This page updated:  09/07/2020

Compare & Contrast

Compare & Contrast: Point-by-Point

Listen

Be sure to add Shaun's green video that talks about "obvious comparisons" and summarize.

The Goal: 

 

We are going to turn our attention to a new paragraph format.  Compare & Contrast writing allows you to see a relationship between two or more things.  There are two ways to write a compare & contrast paragraph, and in this lesson, we will learn the easiest of the two.  It's called the "All-at-Once" method.  Once you have learned about this method, you will be using it to construct a new writing piece.

Introduction

When we read, we compare & contrast without even knowing it.  When we write, we have to think a bit harder, as we must "show" our audience the relationship.

 

Watch the video below as an introduction to compare & contrast.  Then, when you understand the basic idea, continue on.

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The Goal: 

 

We are going to turn our attention to a new paragraph format.  Compare & Contrast writing allows you to see a relationship between two or more things.  There are two ways to write a compare & contrast paragraph, and in this lesson, we will learn the easiest of the two.  It's called the "All-at-Once" method.  Once you have learned about this method, you will be using it to construct a new writing piece.

EQ:  How do your family traditions compare and contrast?

Audience:

Cousins/step-cousins or other close family members

Purpose:  Pick One.  Also, consider these topic sentence examples to help you get started.  The opening hooks are highlighted for you.

#1 - To teach cousins/close relatives about the similarities and differences between two traditions you & your parents participate in that they may not know about.

Example:   It's always great to celebrate the holidays with you, Aunt Jennie and Uncle Joe.  I love eating Grandma's special holiday cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.  My parents and I thought it might be fun to start a tradition of our own like this.  So, when someone has a birthday in our house, we celebrate with "birthday morning cinnamon rolls" rather than birthday cake.

Listen

1.  Revisit your purpose/EQ and decide with your parent 3 comparisons/contrasts that uncover something "new" about you and your family.  Pick 2 comparisons and 1 contrast, or 2 contrasts and 1 comparison.  Stay away from obvious choices.  Your parents can help you with that.

2.  Add this to your topic sentence.  It tells the reader they will be reading about specific comparisons and contrasts, not EVERY comparison and contrast.

Example:  Let's say I chose the following for my writing.

#3 - To teach cousins/close relatives about how a family tradition compares to when parents, uncles, aunts, or grandparents were younger.

Example:  I enjoy hearing about your family get-togethers when someone has a birthday at your house.  Your mom, my Auntie Cami, told me she likes to create the same kind of fun she remembers when she was little.  I asked my Mom why we do something different.  She told me there's a funny reason why Cami loves big parties and my mom loves to go out to dinner.  The similarities and differences between what they did as sisters and what we do now will make you laugh!

Comparing & Contrasting in Interesting Ways

When we compare and contrast, we should pick and choose relationships between items A & B that aren't easily seen.  In other words, don't stick to the obvious choices. 

For example: If you were to compare & contrast two of your best friends, it would be obvious to say, "My friend Sam and my other friend Joe have me in common as a friend."  The reader can see that because, you ("the friend in common") are the author!

Another example is this:  If you were to compare yourself to your little brother, it would be obvious to say, "My little brother is different from me because he is younger and I am older."  The reader can see that, because you ("the bigger brother/sister") are also, the author.

Here are some other obvious compare & contrasts that can be handled more creatively:

  • When comparing siblings:

    • Older vs. Younger,

    • Looks,

    • Likes and dislikes, 

    • Fashion, and 

    • Mannerisms or things you are "known for"

A more creative way to address these would be to compare & contrast​ these obvious relationships would be: 

  • Where are you/your friend/your sibling in the order of children in the family?​

    • The eldest? The "middle child?", the "baby of the family?"​

    • Did you gravitate to your friend because you were both the oldest?

    • Do you love hanging out with your brother because he is the oldest and you are "the baby?"

 

  • What one feature do you think is special on that person, and how do they feel about that same feature?

    • Example:  "My sister has beautiful red hair, which she says makes her glow in the dark!  She says that because she is slightly embarrassed at how bright her lovely hair is!"

 

  • What likes or dislikes developed as a result of you being around your friend/sibling? 

    • Example:  "Hockey seemed quite boring before I learned to skate.  My brother was the one who patiently taught me how to skate, then how to play hockey.  Now, he and I go to the hockey rink at least five times a week and play 1-on-1."

 

  • What fashions or fads have become your trademark? 

    • What fashion or fad is your friend/sibling known for? 

    • How did you both become known for these fashions or fads?

Directions:

  1. Make a copy of the printables.  It is used in the video below.

  2. As you learn more about comparing & contrasting, ask yourself "What are the characteristics of the 'All-at-Once' method?"   

  3. When you think you understand how to construct an "All-at-Once" comparison & contrast, go on to the next lesson.

#2 - To teach cousins/close relatives about how your "other side of the family" has traditions that compare/contrast to traditions on "your side of the family."

Example:   I look forward to seeing you each year at our family renunions in June.  The Harris side of the family is so big - we can always count on meeting some new baby cousin each year.  Did you know that my Dad's side of the family, the Smiths, do something similar in the fall? 

#3 - To teach cousins/close relatives about how a family tradition compares to when parents, uncles, aunts, or grandparents were younger.

Example:  I enjoy hearing about your family get-togethers when someone has a birthday at your house.  Your mom, my Auntie Cami, told me she likes to create the same kind of fun she remembers when she was little.  I asked my Mom why we do something different.  She told me there's a funny reason why Cami loves big parties and my mom loves to go out to dinner.  The similarities and differences between what they did as sisters and what we do now will make you laugh!

For example, in your compare & contrast on family traditions, consider highlighting these unusual relationships:

  • Do the family traditions uncover a similar/different family event?

  • Do the family traditions uncover a personality trait of someone central to the family?

  • How do the family traditions celebrate the relationship between family members?

  • Is the tradition different/similar becuase of a belief or practice?

  • Do  the traditions make a strong statement of what your family feels is important in life?  How is this statement the same/different?

For your writing, I want you to choose 3 comparisons/contrasts that are not obvious.  Rather, the comparisons and/or contrasts give your audience a chance to learn something about you they didn't know.