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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. 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?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: You may want to check out our handout on Understanding Assignments for additional tips.
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.” In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements.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? 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.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.Making a Venn diagram or a chart can help you quickly and efficiently compare and contrast two or more things or ideas.Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself? By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations!Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper.Here are two: 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.