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ENC 1101 - Prof. Forbes

ENC 1101: Comparison / Contrast Essay Assignment

So, what is a comparison and contrast essay? Laurie Kirszner, and Stephen Mandell, our textbook authors, describe this type of essay as a piece of writing that compares how “two or more things are similar,” and contrasts “how they are different” (369). Purdue Owl offers the following advice concerning comparison and contrast essays, when “… discussing all similarities or all differences, you can use signal phrases like “another similarity” or “another difference.” When “discussing both similarities and differences, you can use a signal phrase like “on the other hand” to shift from comparison to contrast ( 

For this essay assignment, your job is to read or re-read chapter 11, Comparison and Contrast. Then write about your chosen topic from the third person point of view about one (1) of the following topics:

  • Discuss both the advantages and disadvantages of bilingual education
  • Cats versus Dogs: Which ones make better pets?
  • Your parents’ attitudes to your staying out late at night or past ____ o’clock
  • Apple versus Microsoft
  • High School versus College
  • Infatuation versus Love
  • Two fast food restaurants

Guidelines: The essay should be three to five paragraphs in length, contain a developed thesis, proper grammar, spelling, punctuation and sentence structure. You must provide an outline in class prior to the due date for review. You must use MLA format. Provide at least two (20 academic sources. Submit your essay via D2L to the ASSIGNMENTS folder by the stated due date.

Keep in mind that this is a research topic. You must provide evidence to support your claim (thesis). Evidence should include, quotes, paraphrases, statistics, definitions, etc. All support must originate from academic sources, not Wikipedia.


In order to do well, please follow these directions:

  1. Build Background Knowledge: Investigate topics before you begin your outline or Venn diagram in order to have some background information.
  2. Gather similar and dissimilar (different) information about each topic.
  3. Organize the information you have collected.
  4. Decide on your thesis (the point you wish to make).
  5. Use the library resources to find academic articles and other sources such as books, eBooks, documentary videos, etc., to fill in your supporting details, thus adding interest to your essay.

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Creating a Venn Diagram and Creating an Outline Examples