The Compare and Contrast Essay, which illustrates the similarities and differences between two items, follows a format similar to the standard five-paragraph essay. Its Introduction Paragraph includes a Thesis Statement; it has at least three Body Paragraphs supporting the Essay’s Thesis or overall argument, and it ends with a Conclusion Paragraph tying the whole thing together.
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Below is an elaborate outline designed to illustrate the similarities and differences between Verse and Prose (how exactly they compare and contrast), an essay topic that is, perhaps, most appropriate to pursue for a writing composition course.
Outline for a Compare and Contrast Essay – Verse and Prose
I. Introduction Paragraph
A. Topic Sentence – organizes the essay’s first paragraph and relates the paragraph to the essay’s Thesis, acting as a signpost for its argument.
B. Thesis Statement – the paper’s premise that is to be argued or maintained in the essay, generally a sentence explaining that the two items compare and contrast based on a shared set of characteristics, functions, definitions, etc.
For example: There are numerous ways that verse and prose can be compared and contrasted based on their meanings and applications.
The Compare and Contrast Essay’s Body Paragraphs directly follow the Introduction Paragraph; they support, evidence, explain and illustrate how the items are similar and different in the form of three main points – all of which defend the Thesis one paragraph at a time. For this particular essay, the three main points can be expounded on in at least two ways: one, with each paragraph showing how Verse and Prose both compare and contrast; the other is examining one comparison or contrast at a time in each paragraph.
Once the student decides which method works best for their essay – whether having the first body paragraph or so illustrate the comparisons of Prose and Verse, then the subsequent paragraphs on their contrasts; or having each paragraph examine both the comparisons and contrasts of Prose and Verse – they will have their three main points.
Nonetheless, each body paragraph should begin with a Transitional Phrase indicating to the reader that a new point is being examined or put forth. Appropriate examples are provided below.
Also, in each body paragraph, before its main point is being illustrated, the student must remember to restate their Thesis – but not verbatim as it was stated originally in the Introduction Paragraph – to keep the reader focused and reminded of the argument being made or put forth.
II. Body Paragraph No. 1
A. Transitional Phrase – First of all, Firstly, To start off with, To begin with
B. Restate Thesis
C. Point No. 1
III. Body Paragraph No. 2
A. Transitional Phrase – Secondly, Next, Then, Furthermore, Also, Moreover
B. Restate Thesis
C. Point No. 2
IV. Body Paragraph No. 3
A. Transitional Phrase – Next, Then, Furthermore, Also, Moreover, Thirdly, Lastly
B. Restate Thesis
C. Point No. 3
(More paragraphs can be added if another point needs illustrating.)
V. Conclusion Paragraph – ties the paper together so that the reader understands the essay’s main argument.
A. Transitional Phrase – Lastly, In conclusion, To sum it up, Ultimately
B. Summary of Essay, from the original Thesis Statement to its three main points of support that are illustrated in the body paragraphs.
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