Analyzing and Discussing the Similarities and Differences Between Two Things
You will discuss the similarities, differences or both of two people, places, things, or experiences
lBefore you can compare and contrast two things, you must establish that they have enough similarities to warrant a comparison.
lIf the two things have nothing in common, you would point out only differences, which are already obvious to your audience.
lIf the two things have very few differences and you focus on similarities, you would be stating the obvious.
Purpose: lPresent clear, accurate information about both subjects (the two things you are comparing), calling attention to features that are the same or similar and features that are different.
lTry to discuss both similarities and differences while emphasizing one or the other.
Choosing Your Emphasis
lDifferences may be more significant than the similarities such as when you are comparing a CD player to an MP3 player—the differences may help you decide which to buy.
lSimilarities may be just as important as differences, like if you are transferring to a different college, it would be important to find one that has similar requirements to the one you are attending
lYou may emphasize similarities, differences, or both.
lYou may write one paragraph, but essentially you are covering two topics, so you will probably end up writing two or three paragraphs.
Prewriting for Comparison/Contrast
lDividing and Listing works well:
1.Divide piece of paper in half lengthwise.
2.Write one subject on one side of paper
3.Write other subject on other side of paper.
4.Brainstorm with everything you can think of about one subject and write in list form under subject.
5.Try to find matching points for second subject
6.Once you have a page of listing, come up with three areas that you will discuss for both subjects.
7.Those three points of discussion will then be referred to as your points.
Topic Sentences for Comparison Contrast
Once you have divided and listed and come up with three points and decided on emphasis, you are ready to create a topic sentence
lTwo subjects (what you are comparing and contrasting)
lThree points (areas you are discussing)
lEmphasis (whether subjects are overall similar, different, or equal.
Evaluating Topic Sentences
1.Although Norma and Irma are twins, they’re not alike.
2.Although Norma and Irma are twins, their personalities and interests are very different.
3.Although the clarinet and saxophone are similar woodwind instruments, their different shapes and sizes create different sounds.
4.St. Bernards are a much larger breed of dogs than poodles.
5.Cordless phones are more convenient than regular phones, but they generally cost more and often have poorer quality sound.
6. Women’s fashions of the 1990’s have brought back several styles from the 1960’s
7.My two favorite restaurants are Angelo’s and Mr. J’s
8.Buy your child a hamster because hamsters are much more interesting than other pets.
9.Although IBM computers are popular for business use, they Macintosh is easier and more fun for home users to learn.
10.Type A personalities are generally aggressive and forceful, whereas Type B personalities are calmer and more relaxed.
11.Many Japanese customs and American customs are different.
12.The American bald eagle can be compared with many other endangered species whose environment is threatened.
Create your Own Topic Sentence
lUsing your dividing and listing activity as a guide, choose three areas that you will discuss for both of your subjects.
lDecide whether you want to emphasize differences, similarities, or both.
lPut all together in a creative topic sentence.
lRemember: you must have two subjects, three points, and emphasis
Organization for Comparison Contrast
lTwo ways to organize comparison/contrast.
lOne is block or subject-by-subject format—Langan refers to this method as One Side at a Time
In block format, you organize your paragraph according to the two subject.
1. Discuss one subject and all areas of discussion.
2. Write transitional sentence summing up one subject and preparing readers to read about second subject.
3. Discuss second subject and areas of discussion.
Outline Using Block Format
I.Topic Sentence: Dogs and cats differ in the areas of personality, maintenance, and size.
IV. Conclusion-sum up main points, and write concluding thought.
Important to Remember for Block
lDiscuss SAME points for both subjects.
lDo not mention second subject in first part of paragraph.
lMention first subject when discussing second subject only in the form of transitional phrases.
lDo not introduce new information about first subject when discussing second subject
lMay include both similarities and differences, but you must be clear what you are discussing through transitional phrases
lTo show difference: Unlike, whereas, dissimilar to, in contrast, different from, on the other hand (only if you use “on the one hand” first), although, even though, one difference, another difference, instead
lTo show similarity: similar to, similarly, likewise, like, both, the same as, also.
Point by Point Organization
Organize paragraph according to points of discussion.
lDiscuss one point and how it applies to both subjects.
lDiscuss second point and subjects.
lDiscuss third point and subjects.
Outline Using Point-by-Point Organization
I.Topic Sentence—Dogs and Cats Differ in the areas of personality, maintenance, and size.
Things to Remember Using Point-by-Point
lNot only will you use transitional words when moving from point to point, but also when moving from one subject to another while discussing that point.
lIn paragraph, discuss subjects and points in the same order that they appear in topic sentence