Two Methods of Writing Compare and Contrast Essays

Comparing things is more difficult than it seems at first. Therefore, when you are assigned with a comparison/contrast essay, you should prepare for long-term and tiresome work. In this article, we are going to let you know how to deal with your paper and how to save time while completing it.

Two Methods of Writing a Comparison/Contrast Essay

What to Compare?

There is such a wide choice of subjects which can be compared that you might feel bewildered when thinking over this. First of all, you need to decide whether you would like to compare material objects or abstract notions. Then you should choose an approximate direction for the topic. Your essay can concern society, politics, economics, culture or any other sphere. After you have chosen the area, you need to narrow down your topic to something more specific.

You have the ability to compare these points:

  • people (e.g. Kennedy and Lincoln)
  • notions (e.g. socialism and capitalism)
  • animals (e.g. cats and dogs)
  • inanimate subjects (e.g. coffee and tea)

If you are going to compare these things in general, you will have to write a book, not an essay. Compare and contrast essays concern only definite aspects. For example, if you would like to discuss coffee and tea, you can concentrate on their influence on people’s health. So, we recommend that you don’t spend much time on this step and focus more on writing.

Compare or Contrast: Is There a Difference?

Yes, there is a difference between these two verbs. When we are talking about comparing subjects, we usually mean discussing many aspects of these subjects, including those which are similar and those which are different. While we are contrasting things, we don’t look for something in common. Our aim is to find differences between these points.

Before writing, you should ask your teacher what she or he expects from you exactly. Typically, a comparison essay is more preferable because it reveals more sides of the issues than a contrast essay. If you need to complete a contrast essay, you should discuss things which are very similar and difficult to find differences. That way, you’ll show your ability to separate things even by small details.

How to Compare?

After you decided on the topics, you should choose which method you will use to explore the subjects. There are two main methods — point-by-point and block method. It will be easier for you to understand these two ways of comparing the examples.

Point-By-Point Method

Let’s suppose that our topic is the influence of coffee and black tea on people’s health. We need to choose aspects which we would like to reveal. There are usually three of them:

  • Impact on cardiovascular system.
  • Influence on psycho-emotional state.
  • Effect on bones.

If you use point-by-point method, you need to examine the mentioned aspect for two subjects one by one. This means, first of all, you will explore coffee’s influence on the cardiovascular system. Afterwards, you should talk about black tea’s impact on the cardiovascular system. In the second paragraph, you will start from revealing coffee’s influence on the psycho-emotional state and continue with discussing black tea’s effect on the psycho-emotional state. Did you get the idea? We hope you did. We can now move further and explain another method to you.

Block Method

When you would like to use block method, you should also create subaspects for the main aspects. It can look like this:

1) Impact on cardiovascular system.

  • Negative impact
  • Positive impact

2) Influence on psycho-emotional state.

  • Negative impact
  • Positive impact

3) Effect on bones.

  • Negative impact
  • Positive impact

Subaspects are similar for each aspect. Unlike the point-by-point method, you won’t need to discuss coffee and black tea separately. You will need to explore them simultaneously — you won’t need to examine tea first and then coffee. You can compose sentences like this: “Coffee more rarely penetrates into teeth microfissures and colors them than black tea.”

essay compare and contrast

How to Complete an Extended Outline for a Comparison and Contrast Essay?

In the previous sections, we have explained to you what body paragraphs should contain according to the method that you use to compare the subjects. Now, it’s time to find out how to complete an extended outline. Actually writing a detailed outline is half the work because the only thing you will need to do then is to develop each point. That is much faster when you have the scheme. There are two versions of outlines for our comparison/contrast essay that we would like to present you:

Outline #1 (point-by-point method)

Introduction

1) Tea and coffee take a special place in everyday life.
2) Black tea is less harmful for people’s health than coffee.

Body

1) Impact on cardiovascular system

  • Coffee

Details: Coffee can be dangerous for people who suffer hypertonia because caffeine causes the rise of arterial pressure.

  • Black tea

Details: The antioxidants in black tea reduce the appearance of atherosclerosis, which is known to cause heart attacks.

2) Influence on psycho-emotional state

  • Coffee

Details: People who drink coffee usually suffer from superfluous anxiety.

  • Black tea

Details: People who drink tea suffer from depressions less often than those who don’t.

3) Effect on bones

  • Coffee

Details: Coffee colors people’s teeth.

  • Black tea

Details: Black tea helps to prevent osteoporosis.

Conclusion

1) Black tea is less harmful for health overall.
2) Both tea and coffee are harmful when taken excessively.

Outline #2 (block method)

Introduction

1) Tea and coffee take a special place in everyday life.
2) Black tea is less harmful for people’s health than coffee.

Body

1) Impact on cardiovascular system

  • Negative impact

Details: a) Coffee can be dangerous for people who suffer hypertonia because caffeine causes the rise of arterial blood pressure.
b) Black tea can increase the pulse which is wearying for the heart.

  • Positive impact

a) Coffee is helpful for people who suffer from hypotension.
b)The antioxidants in black tea reduce the appearance of atherosclerosis, which is known to cause heart attacks.

2) Influence on psycho-emotional state

  • Negative impact

a) People who drink coffee regularly become addicted to it.
b) People who drink black tea too much suffer from superfluous anxiety.

  • Positive impact

a) Coffee helps to fight depression.
b) People who drink tea suffer from depression less often than those who don’t.

3) Effect on bones

  • Negative impact

a) Coffee colors people’s teeth.
b) Tea colors teeth even more than coffee because black tea’s natural pigments stick to tooth enamel more.

  • Positive impact

a) Coffee helps to prevent osteoporosis.
b) Black tea strengthens tooth enamel.

Conclusion

1) Black tea is less harmful for health overall.
2) Both tea and coffee are harmful when taken excessively.

Hopefully, our outlines will help you to create the plan for your own essay. You should compare and contrast subjects that you would like to be more aware of. That way, it will be more interesting for you to work on your paper.

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