Writing a Comparative Analysis Essay

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While the prospect of a comparative essay assignment might seem daunting, it is important you realize at the outset that this type of writing expects you to do something that virtually everyone already does on a regular basis, which is comparing two different objects or ideas and contrasting them. This genre of essay is popular in a lot of colleges because most courses will generally look at more than one idea, text or theory and it is useful to be able to examine and describe the likenesses and differences in various objects or concepts.    

When it comes to knowing how to write a compare and contrast essay, there are several different ways to structure your work. You may well critique one topic against another or you could try and demonstrate that two objects are considerably different even though they may have a lot of similarities. While this type of essay can appear easy, it is crucial not to forget that the aim is to develop a purposeful argument or conclusion around the topics being examined. 

Ideas for a Comparative Essay

  • Select a broad theme, with which to relate your topics. Most likely, you will include this in your essay’s introduction. You will see from virtually all compare and contrast essay examples how this can be used to establish a coherent argument and the bigger picture as to why the two items are the subject of comparison. You might, for instance, decide to compare Aristotle and Pluto by looking at ways where their philosophies were similar but, ultimately, quite different.
  • State clearly why your topics have been selected for comparison. You should mention this at the start of your essay to let readers know why they should be interested in your work. Your argument can also be enhanced by emphasizing the importance of the relationship between your two topics. Additionally, it can help to provide your readers with a reminder in the conclusion as to why you are comparing these two particular topics.
  • When crafting your thesis statement you should be as specific as you can because this statement will serve as a type of roadmap to help your readers navigate through your entire paper. You will need to select a sort of ‘master’ idea that draws the two topics together, which you can learn more about by referring to any well-written compare and contrast essay example. However, very possibly, the most essential role of a thesis statement in a comparative essay is to establish a logical argument because this will let you address the “what does it matter” question. Furthermore, it will add meaning to your analysis so that it is not merely a list of likeness and differences.
  • Use the language of comparison, most particularly in the thesis statement. Examples of words that are used for comparison include also, similarly, likewise, moreover. Examples of words that are used for contrasting include however, rather, in contrast, conversely.
  • How you organize the topics in a compare contrast essay is crucial. While there is no correct way, it might be that you decide to take one topic first and present all the information you have on that. Then you would provide all the information you have on the other topic and present your comparison at the end. A second option is to present all the comparable points for both topics in an alternating manner and write a conclusion that discusses the relationship between the topics.
  • It is important not to forget to connect all your key points back to the thesis statement. This means ensuring your comparison points and evidence are related to the thesis. While there may be several ways to compare and contrast two or more topics or concepts, you should only provide evidence in the body paragraphs that is linked in some way to your thesis statement. It is easy to overlook this when you are focused on describing all the similarities and differences.
  • When you come to writing a conclusion for your comparative essay, make sure you provide a brief summary of the key points in the body text. Remember, too, to address the “what does it matter” question because this will provide your readers with a final reminder about the comparison and how all the evidence blends together.