A more complex thesis will usually include both similarities and differences.
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Here are examples of the two main cases:. Although Darwin and Lamarck came to different conclusions about whether acquired traits can be inherited, they shared the key distinction of recognizing that species evolve over time. Note that the French and Russian revolutions A and B may be dissimilar rather than similar in the way they affected innovation in any of the three areas of technology, military strategy, and administration.
To use the alternating method, you just need to have something noteworthy to say about both A and B in each area. Finally, you may certainly include more than three pairs of alternating points: allow the subject matter to determine the number of points you choose to develop in the body of your essay.
Writing Tips for Compare and Contrast Essay: Block Method
When do I use the alternating method? Professors often like the alternating system because it generally does a better job of highlighting similarities and differences by juxtaposing your points about A and B. It also tends to produce a more tightly integrated and analytical paper.
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Consider the alternating method if you are able to identify clearly related points between A and B. Otherwise, if you attempt to impose the alternating method, you will probably find it counterproductive. For example, a comparative essay using the block method on the French and Russian revolutions would address the French Revolution in the first half of the essay and the Russian Revolution in the second half. If you choose the block method, however, do not simply append two disconnected essays to an introductory thesis. A compare and contrast essay examines two or more subjects by comparing their similarities and contrasting their differences.
Compare and contrast is high on Bloom's Taxonomy of critical reasoning and is associated with a complexity level where students break down ideas into simpler parts in order to see how the parts relate.
For example, in order to break down ideas for comparison or to contrast in an essay, students may need to categorize, classify, dissect, differentiate, distinguish, list, and simplify. First, students need to select pick comparable objects, people, or ideas and list their individual characteristics. A graphic organizer, like a Venn Diagram or top hat chart, is helpful in preparing to write the essay:. The block method for writing a compare and contrast essay can be illustrated using points A, B, and C to signify individual characteristics or critical attributes.
This block format allows the students to compare and contrast subjects, for example, dogs vs. The body paragraph s after the introduction describe characteristic s of the first subject. For example,.
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The benefit of this format is that it allows the writer to concentrate on one characteristic at a time. The drawback of this format is that there may be some imbalance in treating the subjects to the same rigor of comparing or contrasting.
Compare or Contrast Essay
The conclusion is in the final paragraph, the student should provide a general summary of the most important similarities and differences. The student could end with a personal statement, a prediction, or another snappy clincher.
Just as in the block paragraph essay format, students should begin the point by point format by catching the reader's interest. This might be a reason people find the topic interesting or important, or it might be a statement about something the two subjects have in common. This format does help students to concentrate on the characteristic s which may be may result in a more equitable comparison or contrast of the subjects within each body paragraph s. Regardless of the format of the essay, block or point-by-point, the student must use transition words or phrases to compare or contrast one subject to another.
This will help the essay sound connected and not sound disjointed. In the final concluding paragraph, the student should give a general summary of the most important similarities and differences. The student could also end with a personal statement, a prediction, or another snappy clincher.
2 Formats for Use in the Compare-Contrast Essay
The text structure of compare and contrast is so critical to literacy that it is referenced in several of the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards in both reading and writing for K grade levels. The reading standards are then referenced in the grade level writing standards, for example, as in W7. Being able to identify and create compare and contrast text structures is one of the more important critical reasoning skills that students should develop, regardless of grade level.
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