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Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay | Tips & Examples

Published on August 6, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

Comparing and contrasting is an important skill in academic writing . It involves taking two or more subjects and analyzing the differences and similarities between them.

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Table of contents

When should i compare and contrast, making effective comparisons, comparing and contrasting as a brainstorming tool, structuring your comparisons, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about comparing and contrasting.

Many assignments will invite you to make comparisons quite explicitly, as in these prompts.

  • Compare the treatment of the theme of beauty in the poetry of William Wordsworth and John Keats.
  • Compare and contrast in-class and distance learning. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?

Some other prompts may not directly ask you to compare and contrast, but present you with a topic where comparing and contrasting could be a good approach.

One way to approach this essay might be to contrast the situation before the Great Depression with the situation during it, to highlight how large a difference it made.

Comparing and contrasting is also used in all kinds of academic contexts where it’s not explicitly prompted. For example, a literature review involves comparing and contrasting different studies on your topic, and an argumentative essay may involve weighing up the pros and cons of different arguments.

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As the name suggests, comparing and contrasting is about identifying both similarities and differences. You might focus on contrasting quite different subjects or comparing subjects with a lot in common—but there must be some grounds for comparison in the first place.

For example, you might contrast French society before and after the French Revolution; you’d likely find many differences, but there would be a valid basis for comparison. However, if you contrasted pre-revolutionary France with Han-dynasty China, your reader might wonder why you chose to compare these two societies.

This is why it’s important to clarify the point of your comparisons by writing a focused thesis statement . Every element of an essay should serve your central argument in some way. Consider what you’re trying to accomplish with any comparisons you make, and be sure to make this clear to the reader.

Comparing and contrasting can be a useful tool to help organize your thoughts before you begin writing any type of academic text. You might use it to compare different theories and approaches you’ve encountered in your preliminary research, for example.

Let’s say your research involves the competing psychological approaches of behaviorism and cognitive psychology. You might make a table to summarize the key differences between them.

Or say you’re writing about the major global conflicts of the twentieth century. You might visualize the key similarities and differences in a Venn diagram.

A Venn diagram showing the similarities and differences between World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.

These visualizations wouldn’t make it into your actual writing, so they don’t have to be very formal in terms of phrasing or presentation. The point of comparing and contrasting at this stage is to help you organize and shape your ideas to aid you in structuring your arguments.

When comparing and contrasting in an essay, there are two main ways to structure your comparisons: the alternating method and the block method.

The alternating method

In the alternating method, you structure your text according to what aspect you’re comparing. You cover both your subjects side by side in terms of a specific point of comparison. Your text is structured like this:

Mouse over the example paragraph below to see how this approach works.

One challenge teachers face is identifying and assisting students who are struggling without disrupting the rest of the class. In a traditional classroom environment, the teacher can easily identify when a student is struggling based on their demeanor in class or simply by regularly checking on students during exercises. They can then offer assistance quietly during the exercise or discuss it further after class. Meanwhile, in a Zoom-based class, the lack of physical presence makes it more difficult to pay attention to individual students’ responses and notice frustrations, and there is less flexibility to speak with students privately to offer assistance. In this case, therefore, the traditional classroom environment holds the advantage, although it appears likely that aiding students in a virtual classroom environment will become easier as the technology, and teachers’ familiarity with it, improves.

The block method

In the block method, you cover each of the overall subjects you’re comparing in a block. You say everything you have to say about your first subject, then discuss your second subject, making comparisons and contrasts back to the things you’ve already said about the first. Your text is structured like this:

  • Point of comparison A
  • Point of comparison B

The most commonly cited advantage of distance learning is the flexibility and accessibility it offers. Rather than being required to travel to a specific location every week (and to live near enough to feasibly do so), students can participate from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows not only for a wider geographical spread of students but for the possibility of studying while travelling. However, distance learning presents its own accessibility challenges; not all students have a stable internet connection and a computer or other device with which to participate in online classes, and less technologically literate students and teachers may struggle with the technical aspects of class participation. Furthermore, discomfort and distractions can hinder an individual student’s ability to engage with the class from home, creating divergent learning experiences for different students. Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.

Note that these two methods can be combined; these two example paragraphs could both be part of the same essay, but it’s wise to use an essay outline to plan out which approach you’re taking in each paragraph.

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Some essay prompts include the keywords “compare” and/or “contrast.” In these cases, an essay structured around comparing and contrasting is the appropriate response.

Comparing and contrasting is also a useful approach in all kinds of academic writing : You might compare different studies in a literature review , weigh up different arguments in an argumentative essay , or consider different theoretical approaches in a theoretical framework .

Your subjects might be very different or quite similar, but it’s important that there be meaningful grounds for comparison . You can probably describe many differences between a cat and a bicycle, but there isn’t really any connection between them to justify the comparison.

You’ll have to write a thesis statement explaining the central point you want to make in your essay , so be sure to know in advance what connects your subjects and makes them worth comparing.

Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:

  • The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
  • The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.

It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Comparing and Contrasting

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective. It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond “Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others.”

Introduction

In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements. One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another. By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them.

Recognizing comparison/contrast in assignments

Some assignments use words—like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences—that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast. Here are a few hypothetical examples:

  • Compare and contrast Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression.
  • Compare WWI to WWII, identifying similarities in the causes, development, and outcomes of the wars.
  • Contrast Wordsworth and Coleridge; what are the major differences in their poetry?

Notice that some topics ask only for comparison, others only for contrast, and others for both.

But it’s not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast. And in some cases, comparison/contrast is only part of the essay—you begin by comparing and/or contrasting two or more things and then use what you’ve learned to construct an argument or evaluation. Consider these examples, noticing the language that is used to ask for the comparison/contrast and whether the comparison/contrast is only one part of a larger assignment:

  • Choose a particular idea or theme, such as romantic love, death, or nature, and consider how it is treated in two Romantic poems.
  • How do the different authors we have studied so far define and describe oppression?
  • Compare Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression. What does each imply about women’s collusion in their own oppression? Which is more accurate?
  • In the texts we’ve studied, soldiers who served in different wars offer differing accounts of their experiences and feelings both during and after the fighting. What commonalities are there in these accounts? What factors do you think are responsible for their differences?

You may want to check out our handout on understanding assignments for additional tips.

Using comparison/contrast for all kinds of writing projects

Sometimes you may want to use comparison/contrast techniques in your own pre-writing work to get ideas that you can later use for an argument, even if comparison/contrast isn’t an official requirement for the paper you’re writing. For example, if you wanted to argue that Frye’s account of oppression is better than both de Beauvoir’s and Bartky’s, comparing and contrasting the main arguments of those three authors might help you construct your evaluation—even though the topic may not have asked for comparison/contrast and the lists of similarities and differences you generate may not appear anywhere in the final draft of your paper.

Discovering similarities and differences

Making a Venn diagram or a chart can help you quickly and efficiently compare and contrast two or more things or ideas. To make a Venn diagram, simply draw some overlapping circles, one circle for each item you’re considering. In the central area where they overlap, list the traits the two items have in common. Assign each one of the areas that doesn’t overlap; in those areas, you can list the traits that make the things different. Here’s a very simple example, using two pizza places:

Venn diagram indicating that both Pepper's and Amante serve pizza with unusual ingredients at moderate prices, despite differences in location, wait times, and delivery options

To make a chart, figure out what criteria you want to focus on in comparing the items. Along the left side of the page, list each of the criteria. Across the top, list the names of the items. You should then have a box per item for each criterion; you can fill the boxes in and then survey what you’ve discovered.

As you generate points of comparison, consider the purpose and content of the assignment and the focus of the class. What do you think the professor wants you to learn by doing this comparison/contrast? How does it fit with what you have been studying so far and with the other assignments in the course? Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself?

Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. These are by no means complete or definitive lists; they’re just here to give you some ideas—you can generate your own questions for these and other types of comparison. You may want to begin by using the questions reporters traditionally ask: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? If you’re talking about objects, you might also consider general properties like size, shape, color, sound, weight, taste, texture, smell, number, duration, and location.

Two historical periods or events

  • When did they occur—do you know the date(s) and duration? What happened or changed during each? Why are they significant?
  • What kinds of work did people do? What kinds of relationships did they have? What did they value?
  • What kinds of governments were there? Who were important people involved?
  • What caused events in these periods, and what consequences did they have later on?

Two ideas or theories

  • What are they about?
  • Did they originate at some particular time?
  • Who created them? Who uses or defends them?
  • What is the central focus, claim, or goal of each? What conclusions do they offer?
  • How are they applied to situations/people/things/etc.?
  • Which seems more plausible to you, and why? How broad is their scope?
  • What kind of evidence is usually offered for them?

Two pieces of writing or art

  • What are their titles? What do they describe or depict?
  • What is their tone or mood? What is their form?
  • Who created them? When were they created? Why do you think they were created as they were? What themes do they address?
  • Do you think one is of higher quality or greater merit than the other(s)—and if so, why?
  • For writing: what plot, characterization, setting, theme, tone, and type of narration are used?
  • Where are they from? How old are they? What is the gender, race, class, etc. of each?
  • What, if anything, are they known for? Do they have any relationship to each other?
  • What are they like? What did/do they do? What do they believe? Why are they interesting?
  • What stands out most about each of them?

Deciding what to focus on

By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations! Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s relevant to the assignment?
  • What’s relevant to the course?
  • What’s interesting and informative?
  • What matters to the argument you are going to make?
  • What’s basic or central (and needs to be mentioned even if obvious)?
  • Overall, what’s more important—the similarities or the differences?

Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels. For most literature classes, the fact that they both use Caslon type (a kind of typeface, like the fonts you may use in your writing) is not going to be relevant, nor is the fact that one of them has a few illustrations and the other has none; literature classes are more likely to focus on subjects like characterization, plot, setting, the writer’s style and intentions, language, central themes, and so forth. However, if you were writing a paper for a class on typesetting or on how illustrations are used to enhance novels, the typeface and presence or absence of illustrations might be absolutely critical to include in your final paper.

Sometimes a particular point of comparison or contrast might be relevant but not terribly revealing or interesting. For example, if you are writing a paper about Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” and Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight,” pointing out that they both have nature as a central theme is relevant (comparisons of poetry often talk about themes) but not terribly interesting; your class has probably already had many discussions about the Romantic poets’ fondness for nature. Talking about the different ways nature is depicted or the different aspects of nature that are emphasized might be more interesting and show a more sophisticated understanding of the poems.

Your thesis

The thesis of your comparison/contrast paper is very important: it can help you create a focused argument and give your reader a road map so she/he doesn’t get lost in the sea of points you are about to make. As in any paper, you will want to replace vague reports of your general topic (for example, “This paper will compare and contrast two pizza places,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in some ways and different in others,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in many ways, but they have one major difference”) with something more detailed and specific. For example, you might say, “Pepper’s and Amante have similar prices and ingredients, but their atmospheres and willingness to deliver set them apart.”

Be careful, though—although this thesis is fairly specific and does propose a simple argument (that atmosphere and delivery make the two pizza places different), your instructor will often be looking for a bit more analysis. In this case, the obvious question is “So what? Why should anyone care that Pepper’s and Amante are different in this way?” One might also wonder why the writer chose those two particular pizza places to compare—why not Papa John’s, Dominos, or Pizza Hut? Again, thinking about the context the class provides may help you answer such questions and make a stronger argument. Here’s a revision of the thesis mentioned earlier:

Pepper’s and Amante both offer a greater variety of ingredients than other Chapel Hill/Carrboro pizza places (and than any of the national chains), but the funky, lively atmosphere at Pepper’s makes it a better place to give visiting friends and family a taste of local culture.

You may find our handout on constructing thesis statements useful at this stage.

Organizing your paper

There are many different ways to organize a comparison/contrast essay. Here are two:

Subject-by-subject

Begin by saying everything you have to say about the first subject you are discussing, then move on and make all the points you want to make about the second subject (and after that, the third, and so on, if you’re comparing/contrasting more than two things). If the paper is short, you might be able to fit all of your points about each item into a single paragraph, but it’s more likely that you’d have several paragraphs per item. Using our pizza place comparison/contrast as an example, after the introduction, you might have a paragraph about the ingredients available at Pepper’s, a paragraph about its location, and a paragraph about its ambience. Then you’d have three similar paragraphs about Amante, followed by your conclusion.

The danger of this subject-by-subject organization is that your paper will simply be a list of points: a certain number of points (in my example, three) about one subject, then a certain number of points about another. This is usually not what college instructors are looking for in a paper—generally they want you to compare or contrast two or more things very directly, rather than just listing the traits the things have and leaving it up to the reader to reflect on how those traits are similar or different and why those similarities or differences matter. Thus, if you use the subject-by-subject form, you will probably want to have a very strong, analytical thesis and at least one body paragraph that ties all of your different points together.

A subject-by-subject structure can be a logical choice if you are writing what is sometimes called a “lens” comparison, in which you use one subject or item (which isn’t really your main topic) to better understand another item (which is). For example, you might be asked to compare a poem you’ve already covered thoroughly in class with one you are reading on your own. It might make sense to give a brief summary of your main ideas about the first poem (this would be your first subject, the “lens”), and then spend most of your paper discussing how those points are similar to or different from your ideas about the second.

Point-by-point

Rather than addressing things one subject at a time, you may wish to talk about one point of comparison at a time. There are two main ways this might play out, depending on how much you have to say about each of the things you are comparing. If you have just a little, you might, in a single paragraph, discuss how a certain point of comparison/contrast relates to all the items you are discussing. For example, I might describe, in one paragraph, what the prices are like at both Pepper’s and Amante; in the next paragraph, I might compare the ingredients available; in a third, I might contrast the atmospheres of the two restaurants.

If I had a bit more to say about the items I was comparing/contrasting, I might devote a whole paragraph to how each point relates to each item. For example, I might have a whole paragraph about the clientele at Pepper’s, followed by a whole paragraph about the clientele at Amante; then I would move on and do two more paragraphs discussing my next point of comparison/contrast—like the ingredients available at each restaurant.

There are no hard and fast rules about organizing a comparison/contrast paper, of course. Just be sure that your reader can easily tell what’s going on! Be aware, too, of the placement of your different points. If you are writing a comparison/contrast in service of an argument, keep in mind that the last point you make is the one you are leaving your reader with. For example, if I am trying to argue that Amante is better than Pepper’s, I should end with a contrast that leaves Amante sounding good, rather than with a point of comparison that I have to admit makes Pepper’s look better. If you’ve decided that the differences between the items you’re comparing/contrasting are most important, you’ll want to end with the differences—and vice versa, if the similarities seem most important to you.

Our handout on organization can help you write good topic sentences and transitions and make sure that you have a good overall structure in place for your paper.

Cue words and other tips

To help your reader keep track of where you are in the comparison/contrast, you’ll want to be sure that your transitions and topic sentences are especially strong. Your thesis should already have given the reader an idea of the points you’ll be making and the organization you’ll be using, but you can help her/him out with some extra cues. The following words may be helpful to you in signaling your intentions:

  • like, similar to, also, unlike, similarly, in the same way, likewise, again, compared to, in contrast, in like manner, contrasted with, on the contrary, however, although, yet, even though, still, but, nevertheless, conversely, at the same time, regardless, despite, while, on the one hand … on the other hand.

For example, you might have a topic sentence like one of these:

  • Compared to Pepper’s, Amante is quiet.
  • Like Amante, Pepper’s offers fresh garlic as a topping.
  • Despite their different locations (downtown Chapel Hill and downtown Carrboro), Pepper’s and Amante are both fairly easy to get to.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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The Comparative Essay

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What is a comparative essay?

A comparative essay asks that you compare at least two (possibly more) items. These items will differ depending on the assignment. You might be asked to compare

  • positions on an issue (e.g., responses to midwifery in Canada and the United States)
  • theories (e.g., capitalism and communism)
  • figures (e.g., GDP in the United States and Britain)
  • texts (e.g., Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth )
  • events (e.g., the Great Depression and the global financial crisis of 2008–9)

Although the assignment may say “compare,” the assumption is that you will consider both the similarities and differences; in other words, you will compare and contrast.

Make sure you know the basis for comparison

The assignment sheet may say exactly what you need to compare, or it may ask you to come up with a basis for comparison yourself.

  • Provided by the essay question: The essay question may ask that you consider the figure of the gentleman in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall . The basis for comparison will be the figure of the gentleman.
  • Developed by you: The question may simply ask that you compare the two novels. If so, you will need to develop a basis for comparison, that is, a theme, concern, or device common to both works from which you can draw similarities and differences.

Develop a list of similarities and differences

Once you know your basis for comparison, think critically about the similarities and differences between the items you are comparing, and compile a list of them.

For example, you might decide that in Great Expectations , being a true gentleman is not a matter of manners or position but morality, whereas in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall , being a true gentleman is not about luxury and self-indulgence but hard work and productivity.

The list you have generated is not yet your outline for the essay, but it should provide you with enough similarities and differences to construct an initial plan.

Develop a thesis based on the relative weight of similarities and differences

Once you have listed similarities and differences, decide whether the similarities on the whole outweigh the differences or vice versa. Create a thesis statement that reflects their relative weights. A more complex thesis will usually include both similarities and differences. Here are examples of the two main cases:

While Callaghan’s “All the Years of Her Life” and Mistry’s “Of White Hairs and Cricket” both follow the conventions of the coming-of-age narrative, Callaghan’s story adheres more closely to these conventions by allowing its central protagonist to mature. In Mistry’s story, by contrast, no real growth occurs.
Although Darwin and Lamarck came to different conclusions about whether acquired traits can be inherited, they shared the key distinction of recognizing that species evolve over time.

Come up with a structure for your essay

Note that the French and Russian revolutions (A and B) may be dissimilar rather than similar in the way they affected innovation in any of the three areas of technology, military strategy, and administration. To use the alternating method, you just need to have something noteworthy to say about both A and B in each area. Finally, you may certainly include more than three pairs of alternating points: allow the subject matter to determine the number of points you choose to develop in the body of your essay.

When do I use the block method? The block method is particularly useful in the following cases:

  • You are unable to find points about A and B that are closely related to each other.
  • Your ideas about B build upon or extend your ideas about A.
  • You are comparing three or more subjects as opposed to the traditional two.

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OASIS: Writing Center

Writing a paper: comparing & contrasting.

A compare and contrast paper discusses the similarities and differences between two or more topics. The paper should contain an introduction with a thesis statement, a body where the comparisons and contrasts are discussed, and a conclusion.

Address Both Similarities and Differences

Because this is a compare and contrast paper, both the similarities and differences should be discussed. This will require analysis on your part, as some topics will appear to be quite similar, and you will have to work to find the differing elements.

Make Sure You Have a Clear Thesis Statement

Just like any other essay, a compare and contrast essay needs a thesis statement. The thesis statement should not only tell your reader what you will do, but it should also address the purpose and importance of comparing and contrasting the material.

Use Clear Transitions

Transitions are important in compare and contrast essays, where you will be moving frequently between different topics or perspectives.

  • Examples of transitions and phrases for comparisons: as well, similar to, consistent with, likewise, too
  • Examples of transitions and phrases for contrasts: on the other hand, however, although, differs, conversely, rather than.

For more information, check out our transitions page.

Structure Your Paper

Consider how you will present the information. You could present all of the similarities first and then present all of the differences. Or you could go point by point and show the similarity and difference of one point, then the similarity and difference for another point, and so on.

Include Analysis

It is tempting to just provide summary for this type of paper, but analysis will show the importance of the comparisons and contrasts. For instance, if you are comparing two articles on the topic of the nursing shortage, help us understand what this will achieve. Did you find consensus between the articles that will support a certain action step for people in the field? Did you find discrepancies between the two that point to the need for further investigation?

Make Analogous Comparisons

When drawing comparisons or making contrasts, be sure you are dealing with similar aspects of each item. To use an old cliché, are you comparing apples to apples?

  • Example of poor comparisons: Kubista studied the effects of a later start time on high school students, but Cook used a mixed methods approach. (This example does not compare similar items. It is not a clear contrast because the sentence does not discuss the same element of the articles. It is like comparing apples to oranges.)
  • Example of analogous comparisons: Cook used a mixed methods approach, whereas Kubista used only quantitative methods. (Here, methods are clearly being compared, allowing the reader to understand the distinction.

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Comparing and Contrasting

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essay comparing 2 articles

The professor says to compare and contrast A and B ...

Determining the Structure of your Essay:

Determining the structure of your essay is the most important step towards conducting and presenting to the reader a well-developed comparison. Students are often asked to compare things in twos. For example, compare these two articles, or two characters in a novel, or a film and a novel or an article and a poem... The possibilities are endless.

When you are faced with the task of having to compare and contrast, it can be overwhelming. You're thinking about two pieces of writing that you know are different, and perhaps there are some similarities, too, but how can you suddenly start talking about them both?  Which one should I talk about first? Which one should I talk about last?

Sometimes, comparisons are done in the following manner:

You pick one article to describe:  Article A.  Then you talk about  Article B.  Perhaps at the end, you talk about the similarities in both articles.

This format will consist of three main parts: A, B, and, finally, their similarities.

Although this format is an acceptable way of making comparisons, and it is sometimes used to present well-developed "compare and contrast" essays, the format has its weaknesses that can jeopardize an effective comparison.

What could happen when you use this format and you completely isolate  Article A  from  Article B  is that you make it more difficult to compare. Your final essay might end up divided in two parts: half of the paper talks about only  Article A  and the second half talks about only  Article B . You do not want to split your essay into a description of  Article A  and a description of  Article B  because then it will be harder to compare them since you invested most of your energy into describing them and not comparing them.

How to avoid the "Split Essay": A Second Option for Comparison

The best way to avoid the Split Essay is to unify both split ends. Do not discuss  Article B  at the end. Talk about  both A and B  from the beginning. The question now is:

What do I do to eliminate the Split?

Break it down:

You do not get rid of the gap between the two halves of the essay that are split. You simply  break it down . This is done by finding common themes, or points of comparison in  Article A and Article B.  Once you find those points of comparison, you can discuss each individual theme and how each shows up in  Article A and B . Consider the following questions:

  • What major themes are discussed in each of the essays?
  • What doe the writer of  Article A  say about the first theme, and how is this similar to or different than what the writer of  Article B  says about the same topic?
  • What conclusions can you make about these differences or similarities?

After developing a thorough explanation of the first theme, you can mow move on to discuss the second theme that appears in both essays and write about it. Ideally, each theme will be discussed thoroughly in its own paragraph, explaining how each is similar or different in  Article A  and  Article B

During the seventies, Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote his most famous novel,  One Hundred Years of Solitude , in which he discussed themes regarding the solitude of Latin America.

In 1982, Marquez received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his novel and wrote a speech for this occasion. In his speech, he called attention to Latin American economic struggles and their historical context.

In 1990, Enrique Krauze, a Mexican economist, published an article in which he discussed the same topic: problems in Latin American economics.

The prompt says:

Compare and contrast Enrique Krauze's essay to the speech written by Marquez.

Possible approaches:

Option #1: Text by text comparison

First paragraph:

A: An explanation of Marquez's entire speech

Second paragraph:

B: An explanation of Krauze's entire essay

Third paragraph:

Similarities or differences

(this might lead to the "Split Essay" comparison)

Option #2: Point by point comparison

The breakdown: Finding common themes or points of comparison:

• Neoliberalism (free trade)

• US involvement

• Proposed solutions to the problems (macro or micro economy?)

A: Krauze's opinion on neoliberalism

B: Marquez's opinion on neoliberalism

A: US involvement good or bad? According to Marquez

B: US involvement good or bad? According to Krauze

Whatever other theme that stands out as significant for explaining the differences of opinions.

Sample paragraph:

          Enrique Krauze and Gabriel Garcia Marquez take different positions in regards to the implementation of more neoliberalist policies in Latin American countries. While Krauze argues the need to expand open trade in Latin America to improve its economy, Marquez opposes this idea and argues that an open trade economy would only aid foreign investors in further exploiting the natural resources in Latin America. Krauze's support of neoliberalism is based on the idea that through a macro economy, the "undeveloped" countries will soon see the light at the end of the tunnel. On the other hand, Marquez rebuts this argument, claiming that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which forced neoliberalist policies onto Latin American countries, only served to increase their foreign debt.

Notice how the beginning of this paragraph discusses only one theme: neoliberalism. Also notice how the writer was able to incorporate both articles and not just one. Pay attention, too, to the use of words and phrases that juxtapose or suggest comparison. These words establish links between  A  and  B .

Handout created by Rubén Garibaldo, Student Learning Center, University of California, Berkeley

©2006 UC Regents

Handout revised by Carolyn Swalina, Student Learning Center, University of California, Berkeley

©2011 UC Regents

  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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Comparing and Contrasting: A Guide to Improve Your Essays

Walter Akolo

Walter Akolo

Comparing and contrasting in essays

Essays that require you to compare and contrast two or more subjects, ideas, places, or items are common.

They call for you to highlight the key similarities (compare) and differences (contrast) between them.

This guide contains all the information you need to become better at writing comparing and contrasting essays.

This includes: how to structure your essay, how to decide on the content, and some examples of essay questions.

Let’s dive in.

Compare and contrast definition

What Is Comparing and Contrasting?

Is compare and contrast the same as similarities and differences, what is the purpose of comparing and contrasting, can you compare and contrast any two items, how do you compare and contrast in writing, what are some comparing and contrasting techniques, how do you compare and contrast in college level writing, the four essentials of compare and contrast essays, what can you learn from a compare and contrast essay.

At their most basic, both comparing and contrasting base their evaluation on two or more subjects that share a connection.

The subjects could have similar characteristics, features, or foundations.

But while a comparison discusses the similarities of the two subjects, e.g. a banana and a watermelon are both fruit, contrasting highlights how the subjects or items differ from each other, e.g. a watermelon is around 10 times larger than a banana.

Any question that you are asked in education will have a variety of interesting comparisons and deductions that you can make.

Compare is the same as similarities.

Contrast is the same as differences.

This is because comparing identifies the likeness between two subjects, items, or categories, while contrasting recognizes disparities between them.

When you compare things, you represent them regarding their similarity, but when you contrast things, you define them in reference to their differences.

As a result, if you are asked to discuss the similarities and differences between two subjects, you can take an identical approach to if you are writing a compare and contrast essay.

In writing, the purpose of comparing and contrasting is to highlight subtle but important differences or similarities that might not be immediately obvious.

The purpose of comparing and contrasting

By illustrating the differences between elements in a similar category, you help heighten readers’ understanding of the subject or topic of discussion.

For instance, you might choose to compare and contrast red wine and white wine by pointing out the subtle differences. One of these differences is that red wine is best served at room temperature while white is best served chilled.

Also, comparing and contrasting helps to make abstract ideas more definite and minimizes the confusion that might exist between two related concepts.

Can Comparing and Contrasting Be Useful Outside of Academia?

Comparing enables you to see the pros and cons, allowing you to have a better understanding of the things under discussion. In an essay, this helps you demonstrate that you understand the nuances of your topic enough to draw meaningful conclusions from them.

Let's use a real-word example to see the benefits. Imagine you're contrasting two dresses you could buy. You might think:

  • Dress A is purple, my favorite color, but it has a difficult zip and is practically impossible to match a jacket to.
  • Dress B is more expensive but I already have a suitable pair of shoes and jacket and it is easier to move in.

You're linking the qualities of each dress to the context of the decision you're making. This is the same for your essay. Your comparison and contrast points will be in relation to the question you need to answer.

Comparing and contrasting is only a useful technique when applied to two related concepts.

To effectively compare two or more things, they must feature characteristics similar enough to warrant comparison.

In addition to this they must also feature a similarity that generates an interesting discussion. But what do I mean by “interesting” here?

Let’s look at two concepts, the Magna Carta and my third grade poetry competition entry.

They are both text, written on paper by a person so they fulfil the first requirement, they have a similarity. But this comparison clearly would not fulfil the second requirement, you would not be able to draw any interesting conclusions.

However, if we compare the Magna Carta to the Bill of Rights, you would be able to come to some very interesting conclusions concerning the history of world politics.

To write a good compare and contrast essay, it’s best to pick two or more topics that share a meaningful connection .

The aim of the essay would be to show the subtle differences or unforeseen similarities.

By highlighting the distinctions between elements in a similar category you can increase your readers’ understanding.

Alternatively, you could choose to focus on a comparison between two subjects that initially appear unrelated.

The more dissimilar they seem, the more interesting the comparison essay will turn out.

For instance, you could compare and contrast professional rugby players with marathon runners.

Can You Compare and Contrast in an Essay That Does Not Specifically Require It?

As a writer, you can employ comparing and contrasting techniques in your writing, particularly when looking for ideas you can later apply in your argument.

You can do this even when the comparison or contrast is not a requirement for the topic or argument you are presenting. Doing so could enable you to build your evaluation and develop a stronger argument.

Note that the similarities and differences you come up with might not even show up in the final draft.

While the use of compare and contrast can be neutral, you can also use it to highlight one option under discussion. When used this way, you can influence the perceived advantages of your preferred option.

As a writing style, comparing and contrasting can encompass an entire essay. However, it could also appear in some select paragraphs within the essay, where making some comparisons serves to better illustrate a point.

What Should You Do First?

Before you compare two things, always start by deciding on the reason for your comparison, then outline the criteria you will use to compare them.

Words and phrases commonly used for comparison include:

Comparison words and phrases

In writing, these words and phrases are called transitions . They help readers to understand or make the connection between sentences, paragraphs, and ideas.

Without transition words writing can feel clumsy and disjointed making it difficult to read. ProWritingAid’s transition report highlights all of a documents transitions and suggests that 25% of any sentences in a piece include a transition.

ProWritingAid's Transition Report

Sign up for a free ProWritingAid account to use the Transitions Report.

So, how do you form all of this into a coherent essay? It's a good idea to plan first, then decide what your paragraph layout will look like.

Venn diagrams are useful tool to start generating ideas. The, for your essay, you need to choose between going idea by idea and going point by point.

Using a Venn Diagram

A Venn diagram helps you to clearly see the similarities and differences between multiple objects, things, or subjects.

The writing tool comprises two, or more, simple, overlapping circles in which you list down the things that are alike (within the overlapping area) and those that differ (outside the overlapping area).

It’s great for brainstorming ideas and for creating your essay’s outline. You could even use it in an exam setting because it is quick and simple.

Going Subject by Subject

Going subject by subject is a structural choice for your essay.

Start by saying all you have to say on the first subject, then proceed to do the same about the second subject.

Depending on the length of your essay, you can fit the points about each subject into one paragraph or have several sections per each subject, ending with a conclusion.

This method is best for short essays on simple topics. Most university-level essays will go point by point instead.

Going Point by Point

Going point by point, or alternating, is the opposite essay structure from going subject by subject. This is ideal when you want to do more direct comparing and contrasting. It entails discussing one comparison point at a time. It allows you to use a paragraph to talk about how a certain comparing/contrasting point relates to the subjects or items you are discussing.

Alternatively, if you have lots of details about the subject, you might decide to use a paragraph for each point.

Different ways to compare and contrast

An academic compare and contrast essay looks at two or more subjects, ideas, people, or objects, compares their likeness, and contrasts their differences.

It’s an informative essay that provides insights on what is similar and different between the two items.

Depending on the essay’s instructions, you can focus solely on comparing or contrasting, or a combination of the two.

Examples of College Level Compare and Contrast Essay Questions

Here are eleven examples of compare and contrast essay questions that you might encounter at university:

Compare and contrast examples

  • Archaeology: Compare and contrast the skulls of homo habilis, homo erectus, and homo sapiens.
  • Art: Compare and contrast the working styles of any two Neoclassic artists.
  • Astrophysics: Compare and contrast the chemical composition of Venus and Neptune.
  • Biology: Compare and contrast the theories of Lamarck and Darwin.
  • Business: Compare and contrast 2 or more business models within the agricultural industry.
  • Creative writing: Compare and contrast free indirect discourse with epistolary styles.
  • English Literature: Compare and contrast William Wordsworth with Robert Browning.
  • Geography: Compare and contrast the benefit of solar panels with the benefit of wind turbines.
  • History: Compare and contrast WWI to WWII with specific reference to the causes and outcomes.
  • Medicine: Compare and contrast England’s health service with America’s health service.
  • Psychology: Compare and contrast the behaviorist theory with the psychodynamic theory.

So, the key takeaways to keep in mind are:

Have a basis for comparison. The two things need to have enough in common to justify a discussion about their similarities and disparities.

Don’t go back and forth when using the block method. The best way to write your essay is to begin with a paragraph discussing all the facets of the first topic. Then, move on to another paragraph and talk through all the aspects of the second subject.

You can use both alternating and blocking techniques. Combining the two approaches is also an option. You can apply the alternating method in some paragraphs, then switch and use the block method. This method will help you offer a much deeper analysis of the subjects.

Have a reason for comparing the two things. Only select the points of comparison that resonate with your purpose.

Compare and contrast, key takeaways

Comparing and contrasting are essential analytical skills in academic writing. When your professor issues you with such an essay, their primary goal is to teach you how to:

  • Engage in critical thinking
  • See and make connections between words or ideas
  • Move beyond mere descriptions or summaries to developing interesting analysis
  • Get a deeper understanding of the subjects or items under comparison, their key features, and their interrelationships with each other.

The benefits of comparing and contrasting

Ultimately, your essay should enlighten readers by providing useful information.

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10.7 Comparison and Contrast

Learning objectives.

  • Determine the purpose and structure of comparison and contrast in writing.
  • Explain organizational methods used when comparing and contrasting.
  • Understand how to write a compare-and-contrast essay.

The Purpose of Comparison and Contrast in Writing

Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay , then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.

The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities. For example, if you wanted to focus on contrasting two subjects you would not pick apples and oranges; rather, you might choose to compare and contrast two types of oranges or two types of apples to highlight subtle differences. For example, Red Delicious apples are sweet, while Granny Smiths are tart and acidic. Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience’s understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay.

Similarly, to focus on comparison, choose two subjects that seem at first to be unrelated. For a comparison essay, you likely would not choose two apples or two oranges because they share so many of the same properties already. Rather, you might try to compare how apples and oranges are quite similar. The more divergent the two subjects initially seem, the more interesting a comparison essay will be.

Writing at Work

Comparing and contrasting is also an evaluative tool. In order to make accurate evaluations about a given topic, you must first know the critical points of similarity and difference. Comparing and contrasting is a primary tool for many workplace assessments. You have likely compared and contrasted yourself to other colleagues. Employee advancements, pay raises, hiring, and firing are typically conducted using comparison and contrast. Comparison and contrast could be used to evaluate companies, departments, or individuals.

Brainstorm an essay that leans toward contrast. Choose one of the following three categories. Pick two examples from each. Then come up with one similarity and three differences between the examples.

  • Romantic comedies
  • Internet search engines
  • Cell phones

Brainstorm an essay that leans toward comparison. Choose one of the following three items. Then come up with one difference and three similarities.

  • Department stores and discount retail stores
  • Fast food chains and fine dining restaurants
  • Dogs and cats

The Structure of a Comparison and Contrast Essay

The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both and the reason for doing so. The thesis could lean more toward comparing, contrasting, or both. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader. Take the following thesis as an example that leans more toward contrasting.

Thesis statement: Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.

Here the thesis sets up the two subjects to be compared and contrasted (organic versus conventional vegetables), and it makes a claim about the results that might prove useful to the reader.

You may organize compare-and-contrast essays in one of the following two ways:

  • According to the subjects themselves, discussing one then the other
  • According to individual points, discussing each subject in relation to each point

See Figure 10.1 “Comparison and Contrast Diagram” , which diagrams the ways to organize our organic versus conventional vegetables thesis.

Figure 10.1 Comparison and Contrast Diagram

Comparison and Contrast Diagram

The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience.

Given that compare-and-contrast essays analyze the relationship between two subjects, it is helpful to have some phrases on hand that will cue the reader to such analysis. See Table 10.3 “Phrases of Comparison and Contrast” for examples.

Table 10.3 Phrases of Comparison and Contrast

Create an outline for each of the items you chose in Note 10.72 “Exercise 1” and Note 10.73 “Exercise 2” . Use the point-by-point organizing strategy for one of them, and use the subject organizing strategy for the other.

Writing a Comparison and Contrast Essay

First choose whether you want to compare seemingly disparate subjects, contrast seemingly similar subjects, or compare and contrast subjects. Once you have decided on a topic, introduce it with an engaging opening paragraph. Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction, and it should establish the subjects you will compare, contrast, or both as well as state what can be learned from doing so.

The body of the essay can be organized in one of two ways: by subject or by individual points. The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your audience and your purpose. You may also consider your particular approach to the subjects as well as the nature of the subjects themselves; some subjects might better lend themselves to one structure or the other. Make sure to use comparison and contrast phrases to cue the reader to the ways in which you are analyzing the relationship between the subjects.

After you finish analyzing the subjects, write a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and reinforces your thesis. See Chapter 15 “Readings: Examples of Essays” to read a sample compare-and-contrast essay.

Many business presentations are conducted using comparison and contrast. The organizing strategies—by subject or individual points—could also be used for organizing a presentation. Keep this in mind as a way of organizing your content the next time you or a colleague have to present something at work.

Choose one of the outlines you created in Note 10.75 “Exercise 3” , and write a full compare-and-contrast essay. Be sure to include an engaging introduction, a clear thesis, well-defined and detailed paragraphs, and a fitting conclusion that ties everything together.

Key Takeaways

  • A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
  • The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
  • The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.

There are two main organizing strategies for compare-and-contrast essays.

  • Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
  • Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
  • Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

Last Updated: May 12, 2023 Approved

This article was co-authored by Megan Morgan, PhD . Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Georgia in 2015. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 29 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 3,097,371 times.

The purpose of a compare and contrast essay is to analyze the differences and/or the similarities of two distinct subjects. A good compare/contrast essay doesn’t only point out how the subjects are similar or different (or even both!). It uses those points to make a meaningful argument about the subjects. While it can be a little intimidating to approach this type of essay at first, with a little work and practice, you can write a great compare-and-contrast essay!

Formulating Your Argument

Step 1 Pick two subjects that can be compared and contrasted.

  • You could pick two subjects that are in the same “category” but have differences that are significant in some way. For example, you could choose “homemade pizza vs. frozen grocery store pizza.”
  • You could pick two subjects that don’t appear to have anything in common but that have a surprising similarity. For example, you could choose to compare bats and whales. (One is tiny and flies, and the other is huge and swims, but they both use sonar to hunt.)
  • You could pick two subjects that might appear to be the same but are actually different. For example, you could choose "The Hunger Games movie vs. the book."

Step 2 Make sure that your subjects can be discussed in a meaningful way.

  • For example, ask yourself: What can we learn by thinking about “The Hunger Games” and “Battle Royale” together that we would miss out on if we thought about them separately?
  • It can be helpful to consider the “So what?” question when deciding whether your subjects have meaningful comparisons and contrasts to be made. If you say “The Hunger Games and Battle Royale are both similar and different,” and your friend asked you “So what?” what would your answer be? In other words, why bother putting these two things together?

Step 3 Brainstorm your topic.

  • A “Venn diagram” can often be helpful when brainstorming. This set of overlapping circles can help you visualize where your subjects are similar and where they differ. In the outer edges of the circle, you write what is different; in the overlapping middle area, you write what’s similar. [2] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
  • You can also just draw out a list of all of the qualities or characteristics of each subject. Once you’ve done that, start looking through the list for traits that both subjects share. Major points of difference are also good to note.

Step 4 Consider your main points.

  • For example, if you are comparing and contrasting cats and dogs, you might notice that both are common household pets, fairly easy to adopt, and don’t usually have many special care needs. These are points of comparison (ways they are similar).
  • You might also note that cats are usually more independent than dogs, that dogs may not provoke allergies as much as cats do, and that cats don’t get as big as many dogs do. These are points of contrast (ways they are different).
  • These points of contrast can often be good places to start thinking about your thesis, or argument. Do these differences make one animal a superior type of pet? Or a better pet choice for a specific living situation (e.g., an apartment, a farm, etc.)?

Step 5 Develop your thesis.

  • Show readers why one subject is more desirable than the other. Example: "Cats are better pets than dogs because they require less maintenance, are more independent, and are more adaptable."
  • Help readers make a meaningful comparison between two subjects. Example: "New York City and San Francisco are both great cities for young professionals, but they differ in terms of their job opportunities, social environment, and living conditions."
  • Show readers how two subjects are similar and different. Example: "While both The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird explore the themes of loss of innocence and the deep bond between siblings, To Kill a Mockingbird is more concerned with racism while The Catcher in the Rye focuses on the prejudices of class."
  • In middle school and high school, the standard format for essays is often the “5-paragraph form,” with an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. If your teacher recommends this form, go for it. However, you should be aware that especially in college, teachers and professors tend to want students to break out of this limited mode. Don’t get so locked into having “three main points” that you forget to fully explore your topic.

Organizing Your Essay

Step 1 Decide on a structure.

  • Subject by subject. This organization deals with all of the points about Topic A, then all of the points of Topic B. For example, you could discuss all your points about frozen pizza (in as many paragraphs as necessary), then all your points about homemade pizza. The strength of this form is that you don’t jump back and forth as much between topics, which can help your essay read more smoothly. It can also be helpful if you are using one subject as a “lens” through which to examine the other. The major disadvantage is that the comparisons and contrasts don’t really become evident until much further into the essay, and it can end up reading like a list of “points” rather than a cohesive essay. [4] X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
  • Point by point. This type of organization switches back and forth between points. For example, you could first discuss the prices of frozen pizza vs. homemade pizza, then the quality of ingredients, then the convenience factor. The advantage of this form is that it’s very clear what you’re comparing and contrasting. The disadvantage is that you do switch back and forth between topics, so you need to make sure that you use transitions and signposts to lead your reader through your argument.
  • Compare then contrast. This organization presents all the comparisons first, then all the contrasts. It’s a pretty common way of organizing an essay, and it can be helpful if you really want to emphasize how your subjects are different. Putting the contrasts last places the emphasis on them. However, it can be more difficult for your readers to immediately see why these two subjects are being contrasted if all the similarities are first.

Step 2 Outline your essay.

  • Introduction. This paragraph comes first and presents the basic information about the subjects to be compared and contrasted. It should present your thesis and the direction of your essay (i.e., what you will discuss and why your readers should care).
  • Body Paragraphs. These are the meat of your essay, where you provide the details and evidence that support your claims. Each different section or body paragraph should tackle a different division of proof. It should provide and analyze evidence in order to connect those proofs to your thesis and support your thesis. Many middle-school and high-school essays may only require three body paragraphs, but use as many as is necessary to fully convey your argument.
  • Acknowledgement of Competitive Arguments/Concession. This paragraph acknowledges that other counter-arguments exist, but discusses how those arguments are flawed or do not apply.
  • Conclusion. This paragraph summarizes the evidence presented. It will restate the thesis, but usually in a way that offers more information or sophistication than the introduction could. Remember: your audience now has all the information you gave them about why your argument is solid. They don’t need you to just reword your original thesis. Take it to the next level!

Step 3 Outline your body paragraphs based on subject-to-subject comparison.

  • Introduction: state your intent to discuss the differences between camping in the woods or on the beach.
  • Body Paragraph 1 (Woods): Climate/Weather
  • Body Paragraph 2 (Woods): Types of Activities and Facilities
  • Body Paragraph 3 (Beach): Climate/Weather
  • Body Paragraph 4 (Beach): Types of Activities and Facilities

Step 4 Outline your body paragraphs based on point-by-point comparison.

  • Introduction

Step 5 Outline your body paragraphs based on compare then contrast.

  • Body Paragraph 1: Similarity between woods and beaches (both are places with a wide variety of things to do)
  • Body Paragraph 2: First difference between woods and beaches (they have different climates)
  • Body Paragraph 3: Second difference between woods and beaches (there are more easily accessible woods than beaches in most parts of the country)
  • Body Paragraph 4: Emphasis on the superiority of the woods to the beach

Step 6 Organize your individual body paragraphs.

  • Topic sentence: This sentence introduces the main idea and subject of the paragraph. It can also provide a transition from the ideas in the previous paragraph.
  • Body: These sentences provide concrete evidence that support the topic sentence and main idea.
  • Conclusion: this sentence wraps up the ideas in the paragraph. It may also provide a link to the next paragraph’s ideas.

Putting It All Together

Step 1 Use your brainstorming ideas to fill in your outline.

  • If you are having trouble finding evidence to support your argument, go back to your original texts and try the brainstorming process again. It could be that your argument is evolving past where it started, which is good! You just need to go back and look for further evidence.

Step 2 Remember to explain the “why.”

  • For example, in a body paragraph about the quality of ingredients in frozen vs. homemade pizza, you could close with an assertion like this: “Because you actively control the quality of the ingredients in pizza you make at home, it can be healthier for you than frozen pizza. It can also let you express your imagination. Pineapple and peanut butter pizza? Go for it! Pickles and parmesan? Do it! Using your own ingredients lets you have fun with your food.” This type of comment helps your reader understand why the ability to choose your own ingredients makes homemade pizza better.

Step 3 Come up with a title.

  • Reading your essay aloud can also help you find problem spots. Often, when you’re writing you get so used to what you meant to say that you don’t read what you actually said.

Step 5 Review your essay.

  • Avoid bias. Don't use overly negative or defamatory language to show why a subject is unfavorable; use solid evidence to prove your points instead.
  • Avoid first-person pronouns unless told otherwise. In some cases, your teacher may encourage you to use “I” and “you” in your essay. However, if the assignment or your teacher doesn’t mention it, stick with third-person instead, like “one may see” or “people may enjoy.” This is common practice for formal academic essays.
  • Proofread! Spelling and punctuation errors happen to everyone, but not catching them can make you seem lazy. Go over your essay carefully, and ask a friend to help if you’re not confident in your own proofreading skills.

Sample Body Paragraphs

Step 1 Write a body paragraph for a point-by-point compare and contrast essay.

  • "When one is deciding whether to go to the beach or the woods, the type of activities that each location offers are an important point to consider. At the beach, one can enjoy the water by swimming, surfing, or even building a sandcastle with a moat that will fill with water. When one is in the woods, one may be able to go fishing or swimming in a nearby lake, or one may not be near water at all. At the beach, one can keep one's kids entertained by burying them in sand or kicking around a soccer ball; if one is in the woods, one can entertain one's kids by showing them different plans or animals. Both the beach and the woods offer a variety of activities for adults and kids alike."

Step 2 Write a body paragraph for a subject-by-subject compare and contrast essay.

  • "The beach has a wonderful climate, many activities, and great facilities for any visitor's everyday use. If a person goes to the beach during the right day or time of year, he or she can enjoy warm, yet refreshing water, a cool breeze, and a relatively hot climate. At the beach, one can go swimming, sunbathe, or build sandcastles. There are also great facilities at the beach, such as a changing room, umbrellas, and conveniently-located restaurants and changing facilities. The climate, activities, and facilities are important points to consider when deciding between the beach and the woods."

Sample Essay Outline

essay comparing 2 articles

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  • Collect your sources. Mark page numbers in books, authors, titles, dates, or other applicable information. This will help you cite your sources later on in the writing process. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 2
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About This Article

Megan Morgan, PhD

To write a compare and contrast essay, try organizing your essay so you're comparing and contrasting one aspect of your subjects in each paragraph. Or, if you don't want to jump back and forth between subjects, structure your essay so the first half is about one subject and the second half is about the other. You could also write your essay so the first few paragraphs introduce all of the comparisons and the last few paragraphs introduce all of the contrasts, which can help emphasize your subjects' differences and similarities. To learn how to choose subjects to compare and come up with a thesis statement, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Humanities LibreTexts

3.9: Comparing and Contrasting Arguments

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  • Page ID 81417

  • Saramanda Swigart
  • City College of San Francisco

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So far we’ve learned how to summarize a single argument, but there are, of course, many arguments on any given topic, and in college and beyond we are often asked to compare and contrast more than one source. In this case we need to provide summaries of two (or more) related but distinct arguments; let’s call them A and B here. We might find common ground between two unlike authors, tease out the subtle differences between two seemingly similar authors, or point out the opposing assumptions underlying competing claims. Ultimately, we'll be asked to go beyond summarizing the two to explore the implications of their similarity and/or difference. What can the comparison teach us?  What insight do we gain by juxtaposing A and B? 

Part of Jupiter next to a much smaller Earth.

Establishing a topic in common

To frame the compare-and-contrast essay, it helps to describe a common context, something happening in the world, that both texts respond to. What unites these arguments: A theme, a current or historical event, a theoretical lens? Let's say we want to compare and contrast the essay we have already discussed in Chapters 2 and 3,  Anna Mills’ “Wouldn’t We All Cross the Border?”  with a new argument about borders, “The Weight of the World” by Saramanda Swigart:

"The Weight of the World" by Saramanda Swigart

While illegal immigrants crossing the border to the United States may come from desperate circumstances, it is unjust, impractical, and unrealistic for one nation to solve the problems of so many non-citizens.

Illegal immigration challenges the rule of law. If laws can be broken simply because lawbreakers had good intentions, this suggests that obeying the law is merely optional—that the law is something to be obeyed only when it is convenient to do so. It is understandable that plenty of people who break the law do so with good intentions, but enforcement of the law cannot be reduced to investigations of intentions—it must ultimately spring from concrete actions.

The truth is that illegal immigration presents a security risk. Because illegal immigrants are not tracked by any immigration agency and thus remain largely anonymous, it is impossible to verify which immigrants come in search of a new life and plan to abide by the laws of their host country and which do not. A porous border may allow for waves of well-meaning immigrants and their families to seek new lives in a new country, but no country should be blamed for wanting to secure its borders or its territory.

An influx of immigration also strains a nation's resources. Understandably, in many cases, immigrants seeking shelter in the United States have left desperate circumstances and arrive seeking support. In a perfect world, this would not be a problem; however, because a nation's resources are finite, this means that the financial and material burden of taking care of incoming immigrants falls on their host county. In small, manageable numbers this isn’t a problem (this is what legal immigration is for) but one can see how a nation tasked with taking care of immigrants from around the world would be burdened beyond its resources if it must solve the whole world's humanitarian problems.

Ultimately, we shouldn’t increase our tolerance of illegal border crossings. In order to address the plight of immigrants, maintain national security, and manage internal resources, all policy changes should involve balancing the needs of non-citizens with the needs of citizens before carefully and thoughtfully expanding legal immigration.

In a paper comparing Mills’ and Swigart’s theses, we need to frame the problem central to both arguments; the implications of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, a controversial issue of some urgency today. Consider the following sentences, which place both articles in the cultural context within which they are written:

“In recent years illegal immigration into the United States at the U.S.-Mexico border has become a divisive political topic, resulting in a widening partisan divide as to whose priorities we should privilege: the immigrants’ or the nation’s. Are we global citizens or American citizens first?”

Identifying areas of agreement and disagreement

Now, what points do the two articles make? Are there any overlapping claims? Are these two authors in complete disagreement or do you see areas in which they share values and/or concede points to one another? We can start by brainstorming the ways A is similar to B and the ways they differ. As you’ll recall, Mills’ essay appeals to empathy, suggesting that we would become border-crossers ourselves in the right circumstances. She argues for a reevaluation of immigration policies and practices with an increased emphasis on compassion for immigrant families. Swigart’s essay, on the other hand, asks us to make pragmatic assessments about national security and resource allocation, placing national interests before concern for immigrants’ wellbeing. Swigart emphasizes the necessity for a nation to secure its borders and enforce its laws.

A professional woman holds two documents at the same level and gazes at one.

How to organize a compare-and-contrast essay

In the introduction, we will want to identify what topic the two arguments have in common and offer a thesis statement that explains the relationship between A and B. The strategies below may help. In the next section, we will look at a complete sample essay that compares Mills’ and Swigart’s arguments.

Forming the thesis 

In the case of compare-and-contrast essays, the thesis can summarize the essential differences or surprising similarities between the texts.

Example \(\PageIndex{1}\)

Thesis : Though Mills and Swigart agree on the urgency as well as the root causes of our border crisis, they disagree on whether the solution should prioritize American citizens' or refugees' needs.

Text-by-text organization

Then we’ll need to select a way to organize the compare and contrast essay. Here are two basic ways to organize the body of a compare and contrast essay: text by text and point by point. If we think that B extends A, or if A is a lens through which to see B, we might decide to use a text-by-text scheme. That means we'll summarize the claims, reasons, and warrants of A followed by the claims, reasons, warrants of B. For instance, if Mills’ essay were outlining the need for immigration reform, and essay B were outlining policy to create such immigration reform, we could quickly summarize Mills’ ideas in a body paragraph before moving on to B’s proposals in their own body paragraph.

Point-by-point organization

If A and B approach a series of similar issues from different standpoints, a point-by-point scheme can highlight their different approaches. That means we’ll break the argument into the different topics that both essays address. In the immigration example, we might include a paragraph about the two “sides” of the debate; a paragraph devoted to whether it is ethical to break the law in desperate circumstances; a paragraph devoted to issues of national security; and a paragraph that compares the proposed solutions.

Topic sentences

In all essays, each new point needs to refer back to some part of the thesis. Each topic sentence should refer to one of the points of comparison that was already mentioned in the thesis. The sample phrases below may be useful as we emphasize particular similarities or differences.

Phrases for compare and contrast essays

Common phrases that indicate similarity and difference can help to clarify how each point about A relates to another point about B. See Section 12.3: Showing How a New Idea Fits in  for more on this.

Phrases that highlight a similarity 

Just as A does, B believes that______________.

Both A and B see ______________ as an important issue.

We have seen how A maintains that ______________. Similarly, B ______________.

A argues that______________. Likewise, B ______________.

A and B agree on the idea that ______________.  

Phrases that highlight a difference

A focuses on______________; however B is more interested in______________.

A’s claim is that______________.  Conversely, B maintains that ______________.

Whereas A argues that______________, B______________.

While A emphasizes______________, B______________.

Unlike A, B believes that______________.

Rather than ______________ like A, B______________,

Whereas A argues that ______________, B maintains ______________.  

Juxtaposing a similarity with a difference

We can also describe a similarity and a difference in close proximity.  Here are some sample sentences that do that: 

Both A and B assert that ______________, but they differ in their approach to ______________.

While A condemns the weaknesses of ______________, B praises its strengths.

A outlines the problem of ______________ in the abstract while B proposes solutions to the problem.

Though A and B agree on the root cause of ______________, they differ on its solution.

essay comparing 2 articles

Compare and Contrast Essay: Full Writing Guide and 150+ Topics

essay comparing 2 articles

Compare and contrast essays are academic papers in which a student analyses two or more subjects with each other. To compare means to explore similarities between subjects, while to contrast means to look at their differences. Both subjects of the comparison are usually in the same category, although they have their differences. For example, it can be two movies, two universities, two cars etc.

Good compare and contrast papers from college essay writer focus on a central point, explaining the importance and implications of this analysis. A compare and contrast essay thesis must make a meaningful comparison. Find the central theme of your essay and do some brainstorming for your thesis.

This type of essay is very common among college and university students. Professors challenge their students to use their analytical and comparative skills and pay close attention to the subjects of their comparisons. This type of essay exercises observance and analysis, helps to establish a frame of reference, and makes meaningful arguments about a subject. Let's get deeper on how to write a compare and contrast essay with our research writing services .

How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay: Brainstorm Similarities and Differences

Now that you know what is compare and contrast essay and are set with your topic, the first thing you should do is grab a piece of paper and make a list with two columns: similarities and differences. Jot down key things first, the most striking ones. Then try to look at the subjects from a different angle, incorporating your imagination.

If you are more of a visual learner, creating a Venn diagram might be a good idea. In order to create it, draw two circles that overlap. In the section where it overlaps, note similarities. Differences should be written in the part of the circle that does not overlap.

Let’s look at a simple example of compare and contrast essay. Let one of the subjects be oranges, and the other one be apples. Oranges have thick peel, originally from India, and are tropical fruit. These characteristics pertain only to oranges and should be in the part of the circle that does not overlap. For the same section on apples, we put thin peel, originated in Turkey or Kazakhstan, and moderate to subtropical. In the section that overlaps, let’s say that they are both fruit, can be juiced, and grow on trees. This simple, yet good example illustrates how the same concept can be applied to many other complicated topics with additional points of comparison and contrast.

Example of compare and contrast

This format of visual aid helps to organize similarities and differences and make them easier to perceive. Your diagram will give you a clear idea of the things you can write about.

Another good idea for brainstorming in preparation for your comparison contrast essay is to create a list with 2 columns, one for each subject, and compare the same characteristics for each of them simultaneously. This compare and contrast format will make writing your comparison contrast paper argument a breeze, as you will have your ideas ready and organized.

One mistake you should avoid is simply listing all of the differences or similarities for each subject. Sometimes students get too caught up in looking for similarities and differences that their compare and contrast essays end up sounding like grocery lists. Your essay should be based on analyzing the similarities and differences, analyzing your conclusions about the two subjects, and finding connections between them—while following a specific format.

Compare and Contrast Essay Structure and Outline

So, how do you structure this compare and contrast paper? Well, since compare and contrast essay examples rely heavily on factual analysis, there are two outline methods that can help you organize your facts. You can use the block method, or point-by-point method, to write a compare and contrast essay outline.

While using the block structure of a compare and contrast essay, all the information is presented for the first subject, and its characteristics and specific details are explained. This concludes one block. The second block takes the same approach as the first for the second subject.

The point-by-point structure lists each similarity and difference simultaneously—making notes of both subjects. For example, you can list a characteristic specific to one subject, followed by its similarity or difference to the other subject.

Both formats have their pros and cons. The block method is clearly easier for a compare and contrast essay writer, as you simply point out all of the information about the two subjects, and basically leave it to the reader to do the comparison. The point-by-point format requires you to analyze the points yourself while making similarities and differences more explicit to the reader for them to be easier to understand. Here is a detailed structure of each type presented below.

Point-by-Point Method

  • Introduce the topic;
  • Specify your theme;
  • Present your thesis - cover all areas of the essay in one sentence.
Example thesis: Cars and motorcycles make for excellent means of transportation, but a good choice depends on the person’s lifestyle, finances, and the city they live in.

Body Paragraph 1 - LIFESTYLE

  • Topic Sentence: Motorcycles impact the owner’s lifestyle less than cars.
  • Topic 1 - Motorcycles
  • ~ Argument: Motorcycles are smaller and more comfortable to store.
  • ~ Argument: Motorcycles are easy to learn and use.
  • Topic 2 - Cars
  • ~ Argument: Cars are a big deal - they are like a second home.
  • ~ Argument: It takes time to learn to become a good driver.

Body Paragraph 2 - FINANCES

  • Topic sentence: Cars are much more expensive than motorcycles
  • ~ Argument: You can buy a good motorcycle for under 300$.
  • ~ Argument: Fewer parts that are more accessible to fix.
  • ~ Argument: Parts and service are expensive if something breaks.
  • ~ Argument: Cars need more gas than motorcycles.

Body Paragraph 3 - CITY

  • Topic sentence: Cars are a better option for bigger cities with wider roads.
  • ~ Argument: Riding motorcycles in a big city is more dangerous than with cars.
  • ~ Argument: Motorcycles work great in a city like Rome, where all the streets are narrow.
  • ~ Argument: Big cities are easier and more comfortable to navigate by car.
  • ~ Argument: With a car, traveling outside of the city is much easier.
  • Sum up all you wrote in the article.

Block Method

  • Thesis — cover all areas of the essay in one sentence

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic Sentence: Motorcycles are cheaper and easier to take care of than cars.
  • Aspect 1 - Lifestyle
  • Aspect 2 - Finances
  • ~ Argument: Fewer parts, easier to fix.
  • Aspect 3 - City
  • ~ Argument: Riding motorcycles in a big city is more dangerous than cars.

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence: Cars are more expensive but more comfortable for a big city and for travelling.
  • ~ Argument: Cars are a big deal—like a second home.
  • ~ Argument: With a car, traveling outside the city is much more comfortable.

Body Paragraph 3 ‍

Use the last paragraph to evaluate the comparisons and explain why they’re essential. Giving a lot of facts can be intense. To water it down, try to give the reader any real-life applications of these facts.

Depending on the structure selected, you can begin to create an outline for your essay. The typical comparison essay follows the format of having an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion — though, if you need to focus on each subject in more detailed ways, feel free to include an extra paragraph to cover all of the most important points.

To make your compare and contrast essay flow better, we recommend using special transition words and phrases. They will add variety and improve your paper overall.

For the section where you compare two subjects, you can include any of the following words: similarly, likewise, also, both, just like, similar to, the same as, alike, or to compare to. When contrasting two subjects, use: in contrast, in comparison, by comparison, on the other hand, while, whereas, but, to differ from, dissimilar to, or unlike.

Show Your Evidence

Arguments for any essay, including compare and contrast essays, need to be supported by sufficient evidence. Make good use of your personal experiences, books, scholarly articles, magazine and newspaper articles, movies, or anything that will make your argument sound credible. For example, in your essay, if you were to compare attending college on campus vs. distance-based learning, you could include your personal experiences of being a student, and how often students show up to class on a daily basis. You could also talk about your experience taking online classes, which makes your argument about online classes credible as well.

Helpful Final Tips

The biggest tip dissertation writing services can give you is to have the right attitude when writing a compare contrast essay, and actively engage the reader in the discussion. If you find it interesting, so will your reader! Here are some more compare and contrast essay tips that will help you to polish yours up:

types of writing

  • Compare and contrast essays need powerful transitions. Try learning more about writing transition sentences using the words we provided for you in the 'Compare and Contrast Structure and Outline' section.
  • Always clarify the concepts you introduce in your essay. Always explain lesser known information—don’t assume the reader must already know it.
  • Do not forget to proofread. Small mistakes, but in high quantities, can result in a low grade. Pay attention to your grammar and punctuation.
  • Have a friend or family member take a look at your essay; they may notice things you have missed.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Now that you know everything there is to know about compare and contrast essays, let’s take a look at some compare and contrast examples to get you started on your paper or get a hand from our essay helper .

Different countries across the world have diverse cultural practices, and this has an effect on work relationships and development. Geert Hofstede came up with a structured way of comparing cultural dimensions of different countries. The theory explains the impacts of a community’s culture on the values of the community members, and the way these values relate to their behaviors. He gives scores as a way to help distinguish people from different nations using the following dimensions: long-term orientation, individualism, power distance, indulgence, necessity avoidance, and masculinity. Let us examine comparisons between two countries: the United Kingdom and China — based on Hofstede’s Six Dimensions of Culture.
Over the last two decades, the demand from consumers for organic foods has increased tremendously. In fact, the popularity of organic foods has exploded significantly with consumers, spending a considerably higher amount of money on them as compared to the amount spent on inorganic foods. The US market noted an increase in sales of more than 10% between 2014 and 2015 (Brown, n.p). The increase is in line with the views of many consumers that organic foods are safer, tastier, and healthier compared to the inorganic foods. Furthermore, considering the environmental effects of foods, organic foods present less risk of environmental pollution — compared to inorganic foods. By definition, organic foods are those that are grown without any artificial chemical treatment, or treatment by use of other substances that have been modified genetically, such as hormones and/or antibiotics (Brown, n.p).

Still feeling confused about the complexities of the compare and contrast essay? Feel free to contact our paper writing service to get a professional writing help.

Finding the Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics For You

When choosing a topic for your comparison essay, remember that subjects cannot be drastically different, because there would be little to no points of comparison (similarities). The same goes for too many similarities, which will result in poor contrasts. For example, it is better to write about two composers, rather than a composer and a singer.

It is extremely important to choose a topic you are passionate about. You never want to come across something that seems dull and uninspiring for you. Here are some excellent ways to brainstorm for a topic from essay writer :

  • Find categories: Choose a type (like animals, films or economics), and compare subjects within that category – wild animals to farm animals, Star Wars to Star Trek, private companies to public companies, etc.
  • Random Surprising Fact: Dig for fun facts which could make great topics. Did you know that chickens can be traced back to dinosaurs?
  • Movie vs. Book: Most of the time, the book is better than the movie — unless it’s Blade Runner or Lord of the Rings. If you’re a pop culture lover, compare movies vs. books, video games, comics, etc.

Use our rewrite essay service when you need help from professionals.

How to Choose a Great Compare and Contrast Topic

College students should consider providing themselves with a chance to use all topic examples. With enough revision, an advantage is gained. As it will be possible to compare arguments and contrast their aspects. Also, discuss numerous situations to get closer to the conclusion.

For example:

  • Choose a topic from the field of your interests. Otherwise you risk failing your paper.
  • It is a good idea to choose a topic based upon the class subject or specialist subject. (Unless the requirements say otherwise.)
  • Analyze each argument carefully. Include every detail for each opposing idea. Without doing so, you can definitely lower grades.
  • Write a conclusion that summarizes both arguments. It should allow readers to find the answer they’re looking for.
  • It is up to you to determine which arguments are right and wrong in the final conclusion.
  • Before approaching the final conclusion, it’s important to discuss each argument equally. It is a bad idea to be biased, as it can also lower grades.

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150 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics to Consider

Choosing a topic can be a challenging task, but there are plenty of options to consider. In the following sections, we have compiled a list of 150 compare and contrast essay topics to help you get started. These topics cover a wide range of subjects, from education and technology to history and politics. Whether you are a high school student or a college student, you are sure to find a topic that interests you. So, read on to discover some great compare and contrast essay ideas.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics For College Students

When attending a college, at any time your professor can assign you the task of writing this form of an essay. Consider these topics for college students from our team to get the grades you deserve.

  • Attending a College Course Vs. Distance-Based Learning.
  • Writing a Research Paper Vs. Writing a Creative Writing Paper. What are the differences and similarities?
  • The differences between a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree.
  • The key aspects of the differences between the US and the UK education systems.
  • Completing assignments at a library compared with doing so at home. Which is the most efficient?
  • The similarities and differences in the behavior among married and unmarried couples.
  • The similarities and differences between the EU (European Union) and ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations)?
  • The similarities and significant differences between American and Canadian English.
  • Writing an Internship Report Vs. Writing a Research Paper
  • The differences between US colleges and colleges in the EU?

Interesting Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Some topics for the compare and contrast essay format can be boring. To keep up motivation, doing a research , have a look at these topics. Maybe they can serve you as research paper help .

  • Public Transport Vs. Driving A Car. Which is more efficient?
  • Mandarin Vs. Cantonese: What are the differences between these Chinese languages?
  • Sports Cars Vs. Luxurious Family Cars
  • Wireless Technology Vs. Wired Devices
  • Thai Food Vs. Filipino Cuisine
  • What is the difference and similarities between a register office marriage and a traditional marriage?
  • The 2000s Vs. The 2010s. What are the differences and what makes them similar?
  • Abu Dhabi Vs. Dubai. What are the main factors involved in the differences?
  • What are the differences between American and British culture?
  • What does the New York Metro do differently to the London Underground?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for High School Students

When writing essays for high school, it is good to keep them informative. Have a look at these compare and contrast sample topics.

  • Highschool Life Vs. College Life
  • Paying College Fees Vs. Being Awarded a Scholarship
  • All Night Study Sessions Vs. Late Night Parties
  • Teenager Vs. Young Adult Relationships
  • Being in a Relationship Vs. Being Single
  • Male Vs. Female Behavior
  • The similarities and differences between a high school diploma and a college degree
  • The similarities and differences between Economics and Business Studies
  • The benefits of having a part-time job, instead of a freelance job, in college
  • High School Extra Curricular Activities Vs. Voluntarily Community Services

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Science

At some point, every science student will be assigned this type of essay. To keep things at flow, have a look at best compare and contrast essay example topics on science:

  • Undiscovered Species on Earth Vs. Potential Life on Mars: What will we discover in the future?
  • The benefits of Gasoline Powered Cars Vs. Electric Powered Cars
  • The differences of the Milky Way Vs. Centaurus (Galaxies).
  • Earthquakes Vs. Hurricanes: What should be prepared for the most?
  • The differences between our moon and Mars’ moons.
  • SpaceX Vs. NASA. What is done differently within these organizations?
  • The differences and similarities between Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox’s theories on the cosmos. Do they agree or correspond with each other?
  • Pregnancy Vs. Motherhood
  • Jupiter Vs. Saturn
  • Greenhouse Farming Vs. Polytunnel Farming

Sports & Leisure Topics

Studying Physical Education? Or a gym fanatic? Have a look at our compare and contrast essay topics for sports and leisure.

  • The English Premier League Compared With The Bundesliga
  • Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona
  • Football Vs. Basketball
  • Walking Vs. Eating Outside with Your Partner
  • Jamaica Team Vs. United States Team: Main Factors and Differences
  • Formula One Vs. Off-Road Racing
  • Germany Team Vs. Brazil Team
  • Morning Exercise Vs. Evening Exercise.
  • Manning Team Vs. Brazil Team
  • Swimming Vs. Cycling

Topics About Culture

Culture can have several meanings. If you’re a Religious Studies or Culture student, take a look at these good compare and contrast essay topics about culture.

  • The fundamental similarities and differences between Pope Francis and Tawadros II of Alexandria
  • Canadian Vs. Australian Religion
  • The differences between Islamic and Christian Holidays
  • The cultural similarities and differences between the Native Aboriginals and Caucasian Australians
  • Native American Culture Vs. New England Culture
  • The cultural differences and similarities between Italians and Sicilians
  • In-depth: The origins of Buddhism and Hinduism
  • In-depth: The origins of Christianity and Islam
  • Greek Gods Vs. Hindu Gods
  • The Bible: Old Testament Vs. New Testament

Unique Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

What about writing an essay which is out of the ordinary? Consider following these topics to write a compare and contrast essay on, that are unique.

  • The reasons why some wealthy people pay extortionate amounts of money for gold-plated cell phones, rather than buying the normal phone.
  • The differences between Lipton Tea and Ahmad Tea
  • American Football Vs. British Football: What are their differences?
  • The differences and similarities between France and Britain
  • Fanta Vs. 7Up
  • Traditional Helicopters Vs. Lifesize Drones
  • The differences and similarities between Boston Dynamics and the fictional equivalent Skynet (From Terminator Movies).
  • Socialism Vs. Capitalism: Which is better?
  • Curved Screen TVs’ Vs. Regular Flat Screen TVs’: Are they really worth big bucks?
  • Is it better to wear black or white at funerals?

Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Sometimes, it may be a requirement to take it back a notch. Especially if you’re new to these style of writing. Consider having a look at these good compare and contrast essay topics that are pretty easy to start off.

  • Is it a good idea to work on weekdays or weekends?
  • Black of White Coffee
  • Becoming a teacher or a doctor? Which career choice has more of an impact on society?
  • Air Travel Vs. Sea Travel: Which is better?
  • Rail Travel Vs. Road Travel: Which is more convenient?
  • What makes Europe far greater than Africa? In terms of financial growth, regulations, public funds, policies etc…
  • Eating fruit for breakfast Vs. cereals
  • Staying Home to Read Vs. Traveling the World During Holidays. Which is more beneficial for personal growth?
  • Japanese Vs. Brazilian Cuisine
  • What makes ASEAN Nations more efficient than African Nations?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics About TV Shows, Music and Movies

We all enjoy at least one of these things. If not, all of them. Why not have a go at writing a compare and contrast essay about what you have been recently watching or listening to?

  • Breaking Bad Vs. Better Call Saul: Which is more commonly binge watched?
  • The differences between Dance Music and Heavy Metal
  • James Bond Vs. Johnny English
  • Iron Man Vs. The Incredible Hulk: Who would win?
  • What is done differently in modern movies, compared to old black and white movies?
  • Dumber and Dumber 2 Vs. Ted: Which movie is funnier?
  • Are Horror movies or Action Movies best suited to you?
  • The differences and similarities between Mozart and Beethoven compositions.
  • Hip Hop Vs. Traditional Music
  • Classical Music Vs. Pop Music. Which genre helps people concentrate?

Topics About Art

Sometimes, art students are required to write this style of essay. Have a look at these compare and contrast essay topics about the arts of the centuries.

  • The fundamental differences and similarities between paintings and sculptures
  • The different styles of Vincent Van Gogh and Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Viewing Original Art Compared With Digital Copies. How are these experiences different?
  • 18th Century Paintings Vs. 21st Century Digitally Illustrated Images
  • German Art Vs. American Art
  • Modern Painting Vs. Modern Photography
  • How can we compare modern graphic designers to 18th-century painters?
  • Ancient Greek Art Vs. Ancient Egyptian Art
  • Ancient Japanese Art Vs. Ancient Persian Art
  • What 16th Century Painting Materials were used compared with the modern day?

Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Almost every student at any stage of academics is assigned this style of writing. If you’re lacking inspiration, consider looking at some of the best compare and contrast essay topics to get you on track with your writing.

  • The United States and North Korea Governmental Conflict: What is the reason behind this phenomenon?
  • In the Early Hours, Drinking Water is far healthier than consuming soda.
  • The United States Vs. The People’s Republic of China: Which economy is the most efficient?
  • Studying in Foreign Countries Vs. Studying In Your Hometown: Which is more of an advantage?
  • Toast Vs. Cereal: Which is the most consumed in the morning?
  • Sleeping Vs. Daydreaming: Which is the most commonly prefered? And amongst who?
  • Learning French Vs. Chinese: Which is the most straightforward?
  • Android Phones Vs. iPhones
  • The Liberation of Slaves Vs. The Liberation of Women: Which is more remembered?
  • The differences between the US Dollar and British Pound. What are their advantages? And How do they correspond with each other?

Easy Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

In all types of academics, these essays occur. If you’re new to this style of writing, check our easy compare and contrast essay topics.

  • The Third Reich Vs. North Korea
  • Tea Vs. Coffee
  • iPhone Vs. Samsung
  • KFC Vs. Wendy’s
  • Laurel or Yanny?
  • Healthy Lifestyle Vs. Obese Lifestyle
  • Forkes Vs. Sporks
  • Rice Vs. Porridge
  • Roast Dinner Vs. Chicken & Mushroom Pie
  • What’s the difference between apples and oranges?

Psychology Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Deciding upon good compare and contrast essay topics for psychology assignments can be difficult. Consider referring to our list of 10 psychology compare and contrast essay topics to help get the deserved grades.

  • What is a more severe eating order? Bulimia or Anorexia
  • Modern Medicine Vs. Traditional Medicine for Treating Depression?
  • Soft Drugs Vs. Hard Drugs. Which is more dangerous for people’s psychological well-being?
  • How do the differences between Lust and Love have an effect on people’s mindsets?
  • Ego Vs. Superego
  • Parents Advice Vs. Peers Advice amongst children and teens.
  • Strict Parenting Vs. Relaxed Parenting
  • Mental Institutions Vs. Stress Clinics
  • Bipolar Disorder Vs. Epilepsy
  • How does child abuse affect victims in later life?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Sixth Graders

From time to time, your teacher will assign the task of writing a compare and contrast essay. It can be hard to choose a topic, especially for beginners. Check out our easy compare and contrast essay topics for sixth graders.

  • Exam Preparation Vs. Homework Assignments
  • Homeschooling Vs. Public Education
  • High School Vs. Elementary School
  • 5th Grade Vs. 6th Grade: What makes them different or the same?
  • Are Moms’ or Dads’ more strict among children?
  • Is it better to have strict parents or more open parents?
  • Sandy Beaches Vs. Pebble Beaches: Which beaches are more popular?
  • Is it a good idea to learn guitar or piano?
  • Is it better to eat vegetable salads or pieces of fruit for lunch?
  • 1st Grade Vs. 6th Grade

Funny Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Sometimes, it is good to have a laugh. As they always say : 'laughter is the best medicine'. Check out these funny compare and contrast essay topics for a little giggle when writing.

  • What is the best way to waste your time? Watching Funny Animal Videos or Mr. Bean Clips?
  • Are Pug Dogs or Maltese Dogs crazier?
  • Pot Noodles Vs. McDonalds Meals.
  • What is the difference between Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson?
  • Mrs. Doubtfire Vs. Mrs. Brown. How are they similar?
  • Which game is more addictive? Flappy Bird or Angry Birds?
  • Big Shaq Vs. PSY
  • Stewie Griffin Vs. Maggie Simpson
  • Quarter Pounders Vs. Big Macs
  • Mr. Bean Vs. Alan Harper

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  • Writing for Success: Compare/Contrast

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

This section will help you determine the purpose and structure of comparison/contrast in writing.

The Purpose of Compare/Contrast in Writing

Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay, then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.

The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities. For example, if you wanted to focus on contrasting two subjects you would not pick apples and oranges; rather, you might choose to compare and contrast two types of oranges or two types of apples to highlight subtle differences. For example, Red Delicious apples are sweet, while Granny Smiths are tart and acidic. Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience’s understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay.

Similarly, to focus on comparison, choose two subjects that seem at first to be unrelated. For a comparison essay, you likely would not choose two apples or two oranges because they share so many of the same properties already. Rather, you might try to compare how apples and oranges are quite similar. The more divergent the two subjects initially seem, the more interesting a comparison essay will be.

The Structure of a Compare/Contrast Essay

The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both and the reason for doing so. The thesis could lean more toward comparing, contrasting, or both. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader. Take the following thesis as an example that leans more toward contrasting:

Thesis Statement: Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.

Here the thesis sets up the two subjects to be compared and contrasted (organic versus conventional vegetables), and it makes a claim about the results that might prove useful to the reader.

You may organize compare-and-contrast essays in one of the following two ways:

  • According to the subjects themselves, discussing one then the other
  • According to individual points, discussing each subject in relation to each point

The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience.

Given that compare-and-contrast essays analyze the relationship between two subjects, it is helpful to have some phrases on hand that will cue the reader to such analysis.

Phrases of Comparison and Contrast

Writing an Compare/Contrast Essay

First choose whether you want to compare seemingly disparate subjects, contrast seemingly similar subjects, or compare and contrast subjects. Once you have decided on a topic, introduce it with an engaging opening paragraph. Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction, and it should establish the subjects you will compare, contrast, or both as well as state what can be learned from doing so.

The body of the essay can be organized in one of two ways: by subject or by individual points. The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your audience and your purpose. You may also consider your particular approach to the subjects as well as the nature of the subjects themselves; some subjects might better lend themselves to one structure or the other. Make sure to use comparison and contrast phrases to cue the reader to the ways in which you are analyzing the relationship between the subjects.

After you finish analyzing the subjects, write a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and reinforces your thesis.

Compare/Contrast Essay Example

Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC

By Scott McLean in Writing for Success

Both Washington, DC, and London are capital cities of English-speaking countries, and yet they offer vastly different experiences to their residents and visitors. Comparing and contrasting the two cities based on their history, their culture, and their residents show how different and similar the two are.

Both cities are rich in world and national history, though they developed on very different time lines. London, for example, has a history that dates back over two thousand years. It was part of the Roman Empire and known by the similar name, Londinium. It was not only one of the northernmost points of the Roman Empire but also the epicenter of the British Empire where it held significant global influence from the early sixteenth century on through the early twentieth century. Washington, DC, on the other hand, has only formally existed since the late eighteenth century. Though Native Americans inhabited the land several thousand years earlier, and settlers inhabited the land as early as the sixteenth century, the city did not become the capital of the United States until the 1790s. From that point onward to today, however, Washington, DC, has increasingly maintained significant global influence. Even though both cities have different histories, they have both held, and continue to hold, significant social influence in the economic and cultural global spheres.

Both Washington, DC, and London offer a wide array of museums that harbor many of the world’s most prized treasures. While Washington, DC, has the National Gallery of Art and several other Smithsonian galleries, London’s art scene and galleries have a definite edge in this category. From the Tate Modern to the British National Gallery, London’s art ranks among the world’s best. This difference and advantage has much to do with London and Britain’s historical depth compared to that of the United States. London has a much richer past than Washington, DC, and consequently has a lot more material to pull from when arranging its collections. Both cities have thriving theater districts, but again, London wins this comparison, too, both in quantity and quality of theater choices. With regard to other cultural places like restaurants, pubs, and bars, both cities are very comparable. Both have a wide selection of expensive, elegant restaurants as well as a similar amount of global and national chains. While London may be better known for its pubs and taste in beer, DC offers a different bar-going experience. With clubs and pubs that tend to stay open later than their British counterparts, the DC night life tend to be less reserved overall.

Both cities also share and differ in cultural diversity and cost of living. Both cities share a very expensive cost of living—both in terms of housing and shopping. A downtown one-bedroom apartment in DC can easily cost $1,800 per month, and a similar “flat” in London may double that amount. These high costs create socioeconomic disparity among the residents. Although both cities’ residents are predominantly wealthy, both have a significantly large population of poor and homeless. Perhaps the most significant difference between the resident demographics is the racial makeup. Washington, DC, is a “minority majority” city, which means the majority of its citizens are races other than white. In 2009, according to the US Census, 55 percent of DC residents were classified as “Black or African American” and 35 percent of its residents were classified as “white.” London, by contrast, has very few minorities—in 2006, 70 percent of its population was “white,” while only 10 percent was “black.” The racial demographic differences between the cities is drastic.

Even though Washington, DC, and London are major capital cities of English-speaking countries in the Western world, they have many differences along with their similarities. They have vastly different histories, art cultures, and racial demographics, but they remain similar in their cost of living and socioeconomic disparity.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
  • The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
  • The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.
  • There are two main organizing strategies for compare-and-contrast essays.
  • Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
  • Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
  • Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.
  • Provided by : Lumen Learning. Located at : http://lumenlearning.com/ . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Successful Writing. Provided by : Anonymous. Located at : http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/successful-writing/s14-07-comparison-and-contrast.html . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC. Authored by : Scott McLean. Located at : http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/successful-writing/s14-07-comparison-and-contrast.html . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Table of Contents

Instructor Resources (Access Requires Login)

  • Overview of Instructor Resources

An Overview of the Writing Process

  • Introduction to the Writing Process
  • Introduction to Writing
  • Your Role as a Learner
  • What is an Essay?
  • Reading to Write
  • Defining the Writing Process
  • Videos: Prewriting Techniques
  • Thesis Statements
  • Organizing an Essay
  • Creating Paragraphs
  • Conclusions
  • Editing and Proofreading
  • Matters of Grammar, Mechanics, and Style
  • Peer Review Checklist
  • Comparative Chart of Writing Strategies

Using Sources

  • Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Formatting the Works Cited Page (MLA)
  • Citing Paraphrases and Summaries (APA)
  • APA Citation Style, 6th edition: General Style Guidelines

Definition Essay

  • Definitional Argument Essay
  • How to Write a Definition Essay
  • Critical Thinking
  • Video: Thesis Explained
  • Effective Thesis Statements
  • Student Sample: Definition Essay

Narrative Essay

  • Introduction to Narrative Essay
  • Student Sample: Narrative Essay
  • "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell
  • "Sixty-nine Cents" by Gary Shteyngart
  • Video: The Danger of a Single Story
  • How to Write an Annotation
  • How to Write a Summary
  • Writing for Success: Narration

Illustration/Example Essay

  • Introduction to Illustration/Example Essay
  • "She's Your Basic L.O.L. in N.A.D" by Perri Klass
  • "April & Paris" by David Sedaris
  • Writing for Success: Illustration/Example
  • Student Sample: Illustration/Example Essay

Compare/Contrast Essay

  • Introduction to Compare/Contrast Essay
  • "Disability" by Nancy Mairs
  • "Friending, Ancient or Otherwise" by Alex Wright
  • "A South African Storm" by Allison Howard
  • Student Sample: Compare/Contrast Essay

Cause-and-Effect Essay

  • Introduction to Cause-and-Effect Essay
  • "Cultural Baggage" by Barbara Ehrenreich
  • "Women in Science" by K.C. Cole
  • Writing for Success: Cause and Effect
  • Student Sample: Cause-and-Effect Essay

Argument Essay

  • Introduction to Argument Essay
  • Rogerian Argument
  • "The Case Against Torture," by Alisa Soloman
  • "The Case for Torture" by Michael Levin
  • How to Write a Summary by Paraphrasing Source Material
  • Writing for Success: Argument
  • Student Sample: Argument Essay
  • Grammar/Mechanics Mini-lessons
  • Mini-lesson: Subjects and Verbs, Irregular Verbs, Subject Verb Agreement
  • Mini-lesson: Sentence Types
  • Mini-lesson: Fragments I
  • Mini-lesson: Run-ons and Comma Splices I
  • Mini-lesson: Comma Usage
  • Mini-lesson: Parallelism
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Compare & Contrast Essays How things are similar or different

Compare and contrast is a common form of academic writing, either as an essay type on its own, or as part of a larger essay which includes one or more paragraphs which compare or contrast. This page gives information on what a compare and contrast essay is , how to structure this type of essay, how to use compare and contrast structure words , and how to make sure you use appropriate criteria for comparison/contrast . There is also an example compare and contrast essay on the topic of communication technology, as well as some exercises to help you practice this area.

What are compare & contrast essays?

compare

For another look at the same content, check out YouTube » or Youku » , or this infographic » .

essay comparing 2 articles

To compare is to examine how things are similar, while to contrast is to see how they differ. A compare and contrast essay therefore looks at the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences. This essay type is common at university, where lecturers frequently test your understanding by asking you to compare and contrast two theories, two methods, two historical periods, two characters in a novel, etc. Sometimes the whole essay will compare and contrast, though sometimes the comparison or contrast may be only part of the essay. It is also possible, especially for short exam essays, that only the similarities or the differences, not both, will be discussed. See the examples below.

  • Compare and contrast Newton's ideas of gravity with those proposed by Einstein ['compare and contrast' essay]
  • Examine how the economies of Spain and China are similar ['compare' only essay]
  • Explain the differences between Achaemenid Empire and Parthian Empire ['contrast' only essay]

There are two main ways to structure a compare and contrast essay, namely using a block or a point-by-point structure. For the block structure, all of the information about one of the objects being compared/contrasted is given first, and all of the information about the other object is listed afterwards. This type of structure is similar to the block structure used for cause and effect and problem-solution essays. For the point-by-point structure, each similarity (or difference) for one object is followed immediately by the similarity (or difference) for the other. Both types of structure have their merits. The former is easier to write, while the latter is generally clearer as it ensures that the similarities/differences are more explicit.

The two types of structure, block and point-by-point , are shown in the diagram below.

Compare and Contrast Structure Words

Compare and contrast structure words are transition signals which show the similarities or differences. Below are some common examples.

  • both... and...
  • not only... but also...
  • neither... nor...
  • just like (+ noun)
  • similar to (+ noun)
  • to be similar (to)
  • to be the same as
  • to be alike
  • to compare (to/with)
  • Computers can be used to communicate easily, for example via email. Similarly/Likewise , the mobile phone is a convenient tool for communication.
  • Both computers and mobile phones can be used to communicate easily with other people.
  • Just like the computer, the mobile phone can be used to communicate easily with other people.
  • The computer is similar to the mobile phone in the way it can be used for easy communication.
  • In contrast
  • In comparison
  • By comparison
  • On the other hand
  • to differ from
  • to be different (from)
  • to be dissimilar to
  • to be unlike
  • Computers, although increasingly small, are not always easy to carry from one place to another. However , the mobile phone can be carried with ease.
  • Computers are generally not very portable, whereas the mobile phone is.
  • Computers differ from mobile phones in their lack of portability.
  • Computers are unlike mobile phones in their lack of portability.

Criteria for comparison/contrast

When making comparisons or contrasts, it is important to be clear what criteria you are using. Study the following example, which contrasts two people. Here the criteria are unclear.

  • Aaron is tall and strong. In contrast , Bruce is handsome and very intelligent.

Although this sentence has a contrast transition , the criteria for contrasting are not the same. The criteria used for Aaron are height (tall) and strength (strong). We would expect similar criteria to be used for Bruce (maybe he is short and weak), but instead we have new criteria, namely appearance (handsome) and intelligence (intelligent). This is a common mistake for students when writing this type of paragraph or essay. Compare the following, which has much clearer criteria (contrast structure words shown in bold).

  • Aaron and Bruce differ in four ways. The first difference is height. Aaron is tall, while Bruce is short. A second difference is strength. Aaron is strong. In contrast , Bruce is weak. A third difference is appearance. Aaron, who is average looking, differs from Bruce, who is handsome. The final difference is intelligence. Aaron is of average intelligence. Bruce, on the other hand , is very intelligent.

Example essay

Below is a compare and contrast essay. This essay uses the point-by-point structure . Click on the different areas (in the shaded boxes to the right) to highlight the different structural aspects in this essay, i.e. similarities, differences, and structure words. This will highlight not simply the paragraphs, but also the thesis statement and summary , as these repeat the comparisons and contrasts contained in the main body.

Title: There have been many advances in technology over the past fifty years. These have revolutionised the way we communicate with people who are far away. Compare and contrast methods of communication used today with those which were used in the past.

Before the advent of computers and modern technology, people communicating over long distances used traditional means such as letters and the telephone. Nowadays we have a vast array of communication tools which can complete this task, ranging from email to instant messaging and video calls. While the present and previous means of communication are similar in their general form , they differ in regard to their speed and the range of tools available . One similarity between current and previous methods of communication relates to the form of communication. In the past, both written forms such as letters were frequently used, in addition to oral forms such as telephone calls. Similarly , people nowadays use both of these forms. Just as in the past, written forms of communication are prevalent, for example via email and text messaging. In addition, oral forms are still used, including the telephone, mobile phone, and voice messages via instant messaging services. However , there are clearly many differences in the way we communicate over long distances, the most notable of which is speed. This is most evident in relation to written forms of communication. In the past, letters would take days to arrive at their destination. In contrast , an email arrives almost instantaneously and can be read seconds after it was sent. In the past, if it was necessary to send a short message, for example at work, a memo could be passed around the office, which would take some time to circulate. This is different from the current situation, in which a text message can be sent immediately. Another significant difference is the range of communication methods. Fifty years ago, the tools available for communicating over long distances were primarily the telephone and the letter. By comparison , there are a vast array of communication methods available today. These include not only the telephone, letter, email and text messages already mentioned, but also video conferences via software such as Skype or mobile phone apps such as WeChat, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. In conclusion, methods of communication have greatly advanced over the past fifty years. While there are some similarities, such as the forms of communication , there are significant differences, chiefly in relation to the speed of communication and the range of communication tools available . There is no doubt that technology will continue to progress in future, and the advanced tools which we use today may one day also become outdated.

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Below is a checklist for compare and contrast essays. Use it to check your own writing, or get a peer (another student) to help you.

There is a downloadable graphic organiser for brainstorming ideas for compare and contrast essays in the writing resources section.

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Author: Sheldon Smith    ‖    Last modified: 08 January 2022.

Sheldon Smith is the founder and editor of EAPFoundation.com. He has been teaching English for Academic Purposes since 2004. Find out more about him in the about section and connect with him on Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn .

Compare & contrast essays examine the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences.

Cause & effect essays consider the reasons (or causes) for something, then discuss the results (or effects).

Discussion essays require you to examine both sides of a situation and to conclude by saying which side you favour.

Problem-solution essays are a sub-type of SPSE essays (Situation, Problem, Solution, Evaluation).

Transition signals are useful in achieving good cohesion and coherence in your writing.

Reporting verbs are used to link your in-text citations to the information cited.

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5 Compare and Contrast Essay Examples (Full Text)

A compare and contrast essay selects two or more items that are critically analyzed to demonstrate their differences and similarities. Here is a template for you that provides the general structure:

compare and contrast essay format

A range of example essays is presented below.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

#1 jean piaget vs lev vygotsky essay.

1480 Words | 5 Pages | 10 References

(Level: University Undergraduate)

paget vs vygotsky essay

Thesis Statement: “This essay will critically examine and compare the developmental theories of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, focusing on their differing views on cognitive development in children and their influence on educational psychology, through an exploration of key concepts such as the role of culture and environment, scaffolding, equilibration, and their overall implications for educational practices..”

#2 Democracy vs Authoritarianism Essay

democracy vs authoritarianism essay

Thesis Statement: “The thesis of this analysis is that, despite the efficiency and control offered by authoritarian regimes, democratic systems, with their emphasis on individual freedoms, participatory governance, and social welfare, present a more balanced and ethically sound approach to governance, better aligned with the ideals of a just and progressive society.”

#3 Apples vs Oranges Essay

1190 Words | 5 Pages | 0 References

(Level: 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade)

apples vs oranges essay

Thesis Statement: “While apples and oranges are both popular and nutritious fruits, they differ significantly in their taste profiles, nutritional benefits, cultural symbolism, and culinary applications.”

#4 Nature vs Nurture Essay

1525 Words | 5 Pages | 11 References

(Level: High School and College)

nature vs nurture essay

Thesis Statement: “The purpose of this essay is to examine and elucidate the complex and interconnected roles of genetic inheritance (nature) and environmental influences (nurture) in shaping human development across various domains such as physical traits, personality, behavior, intelligence, and abilities.”

#5 Dogs vs Cats Essay

1095 Words | 5 Pages | 7 Bibliographic Sources

(Level: 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade)

Thesis Statement: “This essay explores the distinctive characteristics, emotional connections, and lifestyle considerations associated with owning dogs and cats, aiming to illuminate the unique joys and benefits each pet brings to their human companions.”

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

I’ve recorded a full video for you on how to write a compare and contrast essay:

Get the Compare and Contrast Templates with AI Prompts Here

In the video, I outline the steps to writing your essay. Here they are explained below:

1. Essay Planning

First, I recommend using my compare and contrast worksheet, which acts like a Venn Diagram, walking you through the steps of comparing the similarities and differences of the concepts or items you’re comparing.

I recommend selecting 3-5 features that can be compared, as shown in the worksheet:

compare and contrast worksheet

Grab the Worksheet as Part of the Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Pack

2. Writing the Essay

Once you’ve completed the worksheet, you’re ready to start writing. Go systematically through each feature you are comparing and discuss the similarities and differences, then make an evaluative statement after showing your depth of knowledge:

compare and contrast essay template

Get the Rest of the Premium Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Pack (With AI Prompts) Here

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement

Compare and contrast thesis statements can either:

  • Remain neutral in an expository tone.
  • Prosecute an argument about which of the items you’re comparing is overall best.

To write an argumentative thesis statement for a compare and contrast essay, try this AI Prompts:

💡 AI Prompt to Generate Ideas I am writing a compare and contrast essay that compares [Concept 1] and [Concept2]. Give me 5 potential single-sentence thesis statements that pass a reasonable judgement.

Ready to Write your Essay?

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Take action! Choose one of the following options to start writing your compare and contrast essay now:

Read Next: Process Essay Examples

compare and contrast examples and definition

Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 50 Durable Goods Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 100 Consumer Goods Examples
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 30 Globalization Pros and Cons
  • Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/chris-drew-phd/ 17 Adversity Examples (And How to Overcome Them)

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Updated 19/01/2021

Ah, language analysis. It’s that time of year again, which sees us trade our novels and films for newspapers and blog articles, and our knowledge of characters and themes for the never-ending list of persuasive language devices which we will soon begin to scour our texts in search of.

Once again we must put ourselves in the mind of an author, only this time it’s a little different. No longer are we searching for hidden meanings within the text, instead we search for techniques and appeals to emotions which our daring author uses to persuade us to stand in solidarity with their view. My, how times change. Just when we think we’re getting the hang of something, VCE English throws us a curveball. Typical VCAA.

There's a lot that goes into a strong Analysing Argument response and it can be difficult to know where to start, so here's a specific breakdown of an A+ essay to help you elevate the quality of your own writing! Just before we get started, if you'd like to find out more about Language Analysis, head here for a comprehensive overview of this area of study.

Alright, let's get into it!

The following post refers to two articles, ‘ Australia’s offshore detention regime is a brutal and obscene piece of self-delusion ,’ by Ben Doherty and Helen Davidson, and ‘ Stand in solidarity with people seeking asylum this holiday season, ’ by Kon Karapanagiotidis.

Step 1: Planning Your Essay

Now, before you get too deep into this step - and I know how eager you must be to dive into that juicy analysis – you first need to decide on a structure. In this particular case of Language Analysis, we are comparing two articles, meaning we have a couple of different structures to choose from. That is, we now need to decide whether we will be separating the analysis of each article into its own individual paragraph, or rather, integrating the analysis and drawing on similar ideas from each of the texts to compare them within one paragraph. Tough decisions, eh?

While most examiners prefer integrated paragraphs, as it shows a higher level of understanding of the texts, sometimes the articles make implementing this structure a little difficult. For example, maybe one article focuses more on emotional appeals, while the other uses factual evidence such as statistics to persuade the reader. What do we do then? If none of the arguments are similar, but we still want to use that amazing integration technique, what can we do?

Well first of all, remember that we are comparing two articles. Comparisons don’t always have to be about similar things, in fact, the true spirit of comparison should take into account the articles’ differences too. So what does this mean for us? We can still integrate our paragraphs, however, we will be focusing on how two contrasting techniques seek to achieve the same result of persuading the audience.

Next, now that we’ve got structure out of the way, we can work on the actual analysis part of planning. That is, scouring through the articles for those various language devices the author has used to turn this article from an exposition to a persuasive text, and then deciding on how we shall be using this in our essay.

I absolutely cannot stress this enough, but: PLAN YOUR ESSAYS! Yes, I happened to be one of those students who never planned anything and preferred to jump straight into the introduction, hoping all my thoughts would fall into place along the way. Allow me to let you in on a little secret: that was a notoriously bad idea. My essays always turned out as garbled, barely legible messes and I always managed to talk myself into circles. Trust me, planning is crucial to an A+ essay.

It is also crucial that you know what exactly should be going into the planning process. There are two main aspects of planning that you need to focus on for a Language Analysis essay: analysis and implementation . I know that might not make much sense right now, but allow me to explain:

This includes reading through your articles and picking out all the pieces that seem like persuasive techniques. For example, you might find a paragraph using inclusive language such as "our problem” to convince the reader that this is an issue that they need to be directly concerned about, or perhaps you may find a sentence describing the “excess of funds” being poured into the initiative that demonstrates to the audience how big of a problem it is. This step typically includes underlining areas of interest in the articles, making arrows between similar arguments which you think should be linked and doodling in the margins of the paper with all your immediate thoughts so you don’t forget them later. This part is the lengthiest and it may take you some time to fully understand all of the article.

Next, comes implementation.

Implementation

This is the part where we make ourselves an actual essay plan, in which we decide how to implement all the new information we’ve collected. That is, deciding which arguments or language devices we will analyse in paragraph 1, paragraph 2 and so on. This part is largely up to you and the way in which you prefer to link various ideas.

Below is an example of how you might choose to plan your introduction and body paragraph. It may seem a bit wordy, but this is the recommended thought process you should consider when mapping out your essay, as explained in the following sections of this blog post. You may want to skip ahead and read those first so you know what we’re talking about when you see CCTAP (explained in Step 2: Introduction ) or TEEL (explained in Step 3: Body Paragraphs ), but otherwise it’s pretty straight forward. With enough practice you may even be able to remember some of these elements in your head, rather than writing it out in detail during each SAC or exam (it might be a little time consuming).

Sample Introduction Plan

Note: Sentences in quotation marks ('') represent where the information has been implemented in the actual introduction.

Article 1 (by Ben Doherty and Helen Davidson) :

Context : Detention of Asylum Seekers is currently a popular topic of discussion, 'issue regarding the treatment and management of asylum seekers'.

Contention : Methods must be revaluated, 'better solution must be sought'.

Tone : Accusatory, 'accusatory tone'.

Audience : Regular readers, 'regular readers of the popular news publication site'.

Purpose : Incite critical conversation, 'persuade readers to be similarly critical of the initiative'.

Article 2 (by Kon Karapanagiotidis) :

Context: Detention of Asylum Seekers is currently a popular topic of discussion, 'issue regarding the treatment and management of asylum seekers'.

Contention: Detention of Asylum Seekers is wrong, 'detention as a whole is inhumane'.

Tone: Conviction, 'tone of conviction'.

Audience: Those in favour of Asylum Seekers, 'supporters of his resource centre'.

Purpose: Allow Asylum Seekers into the country, '[barring them from entering the country]…should be ceased immediately'.

Sample Body Paragraph Plan

Topic: Inhumanity of detention

Evidence : Article 1’s Emotive Language

          Example : 'harsh', 'brutal regime', 'needlessly cruel' to invoke discomfort.

Evidence : Article 1’s Expert Opinions

          Example : Amnesty International, UN, etc. 'repeatedly criticised'.

Evidence : Article 1’s Humanisation of Asylum Seekers

          Example : Depicts as individuals who’ve been 'arbitrarily punished'.

Evidence : Article 2’s Invitation to Empathise

          Example : Writes he 'cannot imagine the horrors', inviting readers to try too.

Evidence : Article 2’s Emotive Language

          Example : 'pain', 'suffering', 'deprivation of hope' to invoke sympathy.

Evidence : Article 2’s Placing of Blame

          Example : Blames Australian Government for the 'suffering inflicted'.

Link: Restate topic sentence in relation to entire essay

Step 2: Introduction

Now that you’ve got all the planning out of the way, next comes beginning the essay and writing up your introduction. Having a top notch introduction not only sets the standard for the rest of your language analysis, but it gives you a chance to set yourself apart from the crowd. Your teacher or examiner will be reading heaps of these kinds of essays within a short period of time and no doubt it’ll begin to bore them. Thus, having a punchy introduction is bound to catch their attention.

In addition to having a solid beginning, there are a few other things you need to include in your intro, namely, CCTAP. What does CCTAP stand for and why is it so important, you may ask? Well, the nifty little acronym stands for C ontext, C ontention, T one, A udience and P urpose, which are the five key pieces of information you need to include about both of your articles within your introduction. In addition to all the various language devices we collected during planning, you will need to scan through the articles to find this information in order to give the reader of your essay the brief gist of your articles without ever having read them.  

For an example on how you would accomplish this all in one paragraph, here’s my introduction:

In recent years, the issue regarding the treatment and management of asylum seekers has become a topic of interest for many Australian citizens, with the debate focusing centrally on the ethics of their indefinite detention, and the reliability of this initiative as a working solution. Many articles intending to weigh-in on the debate depict the Australian Government’s favoured solution in various tones, with two pieces, written by news source, The Guardian, by authors Ben Doherty and Helen Davidson, and activist Kon Karapanagiotidis, respectively, asserting that the initiative is the wrong approach to a growing problem. In their piece, 'Australia’s offshore detention regime is a brutal and obscene piece of self destruction', the former of the authors speaks with an accusatory tone to their audience of regular readers of the popular news publication site and debates the practicality of the 'arbitra[y]' detention of these asylum seekers, as well as calls into question the humanity of the act and assesses whether it is an effective use of Australia’s wealth, intending to persuade readers to be similarly critical of the initiative. Likewise, the author of the open letter, 'Stand in solidarity with people seeking asylum this holiday season', writes to supporters of his resource centre in a tone of conviction, asserting that asylum seekers deserve the safety of asylum within Australia, that detaining or barring them from entering the country is inhumane and the root of much suffering, and that overall, it is morally wrong, and thus should be ceased immediately. Both articles contend that Australia’s current solution to the growing issue is incorrect, with Doherty and Davidson specifically believing that there is a better solution that must be sought, and Karapanagiotidis believing that detention as a whole is inhumane and should not be further employed by the government. ‍

‍ Step 3: Body Paragraphs ‍

And now we reach the meat of your essay - the body paragraphs. A typical essay should have at least three of these, no less, although some people might feel the need to write four or five. While this may seem like a good idea to earn those extra marks, you should never feel pressured to do so if you already have three good paragraphs planned out. You have limited time to write your essay and getting as many words on the page as possible won’t always improve your score, especially if you traded quality for quantity. What your teachers and examiners are really looking for is a comprehensive understanding of the texts and the way in which you organise your ideas into paragraphs. So sure, writing an extra paragraph may be useful if you have the time and technique, but never feel pressured to expend the effort on one if it costs you time to the point where you’re turning in an unfinished essay. You can achieve an A+ essay with only three paragraphs, so don’t stress.

Now, onto writing the actual paragraphs. There are various little acronyms to help you through this process, such as TEEL, PEEL or MEAT. Some of these you may have already heard of before and you might even have a preference as to which one you will use. But regardless of what you choose, it is important that you add all the correct elements, as leaving any of them out may cost you vital marks. Make sure you include a T opic sentence, E vidence, E xample and L ink (TEEL). Once you have the structure down pat, there’s one other thing you need to consider during a Language Analysis essay: don’t forget to analyse the picture.

Seriously, it’s pretty crucial. A requirement of this kind of essay is to analyse imagery, whether it be the newspaper’s header, a cartoon or an actual photograph. This step may involve analysing the image for what it is, or linking the imagery with an already existing argument within the article. Whatever you deduce it to mean, just make sure you slip it into one of the paragraphs in your essay. [Note: an analysis of imagery is not included in following paragraph].

Here is an example of an integrated paragraph ( learn more about integrated vs. bridge vs. block structures here ):

While both articles make very different arguments on the same topic, in one particular case they give voice to the same issue, namely, the inhumanity of detaining refugees, in which both articles become advocates for the abolition of offshore detention. Authors for The Guardian write that it is 'needlessly cruel', 'harsh', and a 'brutal regime', using emotive language to give weight to their argument and invoke a sense of discomfort within their readers, particularly towards the government’s chosen solution. They call on the opinions of a number of other sources who have 'repeatedly criticised', the operation, such as the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, among other similar experts on the matter. The authors depict Asylum Seekers as individuals who are 'arbitrarily punished offshore', and who 'have been accused of no crime', and are therefore, by the judgement of the authors, being treated immorally. In agreement, Karapanagiotidis writes of the abuse endured by asylum seekers in detention, including their separation from loved ones, their arbitrary incarceration, and stating that he, himself, 'cannot begin to imagine the personal toll detention has had on [them]', implying further damage has been done and inviting his audience to similarly place themselves into the figurative shoes of an asylum seeker. The author writes that the offshore detention of asylum seekers causes 'pain', and 'suffering', as well as the 'depriv[ation] of [their] hope', using emotive language to invoke sympathy and understanding within his readers. Karapanagiotidis hands the blame for such 'suffering inflicted', on the Australian government, a similar tactic which The Guardian employed throughout their piece. Overall, both articles use a range of language devices and expert sources to agree that the act of detention is inhumane, and the root of much suffering. ‍ ‍

If you'd like to see more sample A+ body paragraphs and essays, all with annotations to see exactly what makes them high-scoring, check out our How To Write A Killer Language Analysis ebook for an in-depth guide to nailing your Language Analysis.

Step 4: Conclusion

You’ll be glad to know that this is the final part of your essay, hooray! And some might argue it is in fact the easiest, because now all you need to do is summarise all of those body paragraphs into a concise little one. Simple right?

Conclusions typically don’t even have to be all that long, I mean, you’re only restating what you’ve already written down, so there’s no new thinking involved. Under no circumstances should you be using your conclusion to add in any new information, so just make sure you give a brief description of your previous arguments and you should be good to go!

And one more thing: never start your conclusions with 'In conclusion'. Seriously, that may have worked in Year 8, but we’re writing for a whole different standard these days and starting your conclusions off like that just isn’t going to cut it. Be sure to check out 5 Tips for a Mic-Drop Worthy Essay Conclusion if conclusions are something you struggle with.

Here’s mine:

The two articles, in their discussion of Australia’s offshore detention initiative, bring light to several key points. Authors for The Guardian use various appeals, emotive phrases and evidence of reported monetary statistics to sway the reader to share their opinion, as well as arguments regarding the lack of reliability the initiative provides in its ability to deter boats, the sheer cost of the program, and the morality of the issue. Similarly, Karapanagiotidis, the author of the open letter, uses a humanising image, appeals to the values of the readers, and employs phrases with pre-existing connotations known to the audience, to assert main contentions: that asylum seekers deserve asylum, that barring them from settling in the country is the root of much suffering, and that their indefinite detention is not only inhumane, but morally wrong.  

Good luck with your own essays!

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essay comparing 2 articles

Access a FREE sample of our How To Write A Killer Language Analysis study guide

  • Learn LSG's unique SIMPLICITY and SPECIFICITY strategy which has helped hundreds of students achieve A+
  • Includes annotated sample A+ essays (including responses to past VCAA exams)
  • Learn how to analyse single articles and visuals , and comparative analysis (analysing 2 or 3 articles/visuals together)
  • Different types of essay structures broken down so you understand what to do and what not to do with confidence

essay comparing 2 articles

Whether you’re analysing at one article or two, there are plenty of things you can write about. In this, we’ll look at the structure of articles, the placement of different arguments and rebuttals, and other things you can use to nail your essay!

There are four main parts of an article:

What: The arguments that support the contention

When: Their placement in the article

How: The language techniques used to support them

Why: The overall effect on the reader

Try to address all these elements of the article in your essay, as it’ll ensure you’re not leaving anything out.

WHAT: Arguments

The arguments an author uses can usually fall into one of three categories - ethos, pathos, or logos.

Ethos arguments are about credibility, for example, using quotes from credible sources or writing about a personal anecdote.

Pathos arguments target the emotion of the reader. Anything that might make them feel happy, angry, sad, distressed and more can be classified as this kind - for example, an argument about patriotism when discussing the date of Australia Day.

Logos arguments aim to address the intellectual aspects of the issue, and will often have statistics or logic backing them up.

It’s important to mention the different arguments used in the article and it can be useful to take note of the category you think they fit into best. It’s also helpful to mention the interplay between these elements.

WHEN: Structure

Certain elements of the article can have a different effect on the reader depending on where the author places them.

If an author places their rebuttal at the beginning of the article, it can set up the audience to more readily accept their following opinions, and separates them from contrasting views from the get go. You can see this in the 2013 VCAA exam , where the author argues against opposing views early on in their article. In it, the author references the opposition directly as they say ‘some people who objected to the proposed garden seem to think that the idea comes from a radical group of environmentalists’, and rebut this point by proposing that ‘there’s nothing extreme about us’.

The placement of a rebuttal towards the end of the article can have the effect of the author confirming that their opinion is correct by demonstrating why opposing opinions are not, and can give a sense of finality to the article. It’s sometimes used when the author’s contention is a little controversial, as it’s less aggressive than a rebuttal placed at the beginning.

In some articles, the author won’t include a straightforward rebuttal at all. This can imply that their opinion, and theirs alone, is correct and must be supported - as it’s the only opinion that exists. Check out the 2018 VCAA exam for an example of this kind of article. ‍

Contention:

An author’s contention is the main claim they’re trying to prove throughout their article.

Placing their contention at the beginning is the most direct method, and has the effect of positioning the reader to the author’s beliefs from the outset.

A contention placed at the end of an article can have the effect of seeming like a valid, logical conclusion to a well-thought through discussion. To see this in effect, you can look at the 2014 VCAA exam , where the article leads up to the author’s final contention that the governments needs to ‘invest in the next generation of technology’.

The contention can also be repeated throughout the article. The author may have chosen to present it in this way in order to continue reiterating their main point in the audience’s minds, aligning them to their views. An article that uses this technique is on the 2016 VCAA exam , as the author repeats multiple times that a ‘giant attraction’ must be built to encourage visitors and put the town ‘on the tourist map’.

The different ways an author orders their arguments is also something worth analysing.

A ‘weaker’ point might be one that the author doesn’t spend much time discussing, or that isn’t backed up with a lot of evidence. In comparison, a ‘stronger’ argument will generally have supporting statistics or quotes, and may be discussed in detail by the author.

If an author starts with their strongest point and ends with their weakest, they may be attempting to sway the reader’s opinions to align with their own from the beginning so that the audience is more likely to accept their weaker points later on. Take a look at the 2017 VCAA exam to see this kind of technique, as the author’s arguments - that ‘superfluous packaging’ will cause irreversible environmental damage, that the changes they want to implement are easy, and that students should prepare their own snacks rather than have takeaway - get less developed as the article continues.

On the other hand, ending with their strongest point can give the piece a sense of completion, and leave the reader with the overall impression that the article was strong and persuasive.

Want to learn more about these different article components and see how different A+ essays incorporate these elements? If so, check out our How To Write A Killer Language Analysis ebook for all of this and more!

HOW: Language

This refers to the different persuasive language techniques used in the article and their effect on the reader.

The main thing to remember is that the study design has changed from Language Analysis to Analysing Argument . This means you’ll need to focus on the language in relation to the argument - such as how it supports the author’s contention - rather than on the language itself.

If you’re after some more resources, you can look at some Quick Tips or this video:

WHY: Effect

There are many different ways you can describe what the author is trying to do through their article, but they all come down to one thing - persuasion, that is, the writer of the article is trying to get their audience to agree with them. Linking different arguments, their placement and the language that supports them to the overall authorial intent of the article is a great way to enhance your essay.

For some more information on this area, check out this blog post !

For a step-by-step explanation of everything you need to know to ace your SAC or exam, check out our How To Write A Killer Language Analysis ebook.

For many students, Language Analysis is their downfall. Here is the main reason why: Lots of students don’t think about  how language is used to persuade , instead they rely on lists of language techniques to tell them the answer. These sheets are usually distributed by teachers when you first start language analysis – see below.

essay comparing 2 articles

Whether or not you’ve seen that particular document before, you’ve probably got something similar. You’ve also probably thought, ‘this sheet is absolutely amazing – it has everything I need  and  it tells me how language persuades!’ – I know I did. Unfortunately, this mindset is wrong. Don’t fall into the trap like so many other students have over the years. For a detailed guide on Language Analysis including how to prepare for your SAC and exam, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Language Analysis .

The following comes from VCAA 2009 English Assessment Report:

…some students presented a simple summary [when analysing]…with little development. These responses did not score well as they did not fulfil the task as required.

The ‘simple summary’ refers to students who rely on those technique sheets to paraphrase the explanations regarding how language persuades. There is ‘little development’ because copying the explanations provided on these sheets doesn’t demonstrate enough insight into the article you’re analysing. Let’s have a look at the VCAA English Practice Exam published in 2009, ‘Chickens Range Free’ so that we can demonstrate this point. We will look at two students, both analysing the same technique. Compare the two and determine who you believe provides the better analysis.

Student 1:  Emotive language such as “abominably cruel” and “dire plight” is intended to stimulate strong emotional reactions that manipulate readers’ responses.

Student 2:  The use of emotive language such as “abominably cruel” and “dire plight” intends to appeal to people’s instinctive compassion for the chickens by describing their dreadful treatment, hence causing readers to agree with Smith that urgent action is required to save these animals.

It should be clear that Student 2’s example is best. Let’s see why.

Student 1 has determined the correct language technique and found suitable evidence from the article. This is a good start. However, Student 1 goes on to merely reiterate the explanations provided by language technique sheets and as a result, their analysis is too broad and non-specific to the article.

Student 2 conversely, understands that this last step – the analysing part – is the most important and vital component that will distinguish themselves from others. Instead of merely quoting that the article ‘manipulates the reader response’ like student 1, they provide an in-depth analysis of  how   and why  reader feelings are manipulated because of this technique. Student 2 was able to use the information to illustrate the author’s contention that we should feel sorry for these caged chickens – and we do because of our ‘instinctive compassion.’ They explain that the sympathy expressed from readers encourages them to agree that some action needs to be taken to help the chickens. As you can see, Student 2 has gone beyond identifying that ‘strong emotional reactions’ will be displayed by readers, to  establishing  what emotions are involved, and the consequences of those emotions.

This is why it’s best to avoid paraphrasing language technique sheets. By all means, don’t totally disregard them altogether. They’re definitely great for learning new language techniques – just be mindful of the explanations given. The part regarding  how the author persuades  is the downfall of many students because even though teachers tell you to analyse more, they often don’t show you the difference between what you’re doing wrong and what you should be doing right.

Hey everyone! This is Part 2 in a series of videos I will release on VCE Study Guides. The content goes through the sample VCAA Chickens Range Free article which you can find  here . Feel free to analyse it yourself, then check out how I’ve analysed the article!

I’m super excited to share with you my  first  ever online tutorial course for VCE English/EAL students on  How to achieve A+ for Language Analysis !!!

I created this course for a few reasons:

Language Analysis is often the  key weakness  for VCE English/EAL students, after my workshops, students always wish we had spent  even   more  time on Language Analysis, many of you have come to me seeking private tuition however since I am fully booked out, I wanted to still offer you a chance to gain access to my ‘breakthrough’ method of tutoring Language Analysis,I am absolutely confident in my  unique  and  straightforward  way of teaching Language Analysis which has lead to my students securing exceptional A graded SAC and exam scores!

Are you a student who:

struggles to identify language techniques?

finds it difficult to identify which tones are adopted in articles?

has no idea explaining  HOW  the author persuades?

finds it difficult to structure your language analysis essay?

becomes even more unsure when comparing 2 or 3 articles?

feels like your teacher at school never explained language analysis properly?

prefers learning when it’s enjoyable and easy to understand?

wants to stand out from other students across the cohort?

wants to know the secrets of 45+ English high achievers?

wants to know what examiners are looking for?

sees room for improvement whether you’re an average student or a pro?

wants to get a head start and maximise your potential in VCE?

This is what you will accomplish by the end of the course:

Be able to successfully identify language techniques in articles and images

Be able to successfully identify tones adopted in articles and images

Be able to analyse a single article or image

Be able to analyse 2 or more articles and/or images

Be able to apply your new skills coherently and clearly in essay writing

You will be able to accurately describe HOW an author uses language to persuade

You will be able to plan and write a language analysis essay structure (single article/image)

You will be able to plan and write a language analysis essay structure (2 or more articles/images)

You will understand common pitfalls and how to avoid these in language analysis

Be confident when approaching your SACs and exam

Know exactly what examiners are looking for and how to ‘WOW’ them

Know how to distinguish yourself from other students

Have unlimited help in course forum from myself and other VCE students

You will become a better VCE English language analysis student!

To find out more, you can check out the full details of the course   here !

See you in the course!

For an overview of the EAL study design plus tips and tricks for language analysis, time management and more, check out The Ultimate Guide to EAL .

EAL Language Analysis Introductions

Both EAL and mainstream English students will need to complete a Language Analysis task as part of the VCAA Exam. The introduction of Language Analysis essays for VCE English is somewhat rigid as there are multiple components that must be included, for instance: issue, form, contention, name, publishing date, tone, etc. However, many of the ‘must have’ components of mainstream English essays are not required for EAL students or the EAL end-of-year examination. Check with your school/teacher to find out their opinion and criteria on this matter though, as they mark your internal assessments/Language Analysis SAC!

The 2019 VCE English as an Additional Language Examination Report states: 

‘Introductions should be limited to showing an awareness of the audience, the context and the overall contention of the piece.’

With this guideline in mind, the advice I am sharing in this blog post is based on the understanding and assumption that EAL Language Analysis introductions DO NOT need background information such as where the article is published, when is it published, style, etc. But again, make sure you check with your school/teacher to find out exactly what criteria YOU need to meet for your assessments/SACs that are marked internally. 

Using Templates in Your EAL Language Analysis Introductions

Since EAL is more flexible than mainstream English, and requires fewer elements, you can adopt a template for introductions that you are comfortable using to save time during the assessments. 

For example, these sentence templates below are really versatile and can be easily adapted and/or combined to suit your essay: 

  • In response to the divisive issue of…(AUTHOR 1) implicitly/explicitly/inadvertently contends that…
  • (AUTHOR 1) takes on a...tone to grab the attention of...(SPECIFIC AUDIENCE)
  • Similarly/contrastingly,...,(AUTHOR 2) implicitly/explicitly/inadvertently contends that...in a...tone.

Using the templates above, here are some examples of what the final product for your introduction may look like. I have bolded the ‘template’ parts so that you can see exactly how the templates have been used, but remember these are just templates, so you can adjust the wording slightly to suit your needs:

And if you want to learn more about tones, head to 195 Language Analysis Tones .

Example 1 (Using Templates 1 & 3)

(1) In response to the divisive issue of building an Apple global flagship store at Federation Square, the COMAAFS implicitly contends in an accusatory and defiant tone that the flagship store should not be built to replace one of Melbourne’s most popular landmarks. (3) Contrastingly , the web post written by the Victorian Government explicitly rejects the accusation from COMAAFS and advocates for the immense benefits that Victorians will receive from the Flagship store in an explanatory and reassuring tone .

Example 2 (Using Templates 1 & 3)

(1) In response to the divisive issue of homeless people camping in the city of Melbourne, Christopher Bantick contends in an accusatory and heated tone that the ‘move-on’ law must be introduced in order to remove the homeless in Melbourne. (3) Contrastingly , Dr. Meg Mundell insists that making it illegal to sleep on the street will only exacerbate the problem in a demanding tone .  

Example 3 (Using Templates 1 & 3)

(1) In response to the recent furore of the increasing use of cars, Tina Fanning contends in an alarming and mobilising tone that cars are no longer a viable mode of transport in the foreseeable future. (3) Similarly, Lucy Manne predicts the catastrophic consequence of excessive car use on Australian society in a composed and authoritative tone .

If you want to take your introduction to the next level, see The Importance of the Introduction for tips!

Comparison of Arguments & Contentions in EAL Language Analysis

Unlike mainstream English, comparison of arguments/contention between the two writers is not essential for EAL, but it will probably earn you bonus brownie points if you do have time to add it in your essay :) For further explanation on comparative analysis, you can refer to this step-by-step guide: Exploring an A+ Language Analysis Essay Comparing Two Articles . Although the guide is aimed at mainstream English students, you can still apply some of the tips and strategies as an EAL student. It will really help to take your Language Analysis to the next level!

The scariest part of the EAL exam, while might not be the most daunting task, is probably getting your head wrapped around an unfamiliar language analysis task under time condition. Jargons and difficult terms might be used, and some articles tend to not be so straightforward making this task more challenging for EAL students. This blog post aims to alleviate this fear for all EAL students as much as possible and better your performance in the end-of-year exams. After reading this, I'd highly recommend our Ultimate Guide To Language Analysis as you study for your next SAC or exam.

Reading Comprehension

To understand and analyse an article well, you will need to know the writer’s contention well, identifying whether they are for or against an idea. Most language analysis articles are written on an issue, which is why it is important to spot what the issue is and the writer’s stance. Most of the time, the writer’s contention is found at the beginning of the article, in the title, though there are times it is found at the end of the article. Sometimes, skimming through an article might be sufficient for you to find its main point.

Spotting and understanding arguments, on the other hand, might be much more difficult as they can be found anywhere within the articles and the number of arguments contained varies from articles to articles.

The good news is, there is no right or wrong answer in English so there is no need to be too worried about whether what you are writing is ‘precise’ or not. In order to look for arguments and ‘chunk the reading passage’ in the most efficient way, you should be paying attention to the ways the writer tries to structure the article (e.g. paragraphs, headings and subheadings if there are any, etc). More than often arguments can be found at the beginning of paragraphs (writers might also use that good old T opic- E vidence- E xample- L inking structure in drafting their piece) and sometimes two consecutive paragraphs focus on one singular argument.

Also, arguments should be specific and support the writer’s contention. For instance, if the contention is ‘technology ameliorates Americans’ standards of living’, the arguments might be something along the lines of ‘it is beneficial as it improves efficiency in workplace environment’ or ‘it allows people to communicate easily’. Trying to make an educated guess on what the arguments might look like will definitely help if you already know the contention of the article.

Language barriers might be an issue if the writer uses technical terms related to an unfamiliar area (e.g. an article about “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis”, a lung disease caused by a certain type of dust, might pop up – highly unlikely but thank me later if it does come up). This is why dictionaries are there to help us and they are a must-have coming into EAL exams and SACs. You are allowed to bring bilingual dictionaries as well, so make sure you have a good set of dictionaries that you can bring into SACs and exams. Regardless of how fluent you are, there is still a possibility that they use one if not more than one unfamiliar term in your language analysis articles.

However, it is not always difficult to guess the meaning of the word without using the dictionary (time restraints!!) by looking at the sentence as a whole. The location of the words within a sentence might allow you to make a reasonable guess of what type of words it is or what it might mean. If it is the subject or object of the sentence, it is either a pronoun, a noun or a name. If the word is after a subject, it is likely to be a verb which describes an action! To familiarise yourself with sentence structure further, read my guide on The Keys To English Fluency and Proficiency .

Answering Reading Comprehension Questions

Section C, Question 1 requires students to write short answers, in note form or sentences, which altogether will make up of 50% of the marks in Section C. I am not sure about you but for a lot of students, getting good marks for Question 1 is much easier than getting good marks for Question 2, which requires you to write a full language analysis essay. This is why it is important that you are able to maximise your marks in this question because they are purported to be easier marks to get! Some of the questions will ask the students for factual information but more difficult questions will require to think about that is contained in the text and make an interpretation based on your understanding.

1. Question words

To know what sort of answer you are expected to give before looking for details from the article, you need to be familiar with question words.

WHO - A particular person or group of people impacted by an incident or involved in a situation

WHAT - This really depends. It might require you to give out information about something or to identify reasons for the writer’s opinions (which is good it might make it easier for you to find the writer’s arguments)

WHEN - The timeframe within which an issue or event occurred (date, day, etc)

WHERE - The location of an event

WHY - The reasons for something

HOW - How a problem can be resolved

2. Direction words

Unfortunately, not all questions in this section have “question words” and examiners usually give out questions that are broader using “direction words” or “task words”, making this section more challenging for students. EAL is not the only subject that requires students to know their direction words well so it is definitely worthwhile learning these words to improve your performance. These are the most common direction words used in Section C (see below!). ‍

Giving information about something or to identify the writer’s opinions

This requires you to give out information in your own words and elaborate

Students will be required to find what is asked from the article and write them down in the briefest form possible

Usually in note forms – to answer this you need to identify what is asked and briefly noting them down

Retelling something in a succinct and concise ways in your own words, it should only be enough to highlight key ideas

Finding evidence from the text to justify a statement or opinions

3. Marks allocation

Another super helpful tip is to pay extra attention to the marks allocation of the questions. It usually gives you a fairly accurate indication of how much you should write. The general rule of thumb would be that the number of marks tell students how many sentences or points they should be making.

Identify the reasons why the writer loves travelling (2 marks)

Students should be writing down 2 reasons why the writer loves travelling ‍

The editor strongly opposes the use of plastic bag. Support this statement (3 marks) ‍

In this case, it is probably best to find 3 pieces of evidence from the article that justify the statement stated to make sure you do not lose any marks by not writing enough.

4. Sample Questions And Response

My own response and annotation of Question 1 and Section C of the 2017 EAL exam is below. I really hope it would give you guys a better idea of what is expected from EAL students.

essay comparing 2 articles

Time Management Tips

Look at the comprehension questions during reading time.

I usually used my reading time skimming through the article, looking at the questions and flip back and forth the booklet to look for answers for the questions at the back. The reason why this was the first thing I did was because they often contain clues of what the arguments might me. Questions such as “give three reasons why the editor thought technology is beneficial” will help you immediately identify some key ideas and arguments in the article.

Look for key features instead of analysing and finding techniques straight away

I also used the reading time to find the contention, determine what type of article it was and the source, etc. The following acronym might help you! I often tried identifying all of the features below as it also helped me plan my introduction within reading time.

C ontention

For a detailed guide on How to Write an A+ Language Analysis Introduction, check out our advice here .

Set out a detailed time management plan for your essay the night before the SAC or exams (or earlier if possible) ‍

Be strict with yourself, know your writing speed and know how long it takes you to write a paragraph.

Stick with one introduction’s structure/ format ‍

If you are used to writing an introduction that, for instance, starts off by introducing the issue, title of the piece, author, and then the contention, tone, audience then stick with it, or memorise it if you do not have the best writing speed or just do not work well under time pressure.

Whether or not (issue) is an issue that garners much attention in recent media. In response to this, (author) writes a (form) titled “(title)” to express his disapprobation/endorsement of (issue) to (audience). By adopting a (tone word 1) and (tone word 2), (author) asserts/ articulates/ contends that (contention) . With the use of an accompanying visual, the writer enhances the notion that (contention) .

Not be way too thorough with annotation ‍

When it comes to performing well under time condition, perfectionism might hinder you from best maximising your marks! Everyone learns differently and has different approaches to this task but it is probably better if we do not spend way too much time annotating the article. While it is important to scan through the article and identify important persuasive techniques, sometimes it is more than sufficient to just circle or highlight the technique instead of colour-coding it, writing down what its effects on the audience, labelling techniques. Don’t get me wrong, these aforementioned steps are important, but there is no point writing that information down twice because you will be repeating those steps as you write your essay anyway! I’d recommend trying out different annotation techniques and see what works for you, but for me minimalism served me well.

Create your own glossary of words ‍

Sometimes, it takes too much time just sitting down staring at the paper deciding what words you should be using. We’ve all been there, worrying if you have repeated “highlight” or “position” way too many time. Memorising a mini glossary might solve this issue and save us writing time. I have included a sample glossary for you to fill in, hopefully it helps you as much as it did me! It might be a good starting point for you.

Convincing the audience to… persuade, position, propel, compel, galvanise, etc

Highlight the idea that… underscore, enhance, fortify, bolster, etc

Evoke (an emotional response)... elicit, garners, etc

The writer uses … employs, utilises, etc

The writer criticises … critiques, lambastes, chastises, condemns, denounces, etc

‍ At the end of the day, regardless of how many tips you have learned from this blog, it would not be enough to significantly improve your marks unless you practice frequently. Knowing how long it takes you to write the introduction, or each paragraph will better enable you to finish the essay within the time set and allow you to spend a bit of spare time proofreading your essay. If you are aiming for A+’s, writing every week is probably the best piece of advice I can give because without enough practice, your performance under pressure cannot match up to your usual performance.

Often, with Language Analysis (also known as Argument Analysis or Analysing Argument), it can be hard to find unique things to analyse and set yourself apart from your competitors. Techniques like rhetorical questions, inclusive language and the appeal to family values are regurgitated by thousands of students every year come exam season. As you’d imagine, examiners get tired of hearing the same ol’ thing essay after essay. 

So, I challenge you to surprise them! And today’s video will help you do just that. 

The TEE rule is a very popular technique that we describe in our top-rated eBook, How To Write A Killer Language Analysis . And for a good reason, too! It guides your analysis to ensure that you’re talking about techniques, how they affect readers and using evidence to back yourself up. If you’ve never heard of the TEE rule, no worries at all! Check out our HTWAKLA eBook for an in-depth look into how the technique can help you get to that A+ level.

Today’s video is all about analysing the structure of Language Analysis articles so you can WOW examiners and score in that upper level. 

Now, what does this exactly mean and, more importantly, look like?

When it comes to pieces of writing, when we talk about structure, we’re talking about how the information is organised. 

essay comparing 2 articles

What does the writer talk about first? What do they talk about last? How long are the paragraphs? How many paragraphs are there? While these questions might seem a little pointless to some, they can actually inspire some pretty unique and spot-on analysis in VCE Language Analysis.

OK Lisa, I get it, but how can I do this in my essays? Great question. 

Let’s have a look at some examples of this, courtesy of one of LSG’s amazing tutors, Andrea. She’s written up an incredible blog all about these advanced techniques, and it includes much more than what we have time to talk about today. So, as always, I’ll leave the link to her blog in the description and in the card up above – I highly recommend that after watching this video, you head on over and check it out. ‍

Analysing recurring themes and ideas in VCE Language Analysis

Analysing recurring ideas and themes throughout a piece is a fantastic way to show the examiner that you’ve understood the piece as a whole and that you can step back and notice similarities between smaller sections. 

Let’s take a closer look at Section C of the 2014 VCAA English exam . The author emphasises the theme of Kolumbus-21 and its significance on space travel , which is an example of a recurring idea of theme.

Paragraph 1: ‘Space exploration has been on my mind this week after visiting an exhibition presented by an international group known as Kolombus-21.’ 

Paragraph 9: ‘Kolombus-21 talks a lot about international cooperation. This hasn’t always been a feature of space exploration, but now that we have an international space station supported by 15 nations, the era of collaboration seems to be well established.’

Paragraph 11: ‘Perhaps with big dreamers like Kolumbus-21 behind it, it might even turn out that way.’

We can use an array of vocabulary to describe exactly how ideas and themes recur throughout a piece. For example, if something is mentioned repeatedly throughout a piece, we could call it a c yclical, recurring or circular idea. If an idea is built chronologically , piece by piece, we could call it hierarchical, chronological, sequential or even linear .  

In this example, notice how from the beginning to the end of the piece, the author mentions the connection between Kolombus-21 , space exploration and international cooperatio n several times. Let’s see what we get...

By returning to the original theme of Kolumbus-21 as a key driver of support for space travel, which indicates the cyclical structure of her opinion piece, Yergon links space travel with international cooperation.

It’s also a good idea to reiterate the overall structure of the piece in the conclusion, as it allows you to link the structure with the author’s contention.

Analysing the ordering of the contention, arguments and rebuttals in VCE Language Analysis

Certain elements of the article can have a different effect on the reader depending on where the author places them. When we’re talking about desired effects on readers, we want to assume that the writer has done everything a certain way for a reason , so when the rebuttal is placed first, for example, we can look into this further for possible explanations.

  • When the rebuttal is placed first , it can set up the audience to more readily accept the writer’s following opinions, as opposing viewpoints have already been criticised early o n.
  • You can see this in the 2013 VCAA exam, where the author argues against opposing views early on in their article. In it, the author references the opposition directly as they say ‘some people who objected to the proposed garden seem to think that the idea comes from a radical group of environmentalists’, and rebut this point by proposing that ‘there’s nothing extreme about us’.
  • Or, if the rebuttal is placed towards the end of the article , it could serve to cement that the writer’s viewpoint is correct by explaining why opposing viewpoints are wrong . Also, it can give a sense of finality to the piece – assuring the audience that all bases have been covered by the writer.
  •  What if there’s no rebuttal ? Well, this could imply that the author’s opinion, and theirs alone, is correct and to be supported.

Many students receive feedback from teachers to ‘avoid retelling the story’ along with red scribbles across their essay that state, ‘paragraph needs further development’ or ‘develop your contention further’. It’s a common issue across the VCE cohort and fixing it does take some time and practice. However, keep in mind that it is definitely possible, you just have to understand what exactly what ‘retelling the story’ means!

So, ‘retelling the story’ – it’s pretty much stated right there the phrase – it’s when you are re-describing or repeating the plot based on whichever text you’re writing on. The reason why it is so cringe-worthy is because: 1. you should assume that your teacher or examiner has already read the book before so they don’t need a summary of the events occurring in the text, and 2. you are wasting time by writing something probably a year 8 student could when instead, you should focus your time on providing a comprehensive analysis of the text when responding to your essay topic.

Here is an example of a student who ‘retells the story’ (using Reginald Rose’s  Twelve Angry Men  – “Twelve Angry Men explores the importance of moral responsibility. Discuss.”):

“The importance of moral responsibility is shown through those who fail to possess any sense of decency or righteousness. The 3rd juror has had an estranged relationship with his son for 2 years. He does not get along with his son since the son is disrespectful to his father. This is unlike the 3rd juror, who used to show respect to his elders by calling his father ‘sir’ going up. He is ashamed of his son since his son once ran away from a fight which made the 3rd juror ‘almost thr[o]w up’. As a result of his personal problems with his child, he sees the defendant as another young kid that needs punishment for his wrongdoings. He believes that ‘we’d be better off if we took these tough kids and slapped ’em down before they make trouble, you know?’. Since he is blinded by his own experience, he lacks the moral responsibility required to be a juror on the trial.”

As you can see, the student above has provided a lengthy explanation of the plot, rather than focusing on the keywords. ‘moral responsibility’, ‘decency’ and ‘righteousness’. The student could easily have cut down on the plot details and used the essential events in the play to act as the basis of his/her analysis. So what are the things you can do in order to provide an insightful passage without falling into the trap of this major English student faux pas? Let’s have a look.

Remember that an essay is based on your interpretation of the prompt – that is, whether or not you agree or disagree with the essay topic. Since you are putting forth a contention, it is important that you try to convince the reader of your own point of view. Unfortunately, this is not possible through merely summarising the plot. Try to break down themes, characters, views and values and language construction when elaborating on your contention. By using your own words to explain an idea, you can then successfully use the book as  support  for your reasoning.

Remember that  repeating  the plot is  not the same as  analysing  a plot. Some students rely heavily on quotes, but this in itself can become a repetition of what occurs in the novel. Never simply rely on quotes to tell the reader what you want to say; quotes are there again for support  and so, use quotes as a basis of interpreting your own opinions and views. Keep this in mind,  don’t tell me what I already know, tell me something I’d like to learn . This will force you to write about your own ideas, rather than repeating the author’s words. Concentrate on a specific section of a plot, or a small passage in the novel. Avoid talking about too much at once. If you are able to achieve this, it will prevent you from falling into the path of wanting to write about an overall event of the book, which is inevitably summarising the plot.If you believe that it is absolutely necessary to write about some of the plot in your essay body paragraphs, try to keep it to a minimum. Practice expressing the vital plot points in one phrase, rather than using 2 or 3 sentences to explain what occurs in the book.

Now let’s have a look at the example below. The discussion is based on the same topic sentence as that above however this time, the student has focused on developing their ideas into an insightful exploration:

“The importance of moral responsibility is shown through those who fail to possess any sense of decency or righteousness. The 3rd juror is shown to be someone who is arrogant and narrow-minded as a direct result of a troubled relationship with his own son. Although he is personally unacquainted with the defendant, he draws a parallel between the youngster with his own young son, stating that ‘we’d be better off if we took these tough kids and slapped ’em down before they make trouble, you know?’. It is ironic when he asserts that ‘everybody deserves a fair trial’ since he is the juror that adopts the most prejudice towards the case, thus demonstrating his failure to possess righteousness. His shortcomings are further highlighted through the stage directions whereby he ‘shouts’ and ‘leap(s) into the breach’, displaying his lack of interest in other jurors’ opinions as he is adamant that his view that the defendant is guilty is indeed, correct. Therefore, it is clear through his narrow-mindedness that he has little sense of moral responsibility.”

Updated on 11/12/2020

‍ Nine Days by Toni Jordan is currently studied in VCE English under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

  • Main Characters
  • Themes, Ideas and Values

Literary Devices

  • Essay Topics  

Essay Topic Breakdown

1. summary  .

Jordan’s novel traces the tumultuous lives of the Westaway family and their neighbours through four generations as they struggle through World War II (1939-45), the postwar period of the late 1940s and 50s, the 1990s and the early 2000s. Composed of nine chapters and subsequently nine unique perspectives of life, their family home in Rowena Parade, Richmond, becomes the focal point for Jordan’s exploration of femininity, masculinity, family and Australian society. ‍

2. Main Characters

Kip westaway.

'Mr. Husting always says first impressions count' (p. 5)

'Mr. Husting holds his other hand out flat and instead of an apple there’s a shilling.' (p. 6)

'I own the lanes, mostly. I know the web of them, every lane in Richmond.' (p. 21)

'When they put me in the grave, I know what it’ll say on the stone, if I get a stone, if they don’t bury me like a stray cat at the tip' (p. 29)

'I didn’t say goodbye to Dad! On account of a book' (p. 158)

'This photo won’t be out of my sight from now on. You’ve given me my sister back, Alec.' (p. 260)

Francis Westaway

'THE SHADOW CANNOT BE DEFEATED!' (p. 145)

'The toughest gang in Richmond! And they want me, Francis Westaway!' (p. 155)

'I see a purple jewel hanging on a gold chain. It’s a beaut, the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen…There’s no way I’m sharing this. It’s mine.' (p. 174)

'Do you understand how sensitive a reputation is? It’s up to me to be respectable. I’m the eldest. It’s my responsibility.' (p. 200)  

Connie Westaway

'Ma sitting with her dress lifted up to her face, Connie on her knees beside her, holding her arms, cooing soft like Ma is a baby.' (Kip, p. 35)

'We women do what’s expected. You [men] can do almost anything you care to think of.' (p. 280)

'It seems that all my life I’ve had nothing I’ve desired and I’ve given up having desire at all. Now I know what it feels like to want and I will give anything to have it' (p. 285)

'I thought we’d have more time than this. We’ve only just made it.' (p. 290)  

Jean Westaway

'Those moments, when [Kip] reminds me of Tom. I have to leave the room. The fury rises up my legs and up my body like a scream and it’s all I can do not to let it out.' (p. 212)

'We all die alone' (p. 212)

'This is not how I imagined it to be. Children. Mothering.' (p. 212)

'And for things like this, for girls like Connie and saving her future, there is a respectable woman who runs a business in Victoria Street' (pp. 221-222)

'I’d never of done it with boys but Connie, she was different.' (p. 239)

'we’re respectable people.' (p. 218)

Tom Westaway

‘Kipper’s old man…dropped off the tram in Swan Street somewhat worse for a whiskey or three and hit his head. Blam, splashed his brains all over the road. A sad end.’ (Pike, p. 24)

‘As a girl I had plenty of suitors, but none like Tom. Best behaviour in front of my father, children all brought up in the church by him.’ (p. 212)

Stanzi Westaway

‘The parcel is for Stanzi: inside is an old-fashioned coin, dull silver, with a king’s head on one side. It has a silver chain threaded through a hole in the middle. Stanzi looks like she’s about to cry.’ (Alec, p. 254)

‘She doesn’t mean to be hurtful. She is worries for me, that’s all…if she really thought I was in terrible trouble, she would be gentler.’ (Charlotte about Stanzi, p. 126)

‘the oblivious insouciance of the entitled’ (p. 51)

Charlotte Westaway

‘I say the question over and over: should I keep the baby?’ (p. 142)

‘The herbs are evidence of an understanding of our place in the universe…an acknowledgement of the delicate balance in our bodies…’ (p. 116)

‘There was only one place I could go: my sister’s’ (p. 124)

‘They contain all the hopes of the human spirit, all the refusal to quit, to keep believing people can feel better’ (p. 116)  

Alec Westaway

‘Yet here I am. Away from home in a world of strangers. Alone. Forgotten.’ (p. 241)

‘This waiting for my life to start, it’s driving me mental.’ (p. 244)

‘I don’t sketch. Instead I concentrate on the scene the scene in front of me so I can remember it later.’ (p. 251)

Libby Westaway

‘All the things I remember, everything about my life, our family, my childhood: it’s all real because Libby knows it too.’ (Alec, p. 273)

Jack Husting

‘I can see both sides.’ (p. 80)

‘Just let me kiss you, Connie. I’d die a happy man.’ (p. 284)

Ava and Sylvester Husting

‘If we have to send boys to fight…it’s layabout boys with no responsibilities, the Kip Westaways of the world, who ought to be going.’ (Ava, p. 102)

‘That shilling. Our little secret. Gentlemen’s honour.’ (Sylvester, p. 8)

Annabel Crouch

‘You’re a good girl, Annabel.’ (Mr. Crouch, p. 177)

‘I’d like to compliment their dresses, but I don’t know what to say.’ (p. 190)

‘He is killing himself, I know that. I won’t have him for much longer.’ (Annabel, p. 207)

‘No mother, no brothers. Working your youth away, looking after an old man.’ (p. 179)

‍ 3. Themes, Ideas and Values

‘Family house, family suburb, family man’ (Charlotte about Kip, p. 140)
‘Stuck here…looking after your old man. You should have a family of your own by now.’ (Mr. crouch to Annabel, pp. 178-179)

The theme of family is a recurring one that develops over time. Jordan’s inclusion of other families such as the Crouches, the Churches, the McCarthys and the Stewarts stands in contrast to the Westaways. The juxtaposition of family life in this way allows the reader to see how such factors like wealth, class and reputation can affect the family dynamic especially within the war period. The idea of family is strained by the pressures of war because with many families' sons and husbands away it left the other family members to adopt other roles - not only physically, but the conventional emotional roles of traditional families of the time are redistributed, specifically within the Westaway household. Jordan postulates that the role family plays in providing emotional/physical support is of far greater importance than the necessity to abide by society's idea of what family should look like.  

Women and Reproductive Rights

‘I tell her about shame and the way it’s always the women who wear it. I spare her nothing. I say loose women and no morals and I say bastard and I say slut.’ (Jean, p. 220)
‘You don’t have to have it, you know.’ (Stanzi, p. 132)
‘Your body, your choice…That’s what our feminist foremothers fought for’ (p. 134)
‘What if he wanted to know his child, doesn’t he have the right?’ (pp. 133-134)

Jordan highlights the controversial issues of premarital sex, abortion and the rights of women within the mid 20th and early 21st century. Indeed, it is this theme of women that becomes inextricably linked with the effect of a damaged reputation. When Connie falls pregnant, Jean implores that she has an abortion, in secret of course, in order to preserve her and her family’s reputation within the small community. The issue of abortion is later revisited when Charlotte becomes pregnant in the 1990s, where the contrast between the time periods becomes evident; while unplanned pregnancy is greatly stigmatised in the 1940s, the 1990s offers Charlotte a far wider array of options. It is through Jordan’s depiction of the two cases – Connie’s horrific backyard abortion, and Charlotte’s adjustment to parenthood – that she suggests the perceptions and attitudes towards morality, reputation and women have shifted over time, emphasising the importance of reproductive rights in the development of women.

Masculinity

‘I remember coming home from school once, crying. I would have been around six or seven. I was picked last for some team. That was me, the kid without a father.’ (Alec, p. 262)
‘”Westaway,” Cooper says. “Get in. For once in your life, do not be a pussy.”’ (p. 267)

Within the parameters of her text, Jordan articulates how men conform or reject masculine tropes in an effort to fit into society. Toughness, bulling and unsavory activity are presented as the characteristics of a man through such depictions of Mac and his gang. In its connection to the war period, the novel partly focuses on the notion that in order to be classified as a man he must first go through struggle and hardship as presented in the group of strangers taunting Jack, ultimately bullying him into certain ideals of masculinity which prove toxic and consequential - Jack dies as a result. It is Jordan who advocates for a balanced personality of both ‘masculine’ and 'feminine’ characteristics as suggested in the character development of Kip; evolving, learning and devising a true meaning of what it means to be a man outside of its conventional brutality.

Attitudes Towards Asia

‘She is with a customer or sweeping the floor with a broom made from free-range straw that died of natural causes or singing Kumbaya to the wheatgrass so it is karmically aligned.’ (Stanzi, p. 50)
‘The fear of the Nips coming made him a better man.’ (Annabel, p. 178)
‘always wanted to go to India [to study yoga] at a proper ashram.’ (pp. 132-133)
‘She makes her eyes go big and round like some manga puppy’ (p. 264)

Through both overt and subtle language, Jordan makes reference to the attitudes towards Asia which were prevalent at the time, specifically within the war period that saw many Australians ‘[fearing] the nip’. The derogative slang used for the Japanese represents a lack of understanding and fear (the bombing of Darwin and attack on Sydney left many feeling particularly vulnerable to the Japanese). Exacerbated by the fact that Japanese culture was not widely understood and was often misrepresented, the Japanese were stereotyped as brutal and inhuman. Over the course of the novel, attitudes towards Asia dramatically shift especially within the early 1990s of Stanzi and Charlotte's generation. The philosophical ideas of the east are often referenced by characters like Charlotte as she draws on them to make sense of her own complex life. The novel sees another shift in ideology represented through Alec as his generation's perception turns to a more commercial view. Asian culture has earned a place in mainstream media and western life without such gruesome and violent connotations as were previously held during the time of World War II.

By the way, to download a PDF version of this blog for printing or offline use, click here !

4. Literary Devices

  • Throughout her perspective driven text, Jordan makes many references to classic novels which help create a literary context for the narrative and lend themselves to the evolution of the characters throughout the course of the text.
  • Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers – Kip’s characteristic trait of heroism when he sees the gang waiting for him and says ‘on-bloody-guard, d’Artagnan’ (p. 22)
  • Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn – both coming-of-age stories about young men struggling within a tough world, only getting by on their wits and strength.
  • Brontë sisters' Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights – their reference is used in discerning a customer’s knowledge on the texts, but reveals only a surface level understanding due to the novels carrying a certain cultural value.
  • Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels – referenced by Jack Husting in relation to his adventures in the country. Its use pertains to how Jack feels out of place in his home town after leaving a boy and returning a grown man.
  • A historical novel that plays with ideas of placing invented characters into a reconstructed world of the past.
  • Uses elements of both realism and impressionism to create the text.

Realist Elements:

  • A strong focus on everyday life within a particular society with reference to real historical detail.
  • Incorporates a logical and strong foundation of context that can be easily digested and believed by the reader.
  • Can use an omniscient narrator (all-knowing).

Impressionist Elements:

  • Each chapter offers detail and presents a vivid interpretation of specific events.
  • Sensory experiences are emphasised by the use of descriptive and poetic language.
  • The linear flow of the narrative is disrupted by its construction in a non-chronological order, thereby forcing the reader to piece the whole narrative together at the end.
  • Varied depending on the character’s perspective and time of perspective.
  • Language is used to historicise each chapter through use of slang, colloquialisms, formal and proper English.
  • The novel revolves around the Westaway’s family home in Rowena Parade, Richmond over the course of four generations.
  • Rather than them move or the location change it evolves, paralleling the growth and evolution undergone by each of the Westaway family members.
  • Inspired by a photograph in the collection of Argus war photos held at the State Library of Victoria, Jordan uses this image capturing a private and intimate moment to establish the premise for each of the book's chapters.
  • Titled Nine Days and composed of nine unique perspectives on life at a given time, Jordan offers insight into the emotional livelihood of each narrator and attaches both intimate and historical significance to their stories. ‍

5. Essay Topics

  • Toni Jordan’s Nine Days describes a world in which life in the 1930s and 40s was much harder than life in the 21st century. Do you agree?
  • In Nine Days , older Kip’s point of view is very unrealistic. To what extent do you agree?
  • Toni Jordan’s Nine Days shows us people can choose whether they end up happy or not. Discuss.
  • The mood by the end of Nine Days is ultimately uplifting and positive. Do you agree?
  • There is more tragedy in Nine Days than there is joy. To what extent do you agree? ‍
  • Nine Days , by Toni Jordan, shows the best and worst of Australian culture. Discuss
  • Jordan suggests that appreciation of family is integral to personal happiness. Discuss.
  • 'Your body, your choice.' What do the different experiences of Connie and Charlotte reveal about changing societal attitudes towards women?
  • There are many characters who are largely hidden figures within the text. What significance is produced by including and excluding different perspectives?

6. Essay Topic Breakdown

Whenever you get a new essay topic, you can use LSG’s THINK and EXECUTE strategy - a technique to help you write better VCE essays. This essay topic breakdown will focus on the THINK part of the strategy. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy, then check it out in How To Write A Killer Text Response because it’ll dramatically enhance how much you can take away from the following essays and more importantly, your ability to apply this strategy in your own writing.

‍ Within the THINK strategy, we have 3 steps, or ABC. These ABC components are: Step 1: A nalyse Step 2: B rainstorm Step 3: C reate a Plan

‍ THINK How-based prompt: How does Nine Days explore the relationship between the past and the present ?

Step 1: Analyse

This is a ‘how’ essay prompt, so in our planning, we need to identify the ways in which the author accomplishes their task. When analysing your question it is important to know what the question is asking of you, so make sure you highlight the keywords and understand their meaning by themselves and in the context of the question. For example, this question is not just asking about the past and present, but rather the connection between the two - so if you discussed the past and the present separately you wouldn’t be answering the question.

Step 2: Brainstorm

Brainstorming is different for everyone, but what works for me is focusing on the key idea, which here would be the relationship between the past and the present, and listing my thoughts out. Not all the ideas will be as equally relevant/good, but I like to have things written down to then improve or simply not use in favour of other ideas.

Past → Present: Westaway family home, the house changes as the family grows Past → Present: Connie’s tragic abortion compared to Charlotte’s options in the 1990s, women’s rights evolving over time Past → Present: Melbourne becoming more multicultural, Alec’s chapter reveals how Melbourne has changed compared to chapters set in earlier times Past → Present: Kip teaching Alec to cherish those in front of us after seeing Connie’s picture Past → Present: Second World War contrast to 9/11 and war in Afghanistan

Now that I have all my ideas listed out I choose my strongest three to flesh out. There are different things that make an idea strong, but the things I consider are: - Do I have enough evidence to support this idea? - Is the idea substantial enough to turn into a whole paragraph? - Do I have an author’s views and values statement? - Can I include context or metalanguage into this idea?

Using the questions above, I decided to use the following ideas: - Westaway family home, the house changes as the family grows (symbolism) - Kip teaching Alec to cherish those in front of them (focus on characterisation) - Melbourne becoming more multicultural (can talk about historical context)

Step 3: Create a Plan

Contention: Through the use of setting and characterisation, Jordan’s Nine Days reveals how the past and present are interconnected. P1: Westaway home embodying the familial connection P2: The past is not completely separate from the present, it teaches us lessons that are pertinent to contemporary life (Alec) P3: Melbourne becoming more multicultural

If you found this helpful, then you might want to check out our A Killer Text Guide: Nine Days ebook which has an A+ sample essay in response to this prompt, complete with annotations on HOW and WHY the essay achieved A+! The study guide also includes 4 more essay topic breakdowns and sample A+ essays, detailed analysis AND a comprehensive explanation of LSG’s unique BBT strategy to elevate your writing!

Download a PDF version of this blog for printing or offline use

2. Themes/Motifs

4. Character Analysis

5. Quote Analysis

6. Sample Essay Topics

7. A+ Essay Topic Breakdown

Much Ado About Nothing is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s classic comedies, and is in fact the most performed of his plays – even more than Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet . While it was also popular in Shakespeare’s time, its themes are still very contemporary. Much Ado About Nothing is a story of mixed-up love, lies and deceit, themes that are still prevalent in current hit movies like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before , or 10 Things I Hate About You . The banter between Beatrice and Benedick is amusing and ridiculous, and the ensuing drama between Hero and Claudio is probably not far off the modern drama in the relationships of your friends.

Much Ado About Nothing explores themes of love, the ways that we can be opposed to love and relationships, the position of women and necessity of marriage, and the ways we can deceive each other and ourselves. If you’ve ever felt attracted to someone who really pushed your buttons, felt a spark with someone the first time you saw them, experienced your friends’ relationship drama, said you’d never have a relationship because study is too important, or even maybe tried to play matchmaker for two people, this play is for you! Love is a beautiful and yet frustratingly unavoidable part of life, and Shakespeare shows us the many ways in which people can react to this and manipulate this for their own desires. This play uses comedy to reassure us that mistakes and misunderstandings in love are an innate part of humanity, as we struggle to communicate how we feel towards another person. Further, it is a play about how we stage these relationships to one another and questions whether true love needs an audience at all. As you’ll see, it’s very much a play about appearance and reality, and deception and truth – these are the kinds of questions that humanity will always face when dealing with love.

Themes / Motifs

Marriage and its effects on freedom.

Marriage acts as the primary source of the drama that unfolds in the play, and the main factor that drives its romantic plot forward. Much Ado About Nothing explores the paramount importance the Elizabethan society placed upon the notion of marriage, and the threat this often placed upon the free will of many individuals. This is primarily perceivable in the characters of Benedick, who compares the married man to a tame and lifeless animal, and Beatrice, who disparages the idea of saccharin romance and thus ‘mocks all her wooers out of suit’.

Chastity and Family Honour

‍ Much Ado About Nothing also examines the social concept that a woman should act gracefully and stay ‘chaste' until marriage in order to bring honour to her family. Claudio’s public rejection and public humiliation of Hero during their wedding ceremony acts as the climax of the plot and a direct representation of the societal values in the Elizabethan era. Shakespeare assumes an arguably feminist stance in his implied denouncement of this despotic treatment of women, who were expected to lose all social standing if they happened to lose their virginity before marriage. The extent of this cruelty is emphasised by the harsh, obliterative words of Leonato, as in his belief that Hero is unchaste, he proclaims his own daughter as ‘stained’ and ‘fallen into a pit of ink’, having brought dishonour upon his entire family.

Much of the play’s plot is driven by both accidental and deliberate deception, of which almost every character is a victim. False language in Much Ado About Nothing is so prevalent that it obliterates the truth and forms an alternate kind of society, in which characters assume the very roles chosen for them by the lies spread about them by others. For example, the rumours that Benedick and Beatrice are in love lead to their marriage, and Hero is treated as a whore by her own father due to Claudio’s denunciation of her as ‘every man’s Hero’. Despite this, Shakespeare examines both the positive and detrimental effects of such deceit; just as the duping of Claudio and Don Pedro culminates in Hero’s social demise, her faked death also allows her to reconcile with Claudio and attain her public redemption. 

Perception and Reality

The defining characteristic of Much Ado About Nothing is that nothing of material actually happens in the plot, other than marriage. There are no real fights, deaths, trials, illnesses or sexual encounters - the only perceivable change in the play is the perception of various events and characters, such as whether Hero is a virgin, or whether Claudio and Benedick will fight - hence its name, ‘ Much Ado About Nothing’.

Used to represent the idea of perception in the play, eyes are often utilised by Shakespeare when characters’ perceptions are distorted by the deceptive actions of others. Much like Claudio’s rhetorical question, ‘Are our eyes our own?’, the play questions the extent to which others affect an individual’s way of thought. 

Beards act as a complex emblem of masculinity in Much Ado About Nothing. Benedick’s autonomous bachelorhood is symbolised by his full, rugged beard, whereas Claudio’s clean, shaven face is a token of his ‘softness’ and emotional vulnerability. In tandem with this, Beatrice’s aversion to beards represents her scorn for men in general. It is important to note that the action of shaving one’s beard is a symbol that accompanies the act of getting married - Benedick’s first action as a married man is to shave his beard, and by doing such, allowing himself to be as vulnerable with Beatrice as ‘Lord Lack-beard’ Claudio is with Hero.

The Savage Bull

Don Pedro’s taunting of Benedick that “In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke,” symbolises the act of a free-willed man succumbing to the attractive comfort of marriage. The notion that marriage can be a kind of prison to men is repeatedly alluded to in the play through the symbol of the ‘savage bull’; just as the bull is tamed by humans’ training, the free bachelor is tamed by responsibility when he is married. However, the image of marriage shifts in the play along with a transformed imagery of the bull, as Claudio assures Benedick that his horns will be ‘tipped with gold’ and love through his marriage. This suggests that while it may seem like an intimidating and suffocating prospect, marriage can also provide infinite warmth and comfort to those who embrace it. 

Character Analysis

  • Niece of Leonato and cousin of Hero.
  • Although kind to her loved ones and described as ‘pleasant-spirited’, she is extremely witty and cynical, particularly towards Benedick, whom she once loved but now engages in constant bickering with.
  • Shakespeare’s symbol of early feminism, as she is a character of justice and female autonomy, vowing at the beginning of the play that she will never marry a man in order to keep her freedom.
  • A lord, recently returned from fighting in the wars.
  • Just like Beatrice, he also vows that he will never marry and stay a liberal bachelor.
  • Although he often retorts Beatrice’s snide remarks and sarcastic wit with insulting retort, his observant friends perceive an underlying affection for her beneath his facade of apathy. 
  • The main character through which Shakespeare explores the theme of deception and performance; as a natural entertainer, it is difficult for the audience to comprehend whether he is merely pretending to be in love with Beatrice, or genuinely in love with her. 
  • The beautiful, gentle and graceful daughter of Leonato.
  • The quintessential and ideal woman of the Elizabethan era, as she is obedient to her father and cherished for her perceived pureness and chastity. 
  • A young, handsome and widely appraised soldier who has attained great public acclaim through his noble fighting under Don Pedro’s command. 
  • Falls in love with Hero immediately upon his return to Messina.
  • Although depicted as the ideal male Elizabethan hero, his suspicious and doubtful nature results in his downfall, as he is quick to fall for deliberate lies and wicked rumours, even about those closest to him.
  • Sometimes referred to as ‘the Prince’, Don Pedro is an established nobleman from Aragon and longtime friend of Leonato.
  • A character with two faces; although socially adept and courteous in his public actions, he is, like Claudio, quick to fall for rumours and takes hasty revenge on those who fail his expectations. Through this characteristic of Don Pedro, Shakespeare condemns the hypocrisy of societal expectations, presenting the idea that propriety can often cover devious intent. 
  • Also referred to as ‘the Bastard’, Don John is the illegitimate brother of Don Pedro. 
  • Perpetually melancholy and dispirited due to his social standing as an outcast, he devises a treacherous plan to ruin the happy courtship between Hero and Claudio. 
  • Despite Shakespeare’s depiction of Don John as the villain of the play, many of his characteristics suggest  rather that he is merely an individual driven to commit evil deeds due to his inherent inferiority to his brother, and constant rejection by a prejudiced society. 

Quote analysis

“He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him.”
  • This quote by Beatrice represents her aversion to the idea of marriage and her belief that no man will ever be able to satisfy her. 
  • As it was widely believed that the beard of a man symbolised his manliness and maturity, this conundrum suggests that Beatrice believes that no man, whether a man without a beard or a boy with one, will be able to win her love or admiration. 
“The savage bull may, but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull’s horns and set them in my forehead, and let me be vilely painted, and in such great letters as they write ‘Here is good horse to hire’ let them signify under my sign ‘Here you may see Benedick, the married man.”
  • This quote is Benedick’s mocking, sarcastic reply to Don Pedro’s adage about how all men, even the wildest of them,  eventually settle down to become married. 
  • The ‘sensible Benedick’ here refers to a Benedick who is too clever and pragmatic to yield to the fleeting attractions of true love, as he knows that he will be disappointed by it soon enough. His imaginative scene of himself with ‘bull’s horns’ on his head symbolise the Renaissance belief that cuckolds, or men whose wives committed adultery, grew horns on their heads due to their futility. Thus, Benedick here is implying that part of his disinclination towards marriage stems from his fear that his wife will be unfaithful to him. 
“But now I am returned and that war thoughts have left their places vacant, in their rooms come thronging soft and delicate desires, all prompting me how fair young Hero is, saying I liked her ere I went to wars.”
  • Claudio here describes his swift transformation from a war hero to a passionate lover of Hero. The change that occurred in Claudio is so rapid that it is more of a passive event that occurred to him, rather than something that he chose of his own volition. 
  • As such, Shakespeare uses this quote to emphasise his volatile character and foreshadow the swiftness with which Claudio later disowns his feelings for Hero and humiliates her.

Sample Essay Topics

Quote-based essay prompt.

1. "I am a plain dealing villain." Don John is the only honest character. Discuss

How-Based Essay Prompt

2. How does Shakespeare use music and poetry to convey love and the intricacies of communication?

Metalanguage-Based Essay Prompt

3. Discuss Shakespeare's use of symbols throughout the play and how they relate to the concepts of appearance and reality.

Note: You’ll notice that each essay (or prompt, as we like to use interchangeably), has been labelled a particular type of prompt (theme-based, character-based, etc.). While we won’t go into detail with the types of prompts in this blog, in LSG’s How To Write A Killer Text Response , we explore the five different types of essay prompts. By identifying the type of essay prompt, you’ll immediately understand how you should answer the essay prompt so that you satisfy the VCAA criteria for your SACs and exams. This approach to essays is incredibly valuable as it saves you precious time during assessments, while ensuring you don’t go off topic.

Essay Topic Breakdowns

Character-based essay prompt  .

Much Ado About Nothing is primarily Shakespeare’s strong argument for feminism and female autonomy.

1. Shakespeare in Much Ado About Nothing utilises the character of Beatrice as the quintessential strong female hero, and thus encourages female autonomy. 

  • Beatrice’ strong, independent spirit and fierce wit defines her as the most powerful female character in the play. Her desire to remain a ‘maid’, uncommon in the times as every woman was expected to aspire to marriage, is a striking emblem of feminism, as her self-governance and liberated spirit is depicted.
  • Beatrice is also perceivably masculine - she even expresses her desire to have been born a man in her patriarchal society, stating, ’I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.’ As such, Shakespeare advocates that society should accept a more diverse range of women, including those with more masculine characteristics. 

2. In tandem with this, the character of Hero is employed as an instrument through which Shakespeare condemns the harsh societal expectations of women. 

  • The public humiliation of Hero as ‘unchaste’, or sexually loose, results in her rejection both from society and her own family, including her previously doting father, Leonato. 
  • As such, Hero’s devastating plight reminds the audience that being a woman in the Renaissance meant that one was constantly vulnerable to inferior treatment compared to men, and their harsh judgments - even from male relatives or close ones.

3. Ultimately, the repeatedly negative connotations of marriage expressed by female characters highlights the lack of autonomy women possessed in the Shakespearean era.

  • Beatrice’s extreme aversion to marriage, as she ‘cannot endure to hear tell of a husband’, suggests that it was not all women’s choice to marry but rather a heavy societal burden placed over their heads.
  • Hero is perceived to have almost no agency or self-determination when choosing a life partner, perceivable by Leonato’s reminder to her, 'Daughter, remember what I told you. If the Prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.’ As Hero expresses that her heart is ‘exceedingly heavy’ on her wedding day, the audience is positioned to question the extent of power that fathers held over their daughter’s fates in the Elizabethan era.

Theme-based essay prompt

In Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare argues that deception always results in negative consequences. 

1. Deception is portrayed as a negative tool in Much Ado About Nothing , as trickery leads to tragic events, as Don John’s lies directly results in Hero’s social demise and the destruction of her relationship with Claudio. 

  • Don John’s deceitful words to Claudio before their wedding, “I came hither to tell you, and, circumstances shortened—for[Hero] has been too long a-talking of—the lady is disloyal,” lead to Claudio’s public humiliation of Hero as every man’s Hero’ - an unfaithful woman.
  • The catastrophic outcome of this highlights the negative power of deception and the danger of being swayed by mere hearsay, as Hero is not only scorned by all of society, but also disowned by her own father, who wishes death upon himself and his ‘stained’ daughter.

2. Despite this, deception is not always detrimental in Much Ado About Nothing , in which deliberate trickery leads to the resolution of the main romantic conflict between Beatrice and Benedick. 

  • The act of deceiving Benedick and Beatrice that the other is in love with them eventually leads to their marriage - the resolution of the main conflict of the play. 
  • Although Benedick is firmly against the idea of being contained by marriage in the beginning of the play, he becomes a passionate lover as soon as he hears the false words, “Did you know Beatrice is madly in love with Benedick?”, declaring that he ‘will be horribly in love with her’ thenceforth. 
  • Similarly, Beatrice is also positively influenced by deceptive words, as the audience can discern her transformation from a ‘flighty maid’ to a woman full of genuine affection of Benedick - perceivable by the end of the play, in which she delivers the lines, ‘Benedick, love on, I will requite thee, taming my wild heart to thy loving hand,’ as if releasing the very last fragment of her stubborn heart to him. 

3.  In a similar vein, Hero’s staged and thus deceptive death results in her social and familial redemption, as well as the saving of her marriage with Claudio. 

  • In order to punish Claudio for his mistakes, Leonato’s household publicly ‘publishes’ that Hero has died. 
  • The idea of Hero’s death brings so much guilt to Claudio that he begins to remember all of her benevolent qualities in a fit of misery, delivering the lines, ‘Sweet Hero, now thy image doth appear / In the rare semblance that I loved it first.’ 
  • Leonato asks Claudio to marry his niece (Hero in disguise) instead of the ‘dead’ Hero, and as Claudio tearfully agrees, the redemptive masquerade through which Hero and Claudio reconcile symbolises the positive factors of deception. 

Now it's your turn! Give these essay topics a go. If you're you’d like to read completed A+ essays based off the two essay topics above, as well as the ones listed below,  complete with annotations on HOW and WHY the essays achieved A+ so you can emulate this same success, then I would highly recommend checking out LSG's Killer Text Guide: Much Ado About Nothing . In it, we also cover themes, characters, views and values, metalanguage and have 4 other sample A+ essays completely annotated so you can smash your next SAC or exam! Check it out here.

‍ Extra Resources

The Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response

How To Write A Killer Text Response Study Guide

How to embed quotes in your essay like a boss

How to turn your Text Response essays from average to A+

5 Tips for a mic drop worthy essay conclusion

Introduction

Choosing an Oral Presentation topic can be tough. Finding an idea that’s unique, relevant and interesting all at once can sometimes feel impossible; but don’t worry, this is where we come in! Below is a list of 12 potential Oral Presentation topics for you to draw inspiration from, selected in reference to the VCE assessment criteria .

Remember, this blog is not a resource to give you a finished speech idea , these are just jumping-off points. Plagiarism is very harshly punished in VCE and many other students will currently be reading this very same post, meaning it's up to YOU to figure out how you’ll form a unique angle if you pick one of these topics. To help you do this, each section provides an overview of the cultural events that make this topic relevant. Additionally, possible contentions are included, ensuring you can see how arguments about these topics can be effectively made. 

1. Kanye’s blow-up - The necessity of the media to stop platforming celebrities spreading harmful ideas

American rapper Kanye West has always been a controversial figure, but since his endorsement of Trump in 2016 he’s seemingly been on a particularly bad downward spiral. His descent into increasingly more extremist right-wing politics has led to the question of whether the news media, detached and neutral as they might claim to be, should even be reporting on him. 

As of writing (late 2022), Kanye’s recent appearances on far-right talk shows to voice support for Hitler and question the existence of the Holocaust (which has no doubt been topped by something equally controversial by the time this gets published) pushes this question right to its limit. 

Events like this are undoubtedly big stories that many people would like to know about, but does reporting on them do more harm than good? Do we realistically all have the self-control to ignore these figures when so much of modern news already revolves around controversy and gossip? Possible Contentions:

  • Major media companies should reach an agreement to actively avoid covering celebrity behaviour that spreads dangerous ideas. 
  • News media should make an extra effort to disprove the dangerous ideologies of those they cover, rather than presenting them in a ‘neutral way’.

2. Amber Heard - How online discourse can villainise marginalised groups and encourage ‘dogpiling’

A similar celebrity controversy that dominated 2022 headlines was the two-way public defamation lawsuit between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, which involved accusations of abuse on both sides. One of the most notable parts of this case was the online depiction of Heard, on social media platforms such as Facebook and Youtube. 

Heard emerged as the internet’s new favourite punching bag, with an endless stream of videos and memes where her ‘ allegations of domestic violence and sexual assault were mocked for entertainment ’. Crucially, these were made to criticise her in a way that most clearly mirrored historical sexist stereotypes about emotionally manipulative women. You probably came across examples of these yourself, as platforms like Youtube have a history of directing users to this kind of content. 

As such, key issues were identified in terms of how social media warps online discussions of allegations of abuse. Additionally, like the last topic, the very fact that this legal dispute was publicly broadcast raises questions as to whether the media’s focus on this event may have worsened the issue. 

Possible Contentions:

  • Personal legal proceedings between celebrities are not something that should be broadcast to the public.
  • The online discussion regarding this trial demonstrates the need for increased regulation of hateful and abusive content on social media platforms.

3. Should Australia be made a republic in the wake of the Queen’s death?

The death of Queen Elizabeth II in September of 2022, among many other things, drew Australia back into a debate it's been having for decades; should we become a republic? This would be a shift from our current state of (effectively) being overseen by the United Kingdom as a ‘constitutional parliamentary monarchy’, with the ‘head of state’ now being an Australian citizen rather than the UK monarch. 

Although the replacement of the Queen with the new head of state (King Charles III) shouldn’t really shift people’s perspective on this issue, it most likely will. Queen Elizabeth has been the welcoming and approachable symbol of the monarchy for many Australians. Her death could be the catalyst for a shift in public opinion, severing the connection that many citizens still had to the UK monarchy. 

This issue can be approached from many different angles, inducing discussion on HOW the process of Australia becoming a republic should occur (especially how the new head of state should be chosen), as well as stepping back and assessing the positives and negatives of making this shift.

  • Australia’s transition to a republic is a necessary step in helping honour the country’s Indigenous population and rejecting its colonial past
  • Australia’s transition to a republic, although often framed as an act of national unity, will actually worsen the cultural divides within our country. 
  • Although Australia should transition to a republic, the current rise of nationalist politics makes a public election of the new head of state extremely risky.

4. Are NFTs a positive advancement in contemporary technology? 

Whether or not you understand what it actually means, the phrase ‘NFTs’ has probably been inescapable on your social media feeds over the last year. Without getting too detailed, these ‘Non-Fungible Tokens’ are essentially investments into non-replicable representations of artwork , which will (supposedly) increase in value over time. 

Despite seemingly being an exciting new technology that could have given control back to artists through copyright ownership, NFTs have instead been heavily criticised for commercialising artwork by reducing it to a literal piece of digital currency. Further issues have arisen in terms of how this technology can easily be used to scam people through misrepresenting the value of individual NFTs, or NFT owners simply taking the money and running.

What do you think? All new technology seems shaky and uncertain at the start, and maybe we should recognise that the current negative impacts of NFTs must simply be overcome with time. How do we weigh the benefit this technology has for individual artists against its potential drawbacks?

  • For their many flaws, NFTs give the power back to creators and, therefore, need to be improved rather than roundly rejected. 
  • Despite preaching democratisation, NFTs and Bitcoin are both a part of a technological trend that will further increase wealth inequality.

5. How much can Western citizens really do to fight injustice via social media activism?

The effect of the COVID pandemic on developing countries, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and human rights abuses by the nation of Qatar - this year has seen an innumerable number of news stories that would make any reasonable person jump to their phones to see what they could do to help, like signing an online petition or sharing a public post to spread awareness.

However, as you probably know, these forms of social media 'slacktivism’ have historically drawn criticism for their ineffectiveness and self-serving nature. Increasingly though, this debate has become more complicated, moving away from the simplified dismissal of any social media activism that emerged around the turn of the century . Others have rightly pointed out that many influential contemporary social movements, that have had real-world impacts, did emerge from social media, such as the BLM and #MeToo movements. 

As such, there’s a lot of room for different arguments here regarding whether a critical perspective of ‘social media slacktivism’ has become outdated in a world that is increasingly unavoidably based on the internet.

Possible Contentions: 

  • Social media activism is unavoidably the way that young people are going to engage with political issues, and a rejection of it is naive and impractical. 
  • Political activism should distance itself from the online world if it wants to make real-world change that doesn’t fit neatly under existing power structures.

6. Is the overload of various media streaming service subscriptions sustainable?

‘Streaming fatigue’ has emerged as a 2023 talking point that may have seemed unthinkable just a few years ago. Remember when we just had Netflix offering us a new way of consuming film and TV that was both more convenient and cost-effective than ‘pay TV’ packages (which were often heavily inflated in price and packed with unwanted channels )?

However, as we move into 2023, many have argued that the current subscription landscape now mirrors the previous pay-TV model. Consumers once again find themselves having to pay for an increasingly large amount of services if they want to conveniently access their film and TV shows. Predictably, this has seen a re-emergence of video piracy . 

Does this mean that it's fundamentally impossible for us to access our media as conveniently as we’d like to, and the years of Netflix being the only streaming service that had all we wanted were never sustainable? Or maybe corporations are unfairly squeezing every dollar they can out of us, and piracy is a fair and just consumer response?  

  • Through offering convenience that is unparalleled by any other previous technology, streaming services are still worth the cost. 
  • Consumers should actively engage in digital piracy until media corporations create a more affordable streaming environment.

7. Is a post-COVID work-at-home model healthy for the next generation of workers?

Although 2020 and 2021 may be remembered as the ‘years of COVID’, 2022 onwards is perhaps when we will see which long-term impacts of the pandemic continue to stick around. Aside from the permanent placement of public hand sanitiser stations, working from home has emerged as one of the most prominent main-stays from our lockdown years. 

Is this something that we should embrace? A lot was said during the lockdown about the mental health effects of being deprived of human connection; is this something we should just forget about when it comes to work? As with many of these issues, the question arises as to whether this shift is an inevitable effect of technological advancement, which we can either accept or fruitlessly battle until it becomes the new normal. 

However, the fact that this ‘work from home’ dynamic only emerged due to a pandemic complicates this idea, making it possible that we may have accidentally all become accustomed to a new economic model of work that we would be better off without. 

Possible Contentions:  

  • We must actively push back against the ‘work from home’ model; if we don’t, we will suffer both mentally and financially into the future.  
  • Working from home is a win-win; it's more convenient and cost-effective for both employer and employee.

8. How can gentrified and aestheticised versions of social movements be avoided?

I wonder whether you saw the Indigenous name for Victoria’s capital city (Naarm) appear more frequently on your social media feeds this year, with people adding it to their Instagram bios or referring to it on TikTok? What started as a conscious choice to respectfully refer to the city by its original Indigenous name quickly became criticised as a trendy aesthetic for outwardly progressive white Victorians, with terms like ‘naarm-core’ becoming short-hand for a specific kind of trendy fashion that was ‘ devoid of any ties to First Nations people ’. 

‘Naarm-core’, therefore, stands as another example of a movement that may have started with admirable aims, but was drowned out by those who just wanted the social benefits of participating in progressive politics. Think of the recent similar debates about ‘rainbow capitalism’, with similar criticisms being made of brands that co-opt progressive concepts like LGBQTI+ identity purely for social (and financial) capital. The question naturally emerges as to how we can avoid this for future political movements. 

Or maybe you disagree with all these critiques? Political discussion moves so fast these days that it can feel like people are in such a rush to criticise things that they miss actual progress being made. After all, the use of the term ‘Naarm’ to refer to Melbourne was undeniably popularised on the back of this trend. 

‍ Possible Contentions: 

  • The criticism of political movements that deal with race being tokenised by white people can only be solved by allowing people of colour at the centre of these movements.
  • People are too cynical about social movements and trends; virality and popularity, despite ‘inauthentic intentions’, often do more good than harm. 

9. How can the highly polarised discussion concerning COVID vaccines become more productive?

Another thing you may have witnessed from living in a post-COVID world is an increase in how divided simple issues seem to make us. Ever tried to convince a relative or friend that, no, in fact, vaccines are not designed to implant us with microchips - seems impossible right? 

For many people, the pandemic was a tipping point into full-blown conspiracy communities, meaning people are increasingly able to exist within their own social-media realities that don’t need to be bound to scientific truth or objective fact. This all creates a division between those with different beliefs that is somehow wider than before, where we can’t even agree on simple statements of truth. 

The debate around what to do about this deals with questions of human psychology, social media (again), but also freedom of speech. Should spreading (potentially dangerous) false information that conflicts with scientific consensus be allowed on social media? Most importantly, how do we encourage actual communication between different sides?

Possible contentions:

  • Talking in person is the only way for people with vastly different beliefs to find common ground.
  • Those spreading dishonest and dangerous conspiracy theories about public health cannot be reasoned with, and need to be actively shut down wherever they appear.

10. With the infamous Oscar slap, what ‘consequences’ should comedians and satirists face for what they say?

Here’s a news story that you’re probably tired of hearing about! Actor Will Smith’s act of violence against Oscar host and comedian Chris Rock for a joke about his wife’s alopecia (hair loss) caused many different conversations to happen at once; about toxic masculinity, celebrity culture, violence as a spectacle. These are all totally valid angles for your Oral Presentation, but let’s focus on maybe the most common debate; did Chris Rock deserve this?  

Functioning as a comedian hosting an awards night, Rock’s job was to poke fun at everyone participating, and these sorts of roles have often involved controversial comments and jokes . Does this mean they have immunity from any consequences for their words though? What should these consequences look like? And, if we excuse smaller acts of violence, what does that normalise? 

The 2015 terrorist shooting of the staff of satirical French magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ for their depiction of the Islamic prophet may seem a world away from Will Smith’s slap, but some may argue that this is the logical end-point for a world that believes physical violence is the way to deal with jokes people don’t like. 

  • The idea of comedians actually being threatened by violence is overblown; the slap was an isolated incident.
  • Protecting the safety of those who make controversial jokes is paramount to maintaining freedom of speech.

11. With Optus and Telstra’s recent data breaches, is placing all our valuable personal information in virtual spaces sustainably safe? 

This year saw a record-level data breach from one of Australia’s leading telecommunications companies, Optus. The personal details of almost 10 million customers were given to the hackers. 

Then, two weeks later, a similar data breach happened at Telstra. Yes, this time, no customer information was leaked, but information on the company’s employees was again released. 

All of this may disturb the image we all have in our heads of online databases as relatively unbreachable, locked away behind thousands of firewalls somewhere in the cloud. In fact, much of modern society operates on this assumption. Maybe you’ve added your credit card details to your Chrome tab because it makes online purchases easier? This convenience comes with the implicit assumption that online personal info is pretty much always safe when protected by a big tech company, but these events arguably prove otherwise.  

Cyberattacks are ‘ increasing as a threat ’, yet danger for the sake of convenience is something that all of us deal with. Maybe you think there are degrees to this; should we draw a line at information that can cause us legitimate harm if given to a malicious party?  

  • Our society is already too technologically dependent to try and ‘go offline’ for the sake of data safety.
  • Valuables of any kind are always going to run the risk of being stolen, and digital piracy is no different.

12. What is the role of Western countries in resisting the unlawful Russian invasion of Ukraine?

As already mentioned, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was one of the biggest news stories of 2022. Putin’s unlawful decision to attack the country’s capital in February of 2022 has left more than 10,000 people dead and millions displaced from their homes. Virtually all world leaders condemned this act immediately. Yet, almost a year later, the war continues, and documented war crimes occur on Ukrainian soil.

Thinking larger than just social media, the question of what can actually be done to help by the countries who condemn this war has naturally emerged. Many nations have supported Ukraine financially, including the US giving nearly $20 billion . Some may argue that this is not nearly far enough, and that all world powers have a responsibility to wage direct war against Russia in support of Ukraine. Naturally though, many are strongly against Western intervention in this form, believing that countries like the US should not see themselves as all-knowing powers that can intervene in other nations based on their ideological beliefs. 

‍ Possible Contentions:

  • Any attempt to guilt individual citizens about their need to ‘do something about Ukraine’ is completely unfair; the responsibility for any meaningful action is entirely on the government.
  • The West, particularly the US, has a long history of militarily invading smaller nations for their own purposes; their condemnation of the Russians is hypocritical.

If you haven’t already done so, check out our Ultimate Guide to Oral Presentations for some general tips and tricks to get you started!

Written by Milo Burgner

We’ve explored historical context, themes, essay planning and essay topics over on our Like a House on Fire by Cate Kennedy blog post. If you need a quick refresher or you’re new to studying this text, I highly recommend checking it out!

[Video Transcript]

‘Liz sits there helpless’

• From the beginning of the short story we can see that Liz isn’t, or doesn’t feel in control of her situation. The step by step process where she needs to ‘put the key in the ignition and turn it. Fire up the car and drive away’ showcases how the smallest details of starting the car, something that should be so simple instead requires immense mental effort on her behalf.

‘And he’s in there, alone, where she’s left him’.

• Her guilt bubbles to the surface here because it’s as though she’s the villain here, and she’s to blame for leaving him alone.

‘Abandoned him to a roomful of rampaging strangers’

• What’s really interesting here is her description of the other children. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity for Daniel to befriend others and have a great time, she describes them as ‘rampaging strangers’, giving us a sense that Daniel is subject to an unfamiliar environment that is wild, frenzied, rioting.

“Guerilla warfare”, “Jungle gym”, "seasoned commanders”

• These "fighter” phrases reveal Liz’s anxious mindset, as she imagines a world where her son is almost in the wilderness, every man for himself, as though it’s the survival of the fittest - and which Liz so fearfully express, “not that there’s going to be anybody with enough time to notice that Daniel needs help”, is not an environment where Daniel belongs.

“She digs in her bag for her lipstick, her fingers searching for the small cylinder, and pulls out a crayon, then a battery, then a tampon, then a gluestick.”

• Her everyday objects are splashed with Daniel’s belongings - the crayon, the gluestick, and demonstrate how intertwined her life is now with her child. This foreshadows her return to her pre-baby life - that things will not be the same.

“The smell of the place, that’s what throws her, the scent of it all, adult perfumes, air breathed out by computers and printers and photocopiers.”

• Even her sense of smell betrays her being away from Daniel. There’s a sense of alienation, of nausea that shows readers like us that Liz doesn’t feel like she belongs. This is in contrast to later in the story when she is reunited with Daniel and is comforted by ‘inhaling[ing] the scent of him again’.

“Same computer, same shiny worn spot on the space bar…"

• The repetition of ’same’ actually heightens how much has actually changed for Liz. Her entire world is now Daniel, whereas everything in the office is as it used to be. Therefore, there’s this sense that the people’s lives in the office remain unchanged, highlighting again Liz’s alienation.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, they’re right, of course they are.”

• This sarcastic internal monologue reflects Liz’s current state of mind, where she’s experiencing a disconnect from her coworkers, and ’the land of the living’.

"Delete, she presses. Punching the key like a bird pecking. Delete, delete, delete.”

• We can feel Liz’s exasperation at this stage. The simile ‘like a bird pecking’ automates Liz’s actions in the workplace, as though she is doing it by switching to a ‘mechanical form’ of herself. The repetition of ‘delete, delete, delete’ gives us the sense that she’s frustratingly attempting to ‘delete’ her self-acknowledged, perhaps over-the-top anxiety surrounding Daniel, or trying to delete herself out of her situation. Whichever is unclear and left up to interpretation. Perhaps both ring true.

‘Returning to work after maternity leave’

• Liz’s narrative interspersed with new mum’s pamphlet. The juxtaposition of the pamphlet’s words ‘being a stay-at-home mum can begin to seem mundane and repetitive’ is contrasted with Liz’s love of motherhood - she is at odds with what society tells her she should be feeling.

‘[Daniel]’d have his thumb in his mouth right now. Not smiling, that’s for sure.’

• There’s a self-projection of anxiety here with Liz  assuming that the childcarers are unable to look after Daniel properly, and that he’s suffering.

‘God, these endless extended moments where you’re left in limbo, the time dangling like a suspended toy on a piece of elastic.’

• This simile highlights how her mindset is completely consumed with Daniel, as she likens her daily experiences with objects and things related to Daniel and childhood. She struggles to switch between her identity as a mother, and her previous identity as a colleague in the workplace.

‘Caroline, Julie and Stella had laughed dutifully enough, but their faces had shown a kind of pained disappointment, something faintly aggrieved.’

• Perhaps this is Cate Kennedy's commentary on society and motherhood. The expectations others have on you as a new mother, and how you should be feeling.

‘He doesn’t run over when he sees her’.

• The opening of this chapter is blunt and brutal. Liz has longed to see Daniel all day, her anxiety getting the best of her, and yet at the moment of their reunion, it’s not as she expects. In this sense, we can to feel that Liz is very much alone in her anxiety and despair and, not the other way around with Daniel.

’She’s fighting a terrible nausea, feeling the sweat in the small of her back.’

• Unlike other stories in this collection, her pain isn’t because the absence of love, but because of its strength. Her love for Daniel is so intense that it’s physiological, making her unwell to have been away from him.

• The symbol of cake represents her pre-baby life, a time when she was concerned with the ‘account of Henderson’s’ and ‘delete fourth Excel column’. Her priorities have now shifted, and the celebrated ‘cake’ tradition in the workplace, one that is at the centre of several conversations, is no longer to significance to Liz. Her husband, Andrew’s attempt to celebrate Liz’s first day back at work with cake is highly ironic. The societal expectation that Liz is happy to be back at work even extends to her husband, and heightens how Liz is very much alone in her experience.

If you found this close analysis helpful, then you might want to check out our Like a House on Fire Study Guide where we analyse EVERY story in the text and pinpoint key quotes and symbols!

Watch our YouTube Video on Like A House On Fire Essay Topic and Body Paragraphs Breakdown

Like a House on Fire by Cate Kennedy

Like a House on Fire Essay Topic Breakdown

How To Get An A+ On Your Like A House On Fire Essay

Close Analysis Of 'Cake' From Like A House On Fire

‍ This blog was updated on 05/10/2020.

2. Characters

5. Important Quotes

Pride and Prejudice is usually studied in the Australian curriculum under Area of Study 1 - Text Response. For a detailed guide on Text Response, check out our Ultimate Guide to VCE Text Response .

Jane Austen’s 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice , follows the titular character of Elizabeth Bennet as she and her family navigate love, loyalty and wealth.

When Mrs. Bennet hears that a wealthy, young and eligible bachelor, Mr. Bingley, has moved into the manor of Netherfield Park nearby, she hopes to see one of her daughters marry him. Of the five daughters born to Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia, Jane takes an early liking to Mr. Bingley despite his friend, Mr. Darcy, initial coldness and apathy towards her younger sister Elizabeth. Though Mr. Darcy’s distaste soon grows to attraction and love.

While Jane and Mr. Bingley begin to fall for each other, Elizabeth receives and declines a marriage proposal from her supercilious cousin Mr. Collins, who eventually comes to marry Elizabeth’s dear friend Charlotte. While Mr. Darcy is in residence at Netherfield Park, Elizabeth finds and enjoys the company of a young officer named Mr. Wickham who too has a strong disliking for Mr. Darcy. Mr. Wickham claims it was Mr. Darcy who cheated him out of his fortune, which then deepens Elizabeth's initial ill impression of the arrogant man.

After a ball is held at Netherfield Park, the wealthy family quits the estate, leaving Jane heartbroken. Jane is then invited to London by her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, which Mr. Darcy fails to tell Mr. Bingley as he has persuaded him not to court Jane because of her lesser status.

When Elizabeth visits her newly married friend Charlotte, she meets Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s (Mr. Darcy’s Aunt) other nephew, Colonel Fitzwilliam. While there, Mr. Darcy appears and proposes to Elizabeth unexpectedly claiming he loves and admires her. To Mr. Darcy’s surprise, Elizabeth refuses as she blames him for ruining Mr. Wickam’s hopes of success and for keeping Jane and Mr. Bingley apart. Mr. Darcy later apologies in a letter and admits to persuading Mr. Bingley not to pursue Jane, but argues that her love for him was not obvious. In the letter, he also denies Wickam’s accusations and explains that Wickham had intended to elope with his sister for her fortune.

Elizabeth joins her Aunt and Uncle in visiting Mr. Darcy’s great estate of Pemberley under the impression he would be absent. It is there that Elizabeth learns from the housekeeper that Mr. Darcy is a generous landlord. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy then have a chance encounter after he returns home ahead of schedule. Following her previous rejection of him, Mr. Darcy has attempted to reform his character and presents himself amiably to Elizabeth’s Aunt and Uncle as she begins to warm up to him.

Mr Darcy happens upon Elizabeth as she receives the terrible news that Lydia has run off with Wickam in an event that could ruin her family. Mr. Darcy then going out in search for Wickham and Lydia to hurry their nuptials. When Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy return to Netherfield Park, Elizabeth is pleased to see him though Darcy shows no sign of his regard for her. Jane and Mr. Bingley soon become engaged.

Soon thereafter, Lady Catherine visits the Bennets and insists that Elizabth never agree to marry her nephew. Darcy hears of Elizabeth's refusal, and when he next comes, he proposes a second time which she accepts, his pride then humbled and her prejudices overturned.

  • Elizabeth Bennet
  • Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy
  • Jane Bennet
  • Mr. Charles Bingley
  • Mrs. Bennet
  • George Wickham
  • Lydia Bennet
  • Mr. Collins
  • Miss Bingley
  • Lady Catherine De Bourgh
  • Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner
  • Charlotte Lucas
  • Georgiana Darcy
  • Mary Bennet
  • Catherine Bennet

Within the text the theme of pride is ever present as it plays a major role in how Austen’s characters present themselves, their attitudes and how they treat each other. For much of the novel pride blinds both Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth of their true feelings and hence becomes something both characters must overcome. While Darcy’s pride makes him look down upon those not immediately within his social circle, Elizabeth takes so much pride in her ability to judge the character of others that she refuses to amend her opinions even when her initial judgements are proven wrong. Indeed, this is why Elizabeth despises the benign Darcy early on in the text, but initially takes a liking to the mendacious Wickham. By the denouement of the novel, both Datcy and Elizabeth have overcome their pride by encouraging and supporting each others own personal evolution. Indeed, as Darcy sheds his elitism Elizabeth comes to realise the importance of revaluation.

The tendency of others to judge one another based on perceptions, rather than who they are and what they value becomes a point of prolific discussion within Pride and Prejudice . Indeed, the title of the text clearly implies the related nature of pride and prejudice as both Darcy and Elizabeth are often shown to make the wrong assumptions; Darcy’s assumptions grounded in his social prejudice whereas Elizabeth’s is rooted in her discernment led astray by her excessive pride. As Austen subtly mocks the two lovers biases, she gives the impression that while such flaws are common faulting someone else for the prejudice is easy while recognising it in yourself is hard. While Austen’s representation of prejudice is aligned with personal development and moral growth as she wittingly condemns those who refuse to set aside their prejudices like Lady Catherine and Caroline.

The family unit that Austen displays with Pride and Prejudice becomes the social and domestic sphere as it forms the emotional center of the novel in which she grounds her analysis and discussion. Not only does the family determine the social hierarchy and standing of its members but provides the intellectual and moral support for its children. In the case of the Bennet family, Austen reveals how the individuals identity and sense of self is molded within the family as she presents Jane and Elizabeth as mature, intelligent and witty and lydia as a luckless fool. Not only this, Austen reveals the emotional spectrum that lives within every family as shown through Elizabeth’s varying relationship with her parents; the tense relationship with her mother and sympathy she shares with her father.

At the center of its plot, Pride and Prejudice examines the complex inequality that governs the relationships between men and women and the limited options that women have in regards to marriage. Austen portrays a world in which the socio-economic relationship between security and love limits the woman and her choices as it based exclusively on a family’s social rank and connections. Indeed, the expectations of the Bennet sisters, as members of the upper class is to marry well instead of work. As women can not inherit their families estate nor money, their only option is to marry well in the hope of attaining wealth and social standing. Through this, Austen explains Mrs. Bennet’s hysteria about marrying off her daughters. Yet Austen is also shown to be critical of those who marry purely for security, thereby offering Elizabth as the ideal, who initially refuses marriage as she refutes financial comfort but ends up marrying for love.

Class and Wealth

As Austen focuses much of her novel on the impacts of class and wealth, she makes clear of the system that favours the rich and powerful and often punishes the weak and poor. Characters like Lady Catherine, whose enforcement of rigid hierarchical positions often leads her to mistreatment of others. Other characters like Mr. Collins and Caroline are depicted as void of genuine connection as they are unable to live and love outside the perimeter of their social standing. In contrast, characters such as Bingley and the Gardiners offer a respectable embodiment of wealth and class through their kindness and manners. Indeed, Austen does not criticise the entire class system as she offers examples that serve to demonstrate the decency and respectability. Darcy embodies all that a high-class gentleman should as though he is initially presented as flawed and arrogant, it becomes clear as the novel progresses that he is capable of change. Always generous and compassionate, his involvement with Elizabeth helps to brings his nurturing nature to the foreground, evident in his attempts to help the foolish lydia. Ultimately, Austen suggest through Darcy’s and Elizabeth's union that though class and wealth are restrictive, they do not determine one’s character nor who one is capable of loving.

  • Symbolism, imagery and allegories
  • Writing style
  • Three Act plot

Important Quotes

  • “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (ch.1)

When writing on any text in Text Response, it is essential to use quotes and analyse them.

Let’s take this quote, for example.

“it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”

This is the opening line of the novel. It is satirical, ironic and mocking in tone. Austen makes fun of the notion that wealthy bachelors must be wanting to marry in order to be valued in society. By using this tone, she subverts this “truth universally acknowledged” and encourages readers to question this societal presumption of wealth and marriage.

Have a look at the following quotes and ask yourself, ‘how would I analyse this quote?’:

  • “She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.” (ch.3)
  • "An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do." (ch.20)
  • “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” (ch.34)
  • “They were all of them warm in her admiration; and at that moment she felt that to be mistress of Pemberley might be something!” (ch.43)
  • “You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.” (ch.58)

Essay Topics

1. What do the various relationships shown in Pride and Prejudice tell us about love, marriage and society?

2. Austen shows that even those of the best moral character can be blinded by their pride and prejudice . To what extent do you agree?

3. Elizabeth Bennet holds a radical view of marriage for her time . What impact does this attitude have on the other characters' lives and relationships ? Discuss.

For more sample essay topics, head over to our Pride and Prejudice Study Guid e to practice writing essays using the analysis you've learnt in this blog!

Whenever you get a new essay topic, you can use LSG’s THINK and EXECUTE strategy , a technique to help you write better VCE essays. This essay topic breakdown will focus on the THINK part of the strategy. If you’re unfamiliar with this strategy, then check it out in How To Write A Killer Text Response because it’ll dramatically enhance how much you can take away from the following essays and more importantly, to then be able to apply these in your own writing.

Within the THINK strategy, we have 3 steps, or ABC. These ABC components are:

Step 1: A nalyse

Step 2: B rainstorm

Step 3: C reate a Plan  

Character-based Prompt: Elizabeth Bennet holds a radical view of marriage for her time. What impact could this attitude have on the other characters' lives and relationships? Discuss. 

The following comes essay topic breakdown comes from our Pride and Prejudice Study Guide:

Step 1: Analyse 

Elizabeth Bennet holds a radical view of marriage for her time . What impact could this attitude have on the other characters' lives and relationships ? Discuss.

A character based essay prompt is pretty self-explanatory as the prompt will have a specific focus on one character or a group of characters. While they may look relatively simple and straightforward, a lot of students struggle with character based questions as they find it is hard to discuss ideas in a lot of depth. With that in mind, it's important that we strive for what the author is saying; what is the author trying to convey through this specific character? What do they represent? Do they advocate for specific ideas or does the author use this character to condemn a certain idea and action?  

This question is looking at the attitude Elizabeth Bennet has in regard to the expectation and institution of marriage and how her view could impact the lives of the people around her. As always, we want to make sure that we not only identify our key words but define them. I started by first defining/ exploring the attitude Elizabeth holds towards the institution of marriage ; as marriage was not only an expectation in the times of regency England but a means to secure future financial security , Elizabeth’s outlook that an individual should marry only for the purpose of happiness and love was not only radical but dangerous . Her outlook, while noble, could and did put her family at jeopardy of being cast out from their estate as without a union between one of the Bennet daughters and Mr. Collins, Mr. Collins would have every right to do so as the only male inherent. I also looked at the wider implications Elizabeth’s outlook could have on the lives of the other characters such as Charlotte , Darcy and Bingley .

Step 3: Plan

Contention : Your contention relates to your interpretation of the essay prompt and the stance you’re going to take – i.e. are you in agreement, disagreement, or both to an extent.

While radical for her time, Elizabeth's progressive view of marriage can be seen to advocate for the rights of women and love and happiness but also, can jeopardise the livelihoods of those around her as Elizabeth is guided by selfish motives. 

P1: The radical view of marriage Elizabeth holds can be viewed as selfish and guided by her own self interest which is shown to negatively impact the lives of her family. 

P2: As Elizabeth diverts from the traditional approach to marriage, she encourages her friends and loved ones to follow their own hearts and morals rather than society's expectations. 

P3: Because Elizabeth is depicted as a bold and beautiful woman, she is unable to recognise that her radical view is a luxury that not all characters have access to. 

If you'd like to see an A+ essay on the essay topic above, complete with annotations on HOW and WHY the essays achieved A+ so you can emulate this same success, then you'll definitely want to check out our Pride and Prejudice Study Guide: A Killer Text Guide! In it, we also cover themes, characters, views and values, metalanguage and have 4 other sample A+ essays completely annotated so you can kill your next SAC or exam! Check it out here ."

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  • Comparative Analysis

What It Is and Why It's Useful

Comparative analysis asks writers to make an argument about the relationship between two or more texts. Beyond that, there's a lot of variation, but three overarching kinds of comparative analysis stand out:

  • Coordinate (A ↔ B): In this kind of analysis, two (or more) texts are being read against each other in terms of a shared element, e.g., a memoir and a novel, both by Jesmyn Ward; two sets of data for the same experiment; a few op-ed responses to the same event; two YA books written in Chicago in the 2000s; a film adaption of a play; etc. 
  • Subordinate (A  → B) or (B → A ): Using a theoretical text (as a "lens") to explain a case study or work of art (e.g., how Anthony Jack's The Privileged Poor can help explain divergent experiences among students at elite four-year private colleges who are coming from similar socio-economic backgrounds) or using a work of art or case study (i.e., as a "test" of) a theory's usefulness or limitations (e.g., using coverage of recent incidents of gun violence or legislation un the U.S. to confirm or question the currency of Carol Anderson's The Second ).
  • Hybrid [A  → (B ↔ C)] or [(B ↔ C) → A] , i.e., using coordinate and subordinate analysis together. For example, using Jack to compare or contrast the experiences of students at elite four-year institutions with students at state universities and/or community colleges; or looking at gun culture in other countries and/or other timeframes to contextualize or generalize Anderson's main points about the role of the Second Amendment in U.S. history.

"In the wild," these three kinds of comparative analysis represent increasingly complex—and scholarly—modes of comparison. Students can of course compare two poems in terms of imagery or two data sets in terms of methods, but in each case the analysis will eventually be richer if the students have had a chance to encounter other people's ideas about how imagery or methods work. At that point, we're getting into a hybrid kind of reading (or even into research essays), especially if we start introducing different approaches to imagery or methods that are themselves being compared along with a couple (or few) poems or data sets.

Why It's Useful

In the context of a particular course, each kind of comparative analysis has its place and can be a useful step up from single-source analysis. Intellectually, comparative analysis helps overcome the "n of 1" problem that can face single-source analysis. That is, a writer drawing broad conclusions about the influence of the Iranian New Wave based on one film is relying entirely—and almost certainly too much—on that film to support those findings. In the context of even just one more film, though, the analysis is suddenly more likely to arrive at one of the best features of any comparative approach: both films will be more richly experienced than they would have been in isolation, and the themes or questions in terms of which they're being explored (here the general question of the influence of the Iranian New Wave) will arrive at conclusions that are less at-risk of oversimplification.

For scholars working in comparative fields or through comparative approaches, these features of comparative analysis animate their work. To borrow from a stock example in Western epistemology, our concept of "green" isn't based on a single encounter with something we intuit or are told is "green." Not at all. Our concept of "green" is derived from a complex set of experiences of what others say is green or what's labeled green or what seems to be something that's neither blue nor yellow but kind of both, etc. Comparative analysis essays offer us the chance to engage with that process—even if only enough to help us see where a more in-depth exploration with a higher and/or more diverse "n" might lead—and in that sense, from the standpoint of the subject matter students are exploring through writing as well the complexity of the genre of writing they're using to explore it—comparative analysis forms a bridge of sorts between single-source analysis and research essays.

Typical learning objectives for single-sources essays: formulate analytical questions and an arguable thesis, establish stakes of an argument, summarize sources accurately, choose evidence effectively, analyze evidence effectively, define key terms, organize argument logically, acknowledge and respond to counterargument, cite sources properly, and present ideas in clear prose.

Common types of comparative analysis essays and related types: two works in the same genre, two works from the same period (but in different places or in different cultures), a work adapted into a different genre or medium, two theories treating the same topic; a theory and a case study or other object, etc.

How to Teach It: Framing + Practice

Framing multi-source writing assignments (comparative analysis, research essays, multi-modal projects) is likely to overlap a great deal with "Why It's Useful" (see above), because the range of reasons why we might use these kinds of writing in academic or non-academic settings is itself the reason why they so often appear later in courses. In many courses, they're the best vehicles for exploring the complex questions that arise once we've been introduced to the course's main themes, core content, leading protagonists, and central debates.

For comparative analysis in particular, it's helpful to frame assignment's process and how it will help students successfully navigate the challenges and pitfalls presented by the genre. Ideally, this will mean students have time to identify what each text seems to be doing, take note of apparent points of connection between different texts, and start to imagine how those points of connection (or the absence thereof)

  • complicates or upends their own expectations or assumptions about the texts
  • complicates or refutes the expectations or assumptions about the texts presented by a scholar
  • confirms and/or nuances expectations and assumptions they themselves hold or scholars have presented
  • presents entirely unforeseen ways of understanding the texts

—and all with implications for the texts themselves or for the axes along which the comparative analysis took place. If students know that this is where their ideas will be heading, they'll be ready to develop those ideas and engage with the challenges that comparative analysis presents in terms of structure (See "Tips" and "Common Pitfalls" below for more on these elements of framing).

Like single-source analyses, comparative essays have several moving parts, and giving students practice here means adapting the sample sequence laid out at the " Formative Writing Assignments " page. Three areas that have already been mentioned above are worth noting:

  • Gathering evidence : Depending on what your assignment is asking students to compare (or in terms of what), students will benefit greatly from structured opportunities to create inventories or data sets of the motifs, examples, trajectories, etc., shared (or not shared) by the texts they'll be comparing. See the sample exercises below for a basic example of what this might look like.
  • Why it Matters: Moving beyond "x is like y but also different" or even "x is more like y than we might think at first" is what moves an essay from being "compare/contrast" to being a comparative analysis . It's also a move that can be hard to make and that will often evolve over the course of an assignment. A great way to get feedback from students about where they're at on this front? Ask them to start considering early on why their argument "matters" to different kinds of imagined audiences (while they're just gathering evidence) and again as they develop their thesis and again as they're drafting their essays. ( Cover letters , for example, are a great place to ask writers to imagine how a reader might be affected by reading an their argument.)
  • Structure: Having two texts on stage at the same time can suddenly feel a lot more complicated for any writer who's used to having just one at a time. Giving students a sense of what the most common patterns (AAA / BBB, ABABAB, etc.) are likely to be can help them imagine, even if provisionally, how their argument might unfold over a series of pages. See "Tips" and "Common Pitfalls" below for more information on this front.

Sample Exercises and Links to Other Resources

  • Common Pitfalls
  • Advice on Timing
  • Try to keep students from thinking of a proposed thesis as a commitment. Instead, help them see it as more of a hypothesis that has emerged out of readings and discussion and analytical questions and that they'll now test through an experiment, namely, writing their essay. When students see writing as part of the process of inquiry—rather than just the result—and when that process is committed to acknowledging and adapting itself to evidence, it makes writing assignments more scientific, more ethical, and more authentic. 
  • Have students create an inventory of touch points between the two texts early in the process.
  • Ask students to make the case—early on and at points throughout the process—for the significance of the claim they're making about the relationship between the texts they're comparing.
  • For coordinate kinds of comparative analysis, a common pitfall is tied to thesis and evidence. Basically, it's a thesis that tells the reader that there are "similarities and differences" between two texts, without telling the reader why it matters that these two texts have or don't have these particular features in common. This kind of thesis is stuck at the level of description or positivism, and it's not uncommon when a writer is grappling with the complexity that can in fact accompany the "taking inventory" stage of comparative analysis. The solution is to make the "taking inventory" stage part of the process of the assignment. When this stage comes before students have formulated a thesis, that formulation is then able to emerge out of a comparative data set, rather than the data set emerging in terms of their thesis (which can lead to confirmation bias, or frequency illusion, or—just for the sake of streamlining the process of gathering evidence—cherry picking). 
  • For subordinate kinds of comparative analysis , a common pitfall is tied to how much weight is given to each source. Having students apply a theory (in a "lens" essay) or weigh the pros and cons of a theory against case studies (in a "test a theory") essay can be a great way to help them explore the assumptions, implications, and real-world usefulness of theoretical approaches. The pitfall of these approaches is that they can quickly lead to the same biases we saw here above. Making sure that students know they should engage with counterevidence and counterargument, and that "lens" / "test a theory" approaches often balance each other out in any real-world application of theory is a good way to get out in front of this pitfall.
  • For any kind of comparative analysis, a common pitfall is structure. Every comparative analysis asks writers to move back and forth between texts, and that can pose a number of challenges, including: what pattern the back and forth should follow and how to use transitions and other signposting to make sure readers can follow the overarching argument as the back and forth is taking place. Here's some advice from an experienced writing instructor to students about how to think about these considerations:

a quick note on STRUCTURE

     Most of us have encountered the question of whether to adopt what we might term the “A→A→A→B→B→B” structure or the “A→B→A→B→A→B” structure.  Do we make all of our points about text A before moving on to text B?  Or do we go back and forth between A and B as the essay proceeds?  As always, the answers to our questions about structure depend on our goals in the essay as a whole.  In a “similarities in spite of differences” essay, for instance, readers will need to encounter the differences between A and B before we offer them the similarities (A d →B d →A s →B s ).  If, rather than subordinating differences to similarities you are subordinating text A to text B (using A as a point of comparison that reveals B’s originality, say), you may be well served by the “A→A→A→B→B→B” structure.  

     Ultimately, you need to ask yourself how many “A→B” moves you have in you.  Is each one identical?  If so, you may wish to make the transition from A to B only once (“A→A→A→B→B→B”), because if each “A→B” move is identical, the “A→B→A→B→A→B” structure will appear to involve nothing more than directionless oscillation and repetition.  If each is increasingly complex, however—if each AB pair yields a new and progressively more complex idea about your subject—you may be well served by the “A→B→A→B→A→B” structure, because in this case it will be visible to readers as a progressively developing argument.

As we discussed in "Advice on Timing" at the page on single-source analysis, that timeline itself roughly follows the "Sample Sequence of Formative Assignments for a 'Typical' Essay" outlined under " Formative Writing Assignments, " and it spans about 5–6 steps or 2–4 weeks. 

Comparative analysis assignments have a lot of the same DNA as single-source essays, but they potentially bring more reading into play and ask students to engage in more complicated acts of analysis and synthesis during the drafting stages. With that in mind, closer to 4 weeks is probably a good baseline for many single-source analysis assignments. For sections that meet once per week, the timeline will either probably need to expand—ideally—a little past the 4-week side of things, or some of the steps will need to be combined or done asynchronously.

What It Can Build Up To

Comparative analyses can build up to other kinds of writing in a number of ways. For example:

  • They can build toward other kinds of comparative analysis, e.g., student can be asked to choose an additional source to complicate their conclusions from a previous analysis, or they can be asked to revisit an analysis using a different axis of comparison, such as race instead of class. (These approaches are akin to moving from a coordinate or subordinate analysis to more of a hybrid approach.)
  • They can scaffold up to research essays, which in many instances are an extension of a "hybrid comparative analysis."
  • Like single-source analysis, in a course where students will take a "deep dive" into a source or topic for their capstone, they can allow students to "try on" a theoretical approach or genre or time period to see if it's indeed something they want to research more fully.
  • DIY Guides for Analytical Writing Assignments

For Teaching Fellows & Teaching Assistants

  • Types of Assignments
  • Unpacking the Elements of Writing Prompts
  • Formative Writing Assignments
  • Single-Source Analysis
  • Research Essays
  • Multi-Modal or Creative Projects
  • Giving Feedback to Students

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Text Compare

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We have a wide range of services that covers all types of content. You can compare almost any kind of document with the help of our text comparison tool. The document types that are supported by our diff checker include raw text, URLs, and files. You need to select the text files you want to compare, and the detailed result will be shown to you immediately. The report contains all types of similarities that are found by our text compare tool.

With our innovative text compare tool, comparing two documents together to detect similarities is very easy. Choose the text you would like to compare. You can select a document that is saved as a file. In the case of a raw file, you can copy-paste the text, on the other hand, in case of online content you just had to insert a URL for comparison purposes. Once you have selected the texts that you want to compare, you can choose the Compare icon and the two documents that need to be compared.

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Compare Multiple Documents

The compare text window provides you with the option to select any text file or URL. You can also copy-paste plain text directly on the compare panel to check two sets of text for similarities. You have the option to upload the file from Google Drive, Dropbox, and also One Drive. We have built a reliable compare tool to ensure that every type of document is covered, so you don't have to worry about changing the document type for conducting an online comparison using the Copyleaks comparison tool.

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Our advanced code plagiarism detection tool is adept at finding codes that have been copied from online sources for assignments.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to compare two documents for similarities.

It is easy to compare two documents for similarities. Choose the files, text, or URL you wish to compare and then upload the files on the comparison tool window. Once you click Compare, a report will be generated that displays the different types of similar text.

Is it possible to compare PDF files in other languages?

The compare tool offered by Copyleaks allows you to upload and compare PDF files in different languages.

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A document plagiarism checker can identify instances of plagiarism in another document. You can compare two different papers to find if portions of the text have been lifted from another document.

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How can I compare two documents for differences?

Copyleaks compares the files and looks for 3 different types of matches: Identical - exact text. Similar - exact text with few minor changes. Paraphrased - Different words with the same meaning. You can read more about the Copyleaks comparison algorithm here - Plagiarism Spectrum .

essay comparing 2 articles

How to Write an Essay Comparing Two Articles

How to Write an Essay Comparing Two Articles at SolidEssay.com

Comparison essays need to have a particular goal, i.e. to try to clarify a certain idea by using a comparison. Tweet This

Writing an essay comparing two articles – 8 important tips

1. what is your task.

You have to examine two articles and find some essential similarities in them. Remember: essential, for if you present similarities in a chaotic way (without basis for comparison) this would not be enough.

The articles in question may be internet articles, newspaper articles, or academic papers. Usually this assignment is focused on topics which are actual and easy for comprehension by a wide audience. Thus, you will probably need to compare two articles on a popular theme.

2. What does it mean to compare?

Comparison is one of the most popular ways for gaining knowledge about unknown (or not well-known) objects. People oftentimes say that the person A is very similar to the person B; or that the school A has atmosphere similar to the atmosphere in school B; and so forth. Comparisons are done by human mind every single time when information is processed.

Comparison is one of the most popular ways for gaining knowledge about unknown (or not well-known) objects. Tweet This

3. Misunderstanding of the concept “comparison”

Recently, it has been widespread to make comparisons in order to prove a given thesis. For instance, if the country X is ruled by a president who is a conservative then its economy will be very effective, only because in the country Y it was like that. Any differentia specifica is omitted here. The country X will be successful whether its economic system is the same as the country Y or not. Very often the comparison itself does not lead directly to the conclusion but rather manifests a personal point of view.

4. Then what to compare?

You should compare entities and things which are comparable, i.e. belonging to one logical class of objects. If the first article covers an issue of education, and the second one history of space odysseys, what will be the common feature, the common idea which makes them interrelated?

You have to decide what is the ground for comparison. This is an idea, thesis, problem, etc., which is common for both articles. Then you can easily observe the solution that each article offers.

5. Describe the articles

Write a little about each article - its author, context, main topic, etc. This should not exceed one-fifth of the whole essay.

6. Find similar points

Find three similar points common for both articles. What ideas do they share? For example, both argue that:

  • education should be unrestricted
  • education is a life-long activity
  • education could bring success to the educated persons

7. Reveal the main difference

Now it is time to say what is the different between the two. For example, the first article may claim that education is strictly related to environmental problems: the more people are educated, the less are ecological issues. The second article finds it difficult to prove this thesis, so it claims that education and ecology are not interconnected.

8. Say your point

You can express your point of view here and prove that the first article’s thesis is true (or not true). You can also argue in favor of one of these articles as more reliable and containing better arguments than the other.

The tips presented are useful for comprehending how to write an essay comparing two articles. Ensure you have understood your task; otherwise, it would be hard for you to accomplish it. Understanding is the key. 

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Comparing Two Articles On The Same Topic

Compare and contrast the two articles.

The aim of this essay is to compare and contrast the two newspaper articles. The first is entitled ‘Young, bored and pregnant’, and the second is called ‘Nightmare in the playroom’. These articles shall be referred as Article one and Article two respectively. Both the articles are based about the subject of teenage pregnancy, and its role in society. The audience for both articles one and two are teenagers who are just sexually maturing or parents who will be faced with teenagers.

The author of both the articles is trying to make the point that teenage pregnancy is to blame for – as mentioned in article one – “urban Britain’s moral freefall”. They both use facts, opinions and persuasive and emotive language to get the reporters point across. My task is to compare the two articles and then contrast the two texts, writing about how the authors make use of: * Presentational Devices * Stylistic Devices * Language In addition to this, I will give my opinion of the articles, whether or not I agree with what the reporters are saying.

Both the articles use facts and opinions.

Writing Compare And Contrast Essay

However, article one is based more around fact than opinion, for example, the reporter, Burhan Wazir, introduces the first article by describing the atmosphere outside a Sheffield nightclub, and then says that “scores of teenage mothers pushed prams along the leafy streets” as if every other teenager was a teenage mother. This is obviously an exaggeration of the truth.

essay comparing 2 articles

Proficient in: Adolescence

“ Really polite, and a great writer! Task done as described and better, responded to all my questions promptly too! ”

It then goes on to tell the reader of the facts about teenage pregnancy figures in the UK. Using facts such as “around three in every hundred teenage women give birth” it makes it sound like it is a common problem.

Three in a hundred women are only 3 percent and as a result, this is a substantially insignificant number. Nevertheless, the article does make use of the reporters, and other people’s opinions as well as facts. Mentioned in the article are the dolls that are equipped with computer chips, to “simulate baby habits to emphasise the realities of motherhood”. The leader of this (the Tudor project) says, “Perhaps there is a failure at schooling level – maybe we need a greater emphasis on the pains of teenage conception”. This seems to be an opinion that the reporter shares with the Tudor leader.

Both of the articles, being based on the same theme are, inevitably, very similar In article two, the report is based mainly around opinion. Article two starts off by explaining the situation and then recalling past experiences of the same thing. It then goes on to make a very valid point – “The 12 year old mum-to-be from Rotherham confide in her mother, only 26 herself (a distressing but typical arithmetic in these cases) that… ” The main focus here is that the mother is only 26 years old, and therefore was only 14 years old when she gave birth herself.

The reporter, Mark Lawson calls this “a distressing but typical arithmetic”, meaning that because the mother gave birth at such an early age, it is more probable that her daughter will as well. He then goes on to say “the only remedy is for former teenage mothers to be paraded through classrooms with their children, explaining that, while babies do offer unconditional love, they demand 24 hour care in response”. The article does not make best use of presentational devices, and is much less persuasive than article one, mainly due to the fact that it has neither much fact nor opinion within it, rather anecdotes.

The language used in both articles is fairly similar, however, as I have already mentioned, article one came across to me as more persuasive, and has a better chance of influencing its readers than the second article. In article two, the subheading is “The child-parents of Yorkshire are without shame – or hope” This is just an opinion, and as a result of the wording, comes across as a generalisation, because this is a prejudiced approach towards the situation, when he is not fully informed.

In my opinion, the articles are not a true reflection of modern city life, as I have said before, the facts show an insignificant amount of teenage pregnancies compared to other problems which contribute to the moral decline of Britain today. However, the reporters are biased towards a certain opinion, and this is reflected in the articles. The writers of the articles try to convey their opinion that there is no hope or future for anyone that is born into a young family, or born in a built up ‘urban’ area. This is ridiculous because there is just as much chance of a decent future for anyone no matter where they are born.

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Comparing Two Articles On The Same Topic

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Jury awards climate scientist Michael Mann $1 million in defamation lawsuit

FILE - Michael Mann, then-professor of atmospheric science at Penn State, arrives at the “Before the Flood” premiere on day 2 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Princess of Wales Theatre on Sept. 9, 2016, in Toronto. A jury on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, said Mann was defamed 12 years ago when a pair of conservative writers compared his depictions of global warming to a convicted child molester. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

FILE - Michael Mann, then-professor of atmospheric science at Penn State, arrives at the “Before the Flood” premiere on day 2 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Princess of Wales Theatre on Sept. 9, 2016, in Toronto. A jury on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, said Mann was defamed 12 years ago when a pair of conservative writers compared his depictions of global warming to a convicted child molester. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A jury on Thursday awarded $1 million to climate scientist Michael Mann who sued a pair of conservative writers 12 years ago after they compared his depictions of global warming to a convicted child molester.

Mann, a professor of climate science at the University of Pennsylvania, rose to fame for a graph first published in 1998 in the journal Nature that was dubbed the “hockey stick” for its dramatic illustration of a warming planet.

The work brought Mann wide exposure but also many skeptics, including the two writers Mann took to court for comments that he said affected his career and reputation in the U.S. and internationally.

“It feels great,” Mann said Thursday after the six-person jury delivered its verdict. ”It’s a good day for us, it’s a good day for science.”

In 2012, a libertarian think tank named the Competitive Enterprise Institute published a blog post by Rand Simberg, then a fellow at the organization, that compared investigations into Mann’s work to the case of Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant football coach at Penn State University who was convicted of sexually assaulting multiple children. At the time, Mann also worked at Penn State.

Mann’s research was investigated after his and other scientists’ emails were leaked in 2009 in an incident that brought further scrutiny of the “hockey stick” graph, with skeptics claiming Mann manipulated data. Investigations by Penn State and others found no misuse of data by Mann, but his work continued to draw attacks, particularly from conservatives.

“Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except for instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data,” Simberg wrote. Another writer, Mark Steyn, later referenced Simberg’s article in his own piece in National Review, calling Mann’s research “fraudulent.”

The jury in Superior Court of the District of Columbia found that Simberg and Steyn made false statements, awarding Mann $1 in compensatory damages from each writer. It awarded punitive damages of $1,000 from Simberg and $1 million from Steyn, after finding that the pair made their statements with “maliciousness, spite, ill will, vengeance or deliberate intent to harm.”

During the trial, Steyn represented himself, but said through his manager Melissa Howes that he would be appealing the $1 million award in punitive damages, saying it would have to face “due process scrutiny.”

Mann argued that he had lost grant funding as a result of the blog posts — an assertion for which both defendants said Mann did not provide sufficient evidence. The writers countered during the trial that Mann instead became one of the world’s most well-known climate scientists in the years after their comments.

“We always said that Mann never suffered any actual injury from the statement at issue,” Steyn said on Thursday through his manager. “And today, after twelve years, the jury awarded him one dollar in compensatory damages.”

Simberg’s attorney Mark DeLaquil said his client was “disappointed in the verdict” and would appeal the jury’s decision.

Both writers argued that they were merely stating opinions.

Lyrissa Lidsky, a constitutional law professor at the University of Florida, said it was clear the jurors found that Steyn and Simberg had “recklessly disregarded the falsity of their statements.” She added that the discrepancy between what the jury awarded in compensatory and punitive damages could result in the judge reducing the punitive damages.

Many scientists have followed Mann’s case for years as misinformation about climate change has grown on some social media platforms.

“I hope people think twice before they lie and defame scientists,” said Kate Cell of Union of Concerned Scientists. Her work as senior climate campaign manager includes tracking misinformation related to climate change.

“We are so far outside the bounds of a civil conversation about facts that I hope this verdict can help us find our way back,” Cell said.

Alfred Irving, the judge presiding over the case, reminded the jury on Wednesday before they deliberated that their job was not to decide “whether there’s global warming.”

Climate change continues to be a divisive and highly partisan issue in the United States. A 2023 poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 91% of Democrats believe climate change is happening, while only 52% of Republicans do.

On Thursday, Mann said he would be appealing a 2021 decision reached in D.C. Superior Court that held National Review and the Competitive Enterprise Institute not liable for defamation in the same incident.

“We think it was wrongly decided,” Mann said. “They’re next.”

The Associated Press’ climate and environmental coverage receives financial support from multiple private foundations. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP’s standards for working with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas at AP.org .

essay comparing 2 articles

As Biden’s memory issues draw attention, neurologists weigh in

Since a report released on Thursday by special counsel Robert Hur described President Joe Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory,” there have been significant misperceptions about the cognitive changes associated with aging, neurologists say.

The report on Biden’s handling of classified documents noted that the president hadn’t remembered the exact time frame that he served as vice president and was struggling to recall the period when his late son, Beau Biden, had passed away. Biden defiantly rejected the changes in a press conference late Thursday , saying “my memory’s fine.”

There’s also been scrutiny of other recent events when the 81-year-old president mixed up names of foreign leaders .

However, neurologists say blanking on the names of acquaintances or having difficulty remembering dates from the past, especially when under stress, can simply be part of normal aging.

“If you asked me when my mother passed away, I couldn’t necessarily tell you the exact year because it was many years ago,” Dr. Paul Newhouse, clinical core leader for the Vanderbilt Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, said.

Almost every older patient has trouble remembering people’s names, Newhouse said. 

“I think it’s by far the most universal complaint of every person as they age,” Newhouse said.

In Newhouse's experience, this type of forgetfulness doesn’t actually predict who ends up having memory disorders. Only a person’s doctor or neurologist can make that diagnosis, not outside observers, brain experts say.

Dr. Dennis Selkoe, co-director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, agreed that forgetting names doesn’t actually provide much insight into potential memory problems. In fact, stress and a lack of sleep, can interfere with memory, no matter how old someone is.

“Naming proper nouns is not an adequate basis to make a conclusion about whether an individual has a more consistent and more concerning substantive progressive memory disorder,” Selkoe said.

What are normal memory changes?

It’s normal for older brains to have more difficulty retaining new information and then retrieving the information, but mental processes like decision-making and judgment can actually improve with age, said Dr. Thomas Wisniewski, director of NYU Langone Health’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and its Center for Cognitive Neurology.

“Although the raw power of memory has some degree of decline, perhaps wisdom can increase because the individual has a greater backlog of experiences and different situations as to what is the best thing to do,” Wisniewski said.

The problem isn’t having trouble remembering names or calling someone by the wrong name, but when someone’s memory is fuzzy about recent or past experiences, said Newhouse. Issues with episodic memory — memory for events in time or if a person doesn’t remember going shopping, for example — can be a sign of a progressive disorder, but not always.

Wisniewski said he becomes concerned when people don’t even recognize that they are forgetting things.

“They forgot that they went shopping and they’re unaware that they’ve forgotten,” he said.

Overall, neurologists tend to worry less about a patient’s ability to remember remote memories from many years ago and more troubled by an inability to recall more recent events. That’s because dementia first affects the part of the brain that’s responsible for short-term memories, as opposed to long-term memories, said Newhouse.

“What I’m more concerned about is, can you remember what happened yesterday? Or an hour ago?” Newhouse said.

While the conversation surrounding aging is often framed around a person’s diminishing memory or executive functioning, there are cognitive benefits that come with growing older, Selkoe said.

“There is a type of emotional intelligence and ability to handle many different kinds of experiences in life that come with greater longevity,” he said. “People can make decisions more carefully and more rationally.”

essay comparing 2 articles

Akshay Syal, M.D., is a medical fellow with the NBC News Health and Medical Unit. 

essay comparing 2 articles

Ghael Fobes is an Associate White House Producer with the NBC News White House Unit in Washington, D.C.

I went to Japan for a 3-week holiday. It's been 7 years, and I'm not coming back to the US anytime soon.

  • Arianna Caiazzo went to Japan for a holiday after dropping out of college.
  • Despite the challenges, Caiazzo now calls Japan home.
  • She says life in Japan is more affordable and she feels safer.

Insider Today

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Arianna Caiazzo, 27, who moved to Japan in 2017. This essay has been edited for length and clarity. Business Insider has verified her salary and expenses.

My life in Japan started as a holiday.

I dropped out of college at 19 in my second year. My major in English at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania didn't seem like the right fit. I wanted to transfer to fashion school, but I missed the application deadline.

I had been fascinated with Japan for a long time, especially its Harajuku fashion, which is really colorful and artistic. After years of being depressed and dressing up in all black, Harajuku fashion became a way for me to express my joy. I was dressing up with rainbow-colored braids and rainbow makeup.

With fashion as a big pull factor, I decided to go to Japan for a three-week trip. My parents thought, "She's not going to make it; she's going to come home crying."

I spent my three weeks there doing all the touristy things. I had never been on my own before. I was traveling around Tokyo and hitting all the clubs — being able to drink at 19 without being carded was new.

After the first three weeks, I asked my parents if I could stay another three weeks and slowly kept extending my time. I loved the culture in Japan. I felt comfortable — no one was looking at me, no one was talking to me or bothering me.

Three months in, I called my parents again and said, "I want to live here."

One of the hardest things I've done

Before I temporarily left for the US to get a longer visa to stay in Japan, I picked a language school and a vocational school I wanted to enroll in to study fashion.

Attending language school in Japan was one of the hardest things I have done. I was the only person who wasn't Asian, and I was alone all the time because the other students all spoke Chinese, Vietnamese, or Korean.

The learning environment was harsh — teachers screamed at us and were allowed to pour water on us. They would berate me, telling me I had gained weight or saying my hair color was ugly. I started having panic attacks.

Two years later, I enrolled into fashion school, which was a different wild ride.

Schoolwork was tough. We were creating and submitting one outfit per week. My classmates were passing out from not sleeping all week and working all night long. I was completely burned out by the time I graduated in 2023.

Here, I am in a state of ease

Despite the challenges I faced in both schools, I was having an amazing time outside class. I love the food, and the friends I have made are my family at this point.

I especially appreciate the safety. Back home in New Jersey, I always felt scared anytime I was home alone. Here, I am in a state of ease.

Japan's convenient public-transportation system was another big plus point because I hated driving back home.

Life here also feels a lot more affordable. I can spend $20 for a huge amount of groceries. I am still shocked that 20 eggs cost $2.

Living with ADHD and Autism

I was diagnosed with ADHD and Autism after I moved to Japan. ADHD medication is easily accessible here. I have to take five medicines, which only add up to about $100 per month in Japan.

My treatments are also cheaper — I went for eight transcranial-magnetic-stimulation sessions in the span of one month, which was recommended for my symptoms. A set of treatments in the US would be $6,000. I pay $2,000 in Japan.

I currently live in Osaka and am renting an apartment with my boyfriend of four years. I teach English and math to 6- to 8-year-olds at an after-school service. I work three hours a day, which makes the job more accessible with my health conditions than a career in fashion would be.

My job pays me 3,000 Japanese Yen, or about $20, an hour. I am able to make about $1,340 a month, which is the same as I would get paid for an entry-level fashion job.

My rent is 300,000 Japanese Yen, or about $2,020 a month. My boyfriend and I split two-thirds of the rent evenly, and his company pays for one-third of it.

I am currently a bit hesitant to rejoin the fashion industry, but if, in the future, I am able to better manage my symptoms and am feeling creative again, I hope to pursue fashion again.

Even as a foreigner, I feel right at home in Japan and have no plans to move back.

essay comparing 2 articles

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OpenAI Gives ChatGPT a Better ‘Memory’

The A.I. start-up is releasing a new version of ChatGPT that stores what users say and applies it to future chats.

  • Share full article

A pink birthday card with a colorful jellyfish in the middle.

By Cade Metz

Cade Metz has covered artificial intelligence for a decade.

OpenAI is giving ChatGPT a better memory.

The San Francisco artificial intelligence start-up said on Tuesday that it was releasing a new version of its chatbot that would remember what users said so it could use that information in future chats.

If a user mentions a daughter, Lina, who is about to turn 5, likes the color pink and enjoys jellyfish, for example, ChatGPT can store this information and retrieve it as needed. When the same user asks the bot to “create a birthday card for my daughter,” it might generate a card with pink jellyfish that reads, “Happy 5th Birthday, Lina!”

With this new technology, OpenAI continues to transform ChatGPT into an automated digital assistant that can compete with existing services like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa . Last year, the company allowed users to add instructions and personal preferences , such as details about their jobs or the size of their families, that the chatbot should consider during each conversation. Now, ChatGPT can draw on a much wider and more detailed array of information.

“We think that the most useful assistants are those that evolve with you — and keep up with you,” said Joanne Jang, an OpenAI product lead who helps oversee its memory project.

Although ChatGPT can now remember previous conversations, it can still make mistakes — just as humans can. When a user asks ChatGPT to make Lina a birthday card, the chatbot might create one with a subtle typo such as “Haippy 5th Birthday! Lina!”

The company is first providing the new technology to a limited number of users. It will be available to people using the free version of ChatGPT as well as those who subscribe to ChatGPT Plus, a more advanced service that costs $20 a month.

OpenAI is also introducing to users on Tuesday what it calls temporary chats, during which conversations and memories are not stored.

ChatGPT has for some time offered a limited form of memory. When users chatted with the bot, its responses drew on what they said earlier in the same conversion. Now, the bot can draw on information from previous conversations.

(The New York Times sued OpenAI and its partner, Microsoft, in December, for copyright infringement of news content related to A.I. systems.)

The bot builds this memory by automatically identifying and storing information that could be useful in the future. “We rely on the model to decide what may or may not be pertinent,” said an OpenAI research scientist, Liam Fedus, referring to the A.I. technology that underpins ChatGPT.

Users can tell the bot to remember something specific from their conversation, ask what has already been stored in its memory, tell the chatbot to forget certain information or turn off memory entirely.

By default, OpenAI has been recording entire ChatGPT conversations and using them to train future versions of the chatbot. OpenAI said it removed personally identifiable information from conversations used to train its technology. And users can choose to remove their conversations from OpenAI’s training data entirely.

But creating and storing a separate list of personal memories that the chatbot can bring up in conversations could raise privacy concerns. The company argued that what it was doing was not that much different from the way search engines and browsers stored the internet history of their users.

Cade Metz writes about artificial intelligence, driverless cars, robotics, virtual reality and other emerging areas of technology. More about Cade Metz

Explore Our Coverage of Artificial Intelligence

News  and Analysis

OpenAI announced that it was releasing a new version of ChatGPT that would remember all prior conversations with users  so it could use that information in future chats.

The F.T.C. outlawed unwanted robocalls generated by A.I. , amid growing concerns over election disinformation and consumer fraud facilitated by the technology.

Google has released Gemini, a smartphone app that behaves like a talking digital assistant as well as a conversational chatbot .

The Age of A.I.

Amid an intractable real estate crisis, fake luxury houses offer a delusion of one’s own. Here’s how A.I. is remodeling the fantasy home .

New technology has made it easier to insert digital, realistic-looking versions of soda cans and shampoo on videos on social media. A growing group of creators and advertisers is jumping at the chance for an additional revenue stream .

A start-up called Perplexity shows what’s possible for a search engine built from scratch with A.I. Are the days of turning to Google for answers numbered ?

Chafing at their dependence on the chipmaker Nvidia, Amazon, Google, Meta and Microsoft are racing to build A.I. chips of their own .

A.I. image generators are trained on other people’s artwork. Are the tools violating copyright in the process? A series of tests run with the technology suggests as much .

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What are the 2023 long-term care insurance tax deduction limits?

By Joshua Rodriguez

Edited By Angelica Leicht

February 14, 2024 / 2:15 PM EST / CBS News

gettyimages-1309118129.jpg

Long-term care is an important consideration as you plan for your retirement. After all, most older Americans will need some form of long-term care at some point — and the cost of that care is growing. 

Long-term care insurance can help bridge the gap between the care you can afford and the care you may need. That's not the only benefit of purchasing a long-term care insurance policy , though. 

Long-term care insurance comes with tax benefits as well. Depending on the size of your premiums, you may be able to deduct some or all of the money you pay to maintain your policy — reducing your tax burden in the process. However, there are limits to consider. 

Compare long-term care insurance policies today to get the coverage you need . 

Long-term care insurance premiums are tax-deductible up to certain limits — which are based on your age. 

Here are the long-term care insurance deduction limits for the 2023 tax year (note: limits are based on your age on the last day of the tax year):

  • 40 years old or younger : $480  
  • 41 to 50 years old : $890
  • 51 to 60 years old : $1,790
  • 61 to 70 years old : $4,770
  • 71 and older : $5,960 

It's important to note that these limits are subject to change each year. The limits for the 2024 tax year are slightly different from 2023. 

Here's the maximum you can deduct for your long-term care insurance premiums for the 2024 tax year: 

  • 40 years old or younger : $470   
  • 41 to 50 years old : $880 
  • 51 to 60 years old : $1,760
  • 61 to 70 years old : $4,710 
  • 71 and older : $5,880 

Find out how affordable long-term care insurance can be now . 

What if your premiums surpass the maximum deduction limits?

In some cases, your long-term care insurance premiums may be higher than the current deduction limits for your age. In these cases, you can only deduct the maximum for your age. For example, if you're 55 years old and you pay $1,900 per year in long-term care insurance premiums, you can deduct $1,790 on your 2023 tax return and $1,760 on your 2024 tax return. 

However, you may be able to expand the tax benefits of long-term care insurance with a health savings account (HSA). You can fund your HSA on a pre-tax basis and either use those funds to pay your long-term care insurance premiums directly or to reimburse yourself the cost of your premiums on a tax-free basis. 

Are long-term care insurance benefits considered taxable income?

Long-term care insurance benefits are not considered taxable income as long as the policy is a qualified long-term care policy. In order to be a qualified policy, your long-term care insurance must : 

  • Only offer benefits for a chronic illness : The policy must only offer benefits if you're diagnosed with a chronic illness. This is typically described as an inability to complete two of the six activities of daily living (ADLs) for a predetermined period of time.  
  • Require a prescribed plan of care : The policy must require a physician to prescribe you a plan of care that includes your qualified benefits before it pays for services.
  • Be 100% renewable : The plan must come with guaranteed renewability regardless of your age, health condition or any other factor. This means that as long as you pay your premiums, you'll have access to long-term care insurance benefits.    

Why you should compare long-term care insurance now

If you don't already have long-term care insurance, it's wise to compare your options now, as the cost of coverage usually increases with age. Moreover, age and health status will play a role in whether or not you qualify for coverage. 

If you wait too long to purchase a long-term care insurance policy , you could end up paying significantly higher premiums or be denied coverage altogether. Compare your long-term care insurance options now to lock in your coverage today. 

Find out your options for long-term care insurance today . 

The bottom line

There are multiple tax benefits associated with long-term care insurance. Not only are the premiums you pay tax-deductible but there's a high likelihood that the benefits you receive will be free from any income tax burden. Moreover, if you pay your premiums with an HSA, or use one to recoup the cost of your premiums, you may be able to expand the tax benefits of your policy. Either way, it's important to keep your deductions within the limits set by the IRS. Consider the limits above as you take advantage of your long-term care insurance premium-related tax deductions. 

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Joshua Rodriguez is a personal finance and investing writer with a passion for his craft. When he's not working, he enjoys time with his wife, two kids, three dogs and 10 ducks.

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  6. Academic Guides: Writing a Paper: Comparing & Contrasting

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  29. What are the 2023 long-term care insurance tax deduction limits?

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