How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay: A live demo with an actual student paper

yeah hi there these comments I’m going to use your initials RJ for privacy purposes and you are one of my English 106 instructors here at California State University San Bernardino and you are working on putting together your first project this is a compare and contrast type writing assignment and you’re you’re trying to structure and figure things out so you are ahead of the game my friend you’ve already come up with a first rough draft and you want me to give you some comments on it and that’s exactly what I’m going to do right now so let’s take a look at your introduction you say before attempting marius is writing method writers should try any method in order to consider the organization and techniques in writing although I approach my writing assignments by rewriting and checking with other students this writer sleeps on the paper and wakes up fixing his paper in this essay I will compare and contrast my method of writing and also Marius is method of writing which are both very different and of course they both give difference in results for the writer the main topic we’re comparing these methods is to see which is easier quicker and of course more effective so according to your thesis that your writing method is very different right but then in the next paragraph you talk about a similarity so we already have some logical problems in coherent so what you stayed in the thesis obviously it needs to connect with what happens in the body of the paragraph and then when you say this the main topic we’re comparing these methods is to see which is easier quicker and of course more effective for the writer I don’t think this is really your purpose if you if you go to the syllabus here it’s saying your assignment is to write a short comparison and/or contrast between your writing assignments and those proposed by Marius that sums it up exactly you’re not really trying to explain which is better now I know that in some compare and contrast type writing you can also take it a step further and you definitely can get into what’s called evaluation which means you you compare two ideas and then right after that you do some analysis of which one is better and why but in this particular assignment I’m not asking you to take that additional step you see what I’m saying so basically are you more similar or different to what he is saying so we need to do a little bit of work on your essay right especially with the introduction the introduction and the thesis is absolutely critical I think in terms of helping you write this kind of paper so pretty much what you’ve written so far I would scrap just about all of it and start over with a more focused thesis around which you can frame the actual body of the essay and you need a lot more specific detail I think in those body paragraphs in order to support what it is you’re trying to say okay so first of all I’m going to give you some notes here for a minute and let’s go back here and we’re gonna work on your intro for a minute so you have a very unclear thesis here I will compare and contrast my method of writing and also maurices method which are both very different of course it both give a difference in results for the writer so this isn’t going to help very much at all in terms of organizing your essay but let’s let’s just say that you go through maurices essay and you get down a list and I think that there is a similarity here I mean you said it here even you’re saying the writer sleeps on the paper and wakes up fix fixing his paper the fact that you say although I approach my writing assignments by this writer so this implies that this is a difference right so then up here we’re going to say that the main difference that you have according to your introduction is reading the essay before going to sleep it’s what you do with that first draft when you’re done when the first but you also have a similarity when you write the first draft in the sense that you brainstorm like Marius does right so now we can we can really we can rework your thesis a little bit because we can incorporate the difference and the similarity into the thesis and then let’s see we go to the second draft and you say that let’s see the like Marius you also make big changes in the second draft or you’re willing to make big changes or radical changes and what’s in the third draft that like Marius you also focus on sharpening sentences and choosing and you like to choose the right word and so on okay now what we have to do is take these ideas and then figure out how to write a thesis which incorporates these points so it might be logical with the excuse me you’ve got a cold right now but how about this what if you mention the difference first and then you talk about the similarities after that and then it makes it easy so you might say now thinking Marius Marius says this if you go into the book on page where is it page 91 he says when you said everything you say in this draft print it out and then get up and go sit somewhere else without making any Corrections so you guys different what you do when you print this first draft right so let’s say we different terms okay so I think we have something here remember writing the thesis is is probably one of the most time-consuming aspects of this kind of paper because it really frames everything that’s going to happen after that so let’s take a look what we have so far you say although Mars and I differ in terms of what we do when we print the first draft we’re similar in our first draft and that we both write outlines or brainstorm before writing the paper then you might say in addition we also similar because we make dramatic changes in our second giraffes and we like to focus more on the sentence and word level of editing proofread our third drafts this is it so you see this sometimes when you’re creating a thesis you cannot always especially compare and contrast typist so you cannot always distill it into one sentence so I didn’t even try to do that so let’s see what we have so you have although Mars and I different terms of what we do when we print the first draft we are similar in our first draft and that we both outline or brainstorm before writing the paper in addition we’re also similar because we make we make dramatic changes in our second drafts and we like to focus more on the sentence and word level of editing as we proofread our third drafts you see we’re saying here so here if you notice your thesis isn’t very specific as to what’s going to happen and that ends up being in a nonspecific kind of approach in your body paragraphs but if you’re very specific in the thesis then it’s much easier to create or frame those topic sentences in the body of the essay so now what we have to do is we have to create an introduction now and we just need some some general ideas that can proceed kind of what we’re saying so what you can do think of it like an upside down triangle okay so now we have a fairly sharply focused type thesis which is essentially a compare and contrast type thesis to give the body of the essay a very clear coherent organization you can’t just include this as the intro you have to include maybe some general statements above that so let’s just I’ll just give you an idea of something that you can say here obviously don’t use exactly these same words in your paper but let me just give you an idea of how you can begin the paper which in general statements this is something like this you might see something like this and to accomplish this goal they will create some steps processes to help them finish these assignments then you might say to aid these students in their writings projects you’ll say Richard Marius and his article writing drafts students should follow in order to successfully complete these essays that’s probably it then you just combined it together here what are we done we got our we have some type of introduction here so let’s look at it one more time so students attending universities will complete many assignments in their biology chemistry anthropology and English classes and to accomplish this goal they will create some steps or processes to help them finish these assignments to aid these students in their writing projects Richard Marius in his article writing drafts outlines some steps that students should follow in order to successfully complete these essays then you say although Mars and I differ in terms of what we do when we put the first draft we’re similar in our first draft and that we both outline or brainstorm before writing the paper in addition we’re also similar because we both make dramatic changes in our second drafts and we like to focus more on the sentence and word level of editing as we proofread our third drafts so there it is if you can do this then it will be very easy course this is a hard part a lot of students hey Michael you know it you know how will be and it’s hard for me to do the introduction it’s hard for me to create my thesis I’m I can’t join the party I don’t think you’re any different than anybody else it takes a certain level of thinking I think before you can because essentially what you’re trying to do here Jay is you’re really mapping out what’s going to happen in the rest of the paper by creating the introduction okay so now let’s take a look at how we can create our topic sentences so you can say Mars and I are different and how am I getting this idea I’m taking it from the thesis so this is your topic sentence here this is important now you see Morris and I are different after we print the first draft of RSS of course you now have to spend basically about 50 words explaining what Marius does after Prince a first draft what does he say he says when you said everything you could say in this trap print it out if you’re working on it get up from your desk and go sitting and chair somewhere else to read it without correcting anything then put it aside preferably overnight if possible read your rough draft just before you go to bed many psychological tests have shown that our minds organize and create while we sleep if we pack them full before bedtime study you drop just before sleep you may discover new ideas in the morning so what I would do is take this idea in your own words paraphrase it reacts plane it and you want to re-explain it exactly right here you’ll say something like this you’ll see for example in his article marius suggests that bla bla bla there’s your 50 word so once you say for example in his article mari suggests that you want to react splain what he says in his article in about 50 words maybe 40 50 words and then here so now here’s what you have to do so then you’ll say something like this once you get into the middle of the paragraph you’ll say on the other hand when I completed my English 105 final project I did not do what Marius suggested instead then you can explain what you did when you printed your first draft out that’s it so you only talked about what you did when you printed your first draft out and show how the process that you used after printing that first draft is different than the process that Marius proposes in his article so here right after you say on the other hand when I completed my English 105 final project I did not then you want to write approximately 40 to 50 words to explain that now I noticed here when you’re writing your essay you talk about things in a very general sense I don’t see any specific examples of any writing assignments that you discuss now I don’t really see a lot of specific as it relates to Marius is articles so you’re missing what’s called the depth and the complexity of thought that I’m looking for in this kind of paper so your goal here is right in the beginning as you bring up your idea here the English 105 final project every time you discuss your writing process in this essay stay focused on exactly the same writing assignment now what effect do you think that’s going to have on your writing does it make it more or less specific if in each paragraph you continue to discuss the same writing project do you think that adds or takes away from the depth and the complexity of thought or your writing it’s going to add to it right that’s going to show that you can take an idea you can develop it over several paragraphs getting more and more specific as you go that’s a good thing right that’s a good thing for writers okay now let’s talk about our next paragraph so once you’ve talked about how you’re different in terms of what you do and you print the first draft you can now show a similarity maybe use a word like however you might say then you might say here okay here we go it’s the next thing so let’s see what we’re doing here you’ll say however Lars and I are similar and that we both use some type of informal outline before we start to write our papers notice how I’m starting with Marv as each time is probably respectful because he’s the expert to put his ideas in front of yours so then we’ll say Maurice and I are similar and that we both use some type of informal outline before we start to write our papers for instance to help writers get started Marius recommends so now you have to go into your book and you have to say here’s what he says about this idea he says fine where the moment comes when you sit down to begin writing your first draft it’s always a good idea to start to list the points you want to cover a list is not as elaborate as a form or outline in writing your first list don’t bother to set items down in order of importance list your main points trust your mind to organize them you’ll probably make one less study and make another perhaps make another you can organize each us more completely than the last and he continues to explain this idea in paragraphs two three and even four so what you’re doing is your job now is to take paragraphs basically one two three and four and try to condense that information into about forty to fifty words and explain it exactly after the word recommends you see we’re saying now here’s the next thing once you get to your idea you have to use some kind of word that shows how your similar uses similarily as i you might say when I completed my English 105 final project still not completed but when I you might say started you say similarity similarly when I started my English 105 final project comma and then blah blah blah now here you go again now you have right after the word project you have about 40 to 50 words explaining exactly how you started your English 105 final project and show here how what you did is similar to what Marius suggests so you remember you’ve already explained what Marius says in in the beginning of this paragraph now you’re going to show how what you did is similar to that again about maybe 40 or 50 words so that way each of your paragraphs are fully developed and you’re balancing your comparison by in each paragraph spending about half the time you’re talking about what Marius suggests and then half the time the paragraph you’re talking about what you do and how what you do is either different or similar to what he suggests now notice here we might say here in addition because we’re adding to the previous paragraph I’m alright so it’s logical if you want to add to something which isn’t different from what you just said you can use a word Wyatt got in addition or furthermore you might say Marius and we have to go back to the syllabus we’re basically just restating what we’re saying in addition we are similar because we both made dramatic changes in our second draft so Morris and I both follow a similar approach because we are willing to make big changes to illustrate Marius advises that writers notice how I’m not using the word you in here if you go to what you are doing in many parts of your essay you’re using a lot of the UN there for example both of these menses are very effective to our writing and of course the very first step when you say you and I would change this to say when a writer has to know what to apply any passage but here he or she will also have to look at which is quick or easy and of course more effective yet so I’m saying you don’t have to use the you here your your purpose is different than Mars’s purpose Marius uses the you point of view because he’s instructing his audience on how to do something but the purpose is flipped when it comes to you you’re no longer doing that you’re more examining and explaining and comparing the two processes so you’re moving from the instructional the instructional load of writing to the more explaining motor writing which requires a different point of view so I’m saying okay so let’s go back to what we’re doing here so have in addition Morris and I both follow a similar approach in our second drafts because we’re willing to make big changes to illustrate Morris advises that writers so what you have to do is now your job is to go to page 92 and look at paragraph six seven eight nine ten you have to look at those paragraphs and condense those points in about 40 words 40 to 50 words so you’re going to explain them exactly after the word writers again in a similar manner to Marius notice how we’re still focused on this final project we’re developing this idea over these different paragraphs we’re taking exactly the same idea here the final project discussing what you did in your final project when you printed the first draft and then what did you do in the final project to get started on it what was your procedures there and then what did you do in your final project when you completed these second draft there you see what I’m saying here so now once it says in its similar manner to Morris when I completed the second draft of my English 105 writing project here now you have to write about 40 to 50 words to explain this and only focus as you explain your final project you’re simply focusing on the changes the big changes that you had to make the more specific you are and the change you made the higher your grade is going to be right because that’s going to show that you have a lot of depth and a lot of thought to the writing so now we can move on to our final paragraph so now we see where we are now we’re talking about what we do in our third drafts so here you might use a word like finally because this brings you to your last point Marius and I share how about this Martha and I both focus more on what do you have up here the sentence and word level of editing and our third drafts you’ll say Marius here we go again now does it surprise you as we bring up this next idea it says Mars and I both focus on sentence and work level editing so your responsibility now is to go to page 92 to look at paragraph 11 and 12 and talk about what he says or what he likes to do in his third draft so you want again maybe in about 40 or 50 words explain what he says in paragraphs 11 and 12 so that’s what you want to do then once you get to 2 what you want to say you can say like likewise does it surprise you that I’m still talking about the same writing project the English 105 final project so I also completed the third draft in my English 105 final project and here so what are you going to do you’re now going to take about 40 to 50 words and explain what Margaret what you did when you completed your English 105 final project the kinds of sentence and word changes you made as you worked on your final project and then excuse me then you can use what’s called in conclusion alright so now let’s take a look at what we have here so if you go back to the actual assignment – really explicitly create a compare and contrast organization okay so let’s take a look at the whole thing one more time so first of all in the introduction let’s identify what we’ve done that students attend universities will complete many assignments in their biology chemistry or anthropology and English classes and to accomplish this goal they will create some steps or process to help them finish these assignments to aid these students in their writing projects Richard Marius in his article writing drafts outlines some steps that writers should follow in order to successfully complete these essays we go and put this in the talents because this is an article so we have all the Mars tonight different terms of what we do when we print the first draft we’re similar in our first draft and that we both outline our brainstorm before beginning the paper in addition we are also similar because we both make dramatic changes in our second drafts and we like to focus law on the sentence and word level of editing as we proofread our third drafts and therein lies our thesis so let’s identify that maybe make it read now once we have that it’s very easy now to create our topic sentences our topic sentences are basically it’s a restatement of what we said in the thesis it is possible to use repetition and rephrase as a way of coherently connecting ideas together remember compare and contrast is very structured it makes it very easy for the reader to understand the ideas as long as you’re logical and follow some recognizable organization let’s take a look at the next one you can see how it works to put it like that now the next thing the other trick is you now have to introduce each writer and it’s it’s it’s it’s helpful to use a some type of transition word and try to avoid using exactly the same transition where these time so it introduced Marius in my second paragraph I’m using a word like for example we just make it blue now once I move from discussing Marius to discussing my process I do in this case use on the other hand because we are different in terms of what we do after we print the first draft so it makes sense logically to use a word like on the other hand you could have said conversely in contrast or whatever as long as it shows an opposite type idea you’re good now in the next paragraph once we introduce Maris’s ideas here instead of the word for example we’re using for instance which does the same thing introduces a more specific idea now here’s a key once we move to once we go from discussing Marius and then we discuss my writing project or my final project here you use the words similarily because the two processes are similar here so you should use a transition word to show that relationship now it’s also interesting here is I chose to use the beginning in the beginning of this paragraph I use the overall word however because I’m no longer talking about a difference I’m now talking about some similarities that’s why I use the word however to show that paragraph 3 is different from the information that the reader has just read in paragraph 2 of course when I get to this paragraph I’m using the word envision because I’m talking about another similarity not a difference so I’m adding to paragraph 3 when it get to 4 so in addition and I both follow a similar approach in that blah blah now remember here to introduce Marius I used for example here are used for instance here now I’m going to use a word to illustrate you see that I’m just showing here by using to illustrate and you’re showing that you have a repertory of words that you can use to show how ideas are connected and you’re not just stuck on using one word all the time and then I mean that shows good work short show you have some experience with writing and so on now in this case to show how the my ideas in my 105 project are similar to Morris’s ideas if you take a look at this we say in a similar manner to Mario’s right and that shows that we are similar so we use this this is actually a prepositional phrase and it shows how the ideas are logically connected now in this case I use the word finally and again we can make this our our topic sentence here so make it make it read and then when we introduce Mario’s idea here we’ll say in fact in fact you can use to introduce a smaller point and also to emphasize that point you can also say something like indeed but again I’m trying to show I have a variety of words that I’m using in my different paragraphs I’m not just using the same words all the time so then you explain Mario’s ideas and then to show that your project in your third draft that you completed or whatever you’re showing how that’s similar and that’s why I chose to use the word here likewise again do you realize do you know that we can use these kinds of words so what you can do is if you can go to Google and you can just put what are some compare and contrast transition words I can use in writing and of course Google is going to find information for you then we have our conclusion here so essentially this is how you can create a really tightly organized compare and contrast essay now the other important thing is notice how every single time here I’m explaining the example let’s make this one let’s say orange so I’m taking this English 105 final project and I’m mentioning in it I’m mentioning just that one idea in all my body paragraphs and I’m developing it for different purposes this also helped you score high in my writing class because you’re showing that you have a lot of depth and a lot of thought to your ideas you’re not just talking about things generally like what you did in your draft you’re getting much more specific than that you see what we’re saying here so in a nutshell here it is so again this is a live demo of how you can complete a compare and contrast essay now there are different ways of doing this there is I chose to use what’s called sequencing or a point-by-point organization which means in each body paragraph I talked about Mariusz and my process together in the same paragraph now of course if you want you can divide and put Marcus’s ideas in one paragraph and yours in another this is what’s called chunking or blocking you can do either one my opinion is I think it’s a little easier for the reader to see the points together in the same paragraph but remember it’s more logical instead of Mariusz does this I do this he does this I do this my recommendation is to spend in each of these paragraphs the first 40 or 50 words discussing Mario’s first and then after that the next 40 or 50 words discussing what you do in your final project and that’s going to give you a very tight organization alright anyway thank you very much for your questions and I look forward to reading your paper

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