I. Compare: similarities
--you only need to choose one; no need to complicate the paper--
II. Why do we use them?
a. to explain similarities or differences; to clarify the subject
b. to evaluate subjects; to establish advantages and disadvantages; to show strengths and weaknesses; to help us choose between two items.
III. You must compare or contrast subjects in same general class or group
a. identify points of comparison/contrast
1. Example: pickup trucks—horsepower, safety, price
2. Would not do any good to compare/contrast pickup trucks and Honda Civics
IV. Your paper should do one of two things
a. Evaluate—you are making a judgment; the reasons why Chevy is better
b. Explain—you are clarifying similarities/differences to make your subject clearer to the reader. Therefore, you choose topics that may not, on the surface, be clear.
1. For example: Don’t bore your reader: It makes very little sense to
contrast/compare college with high school; it’s too obvious.
2. Choose a subject/topic that your reader may not have thought of.
a. For example, that legal prescription drugs are really no different than illegal drugs; that in fact there are no significant differences between the republican and democratic parties on environmental issues;
3. In short, choose an interesting and original topic.
a. Block: used for very brief subjects/essays
1. here you spend all of your time on one subject before moving to another:
a. For example:
--paragraphs one and two: Ford trucks
--paragraphs three and four: Chevy trucks
--conclusion: ties them together
b. Alternating: use for longer, well-developed essays
1. you organize based on the points in your essay, moving from one to the other.
a. For example:
--paragraph one: Ford and Chevy on gas mileage
--paragraph two: Ford and Chevy on safety
--paragraph three: Ford and Chevy on horsepower
--conclusion: tie them together
VI. Choosing a Subject
a. Limit your subject to a manageable size; you do not have to cover every point of difference between Ford and Chevy
b. By choosing a very limited subject, you can develop your comparison completely
c. Choose an interesting topic