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Compare and Contrast Workout » Making a Point

Read the following introductory paragraph for a comparison-and-contrast essay on the English language:
Many Americans feel that there is little difference between the American and British forms of English. However, while the Americans and British share the same grammar and sentence structure, some features of the language, like vocabulary, idiom, and pronunciation, can be so different that an American listener may not understand a British speaker even though they're technically using the same language.
This paragraph clearly indicates that the writer will compare and contrast the British form of English with the American form. What do you think this writer's purpose is in comparing and contrasting these forms of English?





Step 2: Now compare that paragraph, reprinted below on the left, with the introductory paragraph for another comparison-and-contrast essay (on the right).


Paragraph 1Paragraph 2
Many Americans feel that there is little difference between the American and British forms of English. However, while the Americans and British share the same grammar and sentence structure, some features of the language like vocabulary, idiom, and pronunciation can be so different that an American listener may not understand a British speaker even though they're technically using the same language. People who listen to and study Beethoven often don't appreciate great rock groups like the Dave Matthews Band. In fact, a comparative analysis of the harmonic and melodic procedures of both these great musicians will reveal many startling similarities. This comparison will indicate that the music of rock groups like Dave Matthews derives from the Western tradition of music. Since rock music is composed within this tradition, I will argue that classic rock groups like Dave Matthews should be included in the curriculum of western music survey classes.

Which of these two authors is comparing and contrasting to prove a point? How do you know?




Step 3: While doing research for an essay comparing and contrasting the government-funded child care system in Sweden with U.S. government's support for child care, Shanna discovers that Sweden's child care system offers substantial support, that Sweden's working parents are more productive than parents in the U.S., and that Sweden has a much lower youth crime rate than the U.S.

How can Shanna use the information from this comparison to prove a point? What could she use as a main idea?



• Although we sometimes compare and contrast simply to show similarities and differences, comparison and contrast can be effective in making a point.

• Comparing and contrasting work well with other writing strategies like argumentation, persuasion and analysis.

If you would like help coming up with a thesis for a compare-and-contrast assignment that you have been given, our Do Your Own section can help. Otherwise use the link below to move on to organizing your compare-and-contrast project.

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