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How to Write a Comparison Essay: Tips And Outline

How to Write a Comparison Essay: Tips And Outline

Published by on 2021-04-22 15:11:56

So you need to write a comparison paper. That’s a rather common assignment to have in high school or college. Usually, such a task is given to test your analytical skills. You have to take at least two items and give them a thorough analysis while comparing them to each other. The variety of subjects can serve as a topic for this assignment. You can pick texts, scientific theories, similar historical events, political leaders, and much more. You have to contrast those subjects by finding similarities and differences.  

Facing an assignment like this one, you have to ask yourself not how to write a comparison paper but how to approach the comparison. Unless you are given direct instructions, you’ll have to come up with themes, main concerns, and the basis for the analysis on your own. You will need to learn how to find the right parameters and how to write a conclusion for a comparative essay. It is not an easy job. 

Fortunately, you can count on some help. So here are some tips on how to do a comparison essay and an outline in a few simple steps. 

What is a comparison essay

Whenever you think about how to write a comparative essay, you better learn about the nature of such assignments first. The purpose of this assignment is to contrast two or more subjects. To do so, a student needs to find the common ground of these subjects, learn about the specifics of both subjects, and offer an analysis of similarities and differences. 

Ponder over the topic 

Don’t rush to start comparison essay writing right away. Take a pause and really think about the topic and your options here. Remember that a topic only gives you an area to work in, but not any specifics on the assignment itself. Hence, you still have to develop a unique approach, come up with the theme and thesis statement. 

Also, never confuse a topic and thesis statement. These are two very different things. A topic defines what your work is about. A thesis statement will define the goal of your work and what you are trying to discover. 

Make a list 

Before wondering how to write a good comparison essay, you have to develop a good understanding of both items of the discussion. In order to do so, you can make a list of similarities and differences between those two items. Often, you will be surprised how much you can discover about things you thought you knew after the closer inspections. 

Overall, any comparison essay example will start with the list of similarities and differences between the two items in the discussion. By making a list, you can also see how much information you can find about each subject and how much of it you can use for your assignment. The finding you find from such a list will also serve you as grounds for your future work.

Find the common grounds

You need to have a clear basis for your work. To do so, you need to develop a clear understanding of your subjects. Knowing them well will help you come up with common grounds these subjects share. Those common grounds are the areas you will be addressing in your essay. 

Give equal attention to both items

Whether you write about books, events, theories, or anything else, you have to give the two items relatively equal attention in your paper. It doesn't matter if you don’t like or don’t agree with one of the items on that list. You still have to include it in your work and stay unbiased in your paper. When it comes to how to write a conclusion for a comparison essay, you should also divide the attention between each subject equally, not prioritizing one item over the other. 

Choose the right structure

You can have more than one comparative essay format. In fact, you should consider more than format before you start your paper. See which structure and narrative can fit best to your topic and writing style. 

One way you can do it to structure your work around the similarities and differences of the given subjects. It is a rather common and simple way of how to write a comparative analysis essay. All you have to do is to draw a general comparison of the two items. 

The other way of doing it is by picking several parameters of those subjects and analyzing them. 

For instance, if you chose to write about historical events such as two world wars, you have to narrow down your topic anyway. You can pick several parameters, not too many, though, to make the comparison precise and on-point. You can compare the technological progress that happened during the peacetime between wars by analyzing weapons during World War 1 and World War 2. Thus, your parameters could be heavy machinery, infantry weapons, and navy. 

This is the stage where knowing how to write an outline can really come in handy. 

How to outline?

An outline is an important stage of any writing work. It is the method to organize your future paper in a coherent and effective way. 

  • Thesis statement

The first thing that should go to your outline is the thesis statement. Your entire work must always center around the thesis statement that you normally put in the last part of the introduction. Once you have the thesis in, start the first paragraph. 

  • Main Body

The first paragraph and any following paragraphs of the main body must contain the core sentence. This is the sentence that carries the main idea of the paragraph. Next, you put down the supporting sentence. Its goal is either to elaborate on the main idea or to provide arguments in its defense. In case it is necessary, you can offer more than one supporting argument into the paragraph. End the outline with a brief conclusion of the paragraph’s main point. You should outline as many paragraphs in the main body as many major points you have to discuss. 

  • Conclusion

Once you have finished with the main body, move on to the conclusion section. Now, you will never worry about how to conclude a comparative essay if you know how to outline it. After all, a good comparison essay conclusion must contain your key points throughout the text, which you should address and relate to the thesis statement. All of these elements must be present in the outline, which makes your job so much easier. 
  • Structure and formatting 

You can also experiment with the structure in your outline. See which structure and methods of contrast fit best to the topic you have chosen. The goal of your paper is to reveal the essence of both items you are analyzing. So try to develop at least two versions of your future outline to see which one of them can do a better job. 

Include citations in your outline if it helps visualize your future work better. Any compare and contrast essay apa format example can help you adjust your formatting and citation styles if you need it.