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How To Start A Compare And Contrast Essay: Guidelines For Dummies

Compare and contrast essays are something you will definitely face during school. They are quite easy to write, since all you have to do is literally compare and contrast two things, usually texts. However, this kind of writing requires following a certain structure. Without that, your essay will get a poor grade. Another thing to pay attention to is the contents, of course. All this can be intimidating if you have never written such a text before. That’s why you should check out the list of guidelines for writing a compare and contrast essay below:

  1. Read up on the two subjects being compared.
  2. You cannot produce a great text, if you have no or little idea about the things under consideration. You need to study them carefully, and take mental or physical notes. This will help you a lot when you start working on your assignment.

  3. List the main similarities and differences in your subjects.
  4. This is where you use those notes you’ve taken. Draw two tables with two columns each: one for what the subjects share and one for how they differ. You can make a long and detailed list for each work, or you can simply write down several key words, depending on how your thought process works. Brainstorming can be a very good idea during this stage. Put anything you can think of in your tables, no matter how weird or unimportant it seems to you.

  5. Choose key points and base your argument on them.
  6. Look at your tables and pick the characteristics that define each subject the best, and can be compared and contrasted effectively. Look for something that will help your essay be strong.

  7. Write a sketch.
  8. A good way to start writing is to mark the main structural points of your text. You will have to follow a certain pattern: introduction, 4 body paragraphs, and conclusion. In the main body of your essay you can take several approaches: dedicate two passages to contrasting and the other two to comparing, or mix them up.

  9. Add details.
  10. At this stage all you have to do is support your key points with arguments and facts. You have to make your instructor believe you, so do your best to be convincing: find bright examples, sound confident, or add other people’s opinion.

  11. Proofread.
  12. Check your completed assignment for spelling, grammar, and style mistakes. Your grade depends not only on what you write, but also on how you do so.


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