English 1A –
Compare and Contrast Essay
Every great essay begins with an idea. Decide on a topic that you have a strong interest in. What
subjects do you already have knowledge about? You will find writing your essay easier if you
write about a topic that you already know something about.
Find two opposing points of views or two similar points of view from authors who have already
written something on the topic you are using.
This is a 3-5 page, typed, double spaced essay comparing and contrasting the opinions/texts of
two different authors.
Use the words from your toolbox, i.e. genre, intended audience, stance, purpose, medium, tone,
and context to analyze your two articles.
Successful papers will demonstrate powerful reading and analytical skill, close attention to the primary
essay, good judgment selecting and using the secondary source, original thinking, clarity of thought and
purpose. The essay must be in the proper format.
ESSAY STRUCTURE: Your first paragraph is your introduction. Make your thesis the last sentence in
your introduction. Prove your thesis in the body. Body paragraphs should open with a topic sentence that
supports your thesis. A body paragraph should prove its topic sentence with evidence and examples. Your
concluding paragraph should not simply repeat the body; it should go with your introduction and body,
but take a step out somehow.
TITLE: Title your paper to help your reader anticipate your subject. A good title is one that cannot be
used for every paper on your topic; it goes with your paper exactly.
1. Brainstorm: take a few seconds of reflection as ideas begin to come to mind and write them
down. There will probably be five or six key topics that are of interest.
2. Define your topic and write down as many facts that you personally know about the topic.
3. Research: Using the data base at the library, search for your topic, pick a few articles that catch
your attention. Read and reread the two articles you picked until you fully understand the
argument and opinion of each author.
4. Planning: Write a working thesis and topic sentences. Outline each article.
5. Start writing: Each paragraph should have a topic sentence. A well-written thesis will suggest
the organization of the essay.
INFORM AND PERSUADE by including some of these patterns of development:
How do you define this? How does the dictionary define it? What is the history of this
term/topic? Does everyone agree on its definition, and why or why not? If not, what points are in
: What examples of this are particularly helpful in explaining it?
How does this work? How do you do this?
Cause and Effect:
What causes this? How often does it happen? What might prevent it from
happening? What are its effects? What may happen because of it in the short term? What may
happen as a result of it over time?
Comparison and Contrast:
What is similar to this, and how? Is this more or less desirable than
the similar thing?
Classification and Division
: Of what larger group is this member? Or, what are its parts? How
can this be subdivided? Are there certain types or kinds of this?
The final portfolio must contain an outline of the articles you are using, the 1
rough draft and 2
draft. The final draft must be typed and double spaced. An electronic file of the final essay needs to
be uploaded on Canvas.
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