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Contrast - comparison Paragraphs

The Comparison paragraph compares two subjects and discusses how they are alike and lists a few examples.

In the contrast paragraph, two subjects are discussed as how they are different, again, listing a few examples.


There are two ways to write a paragraph:

1) Point by point paragraph: A+B; A+B; A+B.

2) Blocked (subject by subject) paragraph: A A A + B B B


In the point by point, writing back and forth between the two subjects. First, talking about topic A. then talk about topic B., then right back to topic A. and so on. Finally, the block paragraph only discusses one topic and then finishes the paragraph with the other subject that is to be compared or contrasted with the first. Then the conclusion puts what your compairing or contrasting together.


Transitional expressions used in comparison:

  • in the same way
  • and, also, in addition
  • as well as
  • both, neither
  • each of
  • just as...so
  • similarly
  • like
  • too
  • the same


Transitional expressions used in contrast:

  • although
  • whereas
  • but
  • however
  • conversely
  • on the other hand
  • in contrast
  • while
  • yet
  • unlike


The Topic Sentence

- identify both items (subjects) to be compared or contrasted and tell the reader exactly what you are going to say about these items (your attitude).

The Body

  1. list all the points of comparison/ contrast that you can think of;
  2. review the list and eliminate any points, which are irrelevant or unimportant;
  3. organize your details in a logical sequence

The Conclusion

The most effective conclusion for a comparison/contrast paragraph is usually a final sentence, which reinforces the controlling idea.

Ex. 1. Read a paragraph and answer the questions: 1. What is a topic sentence? 2. What kind of paragraph is it? 3. What method has been used for writing this paragraph? 4. Name details which support a topic sentence; 5. Give a title to the paragraph.

At the bones of the comparison between church and registry office is just how lavish you want your wedding to be. For example, at a church there will be room for more guests, in which case a big and extravagant ceremony is a possibility, but in an official office, only a handful of people can be present.

Brides feel more comfortable wearing a fabulous traditional wedding gown in a church, but in a registry office, a smart dress and jacket seems more apt.

A church wedding undoubtedly provides men and women — regardless of their religion - with the ultimate fairytale setting that is often considered more romantic and magical. But, on the plus side of the registry office, it can be an awful lot cheaper. There is also less wedding planning and stress involved, meaning that the bride and groom can focus solely on each other and the reasons why they are tying the knot, instead of being distracted by the drama surrounding the spectacle that is their big day.

There is a lot to be said for couples who do not need to profess their love to the world by spending thousands of pounds on an over-the-top ceremony. Clearly all they need is each other.

Ex.2. Write a paragraph: Compare a church wedding ceremony and a registry office wedding ceremony (E 37).


Point by point

Blocked (subject by subject) paragraph

Exercise 3. Answer the following questions:


  1. Identify the subject of the paragraph.
  2. Is this a compare paragraph or a contrast paragraph?
Exercise 4. Read a paragraph: Granny Rewards 
By Deborah Dalfonso 

Our daughter, Jill, has two grandmothers who are as different as chalk and cheese. One taught her to count cards and make her face blank when she bluffed at blackjack. The other taught her where to place salad forks. When Jill was three, this grandmother taught her not to touch anything until invited to do so. The other one taught her to slide down carpeted stairs on a cookie sheet. Two grandmothers, two different worlds create one balanced grandchild.

Both grandmothers are widows. One lives in a trailer park in Florida from October to May, then moves to an old lake-front camp in Maine for the summer. The camp is a leaning structure filled with furniture impervious to wet swimsuits. Raccoons sleep on the deck every night. The other grandmother resides in a townhouse at the Best Address in the City-a regal-looking building boasting a security system and plants tended by florists.

One grandmother plays the lottery and bingo. The other plays bridge with monogrammed playing cards. One grandmother wears primary colors, favoring fluorescents when she has a tan; however, the other wears suits, largely taupe or black.

One grandmother would be delighted to learn that many people think of her as eccentric, while the other hope that people will refer to her as "correct." This grandmother, when startled, says, "Oh, my word," her strongest expletive. The other one says, "Hot damn," or worse.

During Hurricane Bob, one of Jill's grandmothers bought her a duckling-yellow slicker and took her to the beach to watch the surf. She believes the ocean throws off positive ions, excellent for growth and peace of mind. While they were experiencing the elements, Jill's other grandmother called to make sure we were safe in the cellar.

"Are there many ways to live?" a thoughtful six-year-old Jill asked me yesterday.

"Yes," I said gently, "and you may choose which feels right for you." And, I promised myself, I will let her make her own choice.

Two grandmothers, two different worlds-both want for Jill no less than a lion's share. One will be her anchor, while the other is her mainsail.

(from Rosa and Escholz, Eds. Models for Writers: Short Essays for Composition. 6h ed. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998. pp. 396-397.)

Exercise 5. Writing the Comparison/Contrast Paragraph
For the remainder of the chapter, use one of the paragraph topics below or one given to you by your instructor. 

 Two types of people
 Two different electronic devices
 Two characters in a book
 Two different songs by the same artist
 Two politicians
 It’s best to take two things that are quite different and show how similar they are or to take two things that are quite similar and show how different they are. Also, remember you are either comparing or contrasting—generally, you won’t be doing both.

Step One: Prewrite on a separate paper and then complete the outline below.
Tip: Remember, use transition words appropriate to the type of paragraph you are writing.

Topic Sentence: ____________________________________________

Supporting Sentence #1: _____________________________________
Specific examples/proof/details: 
Supporting Sentence #2: _____________________________________
Specific examples/proof/details: 
Supporting Sentence #3:______________________________________
Specific examples/proof/details: 
Supporting Sentence 4: (if used)
Specific examples/proof/details:

Concluding Sentence: ________________________________________

Step Two: Write the paragraph.

Step Three: Edit and revise the paragraph for content using the checklist as a guide.

 I have given my paragraph a creative title.
 My topic sentence has a clear subject and a clear overall impression.
 I have several supporting sentences that support my topic sentence.
 I have multiple examples for each supporting sentence.
 All of my sentences relate directly to the topic sentence.
 My paragraph is organized in a logical manner.
 I have used transition words at the beginning of each supporting sentence.
 I have a conclusion that sums up my paragraph.

Step Four: Proofread. Proofreading is checking your work for mechanical and grammatical errors.
 I have used the spell and grammar check feature on my computer.
 I have also checked for spelling and grammar errors on my own.
 I have spelled out words rather than abbreviated them.
 I have made sure my subjects and verbs agree in number.
 I have corrected any commonly confused words (their/there/they’re).
 I have checked for run-ons, comma-splices, and fragments.
 I have checked for proper capitalization.
 I have checked for other punctuation errors.
 I have followed a format.
 This paragraph represents my best writing.

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