Again, compare and contrast essays can cover almost any topic and may pop up in a variety of subject areas.
In order to make decisions about what to include, writers need to keep one thing in mind: relevance.
Relevance helps determine which characteristics are worth comparing and contrasting.
Your thesis will help you determine the relevance, or irrelevance, of facts. This is a sentence that lets the reader know the topic and the argument the writer is making.
For example, in a social studies course, a class is working on a unit about the places where people live: rural, urban, and suburban.
The instructor assigns everyone a compare and contrast essay on life in a city compared to life on a farm. A strong, well-written, and organized compare and contrast essay will show the instructor that the writer understands the differences between life in the city and life on the farm.
The instructions are such that the essay must both compare, provide similarities, and contrast, provide differences, for living in both types of areas. Compare and contrast essays are multi-paragraph compositions that explain ways in which two (or occasionally more) subjects are similar and different.
In these essays, compare means describing similarities between the subjects.
Try it risk-free This lesson explains what it is to write a compare and contrast essay.
For the student who needs to describe two subjects, a compare and contrast essay offers the opportunity to explore the similarities and differences of a topic.