To put it simply, compare and contrast essay is an essay in which you evaluate the similarities and differences between the two subjects. These subjects should belong to the same category, but at the same time be different. You might compare and contrast two different kinds of cars, or two novels from the same time period.
Why to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?
‘Because it’s on our syllabus’, most of the students would say. True, but such essay is there to improve your abilities of thinking and describing things in colorful language, which is important in real life. To see how it works, let’s just compare and contrast essay topics randomly taken from the Internet:
- two sets of rules: the rules set for you as a child and the way you would like your (or someone else’s) children to behave;
- two different vampires.
No doubt the second one sounds catchy and is much more likely to grab attention than the first one. But it’s thought-provoking only for those who really have a crush on vampires. Those who can’t be categorized as vampire geeks won’t probably be able to even develop the topic. By contrast, the first topic would be actively discussed by anyone engaged in upbringing relations of any kind (not necessarily for parents). After all, as children, we were all allowed (or prohibited) to do something.
In terms of ability to compare and contrast, the first topic seems more promising, as it appeals to the listeners’ critical thinking. Its target audience is broader. As you can see, the ability to contrast has just helped us develop an essay topic.
Compare and Contrast Essay: Tips for Improving Your Language
A compare and contrast essay is usually written either to describe two equally good points or to present one of the points in a better light. In the first case, you should use descriptive language, namely, definitions, descriptive paragraphs of different kinds, and exemplary statements like the ones in the topics mentioned above. In the second case, you have to prove your point. For this purpose, you can use more intricate techniques. They will also help you with the topics unfamiliar to your audience like the one about two vampires. For instance, try enriching your text with the following figures of speech:
- Simile – a statement that one object is like another one (they are similar): “Edward Cullen’s (Twilight) skin is like marble”
- Analogy – a more complex statement than simile comparing two things in several aspects instead of one: “Gary Oldman’s Dracula often behaves like an old lady”
- Repetition – you can vampire up your writing style with repetitive pathetic phrases like in the following sentence: “And he found me with you, and he cut his wrist and fed you from it and you were a vampire and have been every night thereafter” (Interview with the Vampire). Even if you don’t want to be pathetic, repetition has a strong psychological effect in every comparative essay.
- Parallelism and antithesis are useful tools for any contrast essay. You may describe two actions or objects you want to contrast or compare in the same order or with the same grammatical structures. Antithesis occurs when parallel actions or objects are contrasted: for example, an interesting antithesis about vampires is that they mostly look young while being centuries old. One can make a parallel between their memories and the jolly thoughts they are supposed to have judging from their young faces.
These techniques may help you compare and contrast essay subjects to boost your writing. For yet better writing assistance, contact Essayteach.com professionals!