Comparative essays are news to most students and were first introduced to the VCA English Syllabus in 2016. Ever since comparative or contrast essays entered the English syllabus, the purpose of the essay became a largely debated topic among both students and teachers.
From today’s standpoint, the goal of a comparative essay is pretty straightforward.
Namely, the aim is to assess the students’ ability to do a comparative analysis of two essays, by comparing their similarities and differences, especially in terms of language, structure, and arguments.
But, mistakes rise in composing a comparative essay. Luckily, we’ve created the perfect guide to give you insights into the comparative or contrast essay.
The first step of writing your comparative essay is doing deep research on each topic. Once you learn the topics in-depth, you can choose a method of organizing your text.
When students first hear comparison, they opt for the block structure.
The block structure refers to speaking about one topic at a time – and covering them in two different paragraphs. Although this structure is neat and straightforward, it’s not a comparison per se – but an analysis. A comparative essay doesn’t read the topics separately but joins them together and compares them as a whole.
Moreover, the block structure pays more attention to analysis, when you are actually looking forward to doing more structural critical thinking.
When choosing a correct comparative essay structure, always go for the woven structure. By using this structure, you’ll be speaking on both topics and pointing out their similarities and differences.
By the end of the essay, the reader will have a clear vision of both topics discussed, and be able to choose the perfect form.
To have a knockout introduction, you have to be clear about what you’re writing. And to do so, your intro has to:
To begin your intro, foster the topical approach method. This method refers to the continuous interweaving of both topics throughout the essay.
Since the intro should hook the reader to read on, you must be super concise.
Go straight to the point – what does essay 1 argue as opposed to essay 2?
Next, lead the text to its main focus. What will you discuss? The similarities and differences, of course.
Remember, the introduction should be an informative statement, not an explanatory one. You will have enough time to explain the thesis in the body structure later on.
The ideal number of paragraphs for a comparative essay is 2 to 4. The content body is a determining part of your understanding of the nature of comparative essays.
Here, there are a few key aspects to pay attention to.
Genre conventions – Every genre has its symmetry. The form of a text can indicate what the author discusses in the content. For example, a Shakesperian sonnet has 3 quatrains and a couplet. This form shows the author, the conventions of poetry, etc.
So, when doing a comparative essay, always point out that you know the form of the text – or the genre conventions.
Structure – Every writer has a particular manner of organizing their essay. A powerful structure can evoke emotions, deliver a meaning, or leave a bad impression. Therefore, if you notice a short sentence through an analysis, pause and rethink. If there is any way to expand on the topic and offer more relevant impact – go for it.
Particular language features – In this paragraph, address the author’s language features. Begin with the author’s tone – or the attitude a writer has in conveying their essay message. To pin down a tone, find the particular lexis scattered through the text. Authors often throw power words around the text to enforce their statements. You will have to discuss what language devices the author uses to convey the purpose of the text. If you have a political topic, you must point out the activist or persuasive techniques the author used. Then, compare these to essay number 2 – how are they similar or different?
The ending of a comparative essay can be conclusive or non-conclusive. Or, you can offer a conclusive ending by arguing on an idea that carries more value than others.
It’s up to you which type of conclusion you will choose. Make sure that by the end of the comparative essay you have:
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