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How to Write a Comparative Essay?

Oct 3,18

When we write an essay, generally we explain one point at a time. However, a comparative essay simultaneously judges two subjects. We analyze two close topics that might have some relation in terms of similarities and differences. The writer measures the diverse aspects of the parallel subjects giving the readers an insight into their contrasting characters.

A comparative essay gives a detailed outline of possibly two or more factors that could be anything. The comparison can be between

  • Theories (Capitalism vs. Socialism)
  • Figures (GDP of Australia and other neighbouring countries)
  • Texts or Literature (Renaissance poetry vs. Classical poetry)
  • Events (world war 1 and world war 2)
  • Administrative System (Parliamentary and Presidential system)

The list could be long and we come across numerous comparative essay examples on the internet. The challenge is how to write a comparative essay that is well structured and neatly organizes the ‘compare and contrast’ answer for the readers, to understand the similarities and differences between the given topics.

Also Read:6 Essay Writing Tips That Can Help You Score Better Grades

We are sharing some important guidelines with you here that will enable you to articulate a good comparative essay.

Know the Basis of Comparison

Most of the times, the question itself gives the basis of comparison and is directly asking you to compare between two topics. In other cases, you will have to decide for yourself what are the things you have to compare.

I am providing a sample here for you to understand better these two types of questions that are usually asked.

  • ‘Compare the key similarities and differences between the ideologies of Aristotle and Plato’. This is a direct question where the objectives of comparison are quite clear.
  • Another way could be ‘Compare any two 19th century famous poets and their style of poetry.’ Here you have to pick your own subjects and identify the basis of comparison yourself.

Develop a Thesis

Providing a solid background thesis will give weight to your essay. The basis of comparison is not the consideration point here. You need to analyze whether the subject has more similarities in common or the differences tend to outweigh the similarities. On the basis of this measurement, a thesis statement could be generated highlighting the commons and uncommon between the subjects. A complex thesis statement will include both similarity and differences.

For writing academic essays, students are instructed to conduct in-depth research of the topic to develop the thesis. You may approach the online assignment providers to get skilled at writing these comparative essays and formulate a constructive thesis.

Focus on the Content of the Essay

Before you start writing the major content, the initial planning of the essay is necessary. Develop a template and list down the specific pointers that you are going to elaborate in your essay. The list will contain the similarities and differences between the subjects in comparison.

Examine the list carefully and include only the crucial points ignoring the less relevant ones. Pay attention to those factors that have broader coverage and compile your list accordingly.

The outline work is done and now the bigger task is to structure your comparative essay in a proper sequence. We often know the points but fail to arrange them for the readers to follow the flow.

Also Read: How to Write a Persuasive Essay?

Here are the ways in which a comparative essay can be structured.

Alternating Method

This method is commonly practised for subjects that require critical analysis and a detailed overview. Here you devote one paragraph to one aspect of the subject followed by another paragraph explaining the same aspect of the other topic. Make sure to maintain a similar order while addressing each subject. The sequence goes on like this.

Paragraph 1- Demography of country X
Paragraph 2- Demography of country Y

Paragraph 3- Economy of country X
Paragraph 4- Economy of country Y

Paragraph 5- Culture of country X
Paragraph 6- Culture of country Y

Mixed Paragraphs Method

Personally, I prefer using this kind of comparison because it pays equal attention to both the stances of the subject. Here, you compare the first aspect of the topics in the first paragraph, the second aspect in the second, and so on. This way each paragraph addresses the two halves of the comparison.
To explain it better,

Paragraph 1- Demography of Country X/Demography of country Y
Paragraph 2- Economy of country X/Economy of country Y
Paragraph 3- Culture of country X/Culture of country Y

This method of writing is suggested for complicated and lengthy essays.

Block Methods

This is the simplest form of writing a comparative essay where you focus on one topic at one time. However, you need to be very cautious about following the same pattern and order while moving on to the second subject.

For example, if you are comparing between two texts of Shakespeare, ‘Macbeth and Julius Caesar’, you begin with Macbeth devoting the entire length to it. You shift to Julius Caesar after done with Macbeth dividing the essay into two parts.

Paragraph 1- Macbeth
Paragraph 2- Julius Caesar

We use this type of method for easy subjects that are not much complex, for literary works, or for comparing multiple subjects.
This way of contrasting can be challenging too as the readers might begin to form an opinion viewing it as one-sided.

After you are done, do revise your work to check out for any error. You may take assignment writing help from the various online sources that can assist you in framing your comparative essays and also perform thorough editing to produce an excellent piece of work.

A good comparative essay is more like a comparative table, all you need to do is dedicate an equal space to both the subjects and ideally cover every point of comparison between the two.

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October 3, 2018

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