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What Does Compare Mean In The Compare-And-Contrast Essay: Simple Instructions


So, you've been studying hard, and you've already learned a lot, but now you're stuck on what must surely be a very simple thing: what's the difference between compare and contrast? Eek! You don't know! Why do essay assignments have so many different requirements and terminologies? You may be feeling it's rather unfair. Well, don't worry. Answers are often a lot simpler than the pressing, pressure loaded questions you've got in your head!

This type of paper is one that's common to academic writing, so it's worth knowing what is meant by it!

So what does it mean?

These sorts of essays are asking you to choose (usually two) things and to examine their similarities and differences. The comparison is how they are similar. The contrast is how they are different. Simple!

What sort of content should be included in my work?

When your tutors assign you these types of papers, they are looking for you to go beyond mere detailed information and descriptions. These essays are looking for a critical thinking approach, by making connections between the two subjects at hand, with thought through, perceptive insights, comments, and arguments. By reflecting on similarities and differences, you will gain a deeper understanding of your topic.

Making lists can help you to be organized!

Once you've chosen your subject, and before you start writing your paper, you need to get organized. The easiest way of preparing for this type of paper is to make lists of the similarities and differences. If your topic is:, Compare and contrast the business models used by British Petroleum and Shell, simply write down the traits they share and those they don't. If your topic is something like Compare and contrasts governmental approaches to recreational drugs in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands, you'll probably find that the balance is not quite as level as the previous example. So have a good think about your subject and make comprehensive lists before you begin writing, so you can be sure you've got a balanced argument with some well thought out points.

What was the rule again?

Sometimes you will be given assignments where you're being asked only to compare; or only contrast. Compare the military strategies used by Argentina and England in The Falklands War (where you are only being asked how they are similar) or Contrast the health services of the United States and France (in which you're being asked to illustrate the differences.)

So now you know!

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