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How to Organize the Comparison Essay

Essays have a flow and structure of their own, often determined by their internal requirements. Structure is critical to the Comparison Essay. It helps to present the similarities and differences between the two parts of the subject in a clear and focused manner. So what is it that makes up the structure of this essay type? It basically follows two format types: the “block” pattern and the “points” pattern within the general body structure of the standard essay.

The “block” pattern essentially requires you to write the points of comparison/contrast in a “block.” This means that you write about one part of the subject completely before you move on to the next part. For example:

1st block — House X: look of the house, location, and color scheme

2nd block — House Y: look of the house, location, and color scheme

You would arrange the paragraphs according to each point you focus on for the respective block.

The block pattern helps you to present the details of one part of the subject in a complete manner. It is suitable for shorter essays, but you have to look out for one possible glitch: you may just write too much about one and too little about the other. Or, you may write about the location of House X but have nothing to say about the same vis-à-vis House Y. This is not acceptable, and you have to ensure that the points are equally focused and relevant to each other for both the parts.

The “Points” format is better suited to longer papers. This constitutes a swaying movement—going back and forth between different points of the subject.

1st paragraph: location of house X vis-à-vis house Y

2nd paragraph: color scheme of house X and house Y

3rd paragraph: look of house X and of house Y

The points pattern of writing the comparison essay creates a more interesting and readable paper, while the block pattern could cause some boredom if not written in an interesting manner. However, both format types require you tow rite focused topic sentences for the paragraphs that reflect the paragraph’s focus.

Besides the paragraph structure, you also want to ensure the basic external essay structure: Introduction, Body paragraphs, and Conclusion. The introduction to the comparison essay would introduce the two parts of the subject and give a hint of the points to be discussed. This part of the essay varies in length according to the length of the essay but always ends with a thesis statement.

A significant contributor to the structure of the essay type is the use of correct transitional words that help you to shift logically from one idea and/ paragraph to another. Here are some examples of such words: “however,” “though,” “similarly,” “but,” or “too” among others.

Comparison essay writing is easy once you have the points on paper and you know the basis for the comparison and contrasts. It requires a special type of focus from the writer, one that enables her/him to find out and understand each aspect and detail of a subject in its entirety and in comparison to another.

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