To get some practice using comparison/contrast as a rhetorical technique, prepare to write a comparison/contrast paragraph(s) based on one of the following topics (or come up with one you like better):
- High school and College
- Raising a pet and raising a child
- Two career choices or majors you're contemplating
- Two colleges you've considered attending
- Two jobs you've had
- Two books you've read, or two movies you've seen
- Two close friends
- Two teachers
Once you decide on your subject, follow the three steps below to help you practice using this technique.
STEP 1: Establish categories to focus your analysis.
For example, if you're comparing colleges, your categories might be curriculum, price, location, and social life.
Brainstorm and then decide upon several appropriate categories for your topic which will focus how you look at each subject. List them below:
STEP 2: Brainstorm raw material by applying these categories to questions about your subject.
Based on the categories you arrived at above, ask what is similar and what is different about the two subjects. Write down everything you can think of—you can rearrange it later.
Comparisons (similarities) between___________________ and_______________________.
Contrasts (differences) between _____________________ and_______________________.
Step 3: Assemble your analysis.
Now examine the points you made and compile your raw material into paragraphs. Write a topic sentence to focus your comparison/contrast; it should state your subjects and the assertion you want to make about them as a result of your analysis. After you write your topic sentence, write the paragraph(s) below. Attach extra paper if you run out of room.
by Stacy Esch