Basic/Mini Essay - Compare & Contrast

level IIi

This page updated:  1/21/2020


Prewrite:  Review EQs & CQs 

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The Goal


For this compare and contrast writing, I've asked you to think deeply about the clarifying questions you will ask yourself to uncover details for your topic.  So, let's take this time to review EQs, CQs, and how they guide you to uncover supporting detail.


Essential Questions: 


An essential questions (EQ)  is an open-ended question that requires thought.  It can not be answered with just one or two words, or with yes/no answers.  An EQ sparks the imagination or interest, and encourages additional questions that provoke inquiry and understanding of overarching, or "big" ideas.​  EQs make your writing more interesting because the answers require a "personal touch" from you, the author!





  • EQs that Hook:  Think of this type of question as saying, "Look at this!"  It grabs the audience's attention, imagination, or interest.

  • EQs that Lead:  This type of question says, "Follow Me!"  It will lead the audience back through the writing to the answer.

  • EQs that Guide:  This question guides like a partner.  It says, "Let's look together" to find answers.  The audience may have to look back at the writing or look outside the writing for more information.

Clarifying Questions: 

Consider yourself a "detective" when asking clarifying questions (CQs).  You (the author) are trying to clarify something for the audience.  You are trying to create a clear, informative answer to help the audience learn something new.

Clarifying questions guide the writer/audience, so there are ways to phrase a CQ that helps.  Watch the videos below for more information.


1.  As you review EQs and CQs, use the videos to expand your understanding.  There is a handout in the printables for you.

2.  Parents, there are resources for you that show the relationship between questions and knowledge levels of Bloom's Taxonomy.   Click on the icon above to learn more.