How To Write A Comparison Essay Transcript

Transcript of Comparison Essay

Budget your time!
COMPARE and CONTRAST—Give relevant and DIRECT Comparisons
This is an academic essay – use appropriate language.
Do not use personal pronouns “I”, “you”, or “me”.
Make sure that your body paragraphs connect to your thesis.
Consequently, while the Egyptians considered eternity with the gods desirable, the Mesopotamians hoped there wasn’t an eternity.
Organization Options:
Example: Skittles and M&M’s?
Compare: to explain similarities
Contrast: to explain differences
Analysis – why
The regularity of the flooding of the Nile created a positive attitude towards the gods among the Egyptians. On the other hand, because Mesopotamia’s rivers flooded violently and unpredictably, the people considered the gods to be fickle. 
5. Analyzes at least one reason for a similarity or difference identified in a direct comparison
Must link directly
Must be comparisons that make sense!
Eg: While Egyptians made preparations for an afterlife, Mesopotamians tended to not consider an afterlife important or desirable.
4. Makes at least one or two relevant, direct comparisons between or among societies (1pt)
Historical evidence refers to specific facts; “pieces of evidence”
Do not include your opinion or value judgments
3. Substantiates thesis with appropriate historical evidence. (1 or 2 pts)
Can be more that one sentence
Should be a closed thesis - Answer to Q
Should include some analysis
Should address time period
Should address similarities AND differences
1. Has acceptable thesis (1pt)
(addresses comparison of the
issues or themes specified)
Which way might you organize an essay about these Ancient Civilizations?
P1: Introduction
P2: Texture and shape
P3: Color
P4: Flavor
P5: Conclusion
P1: Introduction
P2: All about Skittles
P3: All about M&M’s
P4: Similarities/Differences
P5: Conclusion
Compare/Contrast Essays
Be SPECIFIC (don’t be afraid to write facts/details)
Use proper GRAMMAR
Use PARAGRAPHS to organize your topics
More Reminders
Answer the question, not something else
Address similarities and differences
Create logical analytical organization – usually by categories, not the societies being compared
2. Addresses all parts of the question, though not necessarily evenly or thoroughly.
(1 or 2 pts)
The Irrelevant (who cares)
The Egyptians were in North Africa while the Aryans were in India.
Judaism is older than Christianity
The Non-Comparison (I’d like some more please)
The Shang invented bronze while the Olmec did not
The Non-Direct (What are you talking about?)
The Mesopotamians invented the wheel while the toilet was invented in the Indus Valley.
The Obvious (Do I look like an idiot?)
Hinduism and Islam are both religions
Comparisons to Avoid
Signal words and phrases that show contrasts
 on the other hand
 on the contrary
 more (than)
Comparative forms (er)
in the same way
in comparison
at the same time
in the same manner
analogous to
Signal words and phrases that show similarities
Hopefully this information will help prevent long-delays at the candy counter where you deliberate and debate which candy to choose. It all comes down to flavor (fruity vs. chocolaty) and texture (gummy vs. crunchy/creamy). Of course, the beauty of our world is that we HAVE such diversity in candy choices. Wouldn’t it be boring if all candy were the same? Lots of choices and the freedom to make those choices for ourselves is part of what makes life worth living!
The essay ends with a conclusion that sums up the “so what?” and goes beyond with deeper insights about why this information is important.
Round, sweet, colorful candies. Skittles and M&M’s are some of our all-time favorites! But what if you have to choose one or the other? Tough choice, right? Though Skittles and M&M’s may look similar in terms of size, shape, and color, there are some key differences that one should consider when making candy purchase decisions. What most people care about in candy is the taste and texture, and in both of these important aspects, Skittles and M&M’s are very different.
The essay begins with an introduction that sparks the reader’s interest and clearly sets the stage for the rest of the piece.
Phrases that Show Causation
One reason that explains why…was…
One cause of…was…
One effect of…
Because of…
As a result…

The separating of any material or abstract entity into its constituent elements.

So, what does that mean to you?

You need to analyze/explain WHY these societies are similar… or different.

Think about it….its very simple, but not always easy to spot.

It’s a comparison of two things in statement form.

So what is so hard? The two must be CONNECTED by the words you use – cannot be two separate statements.

What are Direct Comparisons?

Not addressing the entire prompt.

Similar but not different.

Rambling or Losing focus.

Giving up.
Never, never, never give up!
General Problems for all essays
Focus on the essentials, be sure you’re not wasting time adding unrelated details
Trim or cut the conclusion (Beware: this means you only get the one shot at the thesis point)
Learn from this mistake, and plan better for next time.
What do I do if I know I am going to run out of time?

Example A:
“In Mesopotamia, women had very few legal rights. In Egypt, women had the right to own property, and to propose a marriage or divorce.”
How are Direct Comparisons written?

Example A:
“The British ruled their empire through local intermediaries. France created a bureaucracy staffed by French soldiers and civilian servants.”
How are Direct Comparisons written?

Describing the two societies or events separately (w/ plenty of evidence) but never comparing and/or contrasting.
You will not earn any points for describing.

Confusing dates, people, and places

Running out of time and not finishing

Common Problems
The Question

Comparison means to say what is the same and what is different.

If it says “at LEAST one” … if you know your stuff, you should try THREE.
Rule of 3!

Analyze means to say why.
Why is there a difference or similarity?
Core Rubric


Example #1

This is not a good idea.

What is bad about this example?

ANSWER: Where are you going to compare and contrast?

Formatting the Essay

You only get points for pointing out the similarities and differences.

Organization is very important!

Consider the following examples……




…will ALWAYS require BOTH Similarities AND Differences
Whether it says:
“Compare and Contrast”
“Similarities and Differences”
Or even just “compare A and B”
“Compare” means “BOTH similarities and differences” for APWH

Example #2

This requires a lot of prewriting.
If you have time, it can work for you. but do not use very broad categories, and don’t get lost in the details
With this format, you are setting yourself up to need THREE sim’s, and THREE diff’s



EXPLAIN THE REASON for a similarity / difference… WHY?!?
Make AT LEAST two attempts at the analysis point.
CUE words:
because, …led to, … caused by,
affected, impacted, came from,
was due to, in order to

Follow up your topic sentence with BECAUSE… and explain a reason WHY they were similar or different

Attempt AT LEAST 2 relevant, specific, direct comparisons.
Must have connecting phrase to show comparison
CUE words:
Also, as well, both, shared, in addition, like, similarly, too, however, on the other hand, conversely, differently, in contrast, either, neither, in opposition to, unlikely, in contrast to, unlike, while…
Just make Parallel / Indirect Comparisons
ie. This happened here. This happened there.
Direct Comparison
Core Rubric

Notice, there are only 5 aspects of your essay that are graded.

TH – Thesis

ATQ – Addresses all parts of The Question

EV – Evidence (9 for 2 points, 6 for 1 point)

DC – Direct Comparison

A – Analysis of a Direct Comparison

These directions will be the same for EVERY comparative essay.

(Suggested planning and writing time – 35 minutes)
Percent of Section score – 33 1/3

Directions: You are to answer the following question.
You should spend 5 minutes organizing or outlining your essay.

Write an essay that:

Has a relevant thesis and supports that thesis with appropriate historical evidence.
Addresses all parts of the question.
Makes direct relevant comparisons.
Analyzes relevant reasons for similarities and differences.

Address BOTH similarities AND differences

Address only one and not the other

Addresses the Question


Give 9 specific evidence (2 pts)
Give 6 specific evidence(1 pt)

Evidence includes any support, facts, dates, examples, quotes, etc. that helps to prove the topic sentence (and therefore your thesis)
Evidence must be RELEVANT and ACCURATE

Follow the “Rule of 3”
3 solid topic sentences (SIM & DIF)
3 Evidence supporting each topic sentence
VAGUE TIME: Back in the day, long ago

VAGUE SUBJECTS: The people (who?), they/them/their (who?)

VAGUE!! Things, Lots / A lot, Stuff, Very, Really, Huge, Many, Aspects

ABSOLUTES: Never, Always, Only

NO 1st PERSON: I, I think, I’m going to tell you, In this essay I will



Address all theme(s)/topic(s) asked about in the question
State the two societies being compared by name.
State the time period given
Include at least 1 sim & 1 diff
be in first or last ¶

(A + B) were similar and different (not clear which is which)

Start with While/Although/Despite… A + B were similar, A was THIS, but B was THAT].

Example B:
Women in Mesopotamia had fewer legal rights than women in Egypt. For example women in Egypt were allowed to own property, but in Mesopotamia, only men could own property.
Do you notice the difference?
Example B:
“The British ruled their empire through local intermediaries, where as France created a bureaucracy staffed by French soldiers and civilian servants.”
Do you notice the difference?

Full transcript

When we write a comparison essay, we often use these two types of diagrams.

On the left side,

we have what's called a Venn diagram, two circles that intersect each other.

You would put your two topics at the top of the diagram,

and then you would write all of the things that describe the first topic in the first

circle, and all of the things that go with the second topic in the second circle.

Anything that is different about topic A and topic B,

you write in the outside of the circles, and then when they intersect,

anything that they both have in common you would write here in the middle.

Another type of diagram you can use for

preparing you compare or contrast essay is just a T chart.

Looks like a T, right?

Here's an example of a Venn diagram.

This one is about two kinds of fish.

You may not have heard of this kind of fish before.

I think this is the kind of fish that Nemo is.

Remember the movie Finding Nemo?

This is the kind of fish he is.

And you see here, it says orange and white stripes.

The other kind of fish is a salmon, and

all of these details here describe only the salmon.

All of these details here describe only this kind of fish.

I don't even know how to say it, anemone I think.

Anemonefish, that's it.

And then all of the details here in the middle are shared characteristics.

Shared by this fish and this fish.

This is a nice example of how you use a Venn Diagram.

Remember, we already said that the thesis statement

is the most important sentence in your introduction.

And it really is important for the whole essay,

because your thesis tells what the essay is going to be about.

When you're writing a compare and contrast essay, you have to make sure that you

mention the two things that you're going to be comparing or contrasting.

And then you also need to use language that

shows your reader whether you are comparing or contrasting.

These are two patterns that you can use when writing a compare or contrast essay.

I'm showing you both of them here, but in the essay that you're going to write,

you're going to use the point-by-point method.

I'll just quickly show you the block method, but

it's really inferior to the point-by-point.

It's very basic.

In the block method, you would have just two body paragraphs.

The first body paragraph would be all about topic A.

The second body paragraph would be all about topic B.

And you don't mix the two topics.

It's almost like having two separate essays.

This is not really a good strategy to use.

This is a stronger method, and this is the one that you are required to use for

this essay that you'll be writing, your first essay.

In the point-by-point method, your body paragraphs talk about each topic.

The first body paragraph you would talk about some point regarding topic A and

topic B, showing how they are similar or how they are different.

Your next body paragraph would show another similarity,

or another difference, and again you talk about both topics.

And your third body paragraph would talk about another point

that's either shared or different between the two topics.

Before you start writing, it's a good idea to make an outline.

Remember, that for your essay, you're going to write a point-by-point method.

You should try to make some kind of outline similar

to the point-by-point outline that I just showed you with topics A and B.

When you see your assignment, and you'll see the assignment in the assignments area

of the course page, you need to start by making a Venn diagram or a T chart.

This will help you get your ideas organized.

Then you're going to decide whether you're writing about similarities or differences.

And in each body paragraph, you will have one similarity or one difference.

Now don't get confused about that.

You won't write about both in your essay.

You'll only choose similarities and you'll write about three similarities, or

you'll only choose differences and then you would write about three differences.

But each body paragraph will have one of these.

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