Comparison-Contrast Essay

Comparison-Contrast Essay

Comparison-Contrast Essay is Due ________________. It is to meet the following criteria:

1. 2-3 pages in length; not including the Works Cited page

2. Follow MLA formatting and provide both in-text citing and a Works Cited page. Refer to the printed MLA Mini-Manual for help or any of the online sources on the handout for using sources.

3. A clear thesis statement is required – for help with thesis statements refer to the handout on creating them.

4. Use a minimum of two outside sources for support – refer to source handout for help. Be very careful to use reputable sources as outlined in the handout.

5. NEVER use Wikipedia – self policed websites cannot be counted on for truthful and credible information.

6. A clean, printed, hard copy is to be turned in to the professor in class.

7. The essays are due on the assigned day (on the syllabus) and will be docked one letter grade per day that they are late. That means EVERY day, not just class days.

Purpose: Comparison-Contrast is a good choice ifthe goal of the essay is to demonstrate: one thing is better than another (an Android cell phone is better/worse than an iPhone), things that seem different are actually more alike than they seem (the appeals of baseball, soccer and football), or things that are seemingly alike are more different than they appear (parents and children in their views toward success). Sometimes the comparison is needed and sometimes the contrast is needed, but there are also times when both are needed (have movies in the 21st century become only copies of the movies of previous millennia or do they offer new plot and characteristics?)

When taking the purpose into account, it is imperative that the purpose be kept in mind so that the essay stays focused on the stated thesis.

Audience: The goal of comparison-contrast writing is not simply to show how two things differ or are alike, comparison-contrast is a strategy for making a point or arguing for one position or another, evaluating the validity or lack thereof for one thing or another, clearing up misconceptions by revealing similarities or differences, or drawing an analogy between two seemingly different things. As always, the audience for college essays should be inclusionary and be for all to read and written at an adult level.

Organization and Development: A solid thesis is imperative for a comparison-contrast essay (as with all essays). The thesis could: name the subjects being compared and contrasted, indicate whether the focus will be on similarities, differences or both, or state the main objective of the essay. Brainstorming for the pros, cons, differences, similarities, etc. is helpful so that the writer can then decide which of those should have the focus. The two common organizational approaches for comparison-contrast essays are one-side-at-a-time, which explores all about one subject first and then explores the other one, and point-by-point where the writer alternates from one aspect of the first subject and then the same aspect of the second subject.

Ex. One-side-at-a-time: All of the points such as cost, application variety and quality, and user friendliness of the Android and then all of the points about cost, application variety and quality, and user friendliness for the iPhone.

Ex. Point-by-point: 1. The cost of the Android; the cost of the iPhone.

2. The application variety and quality of the Android; the application variety and quality of the iPhone.

3. The user friendliness of the Android; the user friendliness of the iPhone.

When doing any college essay, clear transitions are needed, but for comparison-contrast essays, it is important to focus on transitions that indicate similarities and differences, such as: also, in the same way, likewise, similarly, as opposed, etc.

Criteria for Evaluation: 100 points

30 points: Development

1. Has clear introduction and thesis statement.

2. Follows clear organizational pattern

3. Has appropriate title in the correct placement

4. Type of audience is considered

5. Tone is appropriate for the topic

6. Topic is supported fully

7. Has clear transitions from point and paragraph to point and paragraph

8. Style of conclusion is both suited to the topic and logical without adding new information

9. Stays on topic and does not veer off in unnecessary directions

35 points: Grammar

1. Has no comma splices

2. Has no run-ons or fragments

3. Uses correct pronoun agreement

4. Uses varied sentence structure

5. Spelling is carefully checked

6. Word choice is clear and appropriate

7. There is no faulty subject or verb agreement

8. All sentences are parallel

9. Commas and apostrophes are used correctly

10. Underlining, italics, capital letters, etc. are correct

35 points: Proper Use of MLA

1. Spacing is correct; without extra spaces used unnecessarily (2.0)

2. Proper information is listed at the top and left (Name, Class, Assignment Type/#, Date)

3. Name and page #’s are at the top right ½ inch from the top

4. In-text citations are correct and in the right place

5. Is the correct length with the correct number of sources

6. The Works Cited page has the proper format and correct heading

7. Information is properly credited to sources

8. Has proper margins and fonts

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