A comparative essay is also known as a contrast essay. Writing a comparative essay means that you have to compare and contrast two topics, theories, subjects, figures, etc. The topics can be very similar or vice versa and have nothing in common.
For example, youmight be assigned to compare economic indicators between two countries or two companies, two different political parties, two literary texts or events, etc.
Foundation of a comparative essay
Analyze the topic you need to compare. In writing a comparative essay you have to find grounds of comparison by identifying similarities and differences on the topics. For example, if you have to compare two identical economic indicators of two countries or companies, first you can compare their size, their market share and policy. How is the policy of the two companies or countries differ? What is the reason one of the companies has better developed indicators than the other? In short, when writing a comparative essay you have to outline, or to draw out the similarities and differences of the topics which you are going to discuss.
Preparation for writing a comparative essay
It will be very useful for you to create a list of the similarities and differences you have found out. This list will help you form and write your essay in a well-organized and logical manner.
Thesis in a comparative essay
Once you have outlined and written down (in a plan) the differences and similarities of the chosen topic, you have your contrast; i.e., comparison. Then you should decide which one will outweigh more. If you think that similarities are bigger than the differences, write and prepare your comparative essay in that manner. The best scenario, however, will be if you write your comparative essay on both similarities and differences. This will give your essay a more neutral and sophisticated look and feeling.
A well-developed thesis is the basis of writing a comparative essay.
Structure of a comparative essay
You have to distinguish at least five different paragraphs in your essay. Each paragraph must contain evidence supporting your thesis. One way of writing the comparison essay is to write about two topics simultaneously for each point of comparison and contrast. This is the so-called alternating pattern or point-by point comparison. The other way is to first write about one of the topics and after that proceed with the others. This is called subject-by-subject comparison or block pattern.
Useful tips on how to write a comparative essay
Introduction is very important. In the introduction part grab the reader’s attention; therefore, it is good to have a strong opening sentence. One of the ways to have a strong introduction is to give a short historical review of the topic, explain why and how things have happened; this way the reader will feel more attached to your topic. A good way to grab the reader’s attention is by starting with an anecdote, which is connected to the topic you are writing about. Also, another way to attract attention is to quote a famous person or introduce a surprising element. But the most important thing is to clearly state your thesis in the introduction.
As it comes to the body of your comparative essay, provide evidence and supporting details to prove your thesis. Use clear sentences and proper transitions. In the comparative essay transitions are of extreme importance. For example, transitions for comparison are such words as: like, by analogy, compared to, similar to, similarly, both, too, likewise, etc. Transitions for contrast are: on one hand …on the other hand, but, though, even although, despite, unlike, yet, however, conversely, still, nevertheless, and etc.
In the conclusion you have to restate your thesis, close it and prove it. Here, you can summarize the differences and similarities of the topic.
At the end, proofread your essay and correct it grammatically if necessary. Make sure that the essay is written in a well-organized and logical manner which is easy to read and understand.