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January 15, 2016 - Posted to Writing
Selecting The Best Kind of Compare And Contrast Essay Format

Selecting The Best Kind of Compare And Contrast Essay Format 

When you are assigned a comparing and contrasting essay you have several decisions to make. The first is that you have to choose the two things you are going to compare and contrast. As you may already know, the best comparing and contrasting essays involve two subjects that you could feasibly categorize together, but also have enough differences that you can outline very definitive points of contrast. It also helps to select two topics that other people may not consider comparing or contrasting. For example, it might be interesting to compare modern Japanese animated movies with old time Westerns. Others may see those two genres as being too different for a fair compare and contrast essay. However, if you could find a way to show the reader that there are similarities, due to the fact that many anime directors are highly influenced by cowboy movies, you will have a very interesting essay on your hands. One of the other choices you have to make has to do with the compare and contrast essay format.

The Three Possible Compare and Contrast Formats

When you write a compare and contrast essay, you have three choices. The first is to focus only on comparing the two subjects you have selected. This is when you only write about how the two subjects are similar to one another. This is an excellent option if you are comparing to things that many people assume are extremely dissimilar. The second is, obviously, to write a contrast essay where you only write about the differences between two subjects. Again, this is often an interesting choice if you are writing about two subjects that are widely believed to be very different. Your third choice is to focus on both similarities and differences. This is probably one of the most used formats, as using it makes it much easier to meet the minimum word requirements.

Before you make a decision about which of the three formats you are going to use, you may wish to do some research, take some notes, and then begin building a list of points of comparison and points of contrast. If the number of one truly eclipses the other, that may be a sign that you should focus on just comparing or just contrasting. However, if you have a few really excellent points of contrast or a few really excellent points of comparison, you may wish to go with quality over quantity. As mentioned above, the number of words and the number of paragraphs that you are required to write are both influencing factors.

Selecting Your Sequence

Once you have selected your format, your next job will be selecting the sequence in which you will address each of your points. Again, you have several options. You can address the points of comparison and then the points of contrast. You can reverse that order. You can also go from what you believe are the weakest or least interesting points of compare or contrast and then work up to the most interesting. There is definitely an argument to be made for closing out your essay on your strongest point. Ultimately, you should choose whatever you believe will make for a better essay. 

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