English 101 | Nursing homework help

Assignment Guide: The Compare/Contrast Essay

Assignment Prompt

For this assignment, you will be writing a 
contrast essay–an 
exploratory piece of writing in which you attempt to show readers how two topics are similar, different, or a combination of the two: both similar and different. Whether you 
focus exclusively on comparing, exclusively on contrasting, or a mix of both, is totally up to you. However, regardless of which approach you decide to take, you will want to include a strong 
claim statement, at least three effective 
supporting points, and a streamlined 
point-by-point organizational strategy

Assignment-Specific Requirements:

Length: This assignment should be at least 750 words. 


Underline your 
thesis statement or the main 
claim of your essay.

Sources Needed: Two reliable and 
credible sources are required for this assignment. Be sure to use 
MLA guidelines for all in-text and 
Works Cited citations. 

While we encourage you to acquire sources from Gale’s Opposing Viewpoints, you may access credible, 
scholarly sources from other resources.  Tertiary sources, such as online encyclopedias, dictionaries and Wikipedia, are not 
scholarly sources, and should not be cited within your work; however, they may offer helpful foundational information as you develop your understanding of an issue. (For more information, please review Berkley University’s resource on scholarly and popular sources: 
“Evaluating Resources.”)

Page Formatting: See 
Appendix C – Formatting and Submitting Your Work


 Requirements: See 
Formatting your Essay: MLA 8th Edition

Rhetorical Mode

contrast essays are both creative and 
analytical in nature. They are typically more formal than a personal narrative in the sense that they are written from a 
third-person perspective, where a writer is not injecting their own opinion directly using “I” or “me” 

To prove points–
contrast essays rely on 
researched evidence, and not personal opinion or experience, per se. When you choose two topics, you will have numerous options for comparing and contrasting them–much more than you can actually use in a single paper. Therefore, you will need to decide what elements are worth comparing and contrasting, and why. This is the seek and discover part of the essay, but also the creative part. For example, another writer may choose the same two topics as you, but their essay may rest entirely on 
thesis and 
supporting points. When you limit your 
supporting points to those points you think you can prove most effectively, you are maximizing your creative and 
analytical writing abilities.  

Rhetorical Considerations


Remember that this is an 
exploratory paper: The piece of writing should show readers, through the inclusion of careful detail and specifics, and strong 
supporting points, how your two topics are similar, different, or a combination of the two: similar and different. 


contrast essay is written for someone else–either a single 
reader or a community of readers. When choosing the points you want to use to show readers that your topics are similar, different, or a combination of the two, you should keep this 
audience in mind, making sure that you are choosing the most effective points possible to show how your two topics are similar or different.     

In this instance, you are writing to show readers that your two topics are similar, different, or a combination of the two (similar and different). Keep this 
audience in mind by emphasizing the 
claims throughout the essay. 


This is a formal writing project, written in 
third-person, relying on strong 
organizational strategies, integrating 
researched evidence, and following 
MLA formatting guidelines. 

Six Features of a 
Compare and 
Contrast Essay







Contains a strong and succinct 
claim statement that outlines whether the two topics are similar, different, or a combination of the two, and at least three 
supporting points that can boost that 
claim. A sample 
thesis might look like this:

Although curriculum A and curriculum B are similar in their student success goals, they are very different when it comes to their structure, topics, and scoring. 



s: Utilizes 
transitional words and phrases that help the 
audience (or 
reader) move more easily from idea to idea, sentence to sentence, and paragraph to paragraph.  

1. *Note–
transitions do not only occur in topic sentences but throughout the essay. When you are moving from one idea to the next, whether between two sentences or between two paragraphs, you will want to include 
language that can help bridge your ideas (and sentences/paragraphs). Some examples might be “in addition to,” “next.”  





 Signals: In addition to more typical 
transitional words and phrases, this essay should also include 
contrast specific signals, emphasizing for readers how and why your topics are alike or different. Here are some example: 

1. similar: in addition, by comparison, similarly

2. different: however, in 
contrast, differing from


Point-by-Point Organizational Strategy

The essay should follow the point-by-point approach to showcase the use of 
synthesize your own 
supporting points with 
researched evidence, and build a fully developed essay with an 
introduction, several body paragraphs, and a 
conclusion. For this kind of 
organization, you will create a 
topic sentence for each 
body paragraph that outlines a 
contrast point regarding both topics and use the 
body paragraph to show readers how your two topics are similar, different, or similar and different. 

Reliable and 

Credible Sources

The essay should integrate at least two reliable and 
credible sources (also known as “
scholarly sources”) to help prove the 
claims to readers and to boost or substantiate the 
supporting points that you have created for your two topics. 




As with any writing project, the final draft of this essay should be carefully reviewed for clarity and correctness. This includes checking 
word choice
sentence structure
transitions/coherence, and 
MLA formatting.

Choosing a Topic for Your 
Contrast Essay

Selecting the right topic is an important step in ensuring your success in writing a 




 essay. You’ll want to choose a topic that has the following features:

· Of interest to you

· Relevant

· Current

· Debatable 

· Well-researched

Narrow in scope

· Academic or “scholarly” in nature

Topics to avoid, as they are either too complex to 




 in a single essay, or not considered appropriate for an academic or scholarly argument, are as follows:

For/against . . .

· The death penalty

· Euthanasia or self-assisted death

· Abortion 

· The (il)legalization of drugs (e.g. marijuana) 

· Religion or religious readings (e.g. existence of a higher order/being, or life after death)

· Gun rights/rules

· Global warming 

Please do not select one of the above topics, as your essay may be returned without grading, and you will be asked to rewrite it. 

Need assignment ideas?  

Take a look at this valuable resource from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Writing Center: 
 Topic Ideas

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