Apples And Oranges Comparison Essay Ideas

What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

Unlike other types of essays (see top 10 essay types), a compare and contrast essay is used to explore both the similarities and the differences between two subjects by comparing and/or contrasting them against each other.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

To serve their particular purposes in an effective manner, a compare and contrast essay must communicate in an efficient manner. This means that compare and contrast essays should start with an opening paragraph, which will directly state what the writer is trying to say. Afterward, they can move onto the body, which will support the opening paragraph by providing supporting evidence. Once the supporting evidence has been listed, compare and contrast essays can conclude by reemphasizing their opening paragraphs in order to produce a lasting impression on the mind of the reader.

Comparative Analysis

With that said, a compare and contrast essay cannot be completed without conducting a comparative analysis, which the writer can use to lay out their thoughts about the subjects before sorting them into a neat and organized form. Fortunately, this process is as simple as creating a Venn diagram (see below) before filling it with the characteristics of the subjects, while making sure to put shared characteristics in the overlapping area. Once the writer is satisfied with their brainstorming, they can sort through the characteristics for the ones with the most relevance to the point that they are trying to make, which is important because weaker arguments can actually drag down their stronger counterparts when placed in the same essay.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

Pre-Writing Phase

How to start a compare and contrast essay? Students are normally assigned a topic to write on, yet sometimes professors give their students the freedom of selecting the topic on their own. In the latter case choosing one out of top compare and contrast essay topics can become a challenge. While working on the topic selection it is important not to choose two totally unrelated subjects, otherwise finding similarities can get problematic. Start out with a subject that has some basic similarities, e.g. two novels, two paintings, speeches etc.


Looking for the things to compare and contrast? Here is a list of top 30 compare contrast essay topics:

TOP 30 COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY TOPICS


Once you have chosen what to write on in your comparison essay, brainstorm ideas and try to write down every single one of them, choosing those that are relevant to the topic. You might want to divide your sheet of paper into two main sections and start jotting down everything that comes to your mind, including similarities and differences.

Writing Phase - Venn Diagram

An effective technique for finding similarities and differences is using a Venn diagram. A Venn diagram is a scheme that represents logical relations between two objects. Graphically it can be depicted as two overlapping circles, each of the circles denoting some entity. The overlapping part is the area denoting similarities, while the parts that do not overlap, are the differences (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. Venn Diagram: Comparing Apples and Oranges (Compare and Contrast Essay)

A very important point in writing an effective compare and contrast essay is a correct selection of the lines of comparison: if you are comparing two objects, you should be comparing them against one and the same parameter. For example, looking at the picture above you will see that oranges and apples are compared in regards to things like origin, place of growth, a thickness of peel etc. All of these features are inherent in both objects. If you say that an apple is different from an orange because an apple is green and the orange is juicy, you will be “comparing apples and oranges” – this time in the figurative meaning of "likening two incomparable things".

Organization: Typical Structure of a Compare and Contrast Essay

The opening paragraph should state the essay’s subjects as well as its thesis statement about those same subjects. From that point on, the body of a compare and contrast essay tends to be structured in one of two ways:

The first way: a writer can list the characteristics of one subject and then the characteristics of the other before bringing them together by analyzing their similarities and differences. This means that the body of the essay will begin with a number of paragraphs about one subject, continue with a similar number of paragraphs about the other subject, and then finish with a crucial paragraph that will use the listed characteristics to compare and contrast the two subjects.

The second way: a writer can list the similarities between the subjects and then the differences between the same. This means that the body of the essay will begin with a number of paragraphs about their similarities and finish with a number of paragraphs about their differences. With this structure, there is no need for an analysis at the end because its content is spread throughout the preceding paragraphs.

  1. Introduction
  2. Origin
  3. Climate
  4. Peel
  5. Conclusion

Another mode of organization, although less common, is called block 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 Object A, while the other half will be centered around Object B. Together with the introduction and the conclusion, the overall essay length will be 4 paragraphs. In case of block comparison the overall essay structure will take the following form:

  1. Introduction
  2. Oranges
  3. Apples
  4. Conclusion

Once the body of the essay is complete, its conclusion should restate the thesis statement but in a more confident manner because it has proven its point. Sometimes, a conclusion will summarize the preceding paragraphs for a bolder and blunter emphasis, while other times, a conclusion will let them provide their support in a more implicit manner.


HOW TO WRITE A COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY


Additional Tips on Comparison and Contrast Essay Writing

Fig. 2. Comparison and Contrast Signifiers

Compare and Contrast Words

An important thing about writing any essay is using special cue words that will make your essay more coherent and logical. In the case of a compare and contrast essay you will need to use cue words signifying comparison, for example:

Words to compare: like, compared to, similar to, similarly, by analogy, likewise, in the same way, as well as, both, too, at the same time, correspondingly, in addition, same as, etc.

The cue words signaling contrast are:

Words to contrast: unlike, conversely, however, nevertheless, still, although, while, but, even though, although, despite, yet, regardless, on the one hand … one the other hand, etc.

Post-Writing Phase

Once the first draft of an essay is complete, it is time for the writer to put the finishing touches:

Proofreading

Proofreading is a key factor because errors can break the reader from the flow of the essay, thus robbing it of its power to persuade. Writers should always read through their own work to check for typos, spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, as well as lines that should be rephrased for a better result. However, they should also get other people to proofread for them because their closeness to their writing can make it hard for them to pick up on its problems. After all, they already know what they are trying to say, meaning that they are not looking at their work with the same perspective as the reader.

References

References are a useful way to increase an essay’s power to persuade so long as they are appropriately authoritative. For example, referencing a politician is probably not going to be much use in a philosophy essay unless it is in the context of their philosophical writings. Furthermore, references are needed to use someone else’s arguments without taking credit for them in the process, which is necessary to prevent plagiarism. Not coincidentally, this also makes it easy for the reader to check the sources so that they will know, that somebody really said so if the reader is skeptical. Finally, references should be done in the style that is appropriate for the essay’s subjects for the convenience of different people in different fields. For example, most essays about the sciences should use APA, while most essays about the humanities should use MLA since those are the conventions.

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How to Write a Compre and Contrast Essay

Writing an effective compare and contrast essay is much easier than it may first appear, especially when you take a logical, step-by-step approach to the task.

Definition of a compare and contrast essay

To understand how to approach this sort of essay assignment, it's important to first have a clear understanding of what a compare and contrast essay is. Simply put, it's a written narrative that focuses on the discussion of the similarities (compare) as well as the differences (contrast) of two or more things.

Typically, these types of essays are assigned in order to encourage critical thinking so that it's necessary to do more than merely describe something. Instead, you need to put some thought into the two items and think about the things that make them the same as well as the things that make them different. As an example, let's compare and contrast apples and oranges. 

Similarities

  1. Both are fruits
  2. Both grow on trees
  3. Both have seeds
  4. Both are healthy parts of a diet 

Differences

  1. Oranges are a citrus fruit and apples are not.
  2. Oranges need a warm climate where temperatures do not approach freezing
  3. Apples grow in a more temperate climate with temperatures ranging from sub zero to 80 degrees plus throughout the year
  4. You eat the skin of the apple, but you peel the rind off the orange 

Developing a thesis and creating an outline 

The best way to tackle writing a compare and contrast essay to spend some time thinking about your topics and brainstorm a list of the similarities and differences between the two, much like the list for apples and oranges above. The ideas that you come up will help develop your thesis, or the point your essay will set out to prove. For example, with the apples and oranges example a thesis might be something like: 

“Although both apples and oranges both flavorful fruits, there are also marked differences that make them unique to themselves.”

 With a thesis in place, it's time to structure the essay. This can be done in one of two ways: 

  1. Topic Exhaustion Method - This means that you focus on one item at a time and write all the similarities and differences. So, in the case of apples and oranges, you would start with a paragraph or two devoted solely to apples. The next section would then focus on the oranges. 
  2. Likenesses & Differences Method - This means that you first review all the ways the two topics under discussion are alike. Once that it completed the focus moves to differences between the items.

No matter what method you choose, like all good essays, you need to start with an introduction that includes your thesis and end with a conclusion that summarizes your main points and restates your thesis. 

Once you've determined the method you prefer, the structure will follow one of these two patterns. 

Topic Exhaustion Method 

Paragraph 1 - Introduction and thesis statement

Paragraphs 2-3 - Discuss all facts about the first topic

Paragraphs 4-5 - Discuss the facts about the second topic

Paragraph 6 - Conclusion which summarizes the similarities and differences and correlates them directly to the thesis. 

Likenesses & Differences Method 

Paragraph 1 - Introduction and thesis statement

Paragraph 2 - Review supporting facts for subject 1

Paragraph 2 - Review the facts about subject 2

Paragraph 3 - Review additional details about subject 1, the focus is probably more on what makes it unique

Paragraph 4 - Review additional details about subject 2, again focusing on the unique attributes

Paragraph 6 - Conclusion which summarizes the similarities and differences and correlates them directly to the thesis. 

When you dissect the project of writing a compare and contrast essay and follow these steps, you'll find the process is not only relatively easy, but it can also be enjoyable.

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