A comparative essay is a challenging assignment every student will be tasked with at some point in their academic career. This paper is an opportunity to compare and contrast two or more items – either around a specific theme as presented in the essay question, or one that you’ll need to come up with on your own.
Still, there are some things you can do to make your essay stand out. These unknown methods to write a strong comparative will help you turn in your best paper ever.
- Write a list.
Before you get started on your outline, spend time brainstorming a list of similarities and differences between the items you plan to compare. Think about your position on the issue, as well as events, texts, and theories that help support it. Try to relate all these points to the theme of your comparative essay.
- Develop a concise thesis.
Your thesis statement should weigh the balance of your similarities and differences and provide a solid assessment of which one outweighs the other. For a more complex thesis statement, include both differences and similarities – and reflect how they impact the theme of your essay.
- Decide on a structure.
When you’re working on an outline, keep in mind the way you want to structure your paper. Many comparative essays use the alternating method, where you present information about one item and then the other using related points common to both subjects. If you use this format, make sure you have something relevant to say about each item on each subject – you need clearly related points between both items you’re comparing.
This format is great because it gives readers a solid understanding of how similar or different the items are, broken down in a very clear and easy-to-understand way. However, if the items you’re comparing have little in common, you might need to consider a different structure.
The block method will effectively break your paper into two sections – one about the first item, and the next about the second. However, you will need to write your essay carefully to tie each section together, so your paper isn’t just a thesis statement followed by two seemingly disconnected essays. Refer to the other item often with each point you’re making.
- Analyze your information.
Your essay should conclude with a brief evaluation of the evidence you presented in your paper – referring back to your introduction and thesis statement to give readers an understanding of the meaning of your comparative essay. Try to pinpoint the significance of your information, what you’re hoping readers will get out of your paper.
- Ask for help.
Once you’ve had a chance to go over your final draft and make sure it’s free of spelling errors, typos, and grammatical mistakes, read it to a friend or family member to get their opinion. You want to make sure that your paper is convincing and informative, and since you’re already familiar with the material, getting a second opinion from someone who has less experience with your subject is a great way to see if your comparative essay is effective.