A comparison essay requires finding differences and similarities between two or more objects, processes or phenomena. This type of academic assignments can be very easy if you know its main principles and best templates to follow.
Comparison Essay: Main Parts
It is important to keep in mind that you should find both differences and similarities. However, this makes sense only for items that are different, but still have something in common. Consequently, when choosing your topic, you should make sure that you don't choose to compare items that are either entirely different from one another or way too similar. Choose instead two items that can be both compared and contrasted – after all, compare-and-contrast is another name of this type of assignment. To summarize, there are two main parts of all comparison essays:
- compare – finding similarities (cue words: just like, similarly to…)
- contrast – finding differences (cue words: unlike, by contrast to…)
Comparison Essays: 2 Templates
When writing a comparison paper, you can choose between the two templates that are described below.
The 1st template is parallel discussion – choose several characteristics and write about each of them, comparing and contrasting them in both items.
For example, if you are going to compare life at home and life in a dormitory, you can use the following parallel template:
- Introduction. Differences and similarities between life at home and life in a dormitory.
- Main body
- Conditions for study at home and in a dormitory.
- Opportunities to meet new people at home and in a dormitory.
- Difficulties with maintaining healthy lifestyles at home and in a dormitory.
The 2nd template is block discussion – choose several characteristics and devote the first block to discussing all those characteristics for the first item, while in the second block you discuss the same characteristics, but for the second item. The only problem with this template is the risk of writing two different essays. This is why you should do your best to clearly and continuously stress links between the two blocks.
For example, if you want to write a compare-and-contrast essay about making a cake and writing an essay, you can use the following block pattern:
- Introduction. Differences and similarities in making a cake and writing an essay.
- Main body
- Finding a recipe for a cake.
- Finding ingredients for a cake.
- Baking a cake.
- Finding a good topic for an essay.
- Making a plan for an essay.
- Writing an essay.
Avoiding Common Pitfalls
As you can see, writing comparison papers can be easy. Yet, students tend to make a number of typical mistakes. Try to avoid these common pitfalls in your essays:
- discussing different characteristics of different items (for example, if you discuss the conditions for study at home, you should discuss the conditions for study in the dormitory as well);
- comparing absolutely different or absolutely identical items;
- neglecting the correct essay structure (be sure to always have an introduction, several body paragraphs and a conclusion).
So, now you already know the main dos and don’ts of writing comparison papers and the only thing you need to start writing is a good topic. Here is a list of 10 pretty good essay questions you can sink your teeth into:
- Cleaning your room and proofreading your essay.
- Growing flowers and raising children.
- Watching a film on TV and at the cinema.
- Choosing an essay topic and choosing a pair of shoes.
- Giving and receiving presents.
- Shopping in a mall and online.
- Going to college on foot and by bus.
- Life in a big city and a rural area.
- Authoritarian and democratic parenting styles.
- Playing football and basketball.
If you are still unconvinced, which one topic to choose, you can use this list of topics as an additional source of inspiration.
That was all you needed to know to write an A-level comparison essay. Feel free to use this quick guide, make some effort and enjoy your excellent grades!