Comparing or Contrasting Two Items


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Comparing or Contrasting Two Items


There are two basic formats to Comparing or Contrasting two items. If one were to compare apples and oranges, for example, we would consider the fruits the items, and qualities such as flavor, color, texture, "juicability" and the like as the aspects.
Both are designed to evaluate the relative merits of two items so that the reader may come to some sort of conclusion. The writer's goal is to be as complete and fair as necessary; in other words, no important information should be omitted, especially any that would be likely to skew the overall picture from one side to another. Also, the writer must compare the same or similar aspects of the two items. One cannot fairly compare apples to oranges by merely comparing the oranges in juice form to the apples in sauce form. It would be fair, however, to include a discussion of the superior nutritive value of orange juice over that of apple juice. One could also discuss the "unsaucability" of oranges and compare it to the popularity of apple sauce. The purpose is to appear as unbiased as possible; if your favorite item is superior, then let it stand on its own merits.

The first style is side by side. The two items are compared aspect to aspect. Paragraphs focus on an individual aspect and explain how both items compare in that aspect.

INTRO

Background
Thesis
Body

Introduce Aspect 1
Item A
Item B
Summarize comparison Aspect 1
Introduce Aspect 2
Item A
Item B
Summarize comparison Aspect 2
Introduce Aspect 3
Item A
Item B
Summarize comparison Aspect 3
Overall Summary of Comparison
Explain which is superior
Explain what factors lead to that conclusion
Explain what detracting factors are overlooked or ignored

Conclusion
Summary-reiterate which item is better (one sentence)

Projection or Call to Action
Notice that organizationally the item that goes first in the first paragraph of the body then always goes first in every paragraph. Also , the writer needs to summarize each paragraph and determine the overall impact or result of that particular comparison.
Next is what I call A, then B. Examine all the aspects of Item A, then discuss those same aspects of Item B in the same order.

INTRO

Background
Thesis
Body
Item A
Aspect 1
Aspect 2
Aspect 3
Item B
Aspect 1
Aspect 2

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MLA Citation:
"Comparing or Contrasting Two Items." 123HelpMe.com. 26 Feb 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=33974>.

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Aspect 3
Conclusion
Summary - Overall

Projection or Call to Action

You may be able to put all of each item into one paragraph, but it is more likely you will have to make the discussion of each item several paragraphs. The important thing is to use these formats for the appropriate comparison. Side by side is better when there are many strong aspects both items share that would be hard to remember if one just listed them. A then B is better when we are trying to get an overall picture of two items that are mostly unlike or share very few aspects. In that case you will tell the reader what aspects each item has - and what each does not have.


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