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Week 8: Comparison Contrast Essay


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For Composition I.

For Composition I.

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  • 1. Week 8 Connections
    Deb Sturgess
  • 2. Due Today
    • Process Analysis Essay
    • 3. Exercises from pp. 157 & 159 of Strategies for Successful Writing
    • 4. Submit by email to or (unless you have made other arrangements.)
  • Grammar Girl
    Click the link, then click Play to listen to “How to Use Italics.”
    Is this building
  • 5. According to APA . . .
    Referring to one of GG’s “consult your style guide” suggestions: Use italics when using a word linguistically, which means when you are talking about the word itself.
    For example: Avoid using the second person you in formal academic papers, such as the comparison and contrast essay.
  • 6. The Next Big Thing
    The Comparison and Contrast Essay
  • 7. Comparison vs. Contrast
    Comparison = pointing out similarities
    Contrast = pointing out differences
    Sometimes, compare is used to mean both. If you encounter this on an assignment or test, it’s a good idea to ask for clarification.
    Watch this video about how to write a thesis statement for and how to organize a comparison and contrast essay.
  • 8. The Thesis Statement
    Should name the two things to be compared and/or contrasted.
    Should indicate the purpose – to compare and/or contrast those two things.
    Should give a idea of relationship so the comparison/contrast makes sense to the audience.
    Should give a roadmap of the characteristics to be compared/contrasted by listing them.
  • 9. Examples
    While both make excellent pets, dogs and cats usually require differences in human interaction, exercise and training.
    Although Pride and Prejudice and Zombies adds the undead to Austen’s classic romance, author Seth Grahame-Smith retains most of the original novel’s plot, characters and dialogue.
    Water is water, but swimming in an ocean and taking dip in a lake differ in the effects of the water on skin and clothing, in potential hazards to swimmers and in the level of swimming expertise required.
  • 10. Block Organization
    Body Paragraph 1
    or Section 1
    Dogs as Pets
    Body Paragraph 2
    or Section 2
    Cats as Pets
    Demand human interaction.
    Need regular outdoor exercise.
    Can be obedience trained.
    Often act as if they do not need humans.
    Do not need to go outside for exercise.
    Train their owners.
  • 11. Point by Point Organization
    Body Paragraph 1 or Section 1 – Human interaction needs of dogs and of cats.
    Body Paragraph 2 or Section 2 – Exercise needs of dogs and of cats.
    Body Paragraph 3 or Section 3 – Training potential of dogs and of cats.
  • 12. Be Consistent
    • Always discuss the two things in the same order in the thesis statement and in the body of the essay.
    • 13. If dogs come first in your thesis statement, discuss dogs first in the body of the essay whether you are using point by point or block organization.
  • Organizing a Paragraph
    Follow the instructions on the
    Comparison and Contrast Paragraph handout.
    This is one paragraph out of a student essay that is organized point by point. Other points include exercise and spending money.
    You may work in pairs. Then discuss your arrangement with the class
    Can the class as a whole agree on a logical arrangement?
    Spend about 30 minutes total on this exercise.
  • 14. Idea Generation
    Freewrite on each of the two things without trying to organize as you go. Write what comes to mind about each for 10 minutes.
    Brainstorm a two lists of characteristics – one for each thing.
    Draw a Venn diagram (on the next slide).
  • 15. Venn Diagram: Dogs & Cats
    Dogs only
    Cats only
    Few breeds need a groomer
    Some require expensive grooming
    Must have
    Daily care
    Cost $
    to care for
    Can be left alone for longer
    periods of time
    Require annual
    Vet care
    Need to go outside several
    times a day
    Use a litter box
    Need regular brushing/combing
    Need to be around people
    Usually resist obedience training
    Can be trained to obey commands
    Like people on the cat’s terms
    Brainstorm ideas & place them in the diagram.
  • 16. Select Focus & Main Points
    Few breeds need a groomer
    Some require expensive grooming
    Must have
    Daily care
    Cost $
    to care for
    Can be left alone for longer
    periods of time
    Require annual
    Vet care
    Need to go outside several
    times a day
    Use a litter box – get exercise with toys
    Need regular feeding & grooming
    Need to be around people
    Usually resist obedience training
    Can be trained to obey commands
    Like people on the cat’s terms
    Yellow = Focus on Contrasts
    Red= Focus on Similarities
  • 17. Spend Equal Time on Main Points
  • 18. Sometimes, unexpected pairings work because they create an analogy
    Analogy: resemblance in some particulars
    between things otherwise unlike.
    (Merriam-Webster Online, 2009)
  • 19. An Example of An Analogy
    Click here to see a clip from an episode of BBC’s Top Gear:
    You will have to write a response.
  • 20. Respond in Writing
    Why does this comparison/contrast work?
    How does the satirical tone help?
    Would it have worked if the piece had been serious?
    Write for 10-15 minutes.
  • 21. Have you taken a break yet?
    Now is a good time.
  • 22. Does your writing flow?
    Transitions make smooth sailing for your audience.
    Use them between paragraphs and between sentences.
    Next are some that often help when comparing and contrasting.
  • 23. Cue Words
    Help signal your intentions in the thesis statement and in topic sentences.
    Keep your readers on track.
    Provide logical links within and between paragraphs.
    Help with coherence or “flow.”
  • 24. Examples of Cue Words
    Similar to
    In the same way
    Compared to
    In contrast
    At the same time
    In like manner
    Contrasted with
    On the contrary
    Even though
    On the one hand
    On the other hand
  • 25. Your Comparison/Contrast Essay
    Compare and contrast two things that are equal on some level.
    Length: 2-3 pages, typed, double-spaced in 12 point Arial or Times New Roman and in APA format.
    No outside sources. Choose a topic you know well.
    Use 3rd person.
    Use formal, academic diction (level of language).
  • 26. Which Pairs Are Comparable?
    Photography & painting
    Playing football & writing an essay
    Playing Monopoly & investing in the stock market
    Your best friend & Jake Gyllenhall
    Superman & Wolverine
    Raising cows & rearing children
    Knitting & cleaning the garage
    Reading for pleasure & reading for class
    Your mother and her sister
    Survivor & Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
    Auto repair & CPR
    Shopping in stores & shopping online
  • 27. Idea Generation 007 Style
    Form groups of 3-4 people you don’t usually work with. (Everyone must stand up and move!)
    Appoint 2 scribes to alternate writing down ideas on separate papers so the group can capture ideas faster.
    Appoint someone else to be “007.”
    The class should choose a clock watcher, if needed.
  • 28. Brainstorming& Spying
    List as many pairs of things that could be compared and contrasted as you can think of in 10 minutes. Do not discuss any of the ideas until 10 minutes are up. Just get them on paper.
    After 5 minutes, your 007 should get up and move around for 2 minutes to “spy” on other groups and gather intelligence (ideas).
    After 2 minutes, your 007 must return to report the ideas obtained on the mission.
    That leaves your group 3 minutes to bounce new ideas off of the intelligence your spy has gathered.
  • 29. Debriefing
    After 10 minutes, appoint someone to write ideas on the board
    Each group should appoint a reporter who will share its ideas.
    Each group should share one pairing of ideas without repeating any that have been mentioned before until all ideas are listed on the board.
    Add new ideas as they occur.
  • 30. Peer Review Next Week
    Bring 2 Paper Copies
    to Class
  • 31. RevisedComparison and Contrast Essay
    Due in 2 Weeks
  • 32. Now it’s time to get started!
    Use your time well.