How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay. Compare and contrast essays are often assigned to students because they promote critical thinking, analytical reasoning and organized writing. A compare and contrast essay should look at a subject in a new way, with fresh insight, using the similarities and the differences compare and contrast essay block method two topics or two perspectives on one topic. Understand the structure of a compare and contrast essay.
Most compare and contrast essays bring one or both subjects into sharper focus, lead to a new way of viewing something, or show that one subject is better than the other. To compare and contrast effectively, your essay should make new connections or distinctions between two subjects. If your instructor has already given you your topic, you may be contrasting two things that could go into the same category, but are different from each other. For example, cats and dogs are both animals, but they are different from each other in many ways. The pro-life view on abortion, and the pro-choice view on abortion could both fit under the category of a human rights issue, but they are two very distinct views or positions. Make a list of similarities and differences.
Take out a piece of paper or start a new document on a word processor. Create two columns for each subject for the similarities and and two columns for each subject for the differences between each subject. For example: Two separate lists for the similarities between cats and dogs, and the differences between cats and dogs. Try to write as many similarities and differences you can think of. For example: cats and dogs are both domesticated animals. But cats have different temperaments than dogs, and cats are known to be indoor pets, while dogs tend to need to be walked and played with outside on a constant basis.
Think about at least one or two meaningful differences and similarities between the two subjects. For example, a compare and contrast between abortion rights could lead to meaningful notes like: The pro-life stance views fetuses are full formed humans and are often based in religious beliefs, while the pro-choice stance views fetuses as undeveloped eggs and are often based in scientific beliefs. For example, for the abortion rights topic, you may choose categories like: legal details, women’s rights, scientific stance, and religious beliefs. You can then separate each item on the list into these categories. Create a Venn diagram of your topic. Take out a piece of paper and draw two large overlapping circles, one for each subject or item. In the center area where the two circles overlap, list the traits the two items have in common.
Assign each of the areas that do not overlap. In these areas, you can list the traits that make the subjects different. Be specific when listing words or phrases for each subject or each perspective on the same subject. Once you are done listing 10-15 differences and 5-7 similarities, circle the most important items in each list. Then, match at least three opposites from one circle to the other circle. Review the list and look for three different categories that describe these traits. One possible category could then be the debate of the life of a fetus.