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We use comparison and contrast all the time in life--comparing and contrasting experiences, or people, or products, for instance--so it would seem to be a fairly natural and straightforward way of thinking. But for some reason, comparison and contrast seem to become harder in writing, and perhaps especially when we try to force the process into the five-paragraph format. Rather, you might try to compare how apples and oranges are quite similar.
Some writers, though, manage to remain neutral or objective in this kind of comparison, as if it doesn't matter to them which of the items comes out best.
Another purpose of comparison-contrast is --trying to get a clearer picture or better appreciation of items, events or people, by comparing and contrasting them to other items, events or people that are in some way similar.
With this kind of purpose, comparison often stresses the advantages of one item and the disadvantages of the other, treating the items as if they are in competition with each other.
Sometimes the tone may become almost argumentative, as if the writer is trying to "prove" that his judgment or evaluation is correct.
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: The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience.
With an introduction up front and a conclusion on the end, we'd have a five-paragraph theme.
[Outside the artificial situation of the composition course, a comparison-contrast essay like this might examine two, or four, or even five or six criteria in this same fashion; and each criterion might be explored in a group of paragraphs, rather than just one.] When the items being compared are very different (as, for example, two people might be), or when we have very many criteria to consider, the point-by-point pattern doesn't work very well.
Comparing and contrasting is a primary tool for many workplace assessments.
You have likely compared and contrasted yourself to other colleagues. Then come up with one similarity and three differences between the examples.