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Block Essay Sample

College Essays include a complete sequence of activities and exercises that will guide and help students, step by step, in the process of comparing and contrasting two subjects in a standard essay format. It is highly suggested for the students to have at least basic knowledge of essay structure and constituents before working on the essay in order to understand the concepts better. 

A comparison displays how two topics are alike or similar; a contrast displays how two topics are dissimilar or different. Students must identify adequate statements for contrast essay and write appropriate thesis statements and concluding statements to end the comparison and contrast essay. Essay writing in short will give students practice in clear and logical reasoning. 

What are Contrast Essays?

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An essay academic essay consists of an introductory paragraph or the introduction, three supporting paragraphs called the body, and a concluding paragraph or conclusion. All five paragraphs must be associated to discuss one single topic. Writing an essay helps students to sort out and consolidate ideas, and think them through clearly. A comparison and contrast essay observes the similarities or one can call it “compares” and/or “contrasts” differences between two items in order to make a point. Below are few examples of comparison and contrast ideas:

  • Compare / contrast two professions
  • Compare / contrast two colleges
  • Compare / contrast two bikes


In all the cases the similarities and differences lead to a convincing definite conclusion which is an important feature of the comparison and contrast essay. This essay focuses on a common thought process, as we tend to use it in our day to day lives whenever we make decisions.

The comparison or contrast essays should make a point or serve a purpose. Often such essays do one of the following: ƒ

  • Clarify something indefinite or not well understood. ƒ 
  • Lead to a fresh understanding or new way of observing something. ƒ 
  • Bring one or both of the subjects into shriller focus. ƒ 
  • Show that one subject is better than the other.  

Comparison/ Contrast Essay Outline

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In a Comparison or contrasted essay select objects that are related in some way, so they can be compared or contrasted. Choose a process of progress that works well with organizing idea. Use precise and relevant examples for support. Give equal conduct to both components that you is being discussed. Compare according to a single planned idea. Use transitional words or phrases to help readers understand the similarities and differences in the subject. Conclude the paper by restating or paraphrasing the thesis, summarizing the main points, and give the reader the final ‘so what’ - of the major similarities and/or differences discussed.

  1. The two subjects must make sense to compare or contrast. For instance you can compare two soccer teams , but not a cricket team and soccer team. By way of selecting a topic, remember that a student is not supposed to be describing the two things they’re writing about. 
  2. The introduction should state the reason for comparison or contrast for instance which is the most desirable or lesser desirable of the two. 
  3. The thesis statement should clearly represent the two things to be compared or contrasted such as the subject and the main points or criteria for the comparison or contrast. 
  4. The main points must be grammatically parallel. 
  5. The main points or criteria must apply to both items. 

The Purpose of a Compare and Contrast Essay 

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The thesis statement is, the controlling idea of the entire essay. It also acts as the main idea of a compare and contrast essay. It is the sentence that controls and summarizes the direction and the content of the essay. At the same time, the thesis sentence associates the introduction paragraph with the body of the essay. In the comparison and contrast essay, the student must give their OPINION in the thesis statement.

  • The student is required to take a stand and tolerate it through the essay.
  • The thesis statement provides control, strength, and direction to the body of the essay. 
  • The direction and control is achieved by Parallel Structures.
  • The thesis statement is not the heading or the title of the essay.
  • Thesis statement organizes and outlines the ideas for the body paragraph. 
  • The thesis statement is not a individual announcement.
  • Never use expressions such as “In this essay I am going to compare, my essay is about…” in a formal essay.
  • The conclusion brings the paper to an ordinary natural and beautiful end, sometimes leaving the reader with a final thought on the subject.

Connectors that show similarities or comparisons

  • In addition ƒ 
  • Correspondingly ƒ 
  • Compared to
  • Similarly ƒ 
  • Just as ƒ
  • As well as
  • Likewise ƒ 
  • Same as ƒ 
  • At the same time

Connectors that show differences and contrast

  • However ƒ
  • On the contrary ƒ 
  • On the other hand
  • Even though ƒ
  • In contrast ƒ 
  • Although
  • Unlike ƒ 
  • Conversely ƒ 
  • Meanwhile

Basic Methods for Organizing Comparison / Contrast Paragraphs

  1. If you let X and Y stand for the two subjects being compared, then you can use the block method in which you tell all about X, then tell all about Y. Thus you discuss X in a block and Y in a block.
  2. If you let X and Y stand for the two subjects being compared, then you compare them point by point. Every time you say something about X, you also say something about Y – right in the same sentence or in the sentence immediately following.

The Point by Point Method

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The Point by Point method is also called the alternating method or slice method which makes a comparison of the items one point or criteria at a time. The main topic or theme statement or sentence aims on the point being used as the base for comparison rather than the item. A comparison of one point of a subject with a point of the other subject is called the Point by Point Method.

Advantages: 

  • Keeps each set of ideas, arguments, thoughts for discussion
  • The reader does not have to remember as much facts and figures.
  • Keeps the paper undoubtedly well planned and organized
  • Avoids summary

Disadvantages:

  • Can appear automatic and monotonous
  • Does not provide a combined discussion or conversation of the two sides

Structure:

Point 1 - discuss A 

Point 1 - discuss B 

Discussion about overall links between A and B  

Point 2 – discuss A 

Point 2 - discuss B 

Discussion about overall links between A and B

Block Method

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Block Method describes all the similarities in the first body paragraph and then all the dissimilarities and differences in the second body paragraph. A presentation of all facts and supporting details about one topic followed by the facts and supporting details about the second topic

Advantages: 

  • Offers the complete picture of the two sides
  • Can be more effective if the essay is short and covers a general issue
  • Does not appear as monotonous and boring

Disadvantages:

  • If the writer is not careful it tends to become a summary 
  • The paper is not always organized clearly
  • Is not successful for papers over 3-4 page

Structure:

Point 1 - about A 

Point 2 - about B 

Point 1 about B (with discussion about relation to A)

Point 2 about B (with discussion about relation to A)

Structure of a Compare and Contrast Essay

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  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraphs
  • Conclusion

Comparison or Contrast Essay Topics

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Contrast Essay Topics are given below:
  • Apple vs. Microsoft
  • Republican vs. Democrat
  • Monarchy vs. Presidency
  • Childhood vs. Adulthood
  • Communism vs. Capitalism
  • Mozart vs. Beethoven
  • Friends vs. Family
  • Newton vs. Einstein
  • Go on Vacation vs. Stay at Home
  • Halloween night to prom night.
  • Christopher Columbus to early astronauts.
  • Living on a farm to living in the city.
  • Being a teen to being a toddler.
  • Your experiences before and after giving up a bad habit
  • The car you own and the car you dream of owning
  • Your best birthday to your worst birthday.

Exercise

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Choose one of the essay topics, and write a comparison or contrast essay. 

  1. Compare or contrast two musical styles, such as jazz and reggae. 
  2. Compare or contrast two restaurants.
  3. Compare or contrast doing research at the library with doing research on the Internet. 
  4. Compare or contrast living on campus with living off campus. 
  5. Compare or contrast raising children in a city and raising children in a small town.

How to Write an A+ Comparison Essay on any Topic

Published 3/10/2013

What is a Comparison Essay?

A comparison essay (or a Compare and Contrast essay) is a commonly used type of writing assignment in various classes of high school and college, from art to science. In a comparison essay you should critically analyze any two subjects, finding and pointing out their similarities and/or differences.

Depending on your assignment, such essays can be comparative only (looking only at similarities), contrasting only (pointing out the differences) or both comparative and contrasting.

Choosing a Topic for Comparison Essay

In order to write a good essay, first you need to have a good topic for it, i.e. a topic that lets you easily demonstrate your writing skills and get a high grade easily.

What does that mean specifically regarding the comparison essay? Very simple: the subjects must be easy comparable, so you don’t need to work too hard to point out their similarities or differences. For example:

A big college campus and a small college campus
World War I and World War II
Two perspectives on the same place: morning and night
William Shakespeare with William Wordsworth
Windows vs. Linux

Using the following links, you can find a lot of good comparison topics for your essay:

100 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

50 Compare and Contrast Topics

List of Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Comparison Essay Structure

Considering the right structure for your essay is one of the key points of success. Sticking to a recommended essay structure is the only way to properly outline and write it, paragraph by paragraph from the introduction to conclusion, without mistakes.

There are two recommended patterns for a comparison essay: point-by-point (or "alternating") pattern and subject-by-subject (or "block") pattern.

Alternating pattern

Alternating pattern is also known as "point-by-point comparison". This mode of comparison will result in your essay having 5 paragraphs. Alternating pattern is also known as "point-by-point comparison". This mode of comparison will result in your essay having 5 paragraphs.

In it, you will need to consecutively compare and contrast each of the similarities and differences in the given subjects:

  • In the introduction you state your thesis.
  • Then you discuss both of your subjects together for each point of comparison and contrast.
  • In the conclusion you restate the thesis and shortly summarize your essay.

Block pattern

Block pattern is also known as "subject-by-subject comparison". According to this pattern, you will be required to separate the body of your compare and contrast essay in two parts.

The first part of the body will be dedicated to the first subject, while the other half will be centered around the second subject:

  • In the introduction you state your thesis.
  • First you discuss the first subject.
  • Then you discuss the second subject.
  • In the conclusion you restate the thesis and shortly summarize your essay.

Writing an A+ Comparison Essay

Introduction

The introduction of an essay is very important. It gives the reader his/her first impression of the comparison essay’s text. Remember: first impression counts!

Grab the reader’s attention

There are a lot of tips and techniques to help you in capturing a reader’s interest. You can find some pretty good information in the following articles:

How to Grab the Reader's Attention

A Proper Introduction

Essay Introductions

The most common five methods to grab your reader's attention, commonly used by professionals, are the following:

  • Give a brief historical review of your topic for help reader to better understand it
  • Start from a little story or an anecdote, which leads the reader into your topic
  • Try to use a surprising statement – something disgusting, joyful or even shocking
  • "Dropping" the name of a well-known person (celebrity) usually gets the reader's attention
  • State straight out what your essay is going to be about, simply and clearly

Start from a short background

High school students often find it difficult to view their teachers as anything but "the enemy." However, after the first few months of a school year, students learn to appreciate their teachers as individuals with different approaches. Some teachers are "cool," while others are "tough."

State the thesis

Although Sally Strict & Larry Lax are both respected teachers at our school, their teaching styles and expectations for students differ significantly. While Ms. Strict maintains a highly structured classroom atmosphere to keep her pupils disciplined and motivated, Mr. Lax downplays structure in order to allow his students to push themselves.

Point paragraph

State the point

Finally, Ms. Strict enforces high standards for her students' written work.

Provide supporting details

She collects homework every day at the beginning of class; to turn it in five minutes late is to turn it in a whole day late. Every piece of writing, whether it is a journal entry or a formal essay, must be typed and stapled. Last but not least, all homework must display a sophisticated level of thinking and writing.

Use appropriate transitions

Transitions are important in comparison / contrast writing to avoid confusion. Without transitions, the points you are comparing / contrasting may blur into one another. Also, a variety of transitions prevent monotony.

For comparison:

Like, compared to, similar to, similarly, by analogy, likewise, in the same way, as well, both, too

For contrast:

Unlike, conversely, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, still, although, while, but, even though, although, despite, yet, regardless, on the one hand … one the other hand

Conclusion

The conclusion of a comparison essay is just as important as the introduction. The conclusion seals the comparison essay and tries to close the issue. Conclusion is the last part of the essay that your reader will experience.

Summarize the similarities and / or difference of the subjects

Thus, Ms. Strict and Mr. Lax both accomplish their goals of motivating their students to do excellent work, though they do so in very different ways: while Ms. Strict emphasizes the high standards she expects everyone can meet, Mr. Lax uses a more personal approach.

Emphasize the thesis and say why this topic is important

Their success demonstrates the importance of diversity in a school community: different students respond to different teaching styles. So rather than viewing their instructors as a monolithic "enemy" intent on making them suffer, students should recognize how they benefit from the variety of ways their teachers inspire them.

Finalizing your Work

Pay attention that even though your essay is fully written, it still isn’t ready to submission.

There are some common and annoying mistakes which may significantly harm your grade. However, you can avoid those grade lowering mistakes by completing the following checklist:

  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Ensure that your essay is fully compliant with the required formatting standard
  • Properly organize all the citations and the References / Works Cited page
  • Ensure that your title page is done as required
  • Take a final look at your paper to be certain that everything is indeed fine

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