A compare and contrast essay is often taken up first by students as it is an easy essay to write. The basic theory is to select two elements that describe a common topic with a different viewpoint. You can then compare and contrast between the two with the help of well placed arguments, expressing your viewpoint. If you have prepared well and have included well-researched information, the essay would be easy to understand and would be of great interest to readers. The only precaution one should take while choosing a topic is to ensure that the two elements are not totally different from each other. In other words, each element should provide a debatable viewpoint on the topic which could be argued upon. You could adapt to some of the steps listed for better results.
- Besides holding different viewpoints on a common topic, the two elements you would use should fit into the larger scheme of things. The whole essay should have a conclusion that incorporates your viewpoint on the subject clearly enough for readers to agree to it. Start by using a compare and contrast essay outline that incorporates these element along with other content.
- Use techniques that are common practice like comparing in tandem or alternately. Let us take the case of William Shakespeare’s plays Macbeth and Othello. Both are tragedies that Shakespeare presents using techniques that are similar yet different. The exercise of writing a compare and contrast essay on both the plays could revolve around those techniques used. You could list out variations that could occur and support one line of argument.
- List out the pros and cons about the elements you choose for compare and contrast essays. When you do so, you will come across many other points that you could use in the line of argument. Once you have your list, elaborate on the points in the body of the essay. Again, you can do so by simultaneously comparing both the elements that talk about the topic, or you could do so by explaining one set of pros and cons about one element and then shift to the other.
- Learn to use existing information from the text you have chosen and then take reference from another source. How to write a compare and contrast essay is not really difficult. You would have a text book or some other source of information from which you choose compare and contrast essay topics. You should try and base your argument on this text. As you proceed with writing the essay, it might be necessary to get further reference. Search the internet or your school library. This would be your secondary source of information.
- Ensure that you do not lose focus or move away from the thesis statement at any stage. Edit your essay and check to see if all the points included are relevant and add value to the essay. A safe method is to refer to a sample compare and contrast essay. Look for methods used in aligning text, and how the points add meaning to the line of argument with justification. See how the body of the essay expands through the use of secondary information. Check out several samples and then try and adapt to a compare and contrast essay that appeals to you the most.