

Observe the information provided on the web page and answer the following question

  • What  Is/are the names of the authors?
  • What is the name of the organization/company/group the insured information?
  • When was this information published/posted?
  • What do all these pieces of information tell you about the source?
  • Would it matter to you if any of these pieces of information were not provided? Why?

As you can see, the article comes from a newspaper. To know more about the information you can find on the different sections of a newspaper, click on this link .

The student has been given the following prompts to guide her as she writes her final papers for three different structures. Read the prompts carefully and decide whether the article from the Guardian (Source 1) would be a good source for any of the assignments. Does this article meet the student information needs as the writer of these three papers? State the reasons for your answer.

  • Write a descriptive essay in which you report the different opinions, good or bad, held by the general public about public vs private education. This should be based on the results of a survey that you will conduct in your neighborhood. The survey will collect people’s opinions about private and public education with respect to the following topics student learning outcomes, quality and availability of learning materials, local schools facilities, the quality of teaching, and tuition costs and fees if any.
  • Write a persuasive piece in which you argue that the teaching profession in the U.S. is undergoing a severe crisis. You must include at least three reasons why teachers present situation to be considered as a crisis. You will have to support each of your argument with evidence e.g. statistics, experts opinions, scientific reports.
  • Summarize at least three different scholarly articles to address the problem of the shortage of teachers in England. Make sure you clearly state the purpose of each study, the method used, and the results obtained in each case. Take into account that you’ll have to present your summaries to a committee of professors in your department who are experts on the topic.

Discuss two reasons with your classmates and your instructor. Compare your answers and opinions about this exercise with their ideas for writing on a public page

Relevance, reliability, and appropriateness.

The prompts in the previous section and Source 1 have overlapping ideas with regard to topics and subtopics, but also differ in certain aspects. To find out if it is a good idea to use a source from the same as described in the prompts you should consider the similarities and differences. Let us analyze each case separately.

Prompt A and the newspaper’s article have something in common: they both address the topic of education. The article talks about the problem of public school teachers’ salaries and one aspect included in the prompt also talks about teachers’ work, in particular the quality of their work. The similarities between the article and the prompt end there.

There are differences between the articles and the prompt that should be considered.

  • The assignment prompt clearly states that the content of the paper should be based on a survey previously conducted by the student. The results of the survey will provide “first-hand” information that the author (in this case the student) is supposed to collect directly from her neighbors. For this reason, this type of information is considered as a primary source. On the contrary, the article provides information that the newspaper’s writer has taken from various sources. She used this information to prove her point. This is why this sort of document is considered as a secondary source. Thus, the newspaper article is not the right type of source that the assignment prompt requires
  • The assignment requires information about the quality of public and private education. The article only talks about teachers’ low salaries. It does not address the other topics required in the prompt such as learning materials, school facilities, or tuition costs. Therefore, the information in the newspaper article does not fully address the contents listed in the prompt.

The content of the article and the type of information it provides do not address the prompt. Therefore, it could be said that this particular source does not meet the writer’s information needs. In such cases, you can say that, although the article may be interesting and it is published in a well-reputed newspaper, the source is not relevant for the purpose of this particular assignment. A relevant source should address your information needs as a writer considering the content and type of the source that best fits your writing purpose.

Consider how relevant Source 1 would be to address Prompts b and c . Compare your evaluation with your colleagues and your instructor.

Reliability

Let us revisit Prompt b and compare it with information available on Source 1:

b. Write a persuasive piece in which you argue that the teaching profession in the US is undergoing a severe crisis. You must include at least three reasons why teachers’ present situation should be considered as a crisis. You will have to support each of your arguments with evidence (e.g. statistics, experts’ opinions, scientific reports).

Remember that Source 1 talks about the shortage of teachers associated to the low salaries offered in most teaching positions. Considering that the assignment’s purpose is to argue that the teaching profession is in crisis, you can say that Source 1 is relevant for the assignment at hand. However, when you are preparing an assignment, relevance is not the only characteristic you should take into account. You also need to consider the sources’ reliability.

Reliability refers to the extent to which the text represents reality. When a text is reliable, you can depend on its being truthful, objective, and free from bias (personal tendencies or preferences). In other words, a reliable text should be consistent with the world it tries to represent. A reliable source is supposed to represent reality as faithfully as possible by offering facts, evidence, and logical reasoning, as opposed to mere opinions.

A typical obstacle to hinder the reliability of a source is the writers’ bias. This means that writers may sometimes mix their personal opinions in the presentation of the facts, which makes us wonder whether one can truly trust in what they say.

Ideally, we all want information that we can fully depend on or rely on. Unfortunately, sometimes the information we find on the internet may contain claims that are biased. We should take this type of information with caution, especially if you are going to use the information in your assignments. This takes us back to consider whether Source 1 can be considered reliable.

You may remember that the article comes from a British newspaper called The Guardian. At this point you may ask yourself if The Guardian is a well-regarded newspaper and, most importantly, you may ask if newspaper in general can be taken as reliable sources. The answer to these questions is not straightforward. It may greatly depend on the type of newspaper, the reputation of the particular publication, the section of the newspaper where a particular article is published, and the editorial line of the newspaper. To know more about newspapers and how they are classified, click on the following links: types of newspapers and objectivity.

As a rule of thumb, before deciding on using a newspaper article in your assignments, remember that newspapers, no matter how well-reputed they are, may have a political slant (preference or inclination) and most of them are oriented towards profit (after all, newspapers are there for the business). This means that you should always keep in mind that newspaper column writers do not provide “facts” for the sole sake of providing facts. They may be favoring a particular point of view which colors their writing. Therefore, whether the newspaper is owned by a private company or by the government, a conflict of interest is often at play in the presentation of the news. For this reason, always ask yourself:

  • What is the political slant of this source?
  • Whose interest are the writers favoring in this article?
  • What evidence is presented to prove the writers’ claims?

Coming back to Source 1, you should know that The Guardian is a newspaper that has a liberal slant but a good reputation because of its efforts to be as objective as possible. This means that, although the articles published in this publication tend to support the left wing, they usually offer some evidence to support their claims. However, remember that Prompt b requires you to write a persuasive essay, which means that you have to offer a balanced argumentation. Using only an article from a leftwing newspaper as your source will not suffice. You need to get other points of view and put them into conversation to make a well-balanced argument. In conclusion, Source 1 is only partially reliable for the writing purpose at hand.

The same considerations that we have discussed about newspapers also apply to all sort of news you can find on the internet such as those on TV networks websites, radio station websites, and online magazines websites, among others. An interesting example to consider is the one of Wikipedia. To find out more about the degree of reliability of this famous open-access encyclopedia, click on the following link.

A couple of ideas that can help you in your search of reliable material are the following:

a) Whether the creator of the source is an expert or professional in that specific field b) Whether the source is reviewed by peer professionals in the same field before it was published.

Exercise 2 Look at the following two sources and rate their degree of reliability in a scale from 0 to 10, where 10 means highly reliable and 0 means not reliable at all. [Hint: Where they are from gives hints.]

Appropriateness

Saying that a source is appropriate may imply two different things:

i) The source affords information that a particular audience may be inclined to accept and find as credible . For instance, scientists have preference for information that is supported by data and use specialized terminology to express complex concepts. On the other hand, personal experience and touching stories will be more appealing to the general audience. ii) The source successfully achieves a specific purpose with the audience . For instance, a source may successfully persuade the readers but fail to entertain them.

In any case, the question of whether a source is appropriate or not is related to the audience you have in mind when you write. Effective writers always think of their audience at every step of the writing process. This means that when you select your sources you also need to consider your audience. Who are your potential readers? Do you want to inform these readers, persuade them of your point of view, or tell a story to make a point? You need to answer these questions when you are selecting your sources.

Let us now consider whether Source 1 is appropriate for Prompt c:

c. Summarize at least three different scholarly articles that address the problem of the shortage of teachers in England. Make sure you clearly state the purpose of each study, the method used, and the results obtained in each case. Take into account that you will have to present your summaries to a committee of professors in your Department who are experts on the topic.

This writing assignment expects students to summarize three scholarly articles (meaning they are written by a group of specialists in the corresponding academic field). First of all, The Guardian is not a scholarly journal (to know what sort of publication scholarly journals are, you can follow this link ) . So, even though the topic discussed in Source 1 is related to that of the prompt (this means that the source is relevant), Source 1 is not the type of source required by the prompt. Why is this so?

First of all, your audience is a group of professors in your department, who are experts in the field. As such, this audience expects highly reliable material, usually written by experts in their same field. That is the reason why the prompt specifically asks you to use only scholarly journal articles.

Second, your purpose or goal is to summarize the articles for this group of experts. The scholarly articles you use as sources should feature primary research and your summary should succinctly incorporate the purpose, the method, and the results of these studies. Newspapers like the Guardian can only provide facts and opinions from experts and researchers, but such articles never describe research studies in detail. This is because newspaper articles do not target a group of specialists as their main audience and their purpose is not to popularize research results.

Therefore, for a source to be appropriate, it should contain information that may be considered acceptable for the standards of your audience and contributes to the purpose of your writing piece.

Exercise 3 With a group of two or more colleagues, consider the following two sources:

Source 2 is about the relationship between teacher mobility and salary change. It is from a peer-reviewed journal. Source 5 is about the imbalance between teachers’ efforts in work and their low pay. It is from a trade journal Education Week.

With this information in mind, do the following two tasks.

a. At first sight, make a guess about which one is more reliable than the other. [Hint: Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis is a scholarly journal. Education Week is a trade journal.] b. Consider the following situations and decide whether the sources are appropriate for the intended audiences, assuming that both sources are relevant and reliable. Occasions Your role Your writing preparation  Your point of view Your audience Appropriate or not?                 Source A    B A national conference on education policy A presenter from a reputable university in the U.S. You are writing a paper for the conference and you are considering using this source in the literature review. You claim that decreasing teachers’ salary will result in lower education quality. Professionals and experts in the field A course paper for Leadership in Education You are a student in the class. Term paper The thesis statement in your paper is that budget cut on local education will lead to lower teaching quality. The instructor of the class “Student Association Day” on campus You are the Public Relation representative A brochure This is an annual event to publicize your club. You want to showcase your association’s advocacy service in favor of the cause of local teachers. Students across all majors on campus Follow-up activities Activity 1 Suppose you are writing a class paper on comparing eastern and western beauty standards. What do you think of the following two sources? Compare them considering relevance, reliability and appropriateness. Source 6 How East Asian Beauty Standards Are Different To The West | Beauty Culture [online video clip]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s27q47qInA Source 7  Rosenfeld, L. B., Stewart, S. C., Stinnett, H. J., & Jackson, L. A. (1999). Preferences for body type and body characteristics associated with attractive and unattractive bodies: Jackson and McGill revisited. Perceptual and motor skills, 89(2), 459-470.

After this exercise, you will feel that the dimensions of reliability and appropriateness of a source are interrelated or even interdependent.

  • Pair work: Make a list of questions that could be useful to ask when you need to decide if a source is relevant, reliable, and appropriate or not. You may use the following chart to refine your questions and explain why you believe these questions are important.
  • Share your list of questions with your classmates and compare it to the list provided at the end of this chapter (Questions you should ask to assess a source).
  • Refine your questions and test them to assess the following sources. You can search for the document using one of the databases available in your Library (Hint: Proquest Research Library can be one of them):

To know more about the material available on the Proquest Research Library click on this link .

Individual task:

The following sources were used by students like you in previous semesters. Evaluate how reliable these sources are using the criteria that you defined during the lesson. Based on your analysis, write a short evaluation of each source in a well-developed paragraph. Clearly explain the weaknesses and strengths of each source.

Note for source 9: Some online news website are serious, some are not. Among those that are not, the Onion is a typical one. It is a spoof site, even though it takes broadcasting news as one of its missions.

Group work:

Suppose you are writing an article comparing beauty standards in different regions around the world, and the following seven sources are among your list of possible sources. Please rank the reliability of them from 10 to 0 (10= highly reliable and 0= totally unreliable). Justify your answers.

How is Source 8 (Pullen, 2007) different from other sources that you have evaluated in this lesson? What type of document is this one? Look at the screen shot directly taken from Proquest Research Library database on the following page. Look at the list of source types on the left column. Discuss the different types with your classmates and your instructor:

Screenshot of a ProQuest database search

Go to the end of this lesson and read the text “Things you should know about the different types of sources that you can find in ProQuest database”. Based on this information, discuss the different degrees of relevance, reliability, and appropriateness of the sources available in the library. Consider also some internet sources such as blogs and the Wikipedia. How reliable are these sources? Why?

Questions you should ask to assess a source

Evaluating an Internet Source Copyright © 2020 by Alys Avalos-Rivera is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Compare Two Novels in Comparative Essay

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  • Writing Essays
  • Writing Research Papers
  • English Grammar
  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

At some point in your literature studies, probably just about the time you get really good at finding the theme of a novel and coming up with a sound analysis of a single literary piece, you will be required to compare two novels.

Your first task in this assignment will be to develop a good profile of both novels. You can do this by making a few simple lists of traits that might be comparable. For each novel, identify a list of characters and their roles in the story or important characteristics, and any important struggles, time periods, or major symbols (like an element of nature).

You may also attempt to come up with book themes that could be comparable. Sample themes would include:

  • Man versus nature (is each main character battling the elements?)
  • Individual versus society (does each main character feel like an outsider?)
  • Struggle between good and evil (are your characters involved in good v. evil scenarios?)
  • Coming of age (do the main characters experience a tough lesson that makes them grow?)

Your assignment will most likely give you direction as to whether you should find specific characters, story characteristics, or overall themes to compare. If it is not that specific, don't worry! You actually have a little more leeway.

Comparing Two Novel Themes

The teacher's goal when assigning this paper is to encourage you to think and analyze. You no longer read for a surface understanding of what happens in a novel; you are reading to understand why things happen and what the deeper meaning behind a character is a setting or an event. In short, you are expected to come up with an interesting comparative analysis.

As an example of comparing novel themes, we will look at The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Red Badge of Courage . Both of these novels contain a "coming of age" theme since both have characters who grow a new awareness through tough lessons. Some comparisons you could make:

  • Both characters have to explore the notion of "civilized behavior" in the societies where they exist.
  • Each main character has to question the behavior of his male role models and his male peers.
  • Each main character leaves his childhood home and encounters challenges.

To craft an essay about these two novels and their similar themes, you would create your own list of similarities like those above, using a list, chart, or a Venn diagram .

Sum up your overall theory about how these themes are comparable to create your thesis statement . Here is an example:​ "Both characters, Huck Finn and Henry Fleming, embark on a journey of discovery, and each boy finds new understanding when it comes to traditional notions about honor and courage."

You will use your common characteristic list to guide you as you create body paragraphs .

Comparing Main Characters in Novels

If your assignment is to compare the characters of these novels, you would make a list or Venn diagram to make more comparisons:

  • Both characters are young men
  • Both question society's notion of honor
  • Both witness behavior that makes them question their role models
  • Both have a nurturing female influence
  • Both question their former beliefs

Comparing two novels is not as difficult as it sounds at first. Once you generate a list of traits, you can easily see an outline emerging.

  • Venn Diagrams to Plan Essays and More
  • Graphic Organizers
  • How to Find the Theme of a Book or Short Story
  • Must-Read Books If You Like 'The Catcher in the Rye'
  • 10 Common Themes in Literature
  • Top Conservative Novels
  • Preparing for Final Exams
  • Write a Compare and Contrast Essay
  • 10 Steps to Writing a Successful Book Report
  • How to Study for a Test or Final
  • How to Write a Great Book Report
  • Use a Concept Map for Your Literature Midterms and Finals
  • Beef Up Critical Thinking and Writing Skills: Comparison Essays
  • How to Write a Character Analysis
  • How to Summarize a Plot
  • The Red Badge of Courage Book Summary

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Which phrase best defines an epic simile?

a. a figure of speech in which one thing is spoken of as if it were something else b. a literary technique that involves differences between meaning and intention c. a work created in imitation of another d. a long, elaborate comparison between two dissimilar actions or objects*** Read the following sentence from Betty Bonham Lies's retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice: "Orpheus's music was so compelling that even the ice-hard heart of Hades melted." What is the effect of the hyperbole as it is used here? a. It compares Orpheus' music to Hades' heart. b. It emphasizes the power of Orpheus' music.*** c. It explains Hades is affected by all music. d. It demonstrates how Orpheus' music is beautiful. does Odysseus' sense of curiosity affect the progress of the plot in The Odyssey? a. His curiosity hinders his journey back home.*** b. His curiosity hinders his escape from Calypso. c. His curiosity compels him to enter the archery contest. d. His curiosity compels him to visit his aging father.

-a figure of speech in which one thing is spoken of as if it were something else -a literary technique that involves differences between meaning and intention -a work created in imitation of another -a long, elaborate comparison between two dissimilar actions or objects*** In the selection from Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad, how is Penelope transformed from the obedient, loyal wife seen in The Odyssey into a different woman? -She has become fearful and cowardly -She has become confident and empowered*** -She has become weary of Odysseus's stories -She has becomes weary of waiting for Odysseus Read the following sentence from Betty Bonham Lies's retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice: "Orpheus's music was so compelling that even the ice-hard heart of Hades melted." What is the effect of the hyperbole as it is used here? -It explains how Hades is affected by all music -It emphasizes the power of Orpheus's music.*** -It compares Orpheus's music to Hades's heart -It demonstrates how Orpheus's music is beautiful How does Odysseus' sense of curiosity affect the progress of the plot in The Odyssey? -His curiosity hinders his journey back home.*** -His curiosity hinders his escape from Calypso -His curiosity compels him to enter the archery contest. -His curiosity compels him to visit his aging father Edgar Allan Poe uses foreshadowing in "The Cask of Amontillado" to create mystery in which of the following quotes? -"He had on a tight-fitting parti-striped dress, and his head was surmounted by the conical cap and bells." -"And as for Luchresi, he cannot distinguish Sherry from Amontillado." -"'You? Impossible! A Mason?' 'A Mason,' I replied. 'A sign,' he said, 'a sign.'"*** -"I forced the last stone into its position; I plastered it up." In "The Most Dangerous Game," Zaroff is defeated by Rainsford's hunting skills and also by his -own overconfidence*** -loss of Ivan -inattention to detail -inferior hunting skills Read the following line from Poe's "The Raven": "Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before." Which poetic device does Poe use in this line? -alliteration*** -metaphor -personification -simile Read the following quote from "The Morning of June 28, 1948": "It was not my first published story, nor my last, but I have been assured over and over that if it had been the only story I ever wrote or published, there would be people who would not forget my name." What does this quote suggest about the public's feelings toward "The Lottery?" -Readers were deeply affected by Jackson's story*** -Readers looked forward to Jackson's next publication -Readers would study her short story and try to mimic its success -Readers were persuaded to buy more copies of the New Yorker Which of the author's specific word choices in the following passage from "The Morning of June 28, 1948, and "The Lottery'" best impacts the article's tone? "On the morning of June 28, 1948, I walked down to the post office in out little Vermont town to pick up the mail. I was quite casual about it, as I recall - I opened the box, took out a couple of bills and a letter or two, talked to the postmaster for few minutes, and left, never supposing that it was the last time for months that I would pick up the mail without an active feeling of panic." -in our little Vermont town -active feeling of panic*** -talked to the postmaster for a few minutes -I opened the box In "The Gift of the Magi," what is the irony in O. Henry's description of Madame Sofronie, the hair dealer? -Della gets less money for her hair that she had expected -Madame Sofronie has changed so much that Della does not recognize her. -Madame Sofronie speaks little English, so Della has trouble explaining what she wants. -Madame Sofronie's name leads us to expect elegance, but she looks ordinary instead.*** For what reason does Shirley Jackson likely use stock characters in "The Lottery?" -to draw attention the story's plot and theme*** -to teach readers about stock characters -to order events in the story -to create irony throughout the story Which of the following lines from Marge Piercy's poem "To Be of Use" best demonstrates the speaker's view that work is gratifying? -"Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust." -"Greek amphoras for wine or oil," -"The pitcher cries for water to carry" -"and a person for work that is real."*** Which of the following lines from "I Hear America Singing" best expresses the poem's theme that many people contribute to America? -"I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear."*** -"The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam." -"The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work," -The day what belongs to the day-at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly," Read the following lines from Marge Piercy's "To Be of Use": "The people I love the best jump into work head first without dallying in the shallows and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight. They seem to become natives of that element, the black sleek heads of seals bouncing like half-submerged balls." Which language best contributes to the enthusiastic tone of the poem? -"jump into work head first"*** -"without dallying in the shallows" -"the black sleek heads of seals" -"bouncing like half-submerged balls." Read the following lines from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Bells": "What a tale their terror tells Of *Despair*! How they *clang*, and *clash*, and *roar*! What a *horror* they outpour On the bosom of the palpitating air!" What tone do the * words help create? -anxious -frightful*** -amazed -regretful Which of the following shows the correct parenthetical citation from page 20 of an article in the July 1999 issue of Starburst magazine called "I Robot," written by Melissa J. Perenson? -(I Robot 30) -(Starburst 20) -(Perenson 30)*** -("I Robot," Starburst 30) Choose the word that best completes the sentence. One of the female players left ______ hat in the locker room. -her*** -hers -its -their Choose the word that best completes the sentence. The best player to watch is _____. -she*** -her -him -me Choose the word that best completes the sentence. The first in line at the theater were _____. -we*** -them -us -she and him Choose the word that best completes the sentence. Karina and _____ are working together to build the model. -her -me -she*** -us Identify the sentence in which the underlined verb does NOT agree with its subject. -Everyone on the team *works* together well. -Both of them *are looking* forward to the field trip. -Neither of the boys *is excited* about playing football. -One of the girls *are* going to enter the singing contest.*** Identify the sentence in which the underlined verb does NOT agree with its subject. -The books on this table *are* all about ancient Rome. -Most of this document *are* written in Latin.*** -Nick and Barry *are* studying the history of weather forecasting -There *is* nothing in these books about climate Identify the degree of comparison for the underlined word. Mr. Martinez has a cat that is even *bigger* than yours! -positive -comparative*** -superlative -none of the above Identify the degree of comparison for the underlined word. She holds the school record for the *fastest* time for that competition. -positive -comparative -superlative*** -none of the above Identify the word that has an error in capitalization. Esther studied drama at Yale University. -drama -Yale -University -no error*** Identify the word that has an error in capitalization. Did you know that the largest lake in North America is Lake Superior? -North -America -Superior -no error*** Identify the INCORRECTLY punctuated sentence. -I went to the library and checked out two books, a movie, and an audio recording. -I promised to be on time for the art show so that I could help sign up the participants. -I want to learn more about Ireland, but my classmates prefer to study Scotland. -My homework includes reading a story, writing a paragraph and finishing some math problems.*** Identify the INCORRECTLY punctuated sentence. -Several new books, albums, and DVDs are on sale today. -The door is hanging by its rusty iron hinge, and it may fall at any moment. -I had a busy, industrious day at work today. -The lime, green walls have not been painted.*** On a Works Cited page, which of the following should NOT be in italics? -title of an essay*** -title of an book -title of a magazine -title of a play Identify the correctly punctuated sentence in each group. -We forgot Mark ticket at our hotel. -We forgot Mark's ticket at our hotel.*** -We forgot Marks' ticket at our hotel. -We forgot Marks's ticket at our hotel. Identify the correctly punctuated sentence in each group. -The detective said Time is of the essence. -The detective said, "Time is of the essence."*** -The detective said "Time is of the essence." -The detective said "Time is of the essence." If you were writing a brief profile of Rosa Parks explaining why you admire her, which of the following sentences would make the best thesis statement? -In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus. -Rosa Parks's refusal to give up her seat sparkled the Montgomery Bus Boycott -Many people believe that Rosa Parks was a great woman. -Rosa Parks showed the country how one of courage can make a difference.*** The sound device of alliteration involves repetition of which of the following? -vowel sounds -consonant sounds*** -both vowels and consonants -whole lines of poetry Which of the following would NOT always require a citation in a research paper? -quotation of a phrase -quotation of a sentence -thesis statement*** -sentence paraphrased from a book Which of the following parenthetical citations is placed and punctuated correctly? -Edgar Allan Poe was born in Massachusetts in the early nineteenth century (Freeman 311).*** -Edgar Allan Poe (Freeman 311) was born in Massachusetts in the early nineteenth century. -Edgar Allan Poe (Freeman, 311) was born in Massachusetts in the early nineteenth century. -Edgar Allan Poe was born in Massachusetts in the early nineteenth century. (Freeman, 311) A _____ provides the author's last name and page number for paraphrased or quoted information within the body of a report or essay. -footnote -bibliography -Works Cited page -parenthetical citation*** Which of the following is a specific word as opposed to a general word? -activity -athletics -football*** -sport Choose the topic that best limits the broad subject architecture. -famous architects -historic building in Europe -modern architectural marvels -the history of the Golden Gate Bridge*** Use your knowledge of prefixes and suffixes to determine the meaning of the italicized word in the sentence below. Rice grows in *profusion* in some parts of the southern United States. -great quality -great quantity*** -poor quality -small quantity Which of the following is the most negative connotation of the word *absconded*? -left -exited -fled*** -departed Which of the following is the denotation of the word ambitious? -power-hungry -driven and successful -determined to succeed*** -greedy and materialistic Use context clues to determine the meaning of the italicized word in the sentence below. An umpire should be *impartial*, showing no preference for either team. -biased -fair*** -focused -cold Which prefix would you add to the noun *Colonialism* to make the work meaning "after the period of Colonialism?" - post-*** - ante- - pre- - mid *Use the passage to answer the question.* Which sentence best supports the argument in the letter? -Allowing students to participate in things they are good at will enhance their self-esteem.*** -Focusing students on their grades will help them many years later. -The school district has changed over the past few years. -The school has added several extracurricular activities in the past year. Jill wants to write an essay comparing books and the Internet. She has made the following table *refer to table in test* Which statement belongs in the empty box? -Its influence is more recent -It requires equipment that is more costly -Its information is more widespread*** -It involves less interaction with people Fill in the blank with the correct answer for the following questions. Be sure you have spelled your answer correctly, and do not include any extra spaces or punctuation. Using an idea from an online or print source in your own paper without proper citation is called _______. ***plagiarism*** A secondary character in a story that the author uses to highlight the protagonist's personality or characteristics is called a ________. ***foil*** The use of an unreliable narrator can heighten the _______ in a story. ***suspense*** The term _______ refers to the use of words that name a particular sound, such as hiss, and is sometimes used in poetry. ***onomatopoeia*** The name of Juliet's kinsman whom Romeo killed was _________. ***Tybalt*** These are the answers for the Honors English. <33

Snoopy. I love you

Nolana i'm pretty sure a lot of your answers are wrong, guys, don't use the answers above because the english course randomizes the questions every few days. so connexus guy was right at one point of time, however, the answers were flipped in a different order., 1: b an extended comparison that uses like or as.

2: b it exaggerates Orpheus's beautiful music so that readers understand how powerful an effect Orpheus's music has 3: d Odysseus and his men blind the cyclops 4: a "You are a man to be missed" 5: a own overconfidence 6: a alliteration 7: b "Your story has kicked up quite a fuss around the office" 8: d no heavenly signs to warn me 9: c the protagonists struggle for something that proves to be useless 10: b readers focus on the mysterious plot events instead of the characters 11: "I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart" 12: "I hear America singing, the varied carols i hear" 13: "jump into the work head first" 14: frightful 15: simile 16: (perenson 30) 17: her 18: me 19: we 20: she 21: one of the girls are going to enter the singing contest 22: there are no information to support those ratings 23: positive 24: superlative 25: no error 26: judge 27: fred slipped on the ice, spaining his finger, and his wrist 28: the lime, green walls have not been painted 29: title of an article 30: we forgot Mark's ticket at our hotel 31: the man said, "turn right at the corner." 32: challenging the notion that jumping genes are junk genes, recent biological research suggests that they may actually play a major role in evolution including human evolution 33: metaphor 34: information from common knowledge 35: edgar allan poe was born in massachusetts in the early nineteenth century (freeman 311) 36: bibliography 37: praying mantis 38: history of the star spangled banner 39: great quantity 40: catastrophe 41: determined to succeed 42: compensation as punishment 43: post- 44: there are many alternative sources of transportation available to teens with jobs 45: no need to find parking

You guys need to be more descriptive, that way we'll know which answers are ours.

These are the answers for unit 6 lesson 2 english semester exam (not honors) also this what my test had so i'm sorry if it got switched for yours.

1. Is not limited to a single, distinct image, but is more complex 2.It emphasizes the power Orpheus music 3.Odysseus and his men blind the cyclops 4."you are a man to be missed" 5.He lets Rainsford go to prolong the hunt 6.Alliteration 7."I wanted to tell him I knew the author, but after I heard what he was saying I decided I'd better not" 8.active feeling of panic 9.The protagonist struggle for something that proves to be useless 10.The stock characters are representative of any person in any town 11."And a person for work that is real" 12."I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear" 13."Jump into work head first" 14.Nevermore 15.simile 16.(Fielding 111) 17.His 18.She 19.Thier 20.Me 21.neither of the twins are interested in sports 22.there are no information to support those ratings 23.superlative 24.comparitve 25.state 26.Aunt 27.fred slipped on the ice, spraining his finger, and his wrist 28.She cooked a delicious healthy meal 29.title of a story 30.who borrowed Celeste's biology books? 31.The detective said, "Time is of the essence." 32.evidence from a number of expert sources suggest that school design more nutritious lunch menus 33.consonant sounds 34.infomation from common knowledge 35.the only casualty on Lewis and Clark's trip died from appendicitis (David 104). 36.Works cited page 37.physician 38.history of "the star-spangled banner" 39.great quality 40.catastrophy 41.bold 42.made impossible in advance 43.-some 44.there are many alternative sources of transportation available to teens with jobs. 45.provides good execise hopefully your questions are the same as mine and I didn't type this up for nothing. good luck!!!

Each course difference has different answer. There is Standard, Honors and AP English. Therefore, each different set of answers is a different course variation.

Write out the answers plz it helps, i don't know what to use...which answers do i use because i have 2 day left until the end of the school year.

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  1. Strong Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

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  2. Compare and Contrast Essay: Tips & Examples of Comparing and Contrasting

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  3. Comparative Essay

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  4. 😝 How to write a compare and contrast essay. How to Write a Compare and

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COMMENTS

  1. Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

    The block method. In the block method, you cover each of the overall subjects you're comparing in a block. You say everything you have to say about your first subject, then discuss your second subject, making comparisons and contrasts back to the things you've already said about the first. Your text is structured like this: Subject 1.

  2. 10.7 Comparison and Contrast

    The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both and the reason for doing so. The thesis could lean more toward comparing, contrasting, or both. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader.

  3. Comparing and Contrasting

    This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective. It will also explain how you can (and why you should ...

  4. Comparing and Contrasting: A Guide to Improve Your Essays

    An academic compare and contrast essay looks at two or more subjects, ideas, people, or objects, compares their likeness, and contrasts their differences. It's an informative essay that provides insights on what is similar and different between the two items. Depending on the essay's instructions, you can focus solely on comparing or ...

  5. Tips for Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay

    Summarize the main similarities and differences you have identified. Make a point regarding the relationship between your subjects. 4. Things to Remember. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when writing your compare and contrast essay: Ensure you are comparing or contrasting the same criteria between each subject.

  6. Comparison and Contrast Guide

    This interactive guide provides an introduction to the basic characteristics and resources that are typically used when students compose comparison and contrast essays. The Comparison and Contrast Guide includes an overview, definitions and examples. The Organizing a Paper section includes details on whole-to-whole (block), point-by-point, and ...

  7. Comparison and Contrast

    The Purpose of Comparison and Contrast in Writing. Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay, then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.. The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way.

  8. PDF Strategies for Essay Writing

    When you write an essay for a course you are taking, you are being asked not only to create a product (the essay) but, more importantly, to go through a process of thinking more deeply about a question or problem related to the course. By writing about a source or collection of sources, you will have the chance to wrestle with some of the

  9. 9 Easy Steps for Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay

    There are two main ways to structure a compare and contrast essay; the alternating method and the block method. Alternating Method: In this method, you alternate between one item and another, back and forth. So in our example, you would first tackle the setting of both books, comparing and contrasting.

  10. How to Write a Compare & Contrast Essay

    Follow these essential steps to write an effective compare and contrast essay: Choose what two subjects to compare and contrast. Brainstorm similarities and differences between the two subjects. Develop a thesis statement and write an introduction. Write an analysis, using the block method or the point-by-point method.

  11. 10.4: Writing a Comparison and Contrast Essay

    A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both. The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects. The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be ...

  12. Comparison and Contrast

    The Purpose of Comparison and Contrast in Writing. Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay, then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both. The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or ...

  13. Comparison and Contrast Writing

    Comparison and Contrast writing is used to show a reader the similarities and/or differences between two subjects. Comparison writing focuses on similarities (ways things are alike), while contrast writing focuses on differences or ways they are not alike. In order to do this, the subjects chosen have to be related or share at least some ...

  14. 4.1: Introduction to Comparison and Contrast Essay

    4.1: Introduction to Comparison and Contrast Essay. The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. Comparison and contrast is simply telling how two things are alike or different. The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to ...

  15. DeWitt Library Subject Guides: ENG 101 OER: Comparison

    Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay, then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.. The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast ...

  16. How to Analyze Two Books in an Essay

    At this point, you want your outline to include that you want X quote here, and you will support it by saying Y and Z. I like to use two pieces of evidence for each paragraph. When analyzing and comparing two books in an essay, this makes it easy because each piece of evidence can come from each novel. Or you can switch off paragraphs, going ...

  17. 5.6: Compare and Contrast

    Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience's understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay. Figure 5.6.1 5.6. 1 Apples, Green and Red. Similarly, to focus on comparison, choose two subjects that seem at first to be unrelated. For a comparison essay, you ...

  18. Compare & Contrast Essays

    A compare and contrast essay therefore looks at the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences. This essay type is common at university, where lecturers frequently test your understanding by asking you to compare and contrast two theories, two methods, two historical periods, two characters in a novel, etc.

  19. 34 Compelling Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

    Next, the body includes paragraphs that explore the similarities and differences. Finally, a concluding paragraph restates the thesis, draws any necessary inferences, and asks any remaining questions. A compare and contrast essay example can be an opinion piece comparing two things and making a conclusion about which is better. For example ...

  20. Evaluating an Internet Source

    Compare your evaluation with your colleagues and your instructor. Reliability. Let us revisit Prompt b and compare it with information available on Source 1: b. Write a persuasive piece in which you argue that the teaching profession in the US is undergoing a severe crisis.

  21. How to Compare Two Novels in Comparative Essay

    Comparing Main Characters in Novels. If your assignment is to compare the characters of these novels, you would make a list or Venn diagram to make more comparisons: Both characters are young men. Both question society's notion of honor. Both witness behavior that makes them question their role models. Both have a nurturing female influence.

  22. Which phrase best defines an epic simile?

    Jill wants to write an essay comparing books and the Internet. She has made the following table *refer to table in test* Which statement belongs in the empty box?-Its influence is more recent-It requires equipment that is more costly-Its information is more widespread***-It involves less interaction with people