Assignment Guide: The Compare/Contrast Essay
For this assignment, you will be writing a compare/contrast essayan exploratory piece of writing in which you attempt to show readers how two topics are similar, different, or a combination of the two: both similar and different. Whether you focus exclusively on comparing, exclusively on contrasting, or a mix of both, is totally up to you. However, regardless of which approach you decide to take, you will want to include a strong thesis/claim statement, at least three effective supporting points, and a streamlined point-by-point organizational strategy.
Thesis: Underline your thesis statement or the main claim of your essay.
Page Formatting: See Appendix C – Formatting and Submitting Your Work
MLA Requirements: See Formatting your Essay: MLA 8th Edition
Selecting the right topic is an important step in ensuring your success in writing a Compare/Contrast essay. Youll want to choose a topic that has the following features:
- Of interest to you
- Narrow in scope
- Academic or scholarly in nature
Topics to avoid, as they are either too complex to compare and/or contrast in a single essay, or not considered appropriate for an academic or scholarly argument, are as follows:
For/against . . .
- The death penalty
- Euthanasia or self-assisted death
- The (il)legalization of drugs (e.g. marijuana)
- Religion or religious readings (e.g. existence of a higher order/being, or life after death)
- Gun rights/rules
- Global warming
Please do not select one of the above topics, as your essay may be returned without grading, and you will be asked to rewrite it.
Need assignment ideas?
Take a look at this valuable resource from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Writing Center: Topic Ideas