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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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Tips for Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay

Tips for Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay

  • 5-minute read
  • 19th August 2022

Compare and contrast essays are a specific form of academic essay with unique requirements, so if you’re a student , it’s important that you to know how to write one. Luckily, we’ve pieced together this guide to help you plan, structure, and put together your essay, complete with tips for comparing and contrasting.

Let’s begin.

1. What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

As you may have guessed, when writing a compare and contrast essay, you’ll need to do two things:

  • Compare the similarities between two or more given subjects.
  • Contrast their differences.

Compare and contrast essays are a common essay style because they allow your teacher or lecturer to assess your understanding of two theories, research methods, literary techniques, or other subjects. These subjects are usually related and may sometimes be confused with one another or are in conflict with each other.

By comparing and contrasting the subjects, you can also improve your analysis skills .

Some examples of compare and contrast essay titles include:

Compare and contrast a Shakespearean sonnet with a Petrarchan sonnet. What are the similarities and differences between anabolic and catabolic reactions? How were Nehru’s political beliefs similar to Gandhi’s? How did they differ?

2. Planning a Compare and Contrast Essay

As with any essay, before you begin writing, you should have a plan . In this case, you’ll first need to identify the similarities and differences between your subjects.

You can do this by writing out a list of all the qualities each subject possesses. Then, you can pick out any similar qualities that show up in both lists, and any qualities that are unique to just one of them. If you’re a visual learner, you might want to draw this as a Venn diagram .

Once you have all the similarities and differences prepared, consider which of them will be the most useful to include in your essay. Ask yourself:

  • How much can you write about each point?
  • What will your conclusion be, and which points support it?
  • How will each point fit into your essay’s structure?

To answer that last question, let’s take a look at some ways to structure your essay.

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3. Structuring a Compare and Contrast Essay

Now that you’ve got a plan for your essay, it’s time to organize it. There are three main structures you can follow when writing a compare and contrast essay: 

  • The block structure: All of the information about one subject (e.g., Shakespearean sonnets) is presented in the first few paragraphs, followed by the subject it’s being compared and contrasted with (e.g., Petrarchan sonnets).
  • The alternating structure: One similarity or difference between both subjects (e.g., rhyme scheme) is explored in one paragraph, followed by a paragraph on another similarity or difference (e.g., use of imagery), and so on.
  • The similarities and differences structure: All the similarities between both subjects are presented, followed by the differences.

There are benefits to each of these structures. The block structure, for example, can be easier to write, while the alternating structure presents each similarity and difference clearly, and the similarities and differences structure focuses on those points rather than the subjects themselves. 

So, when deciding which structure to use, consider what would work best for your essay. If you intend to cover each subject in detail, for example, you might want to choose the block structure. 

On the other hand, if you want to emphasize the connections between each subject, the alternating structure might be best. 

Finally, if you want to conclude that the subjects are either overwhelmingly similar or different to each other, the similarities and differences structure may work in your favor.

Whichever structure you follow, though, you’ll need to include a strong introduction and conclusion.

Your introduction should:

  • Establish the subjects you will be comparing and contrasting.
  • Provide some background about their connection (e.g., “Shakespearean and Petrarchan sonnets are poetic forms common in the 14th to 19th centuries”).
  • Explain what you aim to achieve with your essay.

Meanwhile, your conclusion should:

  • Summarize the main similarities and differences you have identified.
  • Make a point regarding the relationship between your subjects.

4. Things to Remember

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when writing your compare and contrast essay:

  • Ensure you are comparing or contrasting the same criteria between each subject. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to compare the line length of a Shakespearean sonnet with the rhyme scheme of a Petrarchan sonnet, as these are two separate categories.
  • Always address both subjects of your essay in any introductions, conclusions, and topic sentences.
  • Use comparison words and phrases such as “similarly,” “like,” and “in the same way” when comparing subjects.
  • Use contrast words and phrases such as “in contrast,” “however,” and “whereas” when contrasting subjects.
  • As with any essay, make sure to back up any arguments you make with evidence and credible sources .

Expert Academic Proofreading

Once you’ve written your compare and contrast essay, don’t forget to have it proofread. Our dedicated essay editing team is available 24/7 to help polish your paper. Try us out with a free proofreading and editing sample .

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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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how to organize a compare and contrast essay

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Literacy Ideas

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

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WHAT IS A COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY?

Essentially, compare and contrast essays ask students to evaluate the similarities and differences between two things.

Usually, there will be some meaningful connection between the two things to be compared and contrasted.

These essays are not merely about stating the obvious; instead, they challenge the students to explore two or more topics and then express subtle similarities and understated differences that may not be immediately obvious to the casual reader.

For example, there is little point in asking students to  compare and contrast  a computer and a bicycle.

Both are material objects, but the extreme differences are obvious apart from that. More useful would be to ask students to compare and contrast two different models of computers or two different brands of bicycles to help them decide which to buy.

Compare and contrast essays encourage students to make distinctions and evaluate things that largely belong in the same category. This is an instrumental and practical skill to develop.

In this article, we will explore how to approach the writing of compare-and-contrast essays in a step-by-step manner. Following this method, students can soon write a well-structured compare-and-contrast essay on practically any topic.

Let’s get started.

Visual Writing

A COMPLETE UNIT ON COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY WRITING

compare and contrast essay | compare and contrast unit 1 | How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay | literacyideas.com

Teach your students how to write amazing compare and contrast essays with this  COMPLETE UNIT  of work which guides students through the process of research, analysis and articulating their thoughts into a well-structured essay.

IT INCLUDES

HOW TO WRITE A COMPARE & CONTRAST ESSAY

1. understand your task and purpose.

Compare, and contrast type questions ask students to do one of three things:

  • To compare two or more things.
  • To contrast two or more things.
  • To compare and contrast two or more things.

compare and contrast essay | analyse the question 1 | How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay | literacyideas.com

For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume the compare and contrast essay is focused on comparing and contrasting two things.

Now, let’s break down the two keywords to examine what they ask the students to do:

Compare asks the students to look at two things in relation to their similarities.

Let’s compare apples and oranges as a quick example.

Apples and oranges have many commonalities. Firstly, they are both fruits that are grown on trees. They are also both a popular and tasty food choice for many people.

Additionally, apples and oranges are nutritious and provide essential vitamins and minerals for our bodies.

Finally, apples and oranges can be used in various recipes, from baked goods to juices, and they are both easily accessible and affordable. So, even though apples and oranges are different in many ways, they both have some similarities that make them essential parts of a healthy and balanced diet.

Contrast asks the students to examine how the two things differ. Let’s now explore the differences in a quick written example.

Apples and oranges differ in many ways. Firstly, they have a different appearance – apples are round and come in different colors like red, green and yellow, while oranges are oval and have a bright orange appearance.

Secondly, they have a different texture – apples are crunchy, while oranges are juicy. They have different tastes – apples are sweet and tangy, while oranges are sweet and slightly sour.

They also contain different vitamins and minerals – apples are a good source of vitamin C, while oranges are a great source of vitamin C and fibre. So, even though they are both fruits, apples and oranges are different in terms of their appearance, taste, and nutritional value.

It is important that students do both when they are asked a compare-and-contrast question. It may seem obvious, but very often students do one and neglect to do the other.

These ‘things’ could be anything from historical figures to poems, philosophies to fictional characters, but the essential criteria will remain pretty much the same regardless.

2. Identify Similarities and Differences

compare and contrast essay | similarities and differences 1 | How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay | literacyideas.com

The starting point for planning this type of essay is to list the similarities and differences between the two things. This can be done simply in table form or, for the more visually orientated, in the form of a Venn diagram.

Venn diagrams are an especially useful form of graphic organizer that allows the student to see the information at a glance. This is extremely helpful while students are writing.

Brainstorming the similarities and differences can be done by focusing on one subject at a time or by dealing with common traits or features one by one. This will depend not just on the student’s preferences but on the nature of the subjects being examined.

Whether listing the similarities and differences in columns or on a Venn diagram, it’s helpful for students to keep their list of characteristics parallel. That is, the related features between each of the subjects should be displayed clearly together.

3. Choose a Suitable Organizational Structure

Once your students have listed their main points, they need to choose a suitable organizational structure to help present their ideas in essay form.

In most instances, one of two structures will best meet the needs of any compare-and-contrast type essay. These two possible organizational structures are:

  • The block structure
  • The point-by-point structure

In the block structure, each subject is dealt with in turn. That is, the characteristics of Subject 1 are written about first and, in the second half of the essay, the characteristics of Subject 2 are written about.

The block structure is generally easier to write as the student need only focus on one subject at a time.

However, the point-by-point structure more often provides a clearer vehicle for comparing and contrasting the various aspects of both subjects.

Using the point-by-point structure generally requires more skill from the student to weave the similarities and differences of each subject into the fabric of each paragraph. However, it is also the default setting for most compare and contrast essays, and students should be practised in it accordingly.

4. Gather Supporting Evidence

compare and contrast essay | supporting evidence 1 | How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay | literacyideas.com

Once students have analyzed the question and identified the similarities and differences between the two subjects, they’ll need to gather supporting evidence to back up any assertions they make in their essays.

Students can use many different types of evidence to support the statements in their essays.

Some of the most common types of evidence in compare and contrast essays include statistical, textual, testimonial, and anecdotal evidence.

Let’s take a closer look:

Statistical Evidence is perhaps the strongest type of evidence that can be used to support an argument. People like numbers! However, the most important aspect of using statistical evidence is that they come from a reliable source – those cynical of statistics echo the old adage, “ There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics ”.

Textual Evidence is often needed to support an argument, especially when writing about a book, a play, a speech, etc. When using textual evidence in an essay, it is important that students state clearly the source of the evidence they use. Textual evidence can come in many different forms, including:

●     Direct quotations from a text

●     Summaries of the content of a text

●     Paraphrasing of what an author has said on a topic.

Testimonial Evidence refers to the use of expert opinion to bolster an assertion. As with the use of statistical evidence, it is important to select the sources in question carefully. Selecting an unreliable or compromised ‘expert’ can call into question the merit of any argument made. When an expert has been chosen to provide testimonial type evidence, students should establish their credibility by stating who they are and why they are considered an expert before quoting them.

Anecdotal Evidence is often considered to be the weakest form of evidence due to its highly personal nature. Basically, anecdotal evidence takes the form of the retelling of a personal experience. Though it is often criticized as a weak form of evidence, it can be useful when used correctly in an essay. Anecdotes often work well as a ‘hook’ to grab the reader’s attention at the beginning of an essay. Not only do they grab the reader’s attention effectively, but anecdotes also work well in building a personal connection with readers from the outset.

5. Compare and Contrast Essay Transitional Language

Nothing makes a text staler for a reader than the overuse of favorite words and the endless repetition of pet phrases.

Variety is the spice of not only life but of essay writing too. As students weave comparisons and contrast into their essays, they’ll be required to employ transition signals to introduce their points.

Transition signals are words and phrases that are used to signal the relationship between ideas in a text to the reader. It is helpful to students to have a variety of these to hand and to know which can be used to introduce comparisons and which can be used to introduce contrasts.

Let’s take a look at some examples for each:

Comparison Transition Signals

  • Both…and…
  • Neither…nor…
  • Just as / Just like
  • In a similar manner
  • Analogous to

Contrasting Transition Signals

  • In contrast to / Contrastingly / In comparison / By comparison
  • On the contrary
  • On the other hand
  • Nevertheless

Tips for Writing a Great Compare and Contrast Essay

  • Start by choosing two logical subjects that you would like to compare and contrast.
  • Research both subjects thoroughly to gain a deeper understanding of their similarities and differences.
  • Create a clear and compelling thesis statement that defines the purpose of your essay.
  • Organize your essay into paragraphs that compare and contrast specific aspects of each subject.
  • Use relevant and appropriate examples to support your comparisons and contrasts.
  • Use transitional words and phrases to help guide the reader through your essay.
  • Avoid simply listing the similarities and differences of each subject. Instead, focus on making meaningful comparisons and contrasts.
  • Use a variety of sentence structures and vocabulary to make your writing engaging and interesting.
  • Revise and edit your essay for clarity, coherence, and grammatical correctness.
  • Proofread your essay one final time to catch any remaining errors and make sure that your essay is ready for submission.

Remember, writing a compare and contrast essay is an opportunity to show your creativity, critical thinking skills, and writing abilities. So, have fun with it and let your unique voice shine through!

101 DIGITAL & PRINT GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS FOR ALL CURRICULUM AREAS

compare and contrast essay | digital graphic organizers 1 | How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay | literacyideas.com

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Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST TEACHING STRATEGIES AND ACTIVITIES

Compare and Contrast Activity #1

Students should get into the habit of closely examining the question they are writing the essay in response to, especially in high-pressure situations like exams.

Too often, students under pressure misread essay prompts and either miss out on a crucial aspect of the set question or, worst of all, answer an entirely different question to the one that was set.

To help students focus on the specifics of the question, encourage them to underline keywords and phrases with a highlighter or a colored pen.

Another great way to encourage students to focus attention on the specifics is to have students practice rewriting the question in their own words.

While this may not be practical in an exam situation, it is a great way for students to get accustomed to paying close attention to essay questions in less pressured scenarios such as homework and classwork.

Compare and Contrast Activity # 2

Set a compare and contrast question and then instruct your students to use a Venn diagram as a brainstorming tool to help organize their ideas.

Students should draw two circles slightly overlapping and write down things the subjects share in common in the intersection of the two circles. This will enable students to see areas of commonality and divergence between the two subjects at a glance.

Compare and Contrast Activity # 3

Students can use the information they produced in the previous two activities for this activity.

In this activity, students will draft three paragraphs for a compare-and-contrast essay using the point-by-point structure.

To do this, they will use the traditional five-paragraph essay structure as follows:

  • Paragraph 1: Introduction
  • Paragraphs 2, 3, & 4: Body Paragraphs
  • Paragraph 5: Conclusion

The focus of your students’ outlines will be on the body paragraphs. From the points listed in the previous exercises, students select 3 main points to focus on; one for each of the body paragraphs they’ll write.

Instruct students to make their point by focusing on Subject 1 first, and then on Subject 2. This will complete the first paragraph. They’ll then repeat this process for points 2 and 3 to produce paragraphs 2 and 3.

At the end of this, they will have the three body paragraphs of their compare and contrast essay. From there, they can then reverse engineer their introduction and then complete their conclusions.

This exercise is a useful way to provide students some practice in structuring body paragraphs. Not only that, but it’s also a legitimate way to write an essay itself. This method can often reveal to the writer the best way forward when it comes to writing the introduction and conclusion.

Compare and Contrast Activity #4

Using the points outlined in previous activities, challenge students to produce as many types of evidence in support of each assertion as possible. In groups, students can then present their evidence to each other and discuss which is the most convincing and why given the specific context.

Compare and Contrast Activity # 5

Whether making comparisons or contrasts, students must consider carefully which criteria they are using in regards to the two subjects they are dealing with.

For example, if students are contrasting two subjects, say, two people, they may write something like,

Alfred is intelligent and handsome, whereas Brian is short and strong.

While the use of the transition signal whereas in the above sentence effectively sets up a contrast between Alfred and Brian, what isn’t clear is which criteria are being contrasted.

When discussing Alfred’s attributes in the first part of the sentence, the criteria employed are intelligence and looks. In the second part of the sentence, two new criteria are introduced, namely height and physical strength.

This is one of the most common errors made by students in these types of essays. To help students gain practice in this area, write a few example sentences on the whiteboard using the model sentence above to help. Then, have students identify the four different criteria and write two separate contrast sentences that avoid the error illustrated.

For example, in response to the model sentence, students might write the following two corrections:

i. Alfred is intelligent and handsome, whereas Brian is stupid and ugly.

ii. Brian is short and strong, while Alfred is tall and weak.

You can encourage students to vary the contrast transition signals they use to gain practice in this area too.

Compare and Contrast Essay ExampleS (student Writing Samples)

Below are a collection of student writing samples of compare and contrast essay.  Click on the image to enlarge and explore them in greater detail.  Please take a moment to read both the compare and contrast essays in detail and the teacher and student guides highlighting some key elements to consider before writing.

Please understand these student writing samples are not intended to be perfect examples for each age or grade level but a piece of writing for students and teachers to explore together to critically analyze to improve student writing skills and deepen their understanding of compare and contrast writing.

We would recommend reading the example either a year above and below, as well as the grade you are currently working with, to gain a broader appreciation of this text type.

compare and contrast essay | compare and contrast essay year 6 1 1536x1536 1 | How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay | literacyideas.com

In Conclusion 

While there are many technical aspects for students to master on the road to producing well-written compare and contrast essays, the above provides a clear signpost to set them off in the right direction.

Most of the specific skills focused on in the practice activities above will not only improve your student’s abilities to write compare-and-contrast-type essays but will improve their writing in other areas too. Just be sure to offer ample opportunities to practice!

ESSAY WRITING CHECKLIST & RUBRIC BUNDLE

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COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY TUTORIAL VIDEOS

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Comparison and Contrast Guide

Comparison and Contrast Guide

About this Interactive

Related resources.

This interactive guide provides an introduction to the basic characteristics and resources that are typically used when students compose comparison and contrast essays. The Comparison and Contrast Guide includes an overview, definitions and examples. The Organizing a Paper section includes details on whole-to-whole (block), point-by-point, and similarities-to-differences structures. In addition, the Guide explains how graphic organizers are used for comparison and contrast, provides tips for using transitions between ideas in comparison and contrast essays, and includes a checklist, which matches an accompanying rubric .

  • Student Interactives
  • Lesson Plans

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.

Students explore picture books to identify the characteristics of four types of conflict. They then write about a conflict they have experienced and compare it to a conflict from literature.

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Essay Pattern: Compare & Contrast

Compare & contrast essays are a popular organizational option. Here are some techniques to make this kind of essay truly sing.

Necessary Compare & Contrast Steps: An Overview

In a comparison/contrast essay, a writer must do the following:

  • Identify and explain three or more key points that two or more subjects have in common.
  • Show the similarities and differences between these points.
  • Develop a thesis, indicating his or her position regarding the two subjects. The thesis may indicate that one subject is stronger than the other and that both subjects have strengths, or that both subjects possess noteworthy flaws.

There are two ways to organize a comparison/contrast essay.

Subject By Subject

This organizational pattern is most effective when used on short essays, such as in-class essays. The body of such an essay is organized by discussing one subject, point by point, in complete detail before moving on to the next subject. The writer should select points by which both subjects can be examined. The number of body paragraphs will be determined by the number of points discussed in the essay.  Here is an example:

Point By Point

This organizational pattern is most effective when used on longer essays, such as a comparison of two articles, short stories, or novels. The body of such an essay is organized by discussing one point at a time and how it applies to each subject before moving on to the next point. For long works, at least three points should be examined if not more.

Once you’ve drafted a comparison essay, ask someone else to look over your draft and tell you how effective he or she finds your basic comparison— and why. Then read it over yourself, too, with a critical eye.

Some Questions to Keep in Mind When Checking a Comparison

SUBJECTS OF COMPARISON. What specific subjects does this essay compare? Are those subjects similar enough to justify the comparison? On what basis are they compared? Does the text emphasize the similarities or the differences between them? Or does it give equal weight to both?

PURPOSE AND AUDIENCE. Who are the intended readers, and what is the general purpose of the comparison—to inform? to evaluate? some other purpose? Does the comparison achieve this purpose? If not, what changes might help? What background information is included, and is it sufficient for the intended readers to fully understand the text? Are there any key terms that readers might need to have defined?

THE POINT. What is the main point of the essay? Has it been made clear to the reader? Is there an explicit thesis statement? If not, should there be

ORGANIZATION. How is the essay organized? Where does it use the point-by-point method of organization? The subject-by-subject method? When comparing subjects point by point, does the essay give more or less equal weight to each subject? When treating first one subject and then the other, does the essay follow more or less the same order in laying out the points of comparison for each subject?

POINTS OF COMPARISON. What are the specific points of comparison in the essay? Are they sufficient to convince the reader that the comparison is valid? Do they cover the same elements in both subjects? Have any important points been omitted—and if so, what are they?

OTHER METHODS. What other methods are used besides comparison and contrast? Does the essay classify subjects? Define them? Make an argument about them? What other methods might support the comparison?

Kaylan | 2019

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/.

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How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay

Last Updated: January 23, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA . Stephanie Wong Ken is a writer based in Canada. Stephanie's writing has appeared in Joyland, Catapult, Pithead Chapel, Cosmonaut's Avenue, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing from Portland State University. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 440,739 times.

Compare and contrast essays are often assigned to students because they promote critical thinking, analytical reasoning and organized writing. A compare and contrast essay should look at a subject in a new way, with fresh insight, using the similarities and the differences between two topics or two perspectives on one topic.

Sample Outline

how to organize a compare and contrast essay

Brainstorming Your Topic

Step 1 Understand the structure of a compare and contrast essay.

  • If your instructor has already given you your topic, you may be contrasting two things that could go into the same category, but are different from each other. For example, cats and dogs are both animals, but they are different from each other in many ways. The pro-life view on abortion, and the pro-choice view on abortion could both fit under the category of a human rights issue, but they are two very distinct views or positions.

Step 2 Make a list of similarities and differences.

  • Try to write as many similarities and differences you can think of. For example: cats and dogs are both domesticated animals. But cats have different temperaments than dogs, and cats are known to be indoor pets, while dogs tend to need to be walked and played with outside on a constant basis.
  • Think about at least one or two meaningful differences and similarities between the two subjects. For example, a compare and contrast between abortion rights could lead to meaningful notes like: The pro-life stance views fetuses are full formed humans and are often based in religious beliefs, while the pro-choice stance views fetuses as undeveloped eggs and are often based in scientific beliefs.
  • To focus your list, choose categories (or possible supporting points for your paper) to classify the similarities and differences between the two subjects. For example, for the abortion rights topic, you may choose categories like: legal details, women's rights, scientific stance, and religious beliefs. You can then separate each item on the list into these categories.

Step 3 Create a Venn diagram of your topic.

  • Once you are done listing 10-15 differences and 5-7 similarities, circle the most important items in each list. Then, match at least three opposites from one circle to the other circle.
  • Review the list and look for three different categories that describe these traits. For example, for the abortion rights topic, you may have “scientific studies of the fetus” on the pro-choice side, and “belief in life of the fetus” on the pro-life side. One possible category could then be the debate of the life of a fetus.

Step 4 Answer the 5 W's and H questions.

  • If you're compare and contrasting two historical periods or events, you may ask: When did they occur (the dates and the duration)? What happened or changed during each event? Why are they significant? Who were the important people involved? How did the events occur, and what consequences did they have later in history?
  • If you're compare and contrasting two ideas or theories, you may ask: What were they about? How did they originate? Who created them? What is the central focus, claim, or goal of each theory? How do the theories apply to situations/people/things, etc.? What kind of evidence is used to support each theory?
  • If you're compare and contrasting two pieces of art, you may ask: What does each piece of art describe or depict? What is their tone or mood? What themes do they address? Who created them? When were they created? How do the creators of the artworks describe their own work? Why do you think the artworks were created as they were?
  • If you're compare and contrasting two people, you may ask: Where is each person from? How old are they? What, if anything, are they known for? How do they identify themselves in terms of gender, race, class, etc? Do the two people have any relationship to each other? What does each person do? Why is each person interesting? What are the defining features of each person?

Step 5 Note any gaps in your knowledge or research.

  • Your instructor may also ask for a discussion of more than one similarity and difference between the two topics or two perspectives. Identify any gaps in your knowledge and prepare to do research so you can better compare and contrast the two topics in your essay.

Creating an Outline

Step 1 Compose your thesis...

  • Your thesis should note the key similarities and differences of both subjects. For example: “Dogs and cats are both seen as ideal, domesticated pets, but their temperaments and breeding set them apart.”
  • Your thesis should also be able to answer the question, “So what? Why should anyone care about the positives and the negatives of owning a cat or a dog?” A reader may also wonder why you chose to look at cats and dogs, and not other domesticated pets like birds, reptiles, or rabbits. Your thesis statement is much stronger if you address these questions, and a stronger thesis can lead to a stronger essay.
  • The revised thesis may look like: “Dogs and cats are both considered ideal, domesticated pets, and prove more popular than other domesticated animals like birds or rabbits, but the low maintenance and particular temperament of cats makes them better pets for a variety of households.” A more concise thesis, which allows for a more open discussion of both options, may look like: “Both cats and dogs make excellent domesticated pets, but an appropriate choice depends on the pet owner's lifestyle, finances, and living accommodations.”

Step 2 Organize your paper by the block method.

  • Introduction: Introduce the general topic, then introduce the two specific topics. End with your thesis, which addresses what is going to be covered in the essay.
  • Leads into Aspect 1: Lifestyle, with at least two details. For example, how cats do not have to watched during the day, and are easier to get care if the owner travels or is often not home.
  • Leads into Aspect 2: Cost, with at least two details. For example, how food and healthcare are less expensive for cats and how cats are less likely to cause property damage to the owner's home.
  • Leads into Aspect 3: Living accommodations, with at least two details. For example, how cats do not take up a lot of space and they are less intrusive as they do not require daily walks or constant play.
  • End the paragraph with a transition sentence.
  • Body paragraph 2 will follow the same structure, with three Aspects and two supporting details for each aspect.
  • Body paragraph 3 can follow the same structure as Body paragraph 2 and 3. Or it can be a paragraph that develops the comparison made in the previous two paragraphs. You can use scientific data, crowd sourced feedback, or a personal experience. For example, you may have been in a position where you had to compare and contrast adopting a dog or a cat and made your decision based on your lifestyle, finances, and living situation. This could serve as a personal experience to back up your previous arguments.
  • Conclusion: Contains a summary of your main points, a restating of your thesis, an evaluation of your analysis and any future developments that may sway your compare and contrast to one topic over the other.

Step 3 Use a point by point structure.

  • Introduction: Introduce the general topic, then introduce the two specific topics. End with your thesis, which addresses what is going to covered in the essay.
  • Leads into Topic 1, Aspect 1: Cats, with two details supporting cats in the argument. For example, how cats do not have to watched during the day, and are easier to get care if the owner travels or is often not home.
  • Leads into Topic 2, Aspect 1: Dogs, with two details contrasting dogs to the previous argument. For example, how dogs are pack animals and shouldn't be left alone for long periods of time, and how it can be difficult to find care for a dog when the owner is away.
  • Ends with a transition sentence.
  • Body paragraph 2 will follow the same structure, with a discussion of Topic 1 and Topic 2 in relation to Aspect 2, for example: “Cats are less expensive to own and care for.” There should be two supporting details for each topic.
  • Body paragraph 3 will follow the same structure, with a discussion of Topic 1 and Topic 2 in relation to Aspect 3, for example: “Cats need less special house accommodations than dogs.” There should be two supporting details for each topic.

Writing an Introduction

Step 1 Be assertive and clear.

  • You should also avoid announcing your intentions in a straightforward and formal way. For example, skip statements like “In this paper, I will” or “The purpose of this essay is to”.
  • Instead, your reader should be able to perceive the purpose of your essay through the first two sentences in your beginning paragraph.

Step 2 Create a hook for your first sentence.

  • An interesting or surprising example: This could be a personal experience of when a cat proved to be a better pet than a dog, or a scientific study that shows the differences between cats and dogs.
  • A provocative quotation: This could be from a source you used for your essay or one that feels relevant to your topic.
  • A vivid anecdote: An anecdote is a very short story that carries moral or symbolic weight. Think of an anecdote that might be a poetic or powerful way to start your essay. You can also look through your research for your essay for any note worthy anecdotes.
  • A thought provoking question: Think of a question that will get your reader thinking and engaged in your topic. For example: “Did you always wish you had a cat but ended up with a dog when you were growing up?”

Step 3 Revise your introduction once you complete the essay.

  • The writing process can be an important way to organize your ideas, think through certain points, and refine your thoughts. Writing or revising the introduction once you are done your essay will ensure the introduction matches the body of your essay.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Ask a friend, advisor or classmate to read your introduction and thesis. Having someone provide feedback before you get into the body of your compare and contrast essay can help you ensure you have a well written, thorough and purposeful start to your paper. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

how to organize a compare and contrast essay

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  • ↑ https://www.kellogg.edu/upload/eng151/chapter/writing-for-success-comparecontrast/index.html
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/comparing-and-contrasting/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/comparing-and-contrasting/
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  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/introductions/

About This Article

Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA

To start a compare and contrast essay, start by making a list of similarities and differences between your subjects. Once you have a clearer idea of how your subjects work in relation to each other, you can work on your introduction. Think about ways to hook or grab your reader’s attention with your opening, like giving a surprising or interesting fact or a vivid anecdote. You can also ask a thought-provoking question or use a provocative quotation. Then, introduce your general topic. Once you give your reader a bit of context, you can discuss your two specific subjects in a bit more detail before stating your thesis. Your thesis should note the main similarities and differences between both subjects. For example, “Dogs and cats are both seen as ideal domestic pets, but their temperaments and breeding set them apart.” To learn how to organize your compare and contrast essay, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

09 November, 2020

17 minutes read

Author:  Elizabeth Brown

You have been assigned a compare and contrast essay but what is it and where do you even begin? The purpose of this type of essay is to focus on two or more topics examining them for subtle differences and unexpected similarities. These topics can be closely related, say a zebra and a horse, or they can be vastly different, like a pizza and salad. The focus of a compare and contrast essay is to bring to light something unknown, show whether one is superior to another, argue a point with supported facts, or clear up a misunderstanding.  

Compare and Contrast Essay

WWI and WWII. London and Paris. “Gone with the Wind” and “The Thorn Birds.” What do these things have in common? Or how do they differ?

This is a compare and contrast essay in a nutshell. Its main focus is on spotting the similarities or differences in terms of this or that object, phenomenon, or event. But there’s more to it. So, let’s look into all the details more profoundly.

Compare vs contrast

What is a compare and contrast essay?

A compare and contrast essay is a piece of academic writing focused on finding similarities or differences between several objects.

“Well,” you might think, “it’s the easiest paper ever. Why even bother looking for samples and examples?” Is that what you’re thinking? Then we’ve got a surprise for you.

Even though it all seems pretty self-explanatory, a compare and contrast essay can be a real challenge to compose. Especially if you don’t know all the pitfalls to pay attention to.

Evidently, you can always choose to seek the assistance of a good essay writing service like HandMadeWriting. With us, you don’t have to spend long nights working on a piece like this. However, we guarantee that we’ll cover all the bases in this guide and you’ll be able to craft a decent compare and contrast essay in the end.

Of course, the essence of this type of writing lies in finding common or different characteristics of two objects, places, events, or people. However, the piece can look differently depending on the approach a student considers to use when working on it.

While still on the subject, let’s look into different approaches to writing a compare and contrast essay.

How to write a Compare and contrast essay outline

how to write a compare and contrast essay outline

An outline will serve as a roadmap for your project. It will be the lighthouse you will keep your eyes on amidst all the arguments and ideas you want to mention in a piece.

Related Post: How to Write an Argumentative essay

Besides, it will help you keep your thoughts organized and well-structured. So, what should an outline for this type of essay look like?

Compare and Contrast essay outline example

Now use this scheme and adjust it to your own essay. Remember that an outline is only a blueprint: no need to go into numerous details at each section. Simply mention what you will talk about in each section and mark what sources you will use to back up your ideas.

Related Posts: Essay Outline | Research Paper Outline

Once you crafted an outline, you’re all set to start your essay.

The structure of a compare and contrast essay

There are three approaches to writing this type of essay:

  • Point by point method

Venn diagram

Block structure.

Approaches to writing a compare and contrast essay

Point-by-point method

This method focuses on comparing or contrasting various points of the same object. This being said, we find it essential to add that you can only choose two objects which you can really compare.

Thus, it is a great idea to compare two books of the same genre, but it makes no sense to compare a basketball and a soccer team: they’re completely different.

To demonstrate what this method is about, let’s try to compare public and private education in the USA. We will focus on three main aspects: the cost of such education, quality of education (based on the results and achievements of graduates), and the workload.

The author should mention these aspects in the introduction saying that he will compare or contrast two different options of obtaining a degree based on these points.

Next, come the main body paragraphs. Each of them is dedicated to only one point.

Topic: Public and private education comparison

Introduction.

Main body paragraphs #1:   The cost of education

  • Higher at privately help institutions (e.g. provide a range of tuition fees across one specialization)
  • Lower (yet not completely free) at public educational establishments (e.g. offer a list of things an average student pays for at a public institution)

Main body paragraph #2:   Quality of the education

  • Typically higher at private institutions (e.g. smaller classes, a more dedicated teacher-student approach, access to necessary materials, etc.)
  • Typically lower with exceptions (e.g. offer examples of statistical data which proves that public education can be just as effective)

Main body paragraph #3:   The workload

  • Heavier at private colleges where tutors get more one-on-one time with each student. As a result, students have less time for extracurricular activities.
  • Might be lighter than at a private institution.

Conclusion.

This is what a point-by-point approach looks like. Now, let’s check out the other two.

Venn diagram is “a diagram that shows all possible logical relations between a finite collection of different sets.” It is an excellent tool to visualize the content and brainstorm ideas.

Specifically, if you ever decide to use this tool for one of the compare and contrast essay topics, here is what it would look like:

Firstly, simply draw two or more circles (depending on the number of objects you’re comparing). Secondly, write down things they have in common inside the intersection of these circles leaving the differences on the outside.

Let’s see how students can use this approach to crafting a compare and contrast essay outline.

Topic: Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy

Main body paragraph #1: They were both presidents.

  • Lincoln was the 16th, while Kennedy – the 35th.
  • Lincoln served for five years, and Kennedy for three years.

Paragraph #2: They were both assassinated on Friday (share the story and background of each of these cases).

  • Kennedy was killed on the 23rd of November, 1963, by Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • Lincoln was shot dead on April 15th, 1865, by John Wilkes Booth.

Paragraph #3: They were commemorated by being posted on the US money.

  • Tell about Kennedy’s half-dollar.
  • A five-dollar bill with Abraham Lincoln.

Paragraph #4: Differences.

  • Kennedy was a Democrat, while Lincoln was a Republican.
  • Lincoln fought in the Civil War and signed the Emancipation Proclamation, while Kennedy focused on civil rights, foreign policies, and a space mission.

Finally, let’s see what a block structure approach will look like in practice.

This approach allows the students to compare different objects based on a particular writing pattern. A benefit of using this method lies in the structure and the level of organization of your piece.

Firstly, the author takes the first object and describes it in the first paragraph. Then, he proceeds to describe the second object in the second paragraph. Throughout the process, features or qualities are looked into step by step.

Let’s see what it would look like on the example.

Topic: Cats and dogs: Who makes a better pet?

An introduction.

Paragraph #1: Cats

  • Don’t need their master to walk with them.
  • Take care of their own hygiene.
  • Require minimum training.

Paragraph #2: Dogs

  • Need regular walks with their masters to exercise.
  • Can’t wash themselves.
  • Need the training to maintain proper behavior.

These are the three main methods used to craft a compare and contrast essay. Just choose the one that you feel most comfortable using and move on to the actual writing part.

Alternatively, you can look for help from a professional custom writing service like  HandMade Writing . It’s your chance to shave hours off your week and end up having an A+ in no time!

How to write a compare and contrast essay

Knowing all the approaches is one thing. Nevertheless, there is much more you need to know about this type of writing if you want to succeed.

As a rule, a compare and contrast essay writing is based on an in-depth analysis of two or more objects and practical findings of them (don’t confuse it with a reflective essay which allows you to focus on your own reflections rather than solid facts). That is why every student must start with finding proper credible sources and reading them carefully. As you read, don’t forget to take notes: your goal is to find whether similarities between the objects outweigh the differences or vice versa. But, of course, this is only true if you were given a choice to either contrast or compare the notions.

Next, take your time to craft a decent outline. Yes, you heard it right: you need it way before you dive into the first draft creation. Wondering how to write an outline? Here are several useful tips.

How to start a compare and contrast essay

The first thing a reader should see in your essay is an attention grabber. What can serve as one?

  • A quote by a famous person.
  • A literary quote.
  • An anecdote.
  • An interesting definition.
  • A little-known fact.
  • An open-end question.
  • A beautifully painted scene.

These are the basic ideas on how to make your audience sit up and listen from the very first moment. Later on, develop this hook into a thesis statement.

Related post: H ow to write an Essay introduction?  | Essay format guide 

Thesis statement

Usually, thesis statement presents your argument to the readers. It invites the audience to dispute your position and encourages a discussion around the topic of your choice.

The Writing Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill states that  a thesis statement “tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion. It’s also a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.”

The secret of  a good thesis statement is in its length. It shouldn’t be longer than one sentence. Here is a good example:

“If it weren’t for Abraham Lincoln’s wisdom, excellent diplomatic skills, and patriotism, he could have been the last President of the existing and prospering United States of America.”

How to organize the main body paragraphs

We’ve already mentioned briefly what the main body paragraph should really look like. Now, let’s take a step forward and look into each nuance in more detail.

  • An argument. The first sentence of every paragraph of your comparative essay should present the argument that supports the thesis statement. Keep it short and up to the point. And only use the arguments you can actually back up with sufficient evidence.
  • Evidence. Next, provide at least one (but better two or three) pieces of evidence that support your argument. We encourage college students to use only credible sources at this point. Eventually, this will add credibility to your writing and definitely get you a better grade.
  • A conclusion. Finally, summarize the argument and the evidence for it in one sentence. Keep it short and to the point, but don’t underestimate the importance of this part of your paragraph. Obviously, it’s often the only part your audience will remember from the whole piece.

Generally, college students get to choose how many main body paragraphs they want to have in their piece. Besides, the word count plays an important role here: you can’t have six main body paragraphs if you only have 500 words. For the most part, there won’t be enough space for all the essential parts of the paragraph. And you’ll end up crafting an incomprehensive and poorly-structured essay. We’re begging you to be wise not to lose good grades to not thought-through writing process.

In addition, if you aren’t a college student yet, but are going to enter a college or university soon, don’t forget to check out our complete guide to writing a scholarship essay . It’s your chance to stretch a buck by getting the financial help from college!

How to end a compare and contrast essay

Finally, get ready to compose a top-notch closure for the piece. Even though it comes last in your essay, it must be nothing short of perfect.

Studies show that conclusions are your last chance to impress a reader. Overall, the structure of this last section is quite standard.

  • Restate that thesis statement to remind your audience of what your whole article centered around.
  • Go over the pieces of evidence you used along the way.
  • Finish with an open question, a call-to-action, or a challenge for the audience.

See? It’s not as difficult as you might have thought it will be. Still, you have to take your time to polish it and make it count.

Compare&Contrast essay example

Good compare and contrast essay topics.

Well, now that you know everything you need about the process of writing such papers, it seems like you’re simply destined to grab readers’ attention and keep them interested from the start.

And though we would really want to tell you it is really so, it won’t necessarily be true.

Likewise, there is one more secret you can’t miss: a good essay requires an engaging topic.

Certainly, we know that finding excellent good topics sentence might be difficult. Thus, we’ve gathered a short list of thing we think you might find exciting to write about.

However, you can find 127 great compare and contrast essay topics in our recent guide. They’re all unique and interesting. So, don’t hesitate to take a look and pick something to write about.

  • Greek vs. Roman mythology: Differences and similarities.
  • Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: Compare the techniques, history, and professionalism of the players in these two football clubs.
  • Veganism vs. Vegetarianism: Differences in the dieting styles.
  • American English vs. British English.
  • Public vs. private education: The good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • Being a freelancer vs. being self-employed.
  • Christianity in Europe vs. Christianity in Asia in the 21st century.
  • Traditional vs. Unconventional cancer treatments around the globe.
  • Breastfeeding vs. infant formula: Which is a better choice both for the mother and the baby?
  • Car-sharing vs. Hitchhiking: Which would you choose to travel the world?
Related post: Top argumentative essay topics

Transition words

Transition words are your key to the smooth reading experience. Here are two lists of transition words students should use when crafting this type of paper.

Transitions words

Transitions in a comparison essay:

  • In the same way
  • By the same token
  • Coupled with
  • In addition
  • Identically
  • Correspondingly
  • Together with
  • Comparatively

Contrast transitions:

  • Nonetheless
  • In contrast
  • Notwithstanding
  • On the contrary
  • On the other hand
  • At the same time

We tried to cover all the information a student might need when working on a compare and contrast essay. Use this guide step by step for the best results. Don’t fall victim to the idea that you need no assistance in composing this type of academic writing. Of course, it might be tricky. So, it’s in your best interest to use professional assistance.

Problems with writing Your Compare and Contrast Essay? Try our Essay Writer Service!

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Beef Up Critical Thinking and Writing Skills: Comparison Essays

Organizing the Compare-Contrast Essay

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The compare/contrast essay is an excellent opportunity to help students develop their critical thinking and writing skills. A compare and contrast essay examines two or more subjects by comparing their similarities and contrasting their differences. 

Compare and contrast is high on Bloom's Taxonomy of critical reasoning and is associated with a complexity level where students break down ideas into simpler parts in order to see how the parts relate. For example, in order to break down ideas for comparison or to contrast in an essay, students may need to categorize, classify, dissect, differentiate, distinguish, list, and simplify.

Preparing to Write the Essay

First, students need to select pick comparable objects, people, or ideas and list their individual characteristics. A graphic organizer, like a Venn Diagram or top hat chart, is helpful in preparing to write the essay:

  • What is the most interesting topic for comparison? Is the evidence available?
  • What is the most interesting topic to contrast? Is the evidence available?
  • Which characteristics highlight the most significant similarities?
  • Which characteristics highlight the most significant differences?
  • Which characteristics will lead to a meaningful analysis and an interesting paper?

A link to 101  compare and contrast essay topics  for students provides opportunities for students to practice the similarities and differences such as

  • Fiction vs. Nonfiction
  • Renting a home vs. Owning a home
  • General Robert E. Lee vs General Ulysses S. Grant

Writing the Block Format Essay: A, B, C points vs A, B, C points

The block method for writing a compare and contrast essay can be illustrated using points A, B, and C to signify individual characteristics or critical attributes. 

A. history B. personalities C. commercialization

This block format allows the students to compare and contrast subjects, for example, dogs vs. cats, using these same characteristics one at a time. 

The student should write the introductory paragraph to signal a compare and contrast essay in order to identify the two subjects and explain that they are very similar, very different or have many important (or interesting) similarities and differences. The thesis statement must include the two topics that will be compared and contrasted.

The body paragraph(s) after the introduction describe characteristic(s) of the first subject. Students should provide the evidence and examples that prove the similarities and/or differences exist, and not mention the second subject. Each point could be a body paragraph. For example, 

A. Dog history. B. Dog personalities C. Dog commercialization.

The body paragraphs dedicated to the second subject should be organized in the same method as the first body paragraphs, for example:

A. Cat history. B. Cat personalities. C. Cat commercialization.

The benefit of this format is that it allows the writer to concentrate on one characteristic at a time. The drawback of this format is that there may be some imbalance in treating the subjects to the same rigor of comparing or contrasting.

The conclusion is in the final paragraph, the student should provide a general summary of the most important similarities and differences. The student could end with a personal statement, a prediction, or another snappy clincher.

Point by Point Format: AA, BB, CC

Just as in the block paragraph essay format, students should begin the point by point format by catching the reader's interest. This might be a reason people find the topic interesting or important, or it might be a statement about something the two subjects have in common. The thesis statement for this format must also include the two topics that will be compared and contrasted.

In the point by point format, the students can compare and/or contrast the subjects using the same characteristics within each body paragraph. Here the characteristics labeled A, B, and C are used to compare dogs vs. cats together, paragraph by paragraph.

A. Dog history A Cat history

B. Dog personalities B. Cat personalities

C. Dog commercialization C. Cat commercialization

This format does help students to concentrate on the characteristic(s) which may be may result in a more equitable comparison or contrast of the subjects within each body paragraph(s).

Transitions to Use

Regardless of the format of the essay, block or point-by-point, the student must use transition words or phrases to compare or contrast one subject to another. This will help the essay sound connected and not sound disjointed.

Transitions in the essay for comparison can include:

  • in the same way or by the same token
  • in like manner or likewise
  • in similar fashion

Transitions for contrasts can include:

  • nevertheless or nonetheless
  • however or though
  • otherwise or on the contrary
  • in contrast
  • notwithstanding
  • on the other hand
  • at the same time

In the final concluding paragraph, the student should give a general summary of the most important similarities and differences. The student could also end with a personal statement, a prediction, or another snappy clincher.

Part of the ELA Common Core State Standards

The text structure of compare and contrast is so critical to literacy that it is referenced in several of the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards in both reading and writing for K-12 grade levels. For example, the reading standards ask students to participate in comparing and contrasting as a text structure in the anchor standard  R.9 :

"Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take."

The reading standards are then referenced in the grade level writing standards, for example, as in W7.9  

"Apply grade 7 Reading standards to literature (e.g., 'Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history')."

Being able to identify and create compare and contrast text structures is one of the more important critical reasoning skills that students should develop, regardless of grade level.

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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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Listen to an audio version of this page (9 min, 35 sec):

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.

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23 Compare and Contrast

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.

Figure 5.7 Apples, Green and Red

Apples, Green and Red

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.

Exercise 13

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

Exercise 14

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. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader. Take the following thesis as an example that focuses on contrast.

Thesis statement : Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but 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.

See the chart below, which diagrams the ways to organize the organic versus conventional vegetables thesis.

Figure 5.8 Organization Diagram

Organize by Subject

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 the chart below for examples.

Figure 5.9 Phrases of Comparison and Contrast

Phrases of Comparison and Contrast

Exercise 15

Create an outline for each of the items you chose in Exercises 13 and 14. 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 reinforces your thesis while drawing a conclusion based on what you have presented. This conclusion is the “and so” statement for your essay, giving you the place to offer a judgement based on the examination you have just offered.

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.

Exercise 16

Choose two people who are significant in your life and have a similar relationship with you (two friends, two siblings, etc). Make a list of similarities and differences between these people. Consult your list, then draw a conclusion based on the presence of these similarities and differences. Outline the similarities and differences, then write a statement that offers an overall conclusion.

Assignment 5

Choose one of the outlines you created in Exercise 15 or 16, 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.
  • 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.

External Links

“ Disability ” (https://tinyurl.com/y99te6e2) by Nancy Mairs: In “Disability,” writer Nancy Mairs discusses the experience of being a disabled person in a world focused on the able-bodied. It seems to be titled “Hers” but it is the correct essay.

“ Friending, Ancient or Otherwise ” (https://tinyurl.com/y85u8ae8) by Alex Wright: In “Friending, Ancient or Otherwise,” writer Alex Wright explores the evolution and purpose of friendship in the age of social media.

“ Sex, Lies and Conversation: Why Is It So Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other ? ” (https://tinyurl.com/y95dpehx) by Deborah Tannen. In this essay, Tannen compares and contrasts conversation styles. You can view the essay  here  (https://tinyurl.com/y9vnjqv8) also.

Example Comparison and Contrast Essay

“A South African Storm”

By Allison Howard – Peace Corps Volunteer: South Africa (2003-2005)

It’s a Saturday afternoon in January in South Africa. When I begin the 45–minute walk to the shops for groceries, I can hear thunder cracking in the distance up the mountain in Mageobaskloof. But at 4 p.m. the sky is still light and bright and I am sure—famous last words—I will be fine without an umbrella.

Just the basics: eggs, bread, Diet Coke in a bag slung into the crook of my elbow. Halfway from town, two black South African women—domestic workers in the homes of white Afrikaner families—stop me with wide smiles. They know me; I’m the only white person in town who walks everywhere, as they do. They chatter quickly in northern Sotho: “Missus, you must go fast. Pula e tla na! The rain, it comes!” They like me, and it feels very important to me that they do.“Yebo, yebo, mma,” I say—Yes, it’s true—and I hurry along in flip-flops, quickening my pace, feeling good about our brief but neighborly conversation. These are Venda women.

My black South African friends tell me it’s easy to tell a Venda from a Shangaan from a Xhosa from a Pedi. “These ones from Venda , they have wide across the nose and high in the cheekbones,” they say. But I don’t see it; I’m years away from being able to distinguish the nuances of ethnicity. Today, I know these women are Vendas simply because of their clothing: bright stripes of green and yellow and black fabric tied at one shoulder and hanging quite like a sack around their bodies. They’ve already extended a kindness to me by speaking in northern Sotho. It’s not their language but they know I don’t speak a word of Afrikaans (though they don’t understand why; Afrikaans is the language of white people). They know I struggle with Sotho and they’re trying to help me learn. So they speak Sotho to me and they’re delighted and amused by my fumbling responses. And I am, quite simply, delighted by their delight.

The Venda ladies are right: the rain, it comes. Lightly at first, and by habit I begin trotting to hurry my way home. Just a little rain at first and there are plenty of us out in it. I can see others up ahead on the street and others still just leaving the shops to get back before the real rain begins.

The people who are walking along this swath of tar road are black. Black people don’t live in this neighborhood—or in my town at all, for the most part. They work and board here as domestic workers, nannies, gardeners. Their families live in black townships and rural villages—some just outside of my town; others far away, in places like Venda.

Today, we’re walking together in the rain, and I’m quickening my pace because—after all , it’s raining . That’s what you do in the rain. And even though it’s coming down noticeably harder, it’s 80 degrees and I’m not cold, I’m just wet. My hair is stuck to my forehead and my T-shirt is soaked … and I’m the only one running for cover. And I think: So what? It’s just water and in the middle of the January summer, it’s warm, refreshing water. Why run? Why do we run from the rain?

In my life back in the United States, I might run because I was carrying a leather handbag, or because I wore an outfit that shouldn’t get wet. I would run because rain dishevels and messes things up. Mostly though, we run because we just do; it’s a habit. I’ve done it a hundred times: running to my car or the subway station with a newspaper sheltering my head. I have never not quickened my pace in the rain until today.

It took all of my 27 years and a move to Africa , where I don’t have a leather handbag to shelter or a pretty outfit to protect. I’m wearing an old cotton skirt and a T-shirt, and I’m drenched, and I love it. I learn things here in the most ordinary circumstances. And I feel like a smarter, better woman today because I got groceries in the rain.

But on the long walk home, positively soaked and smiling like a fool, I notice a car pulling over and a man yelling in Afrikaans to get in, get in. I look in the direction I’ve come from and several meters behind me is a woman with a baby tied to her back and an elderly man carrying bags, leading a young boy by the hand. On the road ahead, a woman about my age carries a parcel wrapped in plastic, balanced precariously on her head. There are maybe 20 people walking with me in my reverie of rain and they are black. And the man in the car is white and he’s gesturing frantically for me to get in. Why me? Why not the others? Because I’m white and it’s about race. Everything is about race here.

This man in the car is trying to do something kind and neighborly. He wants to help me and his gesture is right, but his instincts are so wrong. How do you resent someone who is, for no benefit of his own, trying to help? But I do. I resent him and I resent the world he lives in that taught him such selective kindness. This whole event unravels in a few seconds’ time. He’s leaned over and opened the car door, urging me in … and I get in. And we speed past my fellow walkers and he drops me at my doorstep before I have time to think of anything besides giving him directions.

It feels like a mistake because I’m ashamed to think what the Venda women would have felt if he’d ignored them and they had watched me climb into that car. In some ways, the whole episode seems absurd. I’m not going to atone for 400 years of South African history by walking with black people in the rain. If I’d refused his ride, he wouldn’t have thought anything besides the fact that I was certifiably crazy. That’s the thing about being here: I’m not going to change anything. But I believe it matters in some infinitesimal way that people like the Venda women, and the dozens of people who may walk alongside me on any given day, know that I’m there. In black South African culture, it is polite to greet every person you pass. That’s what they do, so I do it, too. On the occasional morning, someone might greet me as “sesi,” sister. I have to believe that matters; I know it matters to me.

I was disappointed in myself for getting into the car because I acted according to the same habit that makes us think rain an inconvenience. Just as we run from the rain, I hopped into that car because I’m supposed to. Conventionally, it makes sense. But convention compels us to do so many things that don’t make any sense at all. Convention misinforms our instincts. And in a larger sense, it is convention that propels Afrikaner culture anachronistically into the future. Ten years after the supposed end of apartheid, I’m living in a world of institutionalized racism. Convention becomes institution—and it’s oppressive and it’s unjust. I know that if I’m going to make it here for two more years, I need to walk in the rain. It’s a small, wasted gesture, but it’s an uncorrupted instinct that makes me feel human.

So much about living here feels like that fraction of a second when the Afrikaner man was appealing to my conventional sensibilities and the people on the street were appealing to my human instincts. It may feel unnatural to reject those sensibilities just as, at first, it feels unnatural to walk in the rain. But if I lose a hold on my instincts here, I’ll fail myself and I’ll fail to achieve those tiny things that matter so much. It’s simple and it’s small; and it’s everything. Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Indeed. Let it rain.

Example Comparison and Contrast Essay #2

Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC

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.

Attributions

Content taken from Chapter 5 – Rhetorical Modes  by Jenifer Kurtz is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

English 101: Journey Into Open Copyright © 2021 by Christine Jones is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Campus Protests At Commencements, Protesters Deliver Messages in Many Ways

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Several people dressed caps and gowns at a graduation walk on a stretch of grass in a field. Some of them are carrying a white banner that says, “Free Palestine.” In the distance is a large screen that says, “Duke.”

Here’s the latest on campus protests.

Graduates across the country showed their opposition to the war in Gaza this weekend, walking out of commencement speeches, draping themselves in Palestinian flags and chanting their demands to divest from Israel.

By and large, the ceremonies carried on. At Duke University Jerry Seinfeld, the famed comedian who has lately taken a public stance in support of Jews in the United States and Israel, received an honorary degree and advised hundreds of graduates to maintain a sense of humor, while a few dozen protesters walked out in their caps and gowns to have their own ceremony.

At Emerson College in Boston, where more than 100 protesters were arrested less than three weeks ago, some students used their walks across the stage as moments of individual protest, removing their gowns or displaying signs, sometimes to cheers and often to loud boos from the families watching from the stands.

At the University of Minnesota, several students receiving diplomas unfurled banners with pro-Palestinian messages like “Students for Palestine” and “Let Gaza Live.”

The graduations capped a tumultuous few weeks on college campuses as students mounted pro-Palestinian protests and encampments and, in many places, the police removed them. College administrators prepared for potential disruptions with increased security, strict ticketing systems, designated free speech zones and even requests that students open their gowns for inspection.

Pomona College, where pro-Palestinian students have announced a protest targeting the ceremony, moved the location of its commencement after demonstrators set up an encampment on the stage where the event was supposed to be held.

A few universities came to agreements with protesters or bowed to student demands and canceled commencement speeches .

Here are other developments:

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said on Sunday that it reached an agreement with student protesters to end their encampment and not restart it, promising to end some of the proceedings on student conduct involving the encampment and to review calls for divestment from Israel.

Arizona State University has banned a postdoctoral research scholar from campus as it investigates a video that showed him confronting a woman wearing a hijab at a pro-Israel rally near the school’s Tempe campus . The university, where the campus police recently broke up a pro-Palestinian encampment and arrested dozens of people, has also put the chief of its campus police department on leave.

Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans last week became the second school to rescind a commencement speaking invitation to Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The University of Vermont said earlier this month that she would not be speaking there, a concession to a demand from student demonstrators.

More than 2,800 people have been arrested at pro-Palestinian protests on U.S. campuses since April 18, according to New York Times tracking data .

— Shaila Dewan ,  Eduardo Medina and Maya Shwayder

A skirmish breaks out near Pomona College’s graduation.

Scuffle breaks out during pomona college commencement, pro-palestinian demonstrators tried to block access to pomona college’s graduation ceremony on sunday..

[chanting in call and response] Not another nickel, not another dime. No more money for Israel’s crime. Resistance is justified when people are occupied.

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At least one person was arrested after scuffles broke out among pro-Palestinian protesters, private security officers and police officers outside Pomona College’s commencement in Los Angeles on Sunday evening, the latest confrontation between the school and a protest movement that has received strong support from students and faculty on campus.

The skirmish occurred outside the Shrine Auditorium, in downtown Los Angeles, where school administrators had made a last-minute decision to relocate the event. Since last week, protesters had been camping out on the school’s graduation stage at its campus in Claremont about 40 miles away.

As graduates and their families lined up outside the auditorium, more than a hundred protesters converged on the group, unfurling banners that read “Pomona College divest from genocide now,” and chanting “Shame!”

Minor fights broke out after demonstrators attempted to block some family members of the graduates from entering the venue. Los Angeles Police Department officers in riot gear moved in to disperse the crowd. No injuries were reported, and the commencement went on as scheduled.

Hours before the event on Sunday, as the university was preparing to bus students to the new graduation site, protesters took down their encampment on campus and declared victory in a statement, saying they had accomplished their goal of disrupting commencement.

The protesters at Pomona College, a private liberal arts college, began camping on campus in late March near a pro-Palestinian art project that was erected near a student services building. The project was dismantled by the college in early April, and protesters responded by storming and occupying the president’s office, leading to 20 arrests .

At the time, protesters voluntarily removed their encampment, but students returned last week, erecting tents on the stage that had been set up for graduation. Many students and faculty members believe the school has been hesitant to clear the new encampment because of criticism by some over the arrests last month. The school did not respond to a request for an interview.

Protesters at Pomona College have called on the school to disclose its investments in weapons manufacturers that work with Israel and negotiate on divestment. In February, the student government voted in favor of an academic boycott of Israel — the severing of relations with the country’s academic and cultural institutions — and approved a resolution calling on the college to disclose its ties to companies connected to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

Pomona College is one of five undergraduate colleges and two graduate institutions that make up the Claremont Colleges . At Pitzer College, another Claremont College, an encampment was disbanded by protesters after the president agreed on May 3 to disclose “its holdings in military and weapons manufacturers.”

The success at Pitzer has galvanized protesters at Pomona, who say that the college has so far not engaged with their demands.

For Lucía Driessen, 23, a student graduating with degrees in public policy analysis and biology, relocating the commencement to Los Angeles meant that her friends from other Claremont Colleges could not attend. And because a livestream of the ceremony was canceled, her parents could not watch from the East Coast.

“We’re used to graduation being a really big community thing on our campuses” she said. “And now it’s like we were ripped away from our community.”

— Jonathan Wolfe Reporting from Los Angeles

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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and protesters reach a deal to end an encampment.

Protesters at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will take down a pro-Palestinian encampment that had stood for two weeks under an agreement reached with the school, university officials said in a statement on Sunday. The encampment, believed to be the last one standing at a Wisconsin college, will be gone by Tuesday, they said.

School officials had allowed the encampment to stand and occupy a broad patch of lawn between Mitchell Hall and a busy thoroughfare on the campus’s southern boundary, choosing not to call in the police. That approach differed from one at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where administrators in early May called in the police to break down the tents after negotiations failed. After the initial crackdown failed to end the encampment, Wisconsin-Madison later came to an agreement with protesters to break down the camp voluntarily before commencement ceremonies over the weekend.

Mark Mone, the chancellor of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said in a statement last Wednesday that the university had exercised “the widest possible amount of patience and restraint.” But he also indicated that patience had nearly run out, and warned that the school might take action.

Under the agreement with the group of protesters, known as the UWM Popular University for Palestine Coalition, the university pledged to join calls for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas; denounce the destruction by Israeli forces of schools and universities in Gaza; and meet with protest leaders over their concerns about university investments.

The university also agreed to encourage the Water Council, a Milwaukee consortium of water technology companies, to cut ties with two Israeli government-owned entities, Mekorot and the Israel Innovation Authority. Mr. Mone is the treasurer of the Water Council’s board of directors.

In exchange, protesters agreed to take down the encampment, starting on Sunday and finishing by Tuesday, and to refrain from disrupting the university’s commencement ceremonies on Sunday.

In a statement, the protesters acknowledged the agreement.

“After hard fought edits and careful consideration by the coalition, we determined we had obtained all possible benefits from the encampment,” they said.

— Dan Simmons Reporting from Milwaukee

As Jerry Seinfeld receives an honorary degree at Duke, students walk out in protest.

Dozens of students walk out of duke commencement ceremony, as the comedian jerry seinfeld received an honorary degree at duke university’s commencement, dozens of students walked out and chanted, “free palestine.” some also chanted mr. seinfeld’s name during the walkout..

From stage: “Big deal about our commencement speaker?” [crowd boos and cheers] Some in crowd: “Free Palestine!” Some in crowd: “Free Palestine!” Some in crowd: “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!” From stage: “Thank you.”

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Jerry Seinfeld knows his way around handling awkward moments onstage. Even so, the initial reception he faced at Duke University’s commencement on Sunday reflected a more complicated audience than usual.

As Mr. Seinfeld, who has recently been vocal about his support for Israel, received an honorary degree, dozens of students walked out and chanted, “Free, free Palestine,” while the comedian looked on and smiled tensely.

Many in the crowd jeered the protesters. Minutes later, as the last of the protesters were filing out, he approached the mic. His first words were: “Thank you. Oh my God, what a beautiful day.”

In his commencement speech, Mr. Seinfeld was mostly cautious, opting for a tight comedic script interspersed with life advice instead of a full-on response to the protests against his presence.

Still, in one part of his speech, he defended various types of privilege and appeared to hint at the elephant in the room.

“I grew up a Jewish boy from New York,” he said to applause from the crowd. “That is a privilege if you want to be a comedian.”

Outside Duke’s stadium, graduates walked around campus, chanting: “Disclose, divest, we will not stop, we will not rest.” When they arrived at a green space, they were joined by hundreds of other people — including faculty, relatives and other protesters — who organized a makeshift graduation for them.

As they prepared to throw their caps in the air, Mr. Seinfeld continued his speech inside Wallace Wade Stadium, telling students that while he admired their generation’s commitment to inclusivity and not hurting other people’s feelings, “it is worth the sacrifice of occasional discomfort to have some laughs.”

Mr. Seinfeld, who has two children who have attended Duke, has been uncharacteristically vocal about his support for Jews in Israel while doing press in recent weeks for his latest film, “Unfrosted,” which chronicles the invention of Pop-Tarts .

Typically an apolitical comedian who prefers punchy takes on ordinary observations, Mr. Seinfeld is now engaging in the type of celebrity activism that few associate with him, and that has drawn criticism and praise. Since the attacks of Oct. 7 in Israel, he has signed a letter in support of the country and posted an earnest message on social media about his devotion to it.

His wife, Jessica Seinfeld, a cookbook author, recently promoted on Instagram a counterprotest at the University of California, Los Angeles, that she said she had helped bankroll. (She condemned the violence that occurred at a later counterprotest.)

In December, Mr. Seinfeld traveled to Tel Aviv to meet with the families of hostages, soberly recounting afterward the missile attack that occurred during the trip.

Still, his comments on the issues have been somewhat modest.

“I don’t preach about it,” he told GQ last month. “I have my personal feelings about it that I discuss privately. It’s not part of what I can do comedically, but my feelings are very strong.”

On Sunday, Mr. Seinfeld played to the crowd, telling students: “You’re never going to believe this: Harvard used to be a great place to go to school. Now it’s Duke.”

Not everyone at Duke, however, was laughing at Mr. Seinfeld’s jokes.

The Rev. Dr. Stefan Weathers Sr., an ordained minister in the American Baptist Church who was awarded a Ph.D. in divinity, had written a letter before the ceremony to the university asking that the comedian be replaced, citing Mr. Seinfeld’s ongoing and strong support for Israel.

Shreya Joshi, a graduate and one of the organizers of the protest, said that after Duke selected Mr. Seinfeld as the speaker, she and other seniors, faculty members and pro-Palestinian supporters began organizing the walkout and an alternate graduation.

Ms. Joshi, 21, who studied history at Duke and will be attending law school at the University of Chicago, said that it was painful to have lost out on a high school graduation ceremony in 2020 because of the pandemic, and the seniors still wanted one this year, even if it meant creating one outside of the university’s official channels.

And that pain, she added, paled in comparison to what people in Gaza are experiencing.

“The fact that we were going to sit here and celebrate our own?” Ms. Joshi said. “It felt trivial in the face of all that. Have you seen the tiny violin? That’s how it felt.”

Ms. Joshi said that they had tried to leave the main commencement ceremony in the least disruptive way possible. They chose to leave as the honorary degree was being given to Mr. Seinfeld because “none of us particularly wanted to listen to Seinfeld.”

— Eduardo Medina and Emily Cataneo Reporting from Duke University’s campus in Durham N.C.

At Emerson College’s commencement, there were expressions of protest from beginning to end.

At Emerson College’s commencement, pro-Palestinian supporters made sure they were seen and heard throughout the ceremony.

The graduation for the Boston school, held at Agganis Arena, took place less than three weeks after police officers stormed an encampment and arrested more than 100 protesters.

As the more than 1,000 students entered in a procession, about one in every five students had a fist raised or some kind of pro-Palestinian paraphernalia accompanying their cap and gown: a keffiyeh, a decorated mortarboard with a Palestinian flag, and, in one case, a Palestinian flag worn as a cape.

Almost immediately after the journalism professor Michael Brown began to speak to start the ceremony, several students began shouting pro-Palestinian slogans, which were met with loud boos from the crowd of families in the stands.

Brown pressed on forcefully. “I’m here for the graduates of 2024,” he proclaimed loudly over the din, drawing cheers from the crowd. “You are the class that didn’t have a high school graduation, so you’re going to have a graduation today!”

That set the tone for the rest of the ceremony. Several speeches that followed were interrupted. And the processions across the stage were filled with individual protests from students. Some removed their robes onstage in protest. Some held up signs.

One woman arrived onstage with no robe on, wearing all white covered in red writing about the war in Gaza . She threw her diploma across the stage and held up her hands, covered in red paint, before exiting. Another draped a flag over the main podium at the center of the stage, which was promptly removed.

The biggest cheers were for the student class president, Joe Nalieth. “Our message cannot be washed away with the chalk,” he said in his speech. “Our voices echo on campuses across the world, especially those campuses which have been reduced to rubble. Let us not forget, we are creatives, innovators and revolutionaries.”

After the ceremony wrapped up just after 1 p.m., around 50 students defected from the recessional to stay on the floor on the arena, trying to shout “Free Palestine!” over the drum corps playing the graduates out.

— Maya Shwayder Reporting from Boston

Student protesters at Johns Hopkins agree to end encampment.

Johns Hopkins University said on Sunday that it reached an agreement with student protesters to end their encampment and not restart it, the university said in a statement . The school said it promised students a “timely review” of their calls for divestment from Israel.

The university also said it was ending proceedings on some student conduct from the encampment as long as protesters do not disrupt more university functions, including the commencement ceremony on May 23. But those proceedings will continue for allegations of misconduct including violence, assault or property damage.

“We are grateful to the many members of our community — faculty, staff, and students — who helped us navigate this moment,” Ron Daniels, the university president, said. “This is a truly difficult time in our world and at our university, with the anguish of the ongoing conflict and human tragedy in Israel and Gaza.”

Students began an encampment on April 29, which the university said violated policies that were designed to safeguard freedom of expression and safety on campus.

The group behind the encampment, the Hopkins Justice Collective, confirmed the agreement.

“In no way are we satisfied with this end to our demonstration,” the group said in a statement, saying that it was only a first step. “Palestinian liberation remains in our sights.”

— Colbi Edmonds

A closer look at the violent attack at U.C.L.A. raises questions about the police response.

Nearly two weeks after a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of California, Los Angeles, was attacked by counterprotesters, university officials still have not explained why security officers stood by for hours while the attack was underway, nor have the authorities arrested any of those who swarmed in wielding metal rods, water bottles and firecrackers in one of the worst outbreaks of violence in the college protests that have rocked the country.

The extent of the policing failure has become clearer in recent days, as witnesses have come forward to describe a chaotic night of violence on April 30, in which students and bystanders repeatedly called 911 and nonemergency lines, finding little help and calls that were disconnected. A dispatcher told one caller pleading for help that they were ending the call because “I have actual emergencies to handle.”

One man was filmed by a local television station on the phone with emergency dispatchers, alerting them that people were getting hurt. “Security has abandoned this encampment,” he could be heard saying before lowering his phone and looking at it. “They just hung up on me again,” he said incredulously.

Miles away in Sacramento, staff members in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office contacted the U.C.L.A. chancellor’s office shortly after 11 p.m. to make sure that law enforcement officers were responding to the scene, and were assured that more officers were coming, according to a person familiar with the situation, who described the discussions on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to make them public.

But as the night wore on and there was still no intervention, the person said, the governor’s office moved to circumvent local authority and ordered California Highway Patrol officers to the campus. The state officers began assembling on campus at 1:45 a.m., a few moments before L.A.P.D. riot police arrived, but it took another hour to quell the clashes.

The chancellor’s office, the L.A.P.D. and an outside consultant hired to investigate the tardy response have all declined to discuss it, pending the outcome of an inquiry that could take weeks or months. The campus police chief, John Thomas, also did not comment. He told The Los Angeles Times that he had relied on private security officers who were not authorized to make arrests, but that he had done “everything I could” to keep students safe.

To understand what happened, New York Times journalists conducted interviews with several people who were at the protests that night, including two people who were involved in the counterprotest; reviewed and analyzed video footage ; and spoke with organizations involved in both the pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli movements on campus.

The review found no public callouts for such a violent attack and no clear signs that one group coordinated the attack, though some people had arrived wearing black clothes and masks and seemingly prepared for violence. There was also no indication that the police had prepared for the kind of severe assault on the encampment that took place.

Instead, it appeared that contract security officers who did not have sufficient authority or numbers to halt the escalating melee had been caught by surprise and left to wait for reinforcements that did not arrive for hours.

“Either the university was hesitant to do anything to get law enforcement involved, or law enforcement was dealing with authorization issues and political considerations from elected officials,” said Ed Davis, a former Boston police commissioner who is familiar with crowd control policing issues. “And then things got out of hand.”

Despite growing concern on campus about the pro-Palestinian encampment, complaints about antisemitic incidents and the potential for violence, in the early days of the protests, university officials made it clear that they would consider calling in outside police only as a last resort.

“We are following University of California systemwide policy guidance, which directs us not to request law enforcement involvement preemptively, and only if absolutely necessary to protect the physical safety of our campus community,” Mary Osako, the vice chancellor for strategic communications, said in a statement on April 26 , shortly after the encampment had been set up.

On the night of April 30, a range of counterprotesters had gathered, a group that grew in size as expectations mounted that the police would begin dismantling the encampment. In interviews, witnesses said there had been little warning before counterprotesters went on the offensive.

One of the counterprotesters, Liel Asherian, was seen on video footage kicking at the encampment’s plywood barrier, pulling boards to the ground and slamming a tennis racket against the wood that remained. He said he had gone that night to see the encampment on his own, though he later acknowledged that a friend of his was also pictured at the scene. In an interview, he said he was not part of any group and had not intended to participate in a conflict.

Mr. Asherian said he had approached the pro-Palestinian encampment to ask some people why they were protesting. He said he believed Jewish people such as himself and Palestinians were like cousins, and he expressed alarm at the innocent Palestinians being killed in Israel’s military campaign. But he said he disliked the disruptive tactics the pro-Palestinian protesters were using at U.C.L.A.

He said things devolved when someone called him a “dirty Jew” and he was doused in pepper spray.

“That made me start breaking down their barricades,” he said.

Also among the counterprotesters that night was Narek Palyan, an activist known for making frequent antisemitic statements, as well as comments critical of gay and transgender people. He said he went alone and was motivated to show up in part because he had seen a video of a Jewish woman on the pro-Palestinian side criticizing white people.

“I wanted to go find her, specifically,” he said, adding that he was not able to.

Mr. Palyan said he did not necessarily support either side in the protest or the war.

He said he spent much of the night asking people questions about their positions and trying to keep people from fighting by throwing makeshift weapons into nearby bushes. Mr. Palyan, who is Armenian American, also said he had warned two younger Armenian boys to stay out of the melee.

“I told them, ‘This isn’t ours,’” he said.

Anthony Cabassa, a self-described conservative independent journalist who posted videos of the chaos, said many people may have flocked to the scene on Tuesday night in the hours after U.C.L.A. declared the encampment illegal, believing that the police would move in to clear it and make arrests.

But then the counterprotesters descended on the protest, pulling metal gates away from the group and attacking protesters.

“We were all waiting for the L.A.P.D. to show up, and they never did,” Mr. Cabassa said in an interview. “As the night went on, more and more pro-Israel folks started showing up, to the point where it was starting to get worrisome.”

He said some people seemed to have arrived after seeing broadcasts of the tense scene that he and other livestreamers made, wanting to witness what would happen next.

“People were responding to my livestream and saying ‘I just showed up because of you. I live nearby,’” he said. But others, he said, appeared to have planned for potential clashes, wearing all-black outfits and ski masks. Mr. Cabassa recalled being concerned about their presence.

In the end, more than 30 protesters were injured, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Los Angeles, before police dispersed the crowd.

Brian H. Levin, the founding director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, said that, with religion and ethnicity at the heart of the recent protests, the attack had amounted to a hate crime.

“This comes at a time when major U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, have had a surge in anti-Arab and Muslim hate crimes and have hit a record for anti-Jewish crimes,” he said.

Mr. Levin watched the incident via livestream and said the weapons, the presence of some of the same people from previous protests and the waving of a yellow flag associated with Chabad-Lubavitch, a Hasidic Jewish movement, suggested some organizational coordination among the counterprotesters.

The director of the nearby Chabad House said the group had no role in the protest that night.

But he also noted that some of the implements wielded by the counterprotesters “were spontaneous weapons of opportunity,” and that some people “may have just showed up randomly with their own separate xenophobic and religious bigotries.”

The next day, after the counterprotesters had left, police officers moved in to remove the pro-Palestinian encampment, making more than 200 arrests.

Marie Salem, a U.C.L.A. graduate student and one of the protesters, questioned why the police had arrested dozens of student protesters but had not yet arrested any of those who had attacked them.

“The majority of the encampment is students that attend this university, and who were not violent,” Ms. Salem said. “We were met with violence, and the other side looked like majority not-students, which the university chose to protect over their own students.”

Jonathan Wolfe and Shawn Hubler contributed reporting. Susan C. Beachy and Kitty Bennett contributed research.

— Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs ,  Mike Baker and Serge F. Kovaleski Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs reported from Los Angeles, Mike Baker from Seattle and Serge F. Kovaleski from New York.

Frustrated by Gaza Coverage, Student Protesters Turn to Al Jazeera

Nick Wilson has closely followed news on the war in Gaza since October. But Mr. Wilson, a Cornell student, is picky when it comes to his media diet: As a pro-Palestinian activist, he doesn’t trust major American outlets’ reporting on Israel’s campaign in Gaza.

Instead, he turns to publications less familiar to some American audiences, like the Arab news network Al Jazeera.

“Al Jazeera is the site that I go to to get an account of events that I think will be reliable,” he said.

Many student protesters said in recent interviews that they were seeking on-the-ground coverage of the war in Gaza, and often, a staunchly pro-Palestinian perspective — and they are turning to alternative media for it. There’s a range of options: Jewish Currents , The Intercept, Mondoweiss and even independent Palestinian journalists on social media, as they seek information about what is happening in Gaza.

Their preferences embody a broader shift for members of Generation Z, who are increasingly seeking out news from a wider array of sources and questioning legacy outlets in a fragmented media ecosystem.

Israel’s recent ban on the local operations of Al Jazeera has only elevated the network’s status among many student protesters. They prize coverage from reporters on the ground, and Al Jazeera has a more extensive operation in Gaza than any other publication. Students also noted the sacrifices it has made to tell the story there. Two Al Jazeera journalists have died since the start of the war.

“Al Jazeera is sort of playing that role for a lot of younger Americans, in terms of getting a different perspective than they feel like they’re getting from U.S. media,” said Ben Toff, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Minnesota.

While many Western media outlets, with few if any journalists in Gaza before the war, have struggled to gain access to the territory, Al Jazeera has been recognized for its raw, searing portrayals of the death and destruction there. A typical report may show video of Israeli tanks rolling into cities, alongside drone shots of leveled buildings in Gaza City and Palestinians fleeing their homes.

“It’s news about the Middle East, and it doesn’t really convey it in a Western perspective , ” said Alina Atiq, a student at the University of South Florida who has pushed her university to divest from Israel.

The network, owned by Qatar, has its headquarters in Doha and operates two separate newsrooms that provide English- and Arabic-language content. Its mobile apps have been downloaded in the United States 295,000 times since October, an increase of more than 200 percent from the previous seven months, according to Appfigures, a market research firm.

Among the outlets frequently cited by protesters, Al Jazeera English is by far the most popular on social media. It has 1.9 million followers on TikTok — up from around 750,000 at the outset of the war — and 4.6 million on Instagram.

Hussein Ibish, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, described the network’s Arabic-language channel as more outwardly pro-Palestinian than the English one, which he said has a more subtle slant.

Critics say its coverage veers into support of the armed resistance to Israel. The Israeli government, which has accused Al Jazeera of acting as a “mouthpiece” for Hamas, last Sunday seized its broadcast equipment and shut down its operations in the country for at least 45 days.

Al Jazeera called the government’s accusation “baseless” in a statement, adding that it has broadcast every news conference held by the Israeli cabinet and representatives for the Israel Defense Forces, in addition to videos from Hamas.

It also said that its reporting “provides diverse viewpoints and narrative and counter narrative,” and that charges of pro-Palestinian bias should be “scrutinized through careful analysis of our journalistic standards and reporting practices.”

The Israeli government’s rejection of Al Jazeera appears to have bolstered the network’s reputation among some of the students.

“It goes to show the extent to which Israel is afraid of the coverage and reportage of Al Jazeera,” said Matthew Vickers, a junior at Occidental College in Los Angeles who has been active in efforts to persuade his school to divest from companies tied to Israel.

The protesters rattle off a list of mainstream American publications as having coverage they find objectionable, including CNN, The Atlantic and The New York Times, among many others. Though major news outlets have reported extensively on Israel’s campaign in Gaza, the death toll and the damage, the coverage in the view of student protesters doesn’t assign enough blame to Israel for Palestinian deaths, or thoroughly fact-check Israeli officials. And they said protest coverage has focused too much on antisemitism on college campuses instead of Islamophobia.

“There’s a fair amount of misinformation that is being fed to us by mainstream media, and just a clear bias when it comes to the Palestine issue,” said Cameron Jones, a student at Columbia University and an organizer with Jewish Voice for Peace, a pro-Palestinian organization.

The activists’ interest in Al Jazeera stands in contrast with the outlet’s previous struggles to find an audience in the United States. The network started an American channel in 2013, but that folded in 2016 with nightly ratings that hovered around 30,000, far shy of viewership for cable networks like Fox News and CNN.

Part of what doomed the network back then was “a distinctly anti-American bent” to its coverage, Mr. Ibish wrote in a 2016 guest essay for The Times. But now, broadcast from a different country, the network’s tone is finding its audience on university campuses, he said.

“There’s a third-worldist, anti-imperial point of view, and that’s also the view that many college kids have adopted,” he said.

Jeremy W. Peters contributed reporting.

— Santul Nerkar

On a day with many calm ceremonies, Berkeley’s protests stand out.

At the University of California, Berkeley, hundreds of soon-to-be graduates rose from their seats in protest, chanting and disrupting their commencement. At Virginia Commonwealth University, about 60 graduates in caps and gowns walked out during Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s speech. At the University of Wisconsin, a handful of graduates stood with their backs to their chancellor as she spoke.

After weeks of tumult on college campuses over pro-Palestinian protests, many administrators prepared themselves for disruptions at graduations on Saturday. And while there were demonstrations — most noisily, perhaps, at U.C. Berkeley — ceremonies at several universities unfolded without major incident. Many students who protested did so silently.

Anticipating possible disruptions, university administrators had increased their security or taken various measures, including dismantling encampments, setting aside free speech zones, canceling student speeches and issuing admission tickets.

Some administrators also tried to reach agreements with encampment organizers. The University of Wisconsin said it had reached a deal with protesters to clear the encampment in return for a meeting to discuss the university’s investments.

Some students, too, were on edge about their big day — many missed their high school graduations four years ago because of the pandemic and did not want to repeat the experience.

In 2020, David Emuze and his mother had watched his high school graduation “ceremony,” a parade of senior photos set to music on Zoom, from their living room in Springfield, Ill. This time, he and his classmates at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign heard that other schools, like the University of Southern California and Columbia University, had canceled their main-stage commencements altogether because of campus unrest.

But on Saturday morning, Mr. Emuze donned his electric-blue mortarboard and orange sash, and his mother watched live from the audience as he received his bachelor’s degree in public health. “It was a touching, peaceful, inspiring and motivational ceremony,” he said, with a note of relief in his voice.

He said the keynote speaker, Jeanne Gang, an architect and University of Illinois alumna, had hit just the right note. She acknowledged that “we all know about what’s going on in the world right now,” but said it was a time to come together and celebrate achievements.

At Berkeley, the home of the free-speech movement, the protesters made themselves heard. Greta Brown, 23, an environmental science graduate, wore cap, gown and a stole with the word “Palestine” emblazoned on it. She was among those who stood and chanted during the graduation speeches. “I felt like it was necessary,” she said, because the university had not done enough. “I just heard a lot of, like, ‘Oh, we hear you,’ and a centrist point of view.”

At the beginning of the ceremony, Chancellor Carol Christ was met with boos when she began to speak, but there were louder cheers when she mentioned the pro-Palestinian encampment nearby. “Students have been camping around Sproul Hall for almost three weeks,” Dr. Christ said. “They feel passionately about the brutality of the violence in Gaza.” She added, “I, too, am deeply troubled by the terrible tragedy.”

As the speeches continued, the disruptions escalated. Dozens of students in the crowd in the stands rose with signs reading “Divest,” and at least 10 Palestinian flags. They began to chant, and then interrupted the speech by the student body president, Sydney Roberts, who said, “This wouldn’t be Berkeley without a protest.”

Despite warnings from a school official, a group of students staked out a section of empty stadium seats behind the main stage, chanting, “Hey hey, ho ho, the occupation has got to go” and “UC divest” and attracting other students until the crowd swelled to about 500. Most of them slowly made their way to the exit as the graduation drew to a close.

Not all of the protests were centered on the Middle East. At Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond, Micah White, 26, was one of roughly 60 students who walked out while the governor was speaking.

“The first thing that motivated me is the hypocrisy of V.C.U. declaring themselves to be a minority-serving institution, declaring themselves to be for diversity, equity and inclusion, and bringing Youngkin in as commencement speaker,” he said.

The university’s board voted on Friday against requiring students to take racial literacy classes . Mr. Youngkin, a Republican, requested to review course materials for proposed racial literacy classes.

Mr. Youngkin also supported the dismantling of an encampment on campus late last month during which 13 people, including six students, were arrested. Sereen Haddad, 19, who studies psychology at V.C.U., said she was knocked to the ground during the clash between protesters and the police that day and that Mr. Youngkin had failed to acknowledge that the encampment was peaceful.

The ceremonies came after a week in which some colleges made arrests and cleared encampments of pro-Palestinian demonstrators. In recent days, authorities dismantled encampments at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology . Officers were also called in to empty an encampment at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, deploying “chemical munitions” in the process, hours before its graduation ceremony on Friday evening.

Anger over the clearing of an encampment lingered for some at the University of North Carolina commencement on Saturday night. Many students jeered their interim chancellor, Lee Roberts, who last month ordered that an encampment of pro-Palestinian protesters be removed. Still, when two students waved Palestinian flags and walked on the field in the middle of Mr. Roberts’s speech before security escorted them out, the majority of the stadium booed them and chanted, “USA! USA!”

Cynthia Howle and Eduardo Medina contributed reporting.

An earlier version of this article misstated the given name of a female student at Virginia Commonwealth University and misidentified her gender. She is Sereen Haddad, not Sareen.

An earlier version of this article misstated the title of the person who warned a group of students against disrupting the ceremony. It was a school official but not a vice provost.

How we handle corrections

— Shaila Dewan ,  Holly Secon ,  Leah Small and Robert Chiarito

Arizona State bans a scholar from campus after a confrontation at a protest.

Arizona State University has banned a postdoctoral research scholar and faculty member from campus as it investigates a video that went viral depicting him confronting a woman in a hijab, the school said this week.

In the video from May 5, the scholar, Jonathan Yudelman, along with another unidentified man, can be seen cursing and getting in a woman’s face at a pro-Israel rally near the school’s Tempe campus .

It was unclear what occurred before the video, but at one point in the video Mr. Yudelman can be seen repeatedly advancing toward the woman who is wearing a hijab, and telling her — “I’m literally in your face, that’s right” — as she backs away from him.

The woman responds and tells him that he is disrespecting her religious boundaries to which Mr. Yudelman responds, “You disrespect my sense of humanity,” followed by a profanity.

Mr. Yudelman, who was a postdoctoral fellow at the university’s School of Civics, Ethics and Leadership , had earlier resigned from the position, effective June 30, according to a statement the school released on Wednesday. But the school said he was placed on leave on May 6, adding that he was no longer permitted to come to campus, teach classes or interact with students or employees.

“Arizona State University protects freedom of speech and expression but does not tolerate threatening or violent behavior. While peaceful protest is welcome, all incidents of violent or threatening behavior will be addressed,” the statement added.

Mr. Yudelman was interviewed on May 5 at the pro-Israel rally by Phoenix television station KPNX . In the clip , he stated that campuses across the country were being “taken over by supporters of terrorism,” and stated that Jewish students were being intimidated. “It was important to come out, show the broader community that there are people who stand against this,” he said.

Mr. Yudelman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— Anna Betts

Pennsylvania’s governor leans into the campus fight over antisemitism.

A few hours after Columbia University canceled its main commencement ceremony following weeks of pro-Palestinian student protests, Gov. Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania was in his office in Harrisburg, taking stock of the ways he sees universities letting students down.

“Our colleges, in many cases, are failing young people,” he said in an interview this week. “Failing to teach information that is necessary to form thoughtful perspectives. They are willing to let certain forms of hate pass by and condemn others more strongly.”

Mr. Shapiro — the leader of a pre-eminent battleground state, a rising Democrat and a proudly observant Jew — has also emerged as one of his party’s most visible figures denouncing the rise in documented antisemitism after the Hamas-led Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

And at a moment of growing Democratic anger and unease over how Israel is conducting its devastating military response, Mr. Shapiro, 50 — who has no obligation to talk about foreign policy — has not shied away from expressing support for the country while criticizing its right-wing government.

Plunging into a subject that has inflamed and divided many Americans carries risk for an ambitious Democrat from a politically important state. The politics around both the Gaza war and the protest movement are exceptionally fraught within the Democratic Party , and many of its voters and elected officials have become increasingly critical of Israel.

But Mr. Shapiro has been direct.

Asked if he considered himself a Zionist, he said that he did. When Iran attacked Israel last month, he wrote on social media that Pennsylvania “stands with Israel.”

When the University of Pennsylvania’s president struggled before Congress to directly answer whether calling for the genocide of Jews violated the school’s rules, Mr. Shapiro said she had failed to show “moral clarity.” ( She later resigned .) When opponents of the Gaza war picketed an Israeli-style restaurant in Philadelphia known for its falafel and tahini shakes, Mr. Shapiro called the demonstration antisemitic and showed up for lunch.

And as university officials have struggled to define where free speech ends and hate speech begins, a tension upending the final weeks of the school year, Mr. Shapiro has issued stern warnings about their responsibility to protect students from discrimination. The issue hits close to home: On Friday, police cleared an encampment of pro-Palestinian demonstrators off the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Shapiro had said it was “ past time ” for Penn to do so.

‘It should not be hard’

In the interview, Mr. Shapiro stressed that he did not believe all encampments or demonstrators were antisemitic — not “by any stretch.” But he suggested that on some campuses, antisemitic speech was treated differently than other kinds of hate speech.

“If you had a group of white supremacists camped out and yelling racial slurs every day, that would be met with a different response than antisemites camped out, yelling antisemitic tropes,” he said.

Law enforcement officials and advocacy groups have tracked a rise in antisemitic, anti-Muslim and anti-Arab acts in recent months.

Speaking after an appearance at a Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony on Monday, Mr. Shapiro emphasized that “we should be universal in our condemnation of antisemitism, Islamophobia and all forms of hate.”

While there is room for “nuance” in foreign policy discussions, he said, “it should not be hard for anyone on the political left or right to call out antisemitism.”

In a new survey , Mr. Shapiro, a former state attorney general, had a job approval rating of 64 percent, with just 19 percent of Pennsylvanians saying they disapproved.

He has long emphasized bipartisanship and prioritized nonideological issues like rapidly reopening a stretch of Interstate 95 after a collapse. And his own religious observance has helped him connect with people of other faiths in a state where Jews are estimated to make up about 3 percent of the electorate.

“I make it home Friday night for Sabbath dinner because family and faith ground me,” he said in a campaign ad.

Many Jews in Pennsylvania hope that he will become the first Jewish president. On that subject, he deflects as skillfully as any potential White House aspirant: He laughs or insists that he loves and is focused on his current job.

“I am very humbled that people have taken note of our work,” he said. “I sort of dismiss those comments because they’re not helpful to the work I’m trying to do every day as governor, the voice I’m trying to have both here in the commonwealth and across the country to root out hate and to speak with moral clarity.”

He added, “It’s certainly not helpful when it comes to our top political priority, which is to re-elect President Biden.”

‘Josh is front and center’

The Mideast war, which has killed more than 34,000 people in Gaza, according to local health authorities, has fueled a broad and significant protest movement.

But on college campuses, there are sharp debates over when demonstrations against Israel and its treatment of Palestinians veer into antisemitic targeting of Jewish students and institutions.

To Mr. Shapiro, the distinction is clear: Criticism of Israeli policies is fair game. “Affixing to every Jew the policies of Israel,” he said, is not.

Mr. Shapiro said he felt a “unique responsibility” to speak out both because he leads a state founded on a vision of religious tolerance , and because he is a “proud American Jew.”

Indeed, his Jewish identity is intertwined with his public persona to a degree rarely seen in American politicians.

He is a Jewish day school alumnus who has featured challah in his campaign advertising and alludes to a collection of Jewish ethics in his speeches. In recent weeks, he offered an under-the-weather 76ers player matzo ball soup and celebrated the end of Passover with Martin’s Potato Rolls, a Pennsylvania delicacy.

“It’s not an easy time to be Jewish, and to be a Jewish politician,” said Sharon Levin, a former teacher of Mr. Shapiro’s. “Josh is front and center.”

Mr. Shapiro has also spent significant time in Israel, proposing to his wife in Jerusalem . Asked if, like Mr. Biden , he considers himself a Zionist, he confirmed that he did.

“I am pro-Israel,” he said. “I am pro-the idea of a Jewish homeland, a Jewish state, and I will certainly do everything in my power to ensure that Israel is strong and Israel is fortified and will exist for generations.”

He also supports a two-state solution , is a longtime critic of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said he mourned “the loss of life in Gaza.”

That approach is common among elected Democrats. But it is clearly at odds with the campus protests, which are often explicitly anti-Zionist.

The issue is virtually certain to divide Democrats on future presidential debate stages.

For now, Mr. Shapiro has not drawn the kind of backlash from the left that some other Israel supporters have, in part because he is not voting on foreign policy. And while another Pennsylvania Democrat, Senator John Fetterman, has sometimes engaged provocatively with pro-Palestinian demonstrators, Mr. Shapiro has a more measured, lawyerly style.

“It’s critically important that we remove hate from the conversation and allow people to freely express their ideas, whether I agree with their ideas or not,” he said.

Tensions over Israel

Some Muslim leaders say Mr. Shapiro has not found the right balance in his post-Oct. 7 comments.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Philadelphia said in a statement that two of its board members had skipped an iftar dinner he hosted, arguing that he had “created much harm and hurt among Muslim, Arab and pro-Palestinian Pennsylvanians.”

“The governor, like the White House, is not fully able to see the deep level of resentment that exists about his stances,” Ahmet Tekelioglu, the executive director of that chapter, said in an interview. (In a statement on Friday, he also criticized Mr. Shapiro’s call to disband the Penn encampment.) “The governor has lost the trust of many in the Muslim-American community in Pennsylvania that had long considered him a friend.”

Mr. Shapiro, whose team has clashed with CAIR before, replied, “I’m not going to let one press release from one group that has its own agenda take away from the close, strong relationship I have with the Muslim community.”

“We have tried to create, at the residence and across Pennsylvania, a place where all faiths feel welcomed,” he said.

State Representative Tarik Khan, a Philadelphia-area Democrat who is Muslim, did attend the iftar. It included time for prayer and a “legit dinner,” he said, rather than “hors d’oeuvres and get the hell out.”

“At a time when there’s a lot of trauma, sometimes the easy thing is to do nothing,” Mr. Khan said. “If he didn’t care about our community, he wouldn’t have spent that time.”

Growing expectations

Mr. Shapiro faces different pressures from the Jewish community.

In the Philadelphia area, many know him or his family personally — or feel as if they do — and in some cases expect him to speak out frequently in support of Israel. But, said Jonathan Scott Goldman, the chair of the Pennsylvania Jewish Coalition, his job is to lead the whole state.

“Jewish people want to and do claim Josh as their own,” Mr. Goldman said. “He knows he’s not just a Jewish governor. He’s a governor, and he’s the governor of all Pennsylvanians.”

In the interview, Mr. Shapiro reiterated that he was focused on that job.

But asked if — broadly speaking — he believed the country could elect a Jewish president in his lifetime, he replied, “Speaking broadly, absolutely.”

“It doesn’t mean that our nation is free of bias,” he said. “If you’re asking me, can the country rise above that, and elect someone that might look different than them or worship different than them? The answer is yes.”

— Katie Glueck Reporting from Pennsylvania’s State Capitol building in Harrisburg, Pa.

Here’s why antiwar protests haven’t flared up at Black colleges like Morehouse.

As President Biden prepares to give graduation remarks this month at Morehouse College in Atlanta, a prestigious historically Black institution, the White House is signaling anxiety about the potential for protests over the war in Gaza.

During a recent visit to Atlanta, Vice President Kamala Harris stopped to ask the Morehouse student government president about the sentiment on campus about the conflict, how students felt about Mr. Biden’s visit and what the graduating class would like to hear from him on May 19.

Then, on Friday, the White House dispatched the leader of its public engagement office and one of its most senior Black officials, Stephen K. Benjamin, to the Morehouse campus for meetings to take the temperature of students, faculty members and administrators.

The reasons for concern are clear: Nationwide demonstrations over the war and Mr. Biden’s approach to it have inflamed more than 60 colleges and universities , stoked tensions within the Democratic Party and created new headaches for his re-election bid.

Yet Mr. Biden appears to be entering a different type of scene at Morehouse.

While anger over the war remains palpable at Morehouse and other historically Black colleges and universities, these campuses have been largely free of turmoil, and tensions are far less evident: no encampments, few loud protests and little sign of Palestinian flags flying from dorm windows.

The reasons stem from political, cultural and socioeconomic differences with other institutions of higher learning. While H.B.C.U.s host a range of political views, domestic concerns tend to outweigh foreign policy in the minds of most students. Many started lower on the economic ladder and are more intently focused on their education and their job prospects after graduation.

At Morehouse — which has a legacy of civil rights protests and is the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s alma mater — discontent over the Gaza war has played out in classrooms and auditoriums rather than on campus lawns.

“This should not be a place that cancels people regardless of if we agree with them,” David Thomas, the Morehouse president, said in an interview on Thursday. Of Mr. Biden’s visit, he said, “Whether people support the decision or not, they are committed to having it happen on our campus in a way that doesn’t undermine the integrity or dignity of the school.”

Some students have held contentious meetings with university leaders and urged them to rescind Mr. Biden’s invitation, and a small group of faculty members has vowed not to attend commencement. Some alumni wrote a letter expressing worries that student protesters could be punished, noting Morehouse’s history of “celebrating student activists long after they have graduated.”

But the college might appear politically safer for the president to visit than many others. Morehouse is a custom-bound place where undergraduates traditionally do not step on the grass in the heart of campus until they receive their degrees. Alumni view commencement as a distinguished event not only for students but also for scores of family and community members — making it a less likely venue for a major disruption.

Mr. Biden chose to speak at Morehouse after the White House had received invitations from an array of colleges. It will be the third time in four years he has addressed graduates of a historically Black institution; he has also spoken at commencement for one military academy each year.

Among those lobbying Mr. Biden to come to Morehouse was Cedric Richmond, a member of the college’s class of 1995, who ran Mr. Biden’s public engagement office and is now a senior adviser at the Democratic National Committee .

Mr. Richmond, who has a nephew at Morehouse, predicted Mr. Biden would speak about the high expectations of the college’s alumni, promote his record of reducing Black unemployment and narrowing the racial wealth gap, and deliver familiar exhortations about perseverance.

Mr. Richmond does not think Mr. Biden will face protests.

“The Morehouse College graduation, at least as I remember it, is a very solemn event,” he said. “You have almost 500 African American males walking across that stage, whose parents and grandparents sacrificed and those students worked their butts off to, one, get into Morehouse, and two, to graduate. That’s a very significant day. And I’m just not sure whether students or protesters are going to interfere with that solemn moment.”

Vice President Harris, who graduated from Howard University, another historically Black institution, is engaged in her own virtual tour of such colleges. A congratulatory video she recorded will be played for graduates at 44 H.B.C.U.s; she is often introduced as a surprise guest and greeted with cheers.

In Atlanta last month, Ms. Harris asked the Morehouse student government president, Mekhi Perrin, what approach Mr. Biden should take in his address.

“I think really she was just trying to gain an idea of what exactly students’ issues were with his coming, if any at all,” Mr. Perrin said. “And what would kind of shift that narrative.”

Mr. Biden has been trailed by Gaza protesters for months. The last time he spoke at a four-year college campus was in January, when demonstrators interrupted him at least 10 times during a rally at George Mason University in Virginia.

Morehouse’s traditions are strong. Dr. King said it was a place where he had advanced his understanding of nonviolent protest and moral leadership — which current Morehouse students say they take seriously.

“I feel like the protests do need to come out, because if you don’t see students advocating for what they believe in, then the change that they’re advocating for will never come about,” said Benjamin Bayliss, a Morehouse junior. Looking toward the statue of Dr. King in front of the chapel named for the civil rights leader, he added, “You really feel the weight of what King did and the fire of the torch that he lit that we have to carry on.”

Yet even as some students feel compelled to protest, outside factors can shape their decisions. Roughly 75 percent of students at H.B.C.U.s, including 50 percent of Morehouse students, are eligible for the Pell Grant , a federal aid program for low-income students. More than 80 percent of Morehouse students receive some form of financial aid. In the Class of 2024, nearly a third of graduates will be the first in their family to receive a bachelor’s degree.

Some students at Black colleges also may decide against protesting because of family pressure , which amplifies the importance of securing their degrees.

“Your student body at Columbia is very different than the student body at, say, Dillard,” said Walter Kimbrough, who spent a decade as president of Dillard University, a historically Black institution in New Orleans. “It doesn’t mean that people aren’t concerned. But they understand that they have some different kinds of stakes.”

The stakes are also high for Mr. Biden, whose standing with Black voters has softened ahead of November’s presidential election. Young people are less enthusiastic about voting at all — partly because of Mr. Biden’s handling of the Gaza war, but also because they are unhappy with the choice between him and former President Donald J. Trump.

“I think it’s really just picking the lesser of two evils,” said Freddrell Rhea Green II, a Morehouse freshman. “Anything better than Donald Trump, a madman, a quote unquote tyrant, is better for me.”

“Joe Biden is probably a very nice person,” said Samuel Livingston, an associate professor of Africana studies at Morehouse. “But niceness is not the level of leadership that we need. We need ethical leadership. And continuing to support the aiding, abetting and the stripping of Palestinian land, from Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, is not ethical.”

Some students, like Auzzy Byrdsell, a senior studying kinesiology and journalism, support their classmates’ protests but fear a possible response from the police to a crowd of largely Black young men.

“Do we get tear-gassed?” said Mr. Byrdsell, the editor in chief of The Maroon Tiger, the school’s student newspaper. “Do we get arrested? That would not be the greatest look for a Morehouse College graduation.”

Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, a 1991 Morehouse alumnus, said that he hoped Mr. Biden would highlight his record and his agenda — but that there was little the president could say about the Gaza conflict to assuage his critics on campus.

“While what he says is important,” Mr. Warnock said, trying to put himself in the shoes of student protesters, “I think much more important is what he does in the future.”

Kitty Bennett contributed research.

— Maya King and Reid J. Epstein Maya King reported from Atlanta, and Reid J. Epstein from Washington.

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  1. Expert Tips on How To Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Successfully

    how to organize a compare and contrast essay

  2. How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay: Outline, Body, and Conclusion

    how to organize a compare and contrast essay

  3. How to Write a Compare & Contrast Essay

    how to organize a compare and contrast essay

  4. Compare Contrast Graphic Organizer

    how to organize a compare and contrast essay

  5. Layout and examples of compare/contrast. Informative/Explanatory

    how to organize a compare and contrast essay

  6. How to Write Compare and Contrast Essay with Examples| Block Method

    how to organize a compare and contrast essay

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  1. Week 2: Compare OR Contrast Essay

  2. Compare and Contrast Essay in Urdu/ Hindi

  3. Compare Contrast Essay Insight

  4. Comparison and Contrast Essay|| How to Write || BBS 1st Year English || Patterns for college writing

  5. Compare and contrast essay

  6. Module 4 Comparison Contrast Essay and Thesis Statement

COMMENTS

  1. Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

    Making effective comparisons. 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 ...

  2. How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay (with Pictures)

    4. Outline your body paragraphs based on point-by-point comparison. This is the more common method used in the comparison and contrast essay. [6] You can write a paragraph about each characteristic of both locations, comparing the locations in the same paragraph.

  3. Comparing and Contrasting

    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 ...

  4. 10.7 Comparison and Contrast

    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.

  5. 4.1: Introduction to 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. The thesis should focus on comparing, contrasting, or both. ... There are two main organizing strategies for compare-and-contrast essays. Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.

  6. Tips for Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay

    Summarize the main similarities and differences you have identified. Make a point regarding the relationship between your subjects. 4. Things to Remember. Here are some important tips to keep in mind when writing your compare and contrast essay: Ensure you are comparing or contrasting the same criteria between each subject.

  7. Comparing and Contrasting: A Guide to Improve Your Essays

    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 ...

  8. How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

    In this activity, students will draft three paragraphs for a compare-and-contrast essay using the point-by-point structure. To do this, they will use the traditional five-paragraph essay structure as follows: Paragraph 1: Introduction. Paragraphs 2, 3, & 4: Body Paragraphs. Paragraph 5: Conclusion.

  9. 4.2: Comparison and Contrast Essays

    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. ... The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your ...

  10. Comparison and Contrast Guide

    This interactive guide provides an introduction to the basic characteristics and resources that are typically used when students compose comparison and contrast essays. The Comparison and Contrast Guide includes an overview, definitions and examples. The Organizing a Paper section includes details on whole-to-whole (block), point-by-point, and ...

  11. How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

    Contact Sales Learn More. Compare and contrast essays examine topics from multiple viewpoints. This kind of essay, often assigned in middle school and high school, teaches students about the analytical writing process and prepares them for more advanced forms of academic writing. Compare and contrast essays are relatively easy to write if you ...

  12. Compare & Contrast Assignments

    Organizing a Compare-Contrast Essay. If you are asked to write a compare-contrast essay, use the following structure: Compare-Contrast Essay Structure Introduction: Your first paragraph should introduce both topics to your reader, briefly summarizing each, and lead to your thesis statement. Your thesis will often state which topic you prefer ...

  13. McDaniel College Writing Center

    There are two ways to organize a comparison/contrast essay. Subject By Subject. This organizational pattern is most effective when used on short essays, such as in-class essays. The body of such an essay is organized by discussing one subject, point by point, in complete detail before moving on to the next subject. The writer should select ...

  14. How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay: 11 Steps

    3. Create a Venn diagram of your topic. Take out a piece of paper and draw two large overlapping circles, one for each subject or item. In the center area where the two circles overlap, list the traits the two items have in common. Assign each of the areas that do not overlap.

  15. 7.4: Comparison and Contrast

    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. ... There are two main organizing strategies for compare-and-contrast essays. Organize by the subjects themselves ...

  16. PDF Organizational Patterns for the Comparison/Contrast Essay

    There are two ways to organize a comparison/contrast essay. A) Block Approach. This organizational pattern is most effective when used on short essays, such as in-class essays. The body of such an essay is organized by discussing one subject, point by point, in complete detail before moving on to the next subject.

  17. How to Organize Compare-Contrast Paragraphs

    Organizing two compare-and-contrast paragraphs is just a mini version of creating a compare-and-contrast essay. This kind of essay examines two or more subjects by comparing their similarities and contrasting their differences. In the same way, compare-contrast paragraphs compare and contrast two things in two separate paragraphs. There are two ...

  18. How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

    Conclusion. These are the three main methods used to craft a compare and contrast essay. Just choose the one that you feel most comfortable using and move on to the actual writing part. Alternatively, you can look for help from a professional custom writing service like HandMade Writing.

  19. 2 Formats for Use in the Compare-Contrast Essay

    The block method for writing a compare and contrast essay can be illustrated using points A, B, and C to signify individual characteristics or critical attributes. This block format allows the students to compare and contrast subjects, for example, dogs vs. cats, using these same characteristics one at a time.

  20. PDF Comparing and Contrasting

    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 ... 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

  21. 3.9: Comparing and Contrasting Arguments

    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 ...

  22. Compare and Contrast

    23. Compare and Contrast. 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 ...

  23. Crafting a Stellar 5-Paragraph Compare and Contrast Essay

    If you are still in need of help, don't hesitate to reach out to us at Writers Per Hour. Our expert writers are well-versed with compare and contrast essays and guarantee to deliver original, high-quality essays to meet your deadlines! Source: Belin, A. (2020, August 30). How to Write a 5-Paragraph Compare and Contrast Essay. Writers Per Hour.

  24. At Commencements, Protesters Deliver Messages in Many Ways

    Through walkouts, signs, chanting and clothing, pro-Palestinian demonstrators expressed themselves at ceremonies on Sunday. Here's what we're covering: