“Exploring Connections: A Comparison/Contrast Essay on [Topic]”

A. Directions
Step 1: Choose a Topic
Begin by choosing a topic for your comparison/contrast essay. You are free to select your own topic, or you may use one of the sample topics listed below. However, you should choose a topic that you have some personal knowledge of so that you have sufficient points of comparison or contrast to discuss in your essay. Avoid choosing subjects that require extensive outside research that require citation (you will learn how to properly cite in a later unit). Consider subjects and points that fall under “common knowledge”: information that the average educated reader would accept without needing a source citation to back it up.
You will need to compare or contrast two or three primary points about the two subjects you choose to write about, resulting in an essay with either four or six body paragraphs, an introductory paragraph, and a conclusion. The writing for this assignment should be informative and objective, avoiding the first-person voice or any personal details that may inform bias or personal opinion.
The following are some ideas that can help you to select a topic for your essay:
Compare or contrast two cities you’ve visited or that you’ve lived in
Compare or contrast two sources of news
Compare or contrast two singers in different music genres
Compare or contrast two historical figures
Compare or contrast two artists (e.g. two painters or two photographers)
Compare or contrast two television series
Compare or contrast two types of technologies (for example, two smartphone brands or two gaming consoles)
Remember that the two subjects you choose should have a meaningful connection so that you can draw comparisons or contrasts between the two.
Step 2. Write a Comparison/Contrast Essay
Write a comparison/contrast essay that meets the following criteria:
Properly applies elements of a comparison/contrast essay using personal or common knowledge of the subjects: Makes a clear and meaningful connection between two subjects related to one of the writing prompts; effectively organizes body paragraphs in one of the two prescribed ways and consistently uses transitional words or phrases to comparison/contrast ideas. Relies on personal or common knowledge.
States the focused central claim of the essay with the clear purpose of comparing/contrasting two subjects: Has a clear, focused, and detailed thesis expressed in a single sentence that states the central claim of the essay; the thesis statement effectively communicates the two subjects that will be compared or contrasted and the two or three main points of comparison/contrast.
Exhibits competent organization, flow, and writing techniques: Includes all of the required components of an essay, including an introduction with a strong thesis, an adequate number of body paragraphs (4-6), each with an effective topic sentence and a conclusion with an effective concluding statement; the sequence of sentences and paragraphs is logical.
Establishes an informative tone and makes thoughtful choices: Demonstrates thoughtful and effective word choices and uses a wide variety of sentence structures; establishes a consistently objective and impersonal tone that is appropriate to an informative essay.
Demonstrate command of standard English grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, and usage: There are few, if any, negligible errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.

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