Compare and Contrast Essay Assignment
The purpose of the Compare and Contrast Assignment is to take two topics of your own choice and write a 2 full-page Compare and Contrast Essay using the organization techniques (Topic-by-Topic or Item-by-Item) presented in Unit 4.
Here are the details:
1. Choose two topics of your choice to compare and contrast. You are not required to do any research for this essay, so this assignment encourages you to pick topics you know about so that you can use your own knowledge to build the content of the essay. Below, there will be some examples of compare and contrast topics, but you may pick your own. Ask your instructor if you have difficulty in finding topics.
2. When you choose your topics, spend some time brainstorming to find three items you can compare between the two topics. The example here is how in the Unit 5 lecture notes we found the items of Cost, Size and Teachers for our Community College and University essay. Again, the items you choose will be your decision about what you would like your essay to focus on. Use your judgment of what you feel is most important to discuss between the two topics.
3. Decide whether to use the Topic-by-Topic pattern or the Item-by-Item pattern. Either pattern is valid, so use the one you are most comfortable with. When you decide on your pattern, create an Outline as we did in the Unit 5 notes for Community Colleges and Universities.
4. Be sure that your essay has an introduction that has the four points listed in the lecture notes, not necessarily in the order given in the notes: Topic, Thesis, Attention Grabber, Signposting. (Note, if you decide to write the essay inductively by not having the thesis in the introduction but in the conclusion, that is acceptable, so in place of the thesis in the introduction, you may ask a question and/or explain the purpose of the essay).
5. With your outline, you will write the essay filling in all the details for each point in the outline.
6. Be sure to have a conclusion where you evaluate and analyze the topics. This conclusion could be more than one paragraph, and you will likely develop it after writing all the other points of the essay. Part 3 of the Unit 5 notes show how the essay evaluated and analyzed the two types of schools to question the saying “you get what you pay for.”
7. Include a title for the essay.
8. Read over the essay several times to see if you need to make any revisions. Also, proofread the essay to make corrections. It is a good idea to let at least one other person read your essay for revision and proofreading. Your reader could be a friend or family member, or it could even be someone you connect with in class. It is fine to get together with a classmate to e-mail essays back in forth for proofreading and revision.
The essay needs to be at least two full pages following the MLA formatting guidelines of 1-inch margins, double spacing between lines, Times New Roman 12 type.
Ideas for Compare and Contrast Essays: As the instructions above say, you may write your compare and contrast essay on any two topics you choose. However, here are some ideas. These are based on essays the instructor writing this page has seen over the years and ideas from when that same instructor was a student and had to write this type of essay:
Online Classes vs. On-Campus Classes
High School vs. College
Renting vs. Buying a House
After High School: Attending College vs. Going to Work Full-Time
Summer vs. Winter (or Fall vs. Spring)
Dogs vs. Cats
Movies vs. Books
Two Books compared against each other (or two t.v. shows or two movies compared against each other).
Standard Transmissions vs. Automatic Transmissions
Sons vs. Daughters
Two court cases (writer of this page had to compare two court cases in political science class)
Two different historical events (World War II vs. Civil War)
Playing Guitar vs Playing Bass
Two Restaurants compared against each other
Two Branches of Government (Legislative Branch vs. Judicial Branch)
Two Different Decades (1970’s vs. 2010’s)
Two Periods of Your Life (teenage years vs. young adult years)
You can see there are many different ideas for this essay. You may use any of these ideas or modify them in any way. It is okay to pick completely new topics. It is amazing some of the creative ideas students have come up with, and the evaluations and analysis to come out of the essays has been fascinating