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Again, thinking about the context the class provides may help you answer such questions and make a stronger argument.

Here’s a revision of the thesis mentioned earlier: Pepper’s and Amante both offer a greater variety of ingredients than other Chapel Hill/Carrboro pizza places (and than any of the national chains), but the funky, lively atmosphere at Pepper’s makes it a better place to give visiting friends and family a taste of local culture.

Along the left side of the page, list each of the criteria. You should then have a box per item for each criterion; you can fill the boxes in and then survey what you’ve discovered.

Here’s an example, this time using three pizza places: As you generate points of comparison, consider the purpose and content of the assignment and the focus of the class.

For example, you might say, “Pepper’s and Amante have similar prices and ingredients, but their atmospheres and willingness to deliver set them apart.” Be careful, though—although this thesis is fairly specific and does propose a simple argument (that atmosphere and delivery make the two pizza places different), your instructor will often be looking for a bit more analysis. Why should anyone care that Pepper’s and Amante are different in this way?

” One might also wonder why the writer chose those two particular pizza places to compare—why not Papa John’s, Dominos, or Pizza Hut?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 is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another.By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them.But it’s not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast.And in some cases, comparison/contrast is only part of the essay—you begin by comparing and/or contrasting two or more things and then use what you’ve learned to construct an argument or evaluation.Some assignments use words—like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences—that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast.Here are a few hypothetical examples: Notice that some topics ask only for comparison, others only for contrast, and others for both.Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself? By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations!Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper.Here are two: Begin by saying everything you have to say about the first subject you are discussing, then move on and make all the points you want to make about the second subject (and after that, the third, and so on, if you’re comparing/contrasting more than two things).If the paper is short, you might be able to fit all of your points about each item into a single paragraph, but it’s more likely that you’d have several paragraphs per item.


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