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Compare and contrast essays are often assigned to students because they promote critical thinking, analytical reasoning and organized writing.
It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond “Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others.” In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements.
One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another.
Here’s an example, this time using three pizza places: As you generate points of comparison, consider the purpose and content of the assignment and the focus of the class.
What do you think the professor wants you to learn by doing this comparison/contrast?
A compare and contrast essay therefore looks at the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences.
This essay type is common at university, where lecturers frequently test your understanding by asking you to compare and contrast two theories, two methods, two historical periods, two characters in a novel, etc.
How does it fit with what you have been studying so far and with the other assignments in the course? If you’re talking about objects, you might also consider general properties like size, shape, color, sound, weight, taste, texture, smell, number, duration, and location.
Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself? By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations!