University North Central Writing Center Handout
are three main forms of comparison and contrast:
1. To inform about an
unfamiliar subject by relating it to another subject more familiar to the
reader. For example:
Relating a prehistoric jaguar (unfamiliar) to a domestic cat (familiar).
2. To inform about two
unfamiliar subjects by relating them to a familiar general principle or idea
which applies to both. For example:
Plot structures of mystery books (familiar principle)
related to Vertigo and Murder
in the Pagoda (unfamiliar subjects)
3. To inform about an
unfamiliar general principle or idea by comparing and
contrasting two representatives of it.
Show how popular music reflects mass culture
(unfamiliar idea), by comparing and
contrasting bluegrass and rock (familiar representatives).
methods of organizing your paper:
Method: Fully present subject A,
then fully present subject B. For
Present all information about the prehistoric jaguar,
then present all information about the domestic cat.
2. Part-to-Part Method:
Present a part of subject A, a part of subject B, another part of subject
A, another part of subject B. . . For
Present the skeletal structure of the prehistoric
jaguar (A), then the skeletal structure of the domestic cat (B).
Next, present the feeding habits of the prehistoric jaguar (A), then the
feeding habits of the domestic cat (B), and so on.
Method: Present all the ways
subjects A and B are alike, then present all the ways they differ (or vice
versa). For example:
Present all the ways prehistoric jaguars and domestic
cats are alike, then present all the ways they are different.
your thesis to enable the point of your paper to be made clearly
enough about your subjects to be able to speak with authority
for a balanced presentation of each subject
information sheet is meant to be used as a guideline for structuring a
comparison and contrast paper. For
more detailed information, consult your instructor or ask a Writing Center tutor
for help. A one-on-one tutoring
session may help you focus your ideas.