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10 Great Essay Writing Tips
Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.
Prepare to Answer the Question
Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.
Plan Your Essay
Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.
Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable
You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.
View It as a Conversation
Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.
Provide the Context in the Introduction
If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.
Explain What Needs to be Explained
Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.
Answer All the Questions
After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.
Stay Focused as You Write
Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.
Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread
When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.
Avoid Filling the Page with Words
A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.
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- Writing for Success: Compare/Contrast
This section will help you determine the purpose and structure of comparison/contrast in writing.
The Purpose of Compare/Contrast in Writing
Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay, then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities. For example, if you wanted to focus on contrasting two subjects you would not pick apples and oranges; rather, you might choose to compare and contrast two types of oranges or two types of apples to highlight subtle differences. For example, Red Delicious apples are sweet, while Granny Smiths are tart and acidic. Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience’s understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay.
Similarly, to focus on comparison, choose two subjects that seem at first to be unrelated. For a comparison essay, you likely would not choose two apples or two oranges because they share so many of the same properties already. Rather, you might try to compare how apples and oranges are quite similar. The more divergent the two subjects initially seem, the more interesting a comparison essay will be.
The Structure of a Compare/Contrast Essay
The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both and the reason for doing so. The thesis could lean more toward comparing, contrasting, or both. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader. Take the following thesis as an example that leans more toward contrasting:
Thesis Statement: Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.
Here the thesis sets up the two subjects to be compared and contrasted (organic versus conventional vegetables), and it makes a claim about the results that might prove useful to the reader.
You may organize compare-and-contrast essays in one of the following two ways:
- According to the subjects themselves, discussing one then the other
- According to individual points, discussing each subject in relation to each point
The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience.
Given that compare-and-contrast essays analyze the relationship between two subjects, it is helpful to have some phrases on hand that will cue the reader to such analysis.
Phrases of Comparison and Contrast
Writing an Compare/Contrast Essay
First choose whether you want to compare seemingly disparate subjects, contrast seemingly similar subjects, or compare and contrast subjects. Once you have decided on a topic, introduce it with an engaging opening paragraph. Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction, and it should establish the subjects you will compare, contrast, or both as well as state what can be learned from doing so.
The body of the essay can be organized in one of two ways: by subject or by individual points. The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your audience and your purpose. You may also consider your particular approach to the subjects as well as the nature of the subjects themselves; some subjects might better lend themselves to one structure or the other. Make sure to use comparison and contrast phrases to cue the reader to the ways in which you are analyzing the relationship between the subjects.
After you finish analyzing the subjects, write a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and reinforces your thesis.
Compare/Contrast Essay Example
Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC
By Scott McLean in Writing for Success
Both Washington, DC, and London are capital cities of English-speaking countries, and yet they offer vastly different experiences to their residents and visitors. Comparing and contrasting the two cities based on their history, their culture, and their residents show how different and similar the two are.
Both cities are rich in world and national history, though they developed on very different time lines. London, for example, has a history that dates back over two thousand years. It was part of the Roman Empire and known by the similar name, Londinium. It was not only one of the northernmost points of the Roman Empire but also the epicenter of the British Empire where it held significant global influence from the early sixteenth century on through the early twentieth century. Washington, DC, on the other hand, has only formally existed since the late eighteenth century. Though Native Americans inhabited the land several thousand years earlier, and settlers inhabited the land as early as the sixteenth century, the city did not become the capital of the United States until the 1790s. From that point onward to today, however, Washington, DC, has increasingly maintained significant global influence. Even though both cities have different histories, they have both held, and continue to hold, significant social influence in the economic and cultural global spheres.
Both Washington, DC, and London offer a wide array of museums that harbor many of the world’s most prized treasures. While Washington, DC, has the National Gallery of Art and several other Smithsonian galleries, London’s art scene and galleries have a definite edge in this category. From the Tate Modern to the British National Gallery, London’s art ranks among the world’s best. This difference and advantage has much to do with London and Britain’s historical depth compared to that of the United States. London has a much richer past than Washington, DC, and consequently has a lot more material to pull from when arranging its collections. Both cities have thriving theater districts, but again, London wins this comparison, too, both in quantity and quality of theater choices. With regard to other cultural places like restaurants, pubs, and bars, both cities are very comparable. Both have a wide selection of expensive, elegant restaurants as well as a similar amount of global and national chains. While London may be better known for its pubs and taste in beer, DC offers a different bar-going experience. With clubs and pubs that tend to stay open later than their British counterparts, the DC night life tend to be less reserved overall.
Both cities also share and differ in cultural diversity and cost of living. Both cities share a very expensive cost of living—both in terms of housing and shopping. A downtown one-bedroom apartment in DC can easily cost $1,800 per month, and a similar “flat” in London may double that amount. These high costs create socioeconomic disparity among the residents. Although both cities’ residents are predominantly wealthy, both have a significantly large population of poor and homeless. Perhaps the most significant difference between the resident demographics is the racial makeup. Washington, DC, is a “minority majority” city, which means the majority of its citizens are races other than white. In 2009, according to the US Census, 55 percent of DC residents were classified as “Black or African American” and 35 percent of its residents were classified as “white.” London, by contrast, has very few minorities—in 2006, 70 percent of its population was “white,” while only 10 percent was “black.” The racial demographic differences between the cities is drastic.
Even though Washington, DC, and London are major capital cities of English-speaking countries in the Western world, they have many differences along with their similarities. They have vastly different histories, art cultures, and racial demographics, but they remain similar in their cost of living and socioeconomic disparity.
- A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
- The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
- The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.
- There are two main organizing strategies for compare-and-contrast essays.
- Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
- Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
- Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.
- Provided by : Lumen Learning. Located at : http://lumenlearning.com/ . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- Successful Writing. Provided by : Anonymous. Located at : http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/successful-writing/s14-07-comparison-and-contrast.html . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC. Authored by : Scott McLean. Located at : http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/successful-writing/s14-07-comparison-and-contrast.html . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- Table of Contents
Instructor Resources (Access Requires Login)
- Overview of Instructor Resources
An Overview of the Writing Process
- Introduction to the Writing Process
- Introduction to Writing
- Your Role as a Learner
- What is an Essay?
- Reading to Write
- Defining the Writing Process
- Videos: Prewriting Techniques
- Thesis Statements
- Organizing an Essay
- Creating Paragraphs
- Editing and Proofreading
- Matters of Grammar, Mechanics, and Style
- Peer Review Checklist
- Comparative Chart of Writing Strategies
- Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism
- Formatting the Works Cited Page (MLA)
- Citing Paraphrases and Summaries (APA)
- APA Citation Style, 6th edition: General Style Guidelines
- Definitional Argument Essay
- How to Write a Definition Essay
- Critical Thinking
- Video: Thesis Explained
- Effective Thesis Statements
- Student Sample: Definition Essay
- Introduction to Narrative Essay
- Student Sample: Narrative Essay
- "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell
- "Sixty-nine Cents" by Gary Shteyngart
- Video: The Danger of a Single Story
- How to Write an Annotation
- How to Write a Summary
- Writing for Success: Narration
- Introduction to Illustration/Example Essay
- "She's Your Basic L.O.L. in N.A.D" by Perri Klass
- "April & Paris" by David Sedaris
- Writing for Success: Illustration/Example
- Student Sample: Illustration/Example Essay
- Introduction to Compare/Contrast Essay
- "Disability" by Nancy Mairs
- "Friending, Ancient or Otherwise" by Alex Wright
- "A South African Storm" by Allison Howard
- Student Sample: Compare/Contrast Essay
- Introduction to Cause-and-Effect Essay
- "Cultural Baggage" by Barbara Ehrenreich
- "Women in Science" by K.C. Cole
- Writing for Success: Cause and Effect
- Student Sample: Cause-and-Effect Essay
- Introduction to Argument Essay
- Rogerian Argument
- "The Case Against Torture," by Alisa Soloman
- "The Case for Torture" by Michael Levin
- How to Write a Summary by Paraphrasing Source Material
- Writing for Success: Argument
- Student Sample: Argument Essay
- Grammar/Mechanics Mini-lessons
- Mini-lesson: Subjects and Verbs, Irregular Verbs, Subject Verb Agreement
- Mini-lesson: Sentence Types
- Mini-lesson: Fragments I
- Mini-lesson: Run-ons and Comma Splices I
- Mini-lesson: Comma Usage
- Mini-lesson: Parallelism
- Mini-lesson: The Apostrophe
- Mini-lesson: Capital Letters
- Grammar Practice - Interactive Quizzes
- De Copia - Demonstration of the Variety of Language
- Style Exercise: Voice
How to Write a Compare-and-Contrast Essay
A compare-and-contrast essay is a style of essay that points out the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. It’s ideal for showing what separates and unites related things or concepts, particularly if the subjects are often confused for each other or unjustly lumped together.
Compare-and-contrast essays have a lot in common with other essay types, but differ in many ways, too—and that’s the heart of comparing and contrasting! By seeing the differences and similarities, the reader better understands each of the subjects by using the other subject as a frame of reference.
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In this guide, we explain how to write a compare-and-contrast essay, including some advanced tips and examples. We discuss how to structure your essay and how to frame your thesis , but first, let’s take a broader look at why comparison essays are so useful.
Purpose of a compare-and-contrast essay
Let’s say you want to write an essay about how great renewable resources are, but you spend a lot of your time explaining how fossil fuels work. To truly understand why renewable resources are so amazing, your reader needs a little background on their alternative, fossil fuels—but the essay’s attention is divided so equally that it’s like there are two topics.
That’s when compare-and-contrast essays function at their best. If two topics relate to each other or define each other, you can better explain them both by showcasing their similarities and differences. That goes double for topics that are often conflated or confused for each other; it helps readers when someone points out exactly what’s the same about them and what’s different.
Unlike argumentative essays or persuasive essays , compare-and-contrast essays deal with multiple topics instead of focusing on one. The downside is that they don’t describe the individual subjects as much as single-topic essays. They’re also a common assignment for college essays since they show the instructor how well you grasp both subjects.
How to write a compare-and-contrast essay
When writing a compare-and-contrast essay, it helps to figure out two things: what your thesis is (the subject matter) and how you plan to structure it.
First things first: You need to choose which subjects you’re comparing. This isn’t always easy, especially if you have to pick the subjects on your own.
For inspiration, here are some compare-and-contrast essay example topics:
- fossil fuels and renewable resources
- Coca-Cola and Pepsi
- Mona Lisa and The Girl with a Pearl Earring
- ’80s punk rock music and ’90s grunge music
- Elon Musk and Thomas Edison
- London in the 1600s and London now
- the LGBTQIA+ community before and after Stonewall
- Roman Empire and Greek Empire
- loop quantum gravity and string theory
- evolution and creationism
- liberalism and conservatism
- fascism and despotism
Once you’ve settled on your subjects, you can begin generating ideas. It helps to first list all the similarities and differences between your subjects . When you see them all written down, you can start formulating connections and decide what structure to use for your compare-and-contrast essay.
If you’re stuck, try making a Venn diagram . This is a visual aid that helps you understand which characteristics your subjects share, and which ones are exclusive.
Looking at your lists, you can then decide on the thesis. To do so, ask yourself a few questions: What are you trying to show in your compare-and-contrast essay? What do you want your reader to take away? For example, do you want to emphasize that Elon Musk is a modern-day Thomas Edison, or that they are tey two very distinct individuals?
Compare-and-contrast essays follow our own recommended essay structure . While the linked guide goes into more detail, in a nutshell, your compare-and-contrast essay should follow a simple format of beginning, middle, and end:
- Introduction: where you explain your thesis or what your essay will discuss
- Body: where you actually list the similarities and differences of your subjects; the largest section
- Conclusion: where you wrap up and summarize your points
The introduction, usually one or two paragraphs, should include a thesis statement to show the reader what to expect for the rest of your essay. You can write your introduction following the same guidelines as other essay types, though be sure to mention all your subjects. Likewise, you can write an essay conclusion with the standard rules and best practices.
It’s the body where compare-and-contrast essays get tricky. Do you write about both subjects at the same time, or switch back and forth? Let’s talk deeper on this below.
How to structure a compare-and-contrast essay
The hardest part of structuring a compare-and-contrast essay is knowing when to talk about which subject. Essentially, you have three options:
- block method (subject by subject): You discuss one subject in full and then move on to the next subject.
- alternating method (point by point): You discuss one subject’s take on a certain aspect and then another subject’s take immediately afterward, followed by a new aspect.
- similarities and differences: You discuss all the similarities between your subjects and then all the differences, or vice versa (differences first and then similarities).
No matter which option you choose, you have to pay particular attention to topic sentences . Paragraphs in compare-and-contrast essays can get complicated, so it’s crucial to have a good topic or introduction sentence for each paragraph to make the flow of ideas clear.
Block method (subject by subject)
The block method is usually divided into paragraphs: a paragraph about one subject and then a new paragraph about another subject. Take the compare-and-contrast essay example When Nothing Lies Beyond the Mask: Comparing Moby Dick and The Raven . In the first paragraph after the introduction, the author talks only about Ahab from Moby Dick , but in the next paragraph talks only about the narrator from The Raven . Each subject gets its own paragraph.
Using the block method, you can go back and forth like this for pages, covering as many topics as you need. This approach is best for giving each subject its own attention but tends to slightly weaken the connection between the two.
Alternating method (point by point)
As another option, you can break paragraphs up by a specific topic and issue, and in each paragraph discuss both or all subjects. Let’s look at another compare-and-contrast essay example, The Reality of Science Fiction: Comparing Clarke to Cruise . Here, both subjects are discussed in the same paragraph, one right after another.
This approach works best when you want to emphasize the connection between your subjects, or lack thereof. In our example above, the author wishes to highlight just how different the aliens of Arthur Clarke are from those of other authors, particularly H. G. Wells. To emphasize this, the essay author juxtaposes the two points right next to each other in the same paragraph.
Similarities and differences
The third option is quite similar to the alternating approach, with each subject being discussed side by side in the same paragraph. However, the paragraphs aren’t divided by different topics, but instead by what the subjects have in common and what they don’t.
Take a look at the compare-and-contrast essay example Government by the People, for the People has Perished from the Earth , which compares the dystopias of George Orwell’s 1984 and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We . The first paragraph after the introduction discusses what the governments in the two books have in common, but the next paragraph explains how they differ.
This method works best if you want to focus on a particular similarity or difference between your subjects, or if you want to build up to a powerful conclusion or reveal at the end.
The writing process for compare-and-contrast essays
Want to know how to write a compare-and-contrast essay step by step? The writing process is the same as all essay writing, although adapted specifically for drawing comparisons:
1 Brainstorming — As mentioned above, brainstorming should involve listing all the similarities and difficulties; creating a Venn diagram is a useful method.
2 Preparation — Looking at your brainstorming lists, decide which structuring method would best get your point across: block, alternating, or similarities/differences.
3 Drafting — Here you write your rough draft ; this is the longest and toughest phase.
4 Revising — Does the structure you’ve chosen work? With the first draft finished, you can more easily identify any areas that need to be fixed, revised, or rewritten from scratch.
5 Proofreading — Finally, you want to make sure you corrected all the spelling and grammatical mistakes in your draft. With a writing assistant like Grammarly, this phase is a breeze.
If you want to learn more about this process, read our comprehensive guide on essay writing , which better explains the details.
Tips for writing compare-and-contrast essays
Beyond knowing the full process for crafting a compare-and-contrast essay, it helps to learn a few tips to ensure it shines.
Choose topics that are related
In other words, choose topics that have plenty in common, otherwise, your essay will be all contrasting and no comparing. Typically, subjects in compare-and-contrast essays share a strong connection, such as two people in the same profession or two products in the same category.
Without this unifying thread, the reader is left wondering, “What’s the point of comparing these two things?” Not only will it confound your audience, but you’ll also struggle more to come up with points when writing. Solve these problems before they start by smartly choosing your subjects at the beginning.
Write for clarity
Essays with only one subject can be confusing enough—imagine how complicated it gets with two or more subjects. One of the biggest obstacles with compare-and-contrast essays is communicating clearly so your reader knows which points relate to which subject, and what conclusion the entire essay is building toward.
But when you’re in the heat of a writing session, it can be difficult—and distracting—to stop and evaluate your work for clarity. Luckily, Grammarly offers suggestions to rewrite entire sentences in order to improve the clarity of your writing.
If the writing in your compare-and-contrast essay starts getting messy, Grammarly’s writing suggestions recommend alternative phrasings to clear things up. Just one click and your writing gets the professional editor treatment. Try Grammarly now and see how your writing improves.
Comparing and Contrasting
What this handout is about.
This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective. It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond “Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others.”
In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements. One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another. By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them.
Recognizing comparison/contrast in assignments
Some assignments use words—like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences—that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast. Here are a few hypothetical examples:
- Compare and contrast Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression.
- Compare WWI to WWII, identifying similarities in the causes, development, and outcomes of the wars.
- Contrast Wordsworth and Coleridge; what are the major differences in their poetry?
Notice that some topics ask only for comparison, others only for contrast, and others for both.
But it’s not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast. And in some cases, comparison/contrast is only part of the essay—you begin by comparing and/or contrasting two or more things and then use what you’ve learned to construct an argument or evaluation. Consider these examples, noticing the language that is used to ask for the comparison/contrast and whether the comparison/contrast is only one part of a larger assignment:
- Choose a particular idea or theme, such as romantic love, death, or nature, and consider how it is treated in two Romantic poems.
- How do the different authors we have studied so far define and describe oppression?
- Compare Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression. What does each imply about women’s collusion in their own oppression? Which is more accurate?
- In the texts we’ve studied, soldiers who served in different wars offer differing accounts of their experiences and feelings both during and after the fighting. What commonalities are there in these accounts? What factors do you think are responsible for their differences?
You may want to check out our handout on understanding assignments for additional tips.
Using comparison/contrast for all kinds of writing projects
Sometimes you may want to use comparison/contrast techniques in your own pre-writing work to get ideas that you can later use for an argument, even if comparison/contrast isn’t an official requirement for the paper you’re writing. For example, if you wanted to argue that Frye’s account of oppression is better than both de Beauvoir’s and Bartky’s, comparing and contrasting the main arguments of those three authors might help you construct your evaluation—even though the topic may not have asked for comparison/contrast and the lists of similarities and differences you generate may not appear anywhere in the final draft of your paper.
Discovering similarities and differences
Making a Venn diagram or a chart can help you quickly and efficiently compare and contrast two or more things or ideas. To make a Venn diagram, simply draw some overlapping circles, one circle for each item you’re considering. In the central area where they overlap, list the traits the two items have in common. Assign each one of the areas that doesn’t overlap; in those areas, you can list the traits that make the things different. Here’s a very simple example, using two pizza places:
To make a chart, figure out what criteria you want to focus on in comparing the items. Along the left side of the page, list each of the criteria. Across the top, list the names of the items. You should then have a box per item for each criterion; you can fill the boxes in and then survey what you’ve discovered.
As you generate points of comparison, consider the purpose and content of the assignment and the focus of the class. What do you think the professor wants you to learn by doing this comparison/contrast? How does it fit with what you have been studying so far and with the other assignments in the course? Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself?
Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. These are by no means complete or definitive lists; they’re just here to give you some ideas—you can generate your own questions for these and other types of comparison. You may want to begin by using the questions reporters traditionally ask: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? If you’re talking about objects, you might also consider general properties like size, shape, color, sound, weight, taste, texture, smell, number, duration, and location.
Two historical periods or events
- When did they occur—do you know the date(s) and duration? What happened or changed during each? Why are they significant?
- What kinds of work did people do? What kinds of relationships did they have? What did they value?
- What kinds of governments were there? Who were important people involved?
- What caused events in these periods, and what consequences did they have later on?
Two ideas or theories
- What are they about?
- Did they originate at some particular time?
- Who created them? Who uses or defends them?
- What is the central focus, claim, or goal of each? What conclusions do they offer?
- How are they applied to situations/people/things/etc.?
- Which seems more plausible to you, and why? How broad is their scope?
- What kind of evidence is usually offered for them?
Two pieces of writing or art
- What are their titles? What do they describe or depict?
- What is their tone or mood? What is their form?
- Who created them? When were they created? Why do you think they were created as they were? What themes do they address?
- Do you think one is of higher quality or greater merit than the other(s)—and if so, why?
- For writing: what plot, characterization, setting, theme, tone, and type of narration are used?
- Where are they from? How old are they? What is the gender, race, class, etc. of each?
- What, if anything, are they known for? Do they have any relationship to each other?
- What are they like? What did/do they do? What do they believe? Why are they interesting?
- What stands out most about each of them?
Deciding what to focus on
By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations! Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper. Ask yourself these questions:
- What’s relevant to the assignment?
- What’s relevant to the course?
- What’s interesting and informative?
- What matters to the argument you are going to make?
- What’s basic or central (and needs to be mentioned even if obvious)?
- Overall, what’s more important—the similarities or the differences?
Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels. For most literature classes, the fact that they both use Caslon type (a kind of typeface, like the fonts you may use in your writing) is not going to be relevant, nor is the fact that one of them has a few illustrations and the other has none; literature classes are more likely to focus on subjects like characterization, plot, setting, the writer’s style and intentions, language, central themes, and so forth. However, if you were writing a paper for a class on typesetting or on how illustrations are used to enhance novels, the typeface and presence or absence of illustrations might be absolutely critical to include in your final paper.
Sometimes a particular point of comparison or contrast might be relevant but not terribly revealing or interesting. For example, if you are writing a paper about Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” and Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight,” pointing out that they both have nature as a central theme is relevant (comparisons of poetry often talk about themes) but not terribly interesting; your class has probably already had many discussions about the Romantic poets’ fondness for nature. Talking about the different ways nature is depicted or the different aspects of nature that are emphasized might be more interesting and show a more sophisticated understanding of the poems.
The thesis of your comparison/contrast paper is very important: it can help you create a focused argument and give your reader a road map so she/he doesn’t get lost in the sea of points you are about to make. As in any paper, you will want to replace vague reports of your general topic (for example, “This paper will compare and contrast two pizza places,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in some ways and different in others,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in many ways, but they have one major difference”) with something more detailed and specific. For example, you might say, “Pepper’s and Amante have similar prices and ingredients, but their atmospheres and willingness to deliver set them apart.”
Be careful, though—although this thesis is fairly specific and does propose a simple argument (that atmosphere and delivery make the two pizza places different), your instructor will often be looking for a bit more analysis. In this case, the obvious question is “So what? Why should anyone care that Pepper’s and Amante are different in this way?” One might also wonder why the writer chose those two particular pizza places to compare—why not Papa John’s, Dominos, or Pizza Hut? Again, thinking about the context the class provides may help you answer such questions and make a stronger argument. Here’s a revision of the thesis mentioned earlier:
Pepper’s and Amante both offer a greater variety of ingredients than other Chapel Hill/Carrboro pizza places (and than any of the national chains), but the funky, lively atmosphere at Pepper’s makes it a better place to give visiting friends and family a taste of local culture.
You may find our handout on constructing thesis statements useful at this stage.
Organizing your paper
There are many different ways to organize a comparison/contrast essay. Here are two:
Begin by saying everything you have to say about the first subject you are discussing, then move on and make all the points you want to make about the second subject (and after that, the third, and so on, if you’re comparing/contrasting more than two things). If the paper is short, you might be able to fit all of your points about each item into a single paragraph, but it’s more likely that you’d have several paragraphs per item. Using our pizza place comparison/contrast as an example, after the introduction, you might have a paragraph about the ingredients available at Pepper’s, a paragraph about its location, and a paragraph about its ambience. Then you’d have three similar paragraphs about Amante, followed by your conclusion.
The danger of this subject-by-subject organization is that your paper will simply be a list of points: a certain number of points (in my example, three) about one subject, then a certain number of points about another. This is usually not what college instructors are looking for in a paper—generally they want you to compare or contrast two or more things very directly, rather than just listing the traits the things have and leaving it up to the reader to reflect on how those traits are similar or different and why those similarities or differences matter. Thus, if you use the subject-by-subject form, you will probably want to have a very strong, analytical thesis and at least one body paragraph that ties all of your different points together.
A subject-by-subject structure can be a logical choice if you are writing what is sometimes called a “lens” comparison, in which you use one subject or item (which isn’t really your main topic) to better understand another item (which is). For example, you might be asked to compare a poem you’ve already covered thoroughly in class with one you are reading on your own. It might make sense to give a brief summary of your main ideas about the first poem (this would be your first subject, the “lens”), and then spend most of your paper discussing how those points are similar to or different from your ideas about the second.
Rather than addressing things one subject at a time, you may wish to talk about one point of comparison at a time. There are two main ways this might play out, depending on how much you have to say about each of the things you are comparing. If you have just a little, you might, in a single paragraph, discuss how a certain point of comparison/contrast relates to all the items you are discussing. For example, I might describe, in one paragraph, what the prices are like at both Pepper’s and Amante; in the next paragraph, I might compare the ingredients available; in a third, I might contrast the atmospheres of the two restaurants.
If I had a bit more to say about the items I was comparing/contrasting, I might devote a whole paragraph to how each point relates to each item. For example, I might have a whole paragraph about the clientele at Pepper’s, followed by a whole paragraph about the clientele at Amante; then I would move on and do two more paragraphs discussing my next point of comparison/contrast—like the ingredients available at each restaurant.
There are no hard and fast rules about organizing a comparison/contrast paper, of course. Just be sure that your reader can easily tell what’s going on! Be aware, too, of the placement of your different points. If you are writing a comparison/contrast in service of an argument, keep in mind that the last point you make is the one you are leaving your reader with. For example, if I am trying to argue that Amante is better than Pepper’s, I should end with a contrast that leaves Amante sounding good, rather than with a point of comparison that I have to admit makes Pepper’s look better. If you’ve decided that the differences between the items you’re comparing/contrasting are most important, you’ll want to end with the differences—and vice versa, if the similarities seem most important to you.
Our handout on organization can help you write good topic sentences and transitions and make sure that you have a good overall structure in place for your paper.
Cue words and other tips
To help your reader keep track of where you are in the comparison/contrast, you’ll want to be sure that your transitions and topic sentences are especially strong. Your thesis should already have given the reader an idea of the points you’ll be making and the organization you’ll be using, but you can help her/him out with some extra cues. The following words may be helpful to you in signaling your intentions:
- like, similar to, also, unlike, similarly, in the same way, likewise, again, compared to, in contrast, in like manner, contrasted with, on the contrary, however, although, yet, even though, still, but, nevertheless, conversely, at the same time, regardless, despite, while, on the one hand … on the other hand.
For example, you might have a topic sentence like one of these:
- Compared to Pepper’s, Amante is quiet.
- Like Amante, Pepper’s offers fresh garlic as a topping.
- Despite their different locations (downtown Chapel Hill and downtown Carrboro), Pepper’s and Amante are both fairly easy to get to.
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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay
Last Updated: January 29, 2023 Approved
This article was co-authored by Megan Morgan, PhD . Megan Morgan is a Graduate Program Academic Advisor in the School of Public & International Affairs at the University of Georgia. She earned her PhD in English from the University of Georgia in 2015. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 29 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 3,076,183 times.
The purpose of a compare and contrast essay is to analyze the differences and/or the similarities of two distinct subjects. A good compare/contrast essay doesn’t only point out how the subjects are similar or different (or even both!). It uses those points to make a meaningful argument about the subjects. While it can be a little intimidating to approach this type of essay at first, with a little work and practice, you can write a great compare-and-contrast essay!
Formulating Your Argument
- You could pick two subjects that are in the same “category” but have differences that are significant in some way. For example, you could choose “homemade pizza vs. frozen grocery store pizza.”
- You could pick two subjects that don’t appear to have anything in common but that have a surprising similarity. For example, you could choose to compare bats and whales. (One is tiny and flies, and the other is huge and swims, but they both use sonar to hunt.)
- You could pick two subjects that might appear to be the same but are actually different. For example, you could choose "The Hunger Games movie vs. the book."
- For example, ask yourself: What can we learn by thinking about “The Hunger Games” and “Battle Royale” together that we would miss out on if we thought about them separately?
- It can be helpful to consider the “So what?” question when deciding whether your subjects have meaningful comparisons and contrasts to be made. If you say “The Hunger Games and Battle Royale are both similar and different,” and your friend asked you “So what?” what would your answer be? In other words, why bother putting these two things together?
- A “Venn diagram” can often be helpful when brainstorming. This set of overlapping circles can help you visualize where your subjects are similar and where they differ. In the outer edges of the circle, you write what is different; in the overlapping middle area, you write what’s similar.  X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
- You can also just draw out a list of all of the qualities or characteristics of each subject. Once you’ve done that, start looking through the list for traits that both subjects share. Major points of difference are also good to note.
- For example, if you are comparing and contrasting cats and dogs, you might notice that both are common household pets, fairly easy to adopt, and don’t usually have many special care needs. These are points of comparison (ways they are similar).
- You might also note that cats are usually more independent than dogs, that dogs may not provoke allergies as much as cats do, and that cats don’t get as big as many dogs do. These are points of contrast (ways they are different).
- These points of contrast can often be good places to start thinking about your thesis, or argument. Do these differences make one animal a superior type of pet? Or a better pet choice for a specific living situation (e.g., an apartment, a farm, etc.)?
- Show readers why one subject is more desirable than the other. Example: "Cats are better pets than dogs because they require less maintenance, are more independent, and are more adaptable."
- Help readers make a meaningful comparison between two subjects. Example: "New York City and San Francisco are both great cities for young professionals, but they differ in terms of their job opportunities, social environment, and living conditions."
- Show readers how two subjects are similar and different. Example: "While both The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird explore the themes of loss of innocence and the deep bond between siblings, To Kill a Mockingbird is more concerned with racism while The Catcher in the Rye focuses on the prejudices of class."
- In middle school and high school, the standard format for essays is often the “5-paragraph form,” with an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. If your teacher recommends this form, go for it. However, you should be aware that especially in college, teachers and professors tend to want students to break out of this limited mode. Don’t get so locked into having “three main points” that you forget to fully explore your topic.
Organizing Your Essay
- Subject by subject. This organization deals with all of the points about Topic A, then all of the points of Topic B. For example, you could discuss all your points about frozen pizza (in as many paragraphs as necessary), then all your points about homemade pizza. The strength of this form is that you don’t jump back and forth as much between topics, which can help your essay read more smoothly. It can also be helpful if you are using one subject as a “lens” through which to examine the other. The major disadvantage is that the comparisons and contrasts don’t really become evident until much further into the essay, and it can end up reading like a list of “points” rather than a cohesive essay.  X Trustworthy Source University of North Carolina Writing Center UNC's on-campus and online instructional service that provides assistance to students, faculty, and others during the writing process Go to source
- Point by point. This type of organization switches back and forth between points. For example, you could first discuss the prices of frozen pizza vs. homemade pizza, then the quality of ingredients, then the convenience factor. The advantage of this form is that it’s very clear what you’re comparing and contrasting. The disadvantage is that you do switch back and forth between topics, so you need to make sure that you use transitions and signposts to lead your reader through your argument.
- Compare then contrast. This organization presents all the comparisons first, then all the contrasts. It’s a pretty common way of organizing an essay, and it can be helpful if you really want to emphasize how your subjects are different. Putting the contrasts last places the emphasis on them. However, it can be more difficult for your readers to immediately see why these two subjects are being contrasted if all the similarities are first.  X Research source
- Introduction. This paragraph comes first and presents the basic information about the subjects to be compared and contrasted. It should present your thesis and the direction of your essay (i.e., what you will discuss and why your readers should care).
- Body Paragraphs. These are the meat of your essay, where you provide the details and evidence that support your claims. Each different section or body paragraph should tackle a different division of proof. It should provide and analyze evidence in order to connect those proofs to your thesis and support your thesis. Many middle-school and high-school essays may only require three body paragraphs, but use as many as is necessary to fully convey your argument.
- Acknowledgement of Competitive Arguments/Concession. This paragraph acknowledges that other counter-arguments exist, but discusses how those arguments are flawed or do not apply.
- Conclusion. This paragraph summarizes the evidence presented. It will restate the thesis, but usually in a way that offers more information or sophistication than the introduction could. Remember: your audience now has all the information you gave them about why your argument is solid. They don’t need you to just reword your original thesis. Take it to the next level!
- Introduction: state your intent to discuss the differences between camping in the woods or on the beach.
- Body Paragraph 1 (Woods): Climate/Weather
- Body Paragraph 2 (Woods): Types of Activities and Facilities
- Body Paragraph 3 (Beach): Climate/Weather
- Body Paragraph 4 (Beach): Types of Activities and Facilities
- Body Paragraph 1: Similarity between woods and beaches (both are places with a wide variety of things to do)
- Body Paragraph 2: First difference between woods and beaches (they have different climates)
- Body Paragraph 3: Second difference between woods and beaches (there are more easily accessible woods than beaches in most parts of the country)
- Body Paragraph 4: Emphasis on the superiority of the woods to the beach
- Topic sentence: This sentence introduces the main idea and subject of the paragraph. It can also provide a transition from the ideas in the previous paragraph.
- Body: These sentences provide concrete evidence that support the topic sentence and main idea.
- Conclusion: this sentence wraps up the ideas in the paragraph. It may also provide a link to the next paragraph’s ideas.
Putting It All Together
- If you are having trouble finding evidence to support your argument, go back to your original texts and try the brainstorming process again. It could be that your argument is evolving past where it started, which is good! You just need to go back and look for further evidence.
- For example, in a body paragraph about the quality of ingredients in frozen vs. homemade pizza, you could close with an assertion like this: “Because you actively control the quality of the ingredients in pizza you make at home, it can be healthier for you than frozen pizza. It can also let you express your imagination. Pineapple and peanut butter pizza? Go for it! Pickles and parmesan? Do it! Using your own ingredients lets you have fun with your food.” This type of comment helps your reader understand why the ability to choose your own ingredients makes homemade pizza better.
- Reading your essay aloud can also help you find problem spots. Often, when you’re writing you get so used to what you meant to say that you don’t read what you actually said.
- Avoid bias. Don't use overly negative or defamatory language to show why a subject is unfavorable; use solid evidence to prove your points instead.
- Avoid first-person pronouns unless told otherwise. In some cases, your teacher may encourage you to use “I” and “you” in your essay. However, if the assignment or your teacher doesn’t mention it, stick with third-person instead, like “one may see” or “people may enjoy.” This is common practice for formal academic essays.
- Proofread! Spelling and punctuation errors happen to everyone, but not catching them can make you seem lazy. Go over your essay carefully, and ask a friend to help if you’re not confident in your own proofreading skills.
Sample Body Paragraphs
- "When one is deciding whether to go to the beach or the woods, the type of activities that each location offers are an important point to consider. At the beach, one can enjoy the water by swimming, surfing, or even building a sandcastle with a moat that will fill with water. When one is in the woods, one may be able to go fishing or swimming in a nearby lake, or one may not be near water at all. At the beach, one can keep one's kids entertained by burying them in sand or kicking around a soccer ball; if one is in the woods, one can entertain one's kids by showing them different plans or animals. Both the beach and the woods offer a variety of activities for adults and kids alike."
- "The beach has a wonderful climate, many activities, and great facilities for any visitor's everyday use. If a person goes to the beach during the right day or time of year, he or she can enjoy warm, yet refreshing water, a cool breeze, and a relatively hot climate. At the beach, one can go swimming, sunbathe, or build sandcastles. There are also great facilities at the beach, such as a changing room, umbrellas, and conveniently-located restaurants and changing facilities. The climate, activities, and facilities are important points to consider when deciding between the beach and the woods."
Sample Essay Outline
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- Collect your sources. Mark page numbers in books, authors, titles, dates, or other applicable information. This will help you cite your sources later on in the writing process. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1
- Don't rush through your writing. If you have a deadline, start early. If you rush, the writing won't not be as good as it could be. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Use reputable sources. While Wikipedia may be an easy way to start off, try to go to more specific websites afterwards. Many schools refuse to accept Wikipedia as a valid source of information, and prefer sources with more expertise and credibility. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- If you have external sources, make sure you always cite them. Otherwise, you may be guilty of plagiarism. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
You Might Also Like
- ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/comparing-and-contrasting/
- ↑ http://leo.stcloudstate.edu/acadwrite/comparcontrast.html
- ↑ http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/interactives/compcontrast/
About This Article
To write a compare and contrast essay, try organizing your essay so you're comparing and contrasting one aspect of your subjects in each paragraph. Or, if you don't want to jump back and forth between subjects, structure your essay so the first half is about one subject and the second half is about the other. You could also write your essay so the first few paragraphs introduce all of the comparisons and the last few paragraphs introduce all of the contrasts, which can help emphasize your subjects' differences and similarities. To learn how to choose subjects to compare and come up with a thesis statement, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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- Filling Out the FAFSA
- Get to Know the CSS Profile Form
- Getting Financial Aid Information at School
- How to Consolidate Private Student Loans
- Avoid Negotiating with Financial Aid Offers
- Avoid Scholarship Scams
- Borrow for College without Going Bust
- Building a Budget after College with a Financial Diary
- Consider the Federal Work-Study Program
- Considering a PLUS Loan
- Deal with the FAFSA
- Dealing with Private Student Loans during Financial Hardship
- Debunking Some Common Myths about Financial Aid
- How to Gather Information on Your Private Student Loans
- The Differences between Scholarship and Student Loan Payouts
- The Federal Pell Grant System
- Loan Forgiveness of Your Student Loans
- Negotiating Rent on an Apartment
- Organize Student Loans with a Private Loans Chart
- Overpaying on Student Loans for Quicker Payoff
- Places You Might Not Think to Look for Scholarships
- Put "Sticker Price" in Perspective
- Student Loan Deferments and Forbearance
- Try to Sweeten Your Financial Aid Package
- Transfer Private Student Loan Debt to Low-Rate Credit Cards
- Understanding Repayment Periods on Private Student Loans
- What Happens If You Miss a Student Loan Payment?
- After the Rush: Pledging a Sorority
- Avoid Alcohol and Drug Temptations
- Back to School Considerations for Adult Learners
- College Professors Appreciate Good Behavior
- Consider Studying Abroad
- Deal with the Roommate Experience
- Decide if the Greek Life Is for You
- Decide on a Major
- Find Yourself a Used Car for College
- Fit Sleep into Student Life
- Freshman Year Extracurricular Goals
- Get By on a Limited Cash Flow
- Get Creative for Summer after College Freshman Year
- Get the Hang of the Add/Drop Process
- Get with the Program: Internships, Work-Study, and Service Learning
- How to Evaluate Campus Life during a College Visit
- Job Shadow to Explore Careers
- Key In to Effective Study Habits
- Maintain Your Mental Health
- Make the Most of Taking Lecture Notes
- Pack Up for College
- Prepare for College Instructor/Student Expectations
- Put Together a Bibliography or Works Cited
- Research on the Internet
- Rule Out Academic Dishonesty
- Say No to Dating College Friends' Siblings or Exes
- Student Teaching: Test Drive Your Career in Education
- Taking a Gamble: Gaming on Campus
- Transferring from Community College to Four-Year Institution
- Understand Types of Research Material
- What to Expect from Sorority Rush
- Work at a Part-Time Job
- Write a Top-Notch Research Paper
- Why do some critics want the 22nd Amendment repealed?
- What is guerrilla warfare?
- Years ago I learned that our national highway system has built-in runways for emergency landing strips. Is this still true?
- What newspapers did Frederick Douglass write for?
- I know that the days of the week are all named after Norse or Roman gods or the sun and moon, but I can't figure out what Tuesday is named for. Do you know?
- Can you give me a brief history of Prussia?
- Who were the Ottomans?
- Who discovered oxygen?
- What have been the major Israel and Arab conflicts since World War II?
- 1What does the cormorant (bird) symbolize in mythology?
- How did Peter I of Russia come to power?
- What can you tell me about Kwanzaa?
- What is the Alma-Ata declaration?
- I've heard that in some countries, everyone has to sign up for the military between high school and college. Is that true?
- How were women treated in Ancient Rome?
- What is the history and meaning of Turkey's flag?
- How are justices to the US Supreme Court elected Is this a good or a bad thing
- How did ounce come to be abbreviated as oz.?
- Why did Cromwell dissolve the first Protectorate parliament?
- Why does The Great Depression end when the United States enters World War II?
- What place did the underworld have in Egyptian mythology?
- Can you explain Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in words that a teen can understand?
- Who was the most famous mathematician?
- Where did Christopher Columbus land when he reached the Americas?
- Who had control of more states during the American Civil War, the North or the South?
- How did Zeus become ruler of the Greek gods?
- Why does Santa Claus have so many names â€” Santa Claus, Saint Nicholas, and Kris Kringle?
- What is antidisestablishmentarianism?
- What is Leningrad known as today?
- Who were the leading figures in the Classical period of music?
- Why didn't the Pope allow Henry VIII a divorce, and who was Catherine of Aragon's relative who came and held siege?
- Who wrote, A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still"?"
- Was the Spanish Armada large, and did its crews have notable sailing skill?
- What was the cause of the War of Spanish Succession?
- What is the song Yankee Doodle Dandy" really about?"
- What's the story of the Roanoke colony?
- How does history reflect what people were thinking at the time?
- My teacher says there's more than one kind of history. How can that be?
- What were the turning points in World War II?
- We just started studying Spanish exploration in North America. What makes it so important today?
- What was it like for women in the 1920s?
- Have Americans always been big on sports?
- Who invented baseball?
- What did American Indians have to give up for pioneers?
- How did imperialism spread around the world?
- How did Imperialism in India come about?
- What's the big deal about Manifest Destiny?
- How did the Tet Offensive affect public opinion about the Vietnam War?
- Why did Christian Lous Lange deserve the Nobel Peace Prize in 1921?
- Where do the four suits in a deck of cards originate? What do they represent?
- What was the Roe v. Wade trial?
- Who is Constantine?
- I need to know some info on the Monroe Doctrine. I have looked everywhere but I still can't find any information. Can you PLEASE help?
- Where did the chair originate from? I was sitting on one the other day and it said Made in China," but where did it first come from?"
- What kind of cash crops did they grow in the South in early America?
- Everyone talks about how enlightened the Mayans were, but what did they really do?
- What caused the fall of the Roman Empire? Did Christianity play a role?
- What was the reason for the downfall of the Russian Empire in 1917?
- What prompted slavery? Why were the Africans chosen for enslavement?
- How did World War I start and end?
- What is The Palestinian Conflict?
- I don't really understand the French Revolution. What started it, and what stopped it?
- What was the doctor's diagnosis of Helen Keller when she was a baby?
- What is the Trail of Tears?
- When speaking about Native Americans, what is the difference between an Indian tribe and an Indian Nation?
- What happened during the Boston Massacre?
- What was sectionalism in America before the Civil War?
- How did the U.S. attempt to avoid involvement in World War II?
- What is Ronald Reagan's Tear down this wall" speech about?"
- Can you describe the United States policy of containment and show an example of an event when the policy was used and why?
- How many countries are there in the world?
- What did Columbus do besides sail to the New World?
- My history teacher said that if your religious denomination isn't Catholic, than you are a Protestant. Is she right?
- Do you think that Mormons are Christians? What is the full name of the Mormon Church?
- What principles of the Belmont Report were violated in the Tuskegee Syphilis Study?
- What is the size of Europe in square miles?
- The United States was given the right to establish naval bases in the British West Indies during World War II by the British Government in exchange for what?
- How were the Crusades a turning point in Western history?
- 10 Things You Need to Know about College (but Probably Don’t)
- Top 7 Secrets of College Success
- Heading Off for College? 10 Must-Do's
- What does impertinent mean (from The American )?
- I know that the verb pluck means to pull out or pull at, but what's the definition when used as a noun?
- Which novels would you recommend to 15-year-olds on the theme of places and forms of power?
- In The Pearl, why didn't John Steinbeck give the pearl buyers identifying names?
- In the play, The Crucible , why would Arthur Miller include the Note on Historical Accuracy?
- What is perfidy (from Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser)?
- Is being pedantic a good or bad thing?
- Is a termagant a type of seabird?
- What is ichor (from The Iliad )?
- In The Hunger Games, why did Cinna choose to be the designer for District 12?
- Is a rivulet really a river, only smaller?
- Charles Dickens has this person called the beadle" in lots of his books. Is that like a nickname for a man with buggy eyes or something?"
- In Brave New World, why are family words like father and mother viewed as obscene?
- What is the main tenet of stoicism?
- What's the meaning of obsequious (from Theodore Dreiser's urban novel Sister Carrie )?
- Where are the Antipodes (from Much Ado about Nothing )?
- What is a truckle bed (from Romeo and Juliet )?
- What does truculent (from Great Expectations ) mean?
- If someone inculcates you, should you feel insulted?
- What does the phrase Ethiop words" mean in Shakespeare's As You Like It ?"
- I was chatting with a neighbor who said I was quite garrulous . Nice or mean?
- What does laconic mean?
- At a restaurant famous for its rude servers, a waitress told me to lump it" when I asked for another napkin. Can you tell me about that phrase?"
- What does urbane (from Daisy Miller ) mean?
- I thought necro had something to do with being dead. So, what's a necromancer ? Sounds creepy.
- In The House of Mirth, this guy named Gus Trenor is eating a jellied plover." Is that some kind of doughnut?"
- What are some well-known novels whose titles are quotations from Shakespeare?
- In Orwell's 1984, what does the opening sentence suggest about the book?
- Understanding the literary genre Magical Realism
- What's a prig?
- I asked my granddad if he liked his new apartment and he said, It's all hunky-dory, kiddo." What did he mean?"
- What does mephitic (from Man and Superman ) mean?
- I hate finding typos in books. Here's one I've seen several times: jalousies instead of jealousies.
- On the second week of my summer job at a bookstore, my boss handed me an envelope with what she called my emoluments. Looked like a paycheck to me, though.
- In To Kill a Mockingbird, what are some examples of the characters having courage?
- What's cud? I was once told to stop chewing my cud and get back to work.
- What can you tell me about the word patois from The Awakening ?
- What are thews (from Ivanhoe )?
- What does pot-shop (from The Pickwick Papers ) mean?
- Are all dowagers women?
- If someone is the titular head of a political party, does it mean they have all the power?
- The word flummox confuses me. What does it mean?
- Somebody told me I looked pasty. Does that mean I've eaten too many sweets?
- I started taking private bassoon lessons. When I arrived at my teacherâ€™s house, he told me to wait in the anteroom. I wasnâ€™t sure where to go.
- Is anomalous the same as anonymous ?
- I know that a fathom is a unit of measure used by sailors, but how long is a fathom?
- What is a joss (from Victory, by Joseph Conrad)?
- What does eschew (from The Pickwick Papers ) mean?
- What does excrescence (from The Call of the Wild ) mean?
- What does the word covert mean?
- In Shakespeare's Sonnet 125, what is an oblation ?
- In Moby-Dick , what does vitiate mean?
- In War and Peace , what does bane mean?
- In Jane Eyre , what are chilblains ?
- Does mendacious refer to something that is fixable (mendable)?
- Is kickshawses one of those weird words that Shakespeare coined? What does it mean?
- You say in CliffsNotes that In Cold Blood was Truman Capote's undoing. How?
- What is renege , in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra ?
- What is maxim ? I think it's a female name but I'm not sure.
- Last Valentine's Day, this guy I barely know gave me a rose and said something about ardent love. What does ardent mean?
- In Act I, Scene 1, of King Lear, what does benison mean?
- What kind of literature is a picaresque novel?
- What does culpable mean?
- What's a cenotaph ? Every Veterans Day, I hear about the Queen of England laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in London.
- What does gallimaufry mean in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ? My vocabulary is pretty good, but that one has me stumped!
- What does it mean to genuflect ?
- Someone told me I was looking wistful. What is wistful ?
- In David Copperfield, what does superannuated mean?
- Does the word syllogism have something to do with biology?
- I see the word benefactor a lot in my reading assignments. Is that somebody who benefits from something?
- I found a funny word in The Glass Castle. Where did skedaddle come from and what does it mean?
- Does sinuous mean something like full of sin"? I saw the word in The Devil in the White City ."
- In Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, what is the meaning of the word propaganda ?
- What are characteristics of Modernist literature, fiction in particular?
- What does my brother mean when he says he's too ensconced in his studies to look for a girlfriend?
- My grandpa complained about a bunch of politicians making what he called chin music . Did he mean they were in a loud band?
- What is melodrama?
- In Dracula, what's a missal ?
- In the terms abject poverty and abject misery, what does abject mean?
- In Moby-Dick, what does craven mean?
- What does cicatrize mean?
- What is a noisome smell" in Tolstoy's War and Peace ?"
- What is an apostasy, from the George Bernard Shaw play, Man and Superman ?
- In Jane Eyre, what's syncope ?
- I just read Dracula. What's the forcemeat in Jonathan Harker's journal?
- Can the word stern mean more than one thing?
- Where is Yoknapatawpha county?
- What does smouch mean?
- I'm supposed to write a comparison of Hektor and Achilles from Homer's The Iliad, but I don't know where to start.
- How do you pronounce quay ? And what does it mean, anyway?
- What are some examples of paradox in the novel Frankenstein ?
- In Ivanhoe, what does mammock mean?
- What does rummage mean?
- Is a mummer some type of religious person?
- Some guy I don't like told his friend I was acting all demure. What does that mean?
- When I complained about our cafeteria food, my biology teacher told me he wished they'd serve agarics. Was he talking about some kind of dessert?
- Where did the name Of Mice and Men come from?
- What genre would you consider the book, The Outsiders ?
- In Fahrenheit 451, why would a society make being a pedestrian a crime?
- What does the phrase, a worn-out man of fashion" mean from Jane Eyre ?"
- Is sagacity a medical condition?
- My teacher told me I was being obdurate. Was that a compliment?
- What motives inspired Iago to plot revenge against Othello?
- Who was the first king of Rome?
- What does enervate mean?
- What is a parvenu ? I saw the word in William Makepeace Thackeray's book Vanity Fair.
- Is salubrity somehow related to being famous?
- Do capers have something to do with cops?
- What's the difference between a soliloquy and a monologue?
- In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce uses the word pandybat . What's a pandybat?
- Does the word inexorable have something to do with driving demons out of a person?
- Do people who prognosticate have some sort of special power?
- What is a hegemony, from James Joyce's Ulysses ?
- What are fallow fields ? I'm a city gal who heard the term at a 4-H fair and just read it in Anna Karenina.
- What's the difference between parody and satire?
- Lord of the Flies uses the word inimical. What does it mean?
- What does dreadnaught mean, as itâ€™s used in Bleak House?
- I saw vertiginous in Madame Bovary. What does mean the word mean?
- What does overweening mean, in Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes?
- Can you hear a dirge anyplace but a funeral?
- Does imperturbable refer to something you can't break through?
- What are the seven ages of man?
- What is a chimera , in Jane Eyre by Charlotte BrontÃ«?
- What's dross ?
- What is an injunction ?
- For school I had to make a Napoleon hat, which called for a cockade. What is that?
- If someone studies assiduously, does it mean they're working really hard or really slowly?
- Define mood as it relates to a work of fiction. Distinguish mood from effect.
- My sister calls me the Princess of Prevarication." What's prevarication ?"
- What's turpitude, as in moral turpitude"?"
- What's the definition of tenebrous ?
- This biography I'm reading about Queen Victoria says that she refused to remove the hatchment she had for her husband Prince Albert. What does that word mean?
- What does sine qua non mean?
- What's lugubrious mean?
- What's impugn mean, from Ivanhoe?
- What does postprandial mean?
- I love reading fashion magazines and occasionally come across the word atelier. What is that?
- What does King Lear mean when he says that ingratitude is a marble-hearted fiend"?"
- What is celerity , from Ivanhoe ?
- In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein , what are disquisitions ?
- What's shrive ? My neighbor said she's been unshriven for years, but I think her skin looks quite shriveled.
- What's a dobbin ?
- What's polemic ? Over winter break, my uncle told me I was polemic and asked if I was on the debate team at school.
- I came across a list of homonyms: mu, moo, moue . I know mu is Greek for the letter m , and moo is the sound cows make, but what's a moue ?
- What does trow mean?
- In Far from the Madding Crowd , what does cavil mean?
- What does Charles Dickens mean when he says â€œtoadies and humbugsâ€ in his book, Great Expectations ?
- Where can I find the word naught in The Scarlet Letter ?
- I found an old diary from the 1800s where the writer describes how he almost died but was saved by a sinapism . What is that?
- I know what mulch is, but what's mulct ?
- When our teacher was introducing the next reading assignment, he said we'll be using the unexpurgated version. What did he mean?
- For some reason, the word dingle sticks in my head after having read Treasure Island years ago. I never did discover what it meant. How about it, Cliff?
- In Dracula , what's stertorous breathing?
- What does philippic mean?
- I'm usually pretty good at guessing what words mean, but have no clue about exigence . What is it?
- What's doughty ? How do you pronounce it?
- What's sharecropping? I'm kind of embarrassed to ask, because it's one of those words everyone assumes you know what it means.
- I'm working on my summer reading list with Kafka's The Trial. The very first sentence uses traduce , and I don't know what that means.
- What does the cormorant (bird) symbolize in mythology?
- I saw the word badinage in the book Uncle Tom's Cabin . Do you think that's a typo that really should be bandage ?
- On a TV modeling contest, a judge said, Her simian walk is unbelievable." Was that a good thing?"
- What is the definition of adverbiously , from Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities ?
- In Oliver Twist , Dodger refers to Oliver as flash companion . Can't find a definition of this anywhere. What does it mean?
- Do elocutionists kill people?
- For my English homework, I have to write a love poem. I'm only 13 and I haven't had my first love yet. How would I go about writing about feelings that I haven't felt yet?
- Where on the body would I find my sarcophagus ?
- What's stolid ? It sounds like someone who's stupid and built solid like a wall.
- What's a wonton person?
- In which play did William Shakespeare state that misery loves company?
- What's comfit ? Is it a different way of saying comfort?
- Where did the story Frankenstein by Mary Shelley take place?
- What kind of person would a shallow-pate be?
- What are myrmidons of Justice" in Great Expectations ?"
- Faseeshis â€¦ no clue on the spelling, but I kind of got yelled at in school today for being that. What did I do?
- In The Red Badge of Courage , what's an imprecation ?
- The word portmanteau shows up in a lot of the literature I read for school assignments. It sounds French. What does it mean?
- I did something really stupid yesterday, and my grandfather told me I was hoist with my own petard." What does that mean? And what's a petard ?"
- How do you pronounce Cymbeline, one of Shakespeare's early comedies?
- What's a bourse ? I read it in my finance class.
- In The House of Mirth, what are oubliettes ?
- In Tess of the d'Urbervilles, what are thimble-riggers ?
- In Wuthering Heights , what's a thible ?
- Which Hemingway story references the running of the bulls" in Spain?"
- What's a clink? My dad mentioned that his granddad was there for a long time during World War I.
- If somebody is toady," does it mean they're ugly?"
- Who said all's fair in love and war" and where?"
- Why is there so much talk about baseball, especially Joe DiMaggio, in The Old Man and the Sea ?
- In the movie Failure to Launch , there's a line that goes, Well, she certainly is yar," in reference to a yacht. What's yar ?"
- What does mangle mean in Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities ?
- I got detention because a teacher said I was being contumacious . What's that?
- What are encomiums?
- What are billets in The Three Musketeers ?
- In Orwell's 1984 , what is doublethink ?
- What are orts ? That's a weird word that reminds me of orcs from The Lord of the Rings .
- What are alliteration and assonance?
- How is John the Savage's name ironic in Brave New World ?
- What's quinsy?
- What is a doppelgÃ¤nger?
- What is New Historicism?
- I found the word unwonted in a book I'm reading. Is that a typo, you think?
- In Heart of Darkness , what does cipher mean?
- In the play The Glass Menagerie, would you describe Tom as selfish?
- What does Kantian mean, from a philosophical perspective?
- What's a colonnade ? My girlfriend is freaking me out with stories of her dream wedding where she walks down a colonnade. I know this is the least of my problems, but I'm curious.
- My grandma says she knows how I feel when I knit my brows. Is she crazy?
- Why is Shakespeare's play titled Julius Caesar , even though he is dead by Act III and plays a relatively small role?
- I know bier has something to do with dead people, but what is it exactly?
- My brainy brother owns a Harley and says his girlfriend is the pillion . Is he insulting her or just showing off?
- I ran across the word mien in a book. Is it a typo?
- Is a younker a person or a place?
- Does precipitancy have something to do with the weather?
- I'm writing a grade 12 comparative essay, and I need a book that I could compare with All Quiet on the Western Front. Any suggestions?
- A friend says she suffers from ineffable sadness. What's ineffable ?
- What's a scow ?
- Is a maelstrom some kind of dangerous weather?
- What is the meaning of this saying, The cat will mew and dog will have his day"?"
- What is a paradox ?
- The Picture of Dorian Gray mentions a panegyric on youth. What does that mean?
- In Madame Bovary , what's a mairie?
- In The Kite Runner, what's palliative mean?
- So what's oligarchy ? In government class, my teacher mentioned that word when we were talking about the Blagojevich scandal in Illinois.
- Is intrepidity a good thing or a bad thing?
- My grandmother told me that she thinks grandpa should see an alienist. Does she think he's from another planet or what?
- Do you have to have licentiousness to get your driver's license?
- I ran across the word hardihood in something I read the other day. Is it some kind of clothing?
- I saw mention of haversack in my history book. What does that word mean?
- I'm guessing the word quadroon is four of something. But what's a roon?
- I'm trying to understand Shakespeare's play, King Lear . Can you explain these quotes from Act 1, Scene 1?
- In Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment , what's a samovar ?
- I came across a music channel that featured tejano," and then I saw the same word when I was reading Bless Me, Ultima. What does it mean?"
- In The Awakening , there's a term prunella gaiter." I'm guessing that gaiters are a type of covering for your legs, like the gaiters I use on my ski boots to keep snow out. But what the heck is prunella? Is it a purplish color like prunes?"
- What's sedulous mean?
- In Chapter 2 of Jane Eyre , what are divers parchments ?
- A friend of mine said she hopes to get a counterpane for Christmas. What's that?
- In Wuthering Heights, what does munificent mean?
- The other day, my dad called my friends a motley crew. Is that his way of saying I should hang out with a different crowd?
- Why is there an authorship problem with Shakespeare?
- What is it called when something is out of place in time, like a jet stream in a movie about ancient Rome?
- In 1984 , does Winston die from a bullet at the end of the book or is he in a dream-state?
- I saw some old guy in a soldier's uniform selling fake red flowers. He said it was for Veterans Day. What's the connection?
- I was kind of flirting with this really cute boy when my teacher told me to stop palavering. Did she want me to stop flirting or stop talking?
- My grandmother says when she was a kid in China, she became Catholic because of the Mary Knows nuns. I tried to look that up on the Internet but couldn't find anything. Can you help?
- In The Count of Monte Cristo , does cupidity mean love? I'm guessing that because of, you know, Cupid . . . Valentine's Day.
- My theater teacher called me a name the other day. I don't think it was supposed to be a compliment. What's a somnambulist, anyway?
- Why was Tartuffe such a jerk?
- To Kill a Mockingbird has this word fey in it, but I don't know what it means. Does it mean short lived or fleeting?
- In Pride and Prejudice , what's probity" &mdash
- I never met my grandma, who my mom says lives in a hovel and wants her to move in with us. Then I saw that word in Frankenstein . What's a hovel? I thought it was like a place that had room service.
- I have a friend who said something about phantasmagoric. That's not real, is it?
- Which of the following literary devices is used in these poetic lines by John Milton?
- In Faulkner's A Rose for Emily," what does noblesse oblige mean?"
- What is love?
- What is suggested by the coin image in Book II of A Tale of Two Cities ?
- Why does Satan rebel against God?
- I'm reading Candide, by Voltaire, and one of the dudes is an Anabaptist. What's that?
- What does the poem Summer Sun" by Robert Louis Stevenson really mean?"
- What did Shakespeare want to say about his beloved in Sonnet 18?
- In Romeo and Juliet , who was the last person to see Juliet alive?
- What is the Catechism?
- What is the overall meaning of the poem Before The Sun," by Charles Mungoshi?"
- What does ague mean?
- Is there a reference to venereal disease in Romeo and Juliet ?
- What is fantasy fiction?
- What is the exposition in Othello ?
- Who is the character Susan in Romeo and Juliet ?
- What is a found poem?
- What did Alice Walker mean in the essay Beauty"?"
- Why did Dr. Frankenstein create his monster?
- What is the name of the surgeon and the English ship he's on in Moby-Dick ?
- What are the differences between an epic hero and a Romantic hero?
- In Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, does Gail Wynand commit suicide or only close The Banner at the end of the novel? I'm in a literary dispute over this!
- What did W.E.B. Du Bois mean when he wrote of second-sight?
- What is nihilism, and what should I read to get a better understanding of it?
- What is the difference between an atheist and an agnostic?
- What are intelligent design and creationism and how are they related?
- What is misanthropy ?
- I would like to understand the poem Blight" by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Please help."
- Can you explain the significance of the question, Which came first, the chicken or the egg?""
- In Little Lost Robot," by Isaac Asimov, why have some robots been impressioned with only part of the First Law of Robotics?"
- Can you explain Cartesian Dualism and how Descartes' philosophical endeavors led him to dualism?
- When reading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice , what does entailment mean?
- What does ignominy mean? (From Shelley's Frankenstein )
- What does pecuniary mean? (From Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities )
- How do I analyze Kant's philosophy?
- What is an apostrophe in Macbeth ?
- Is music a language?
- Why should literature be studied?
- In the book The Scarlet Letter , what is a vigil ?
- The first week of school isn't even over yet and I'm already in trouble â€” I forgot my textbook at school and can't do my homework! What should I do now?!
- What are the renaissance features/characteristics in Hamlet ?
- What is the exact quote in Hamlet about something being wrong in Denmark? Something smells? Something is amiss?
- What does Utilitarianism mean, from a philosophical perspective?
- What was the form of English that Shakespeare used?
- At the beginning of Act V, Scene 2 of Much Ado About Nothing, does Shakespeare insinuate that anything is going on between Margaret and Benedick?
- What was the "final solution" in the book Night by Elie Wiesel?
- With the many novels out there, is there a database of some sort that can narrow down your choices to a specific book of interest for pleasure reading? And if not, why hasn't there been?
- How do you pronounce Houyhnhnms ? (From Swift's Gulliver's Travels )
- I just took the quiz on The Great Gatsby on this site. How can Jordan Baker be described as a professional golfer? To my knowledge, the LPGA did not form until the mid-1950s. Shouldn't she be referred to as an amateur golfer instead?
- What are the humanities?
- If Father, Son, and Holy Ghost aren't names, what is God's name?
- What classic novels take place in Florida?
- In which Hemingway short story is the saying, "Children's shoes for sale"?
- Who is the "lady" that Robert Plant speaks of in the song "Stairway to Heaven"?
- Was Odysseus the one who planned the Trojan horse, in the Trojan War?
- How do I get my smart-but-hates-to-read son interested in reading?
- Poetry gives me problems. How can I figure out what poems are about?
- How do you analyze a novel?
- What does it mean to ululate ? (From Golding's Lord of the Flies )
- Is ambrosia a salad? (From Homer's The Odyssey )
- What is a harbinger ? (From Shakespeare's Macbeth )
- What does it mean to be refractory ? (From Dickens' Great Expectations )
- What is a querulous kid? (From Wharton's Ethan Frome )
- What does the word runagate mean? (From Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet )
- What is the word, imprimis ? (From Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew )
- What does the word alchemy mean? (From Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter )
- What is an estuary ? (From Conrad's Heart of Darkness )
- What or who is a scullion ? (From Shakespeare's Hamlet )
- What is a schism ? (From Swift's Gulliver's Travels )
- What does it mean to be salubrious ? (From Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights )
- What is a replication ? (From Shakespeare's Hamlet )
- What is vicissitude ? (From Hawthorne's The House of Seven Gables )
- Can you define indolent ? (From Wharton's House of Mirth )
- What does the word replete mean? (From Shakespeare's Henry V )
- What are orisons ? (From Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet )
- What does it mean to be ephemeral ?
- What does it mean to be placid ? (From Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre )
- What is a paroxysm ? (From Stoker's Dracula )
- My English teacher got really mad when I said I was nauseous . Why?
- What does it mean to be farinaceous ? (From Tolstoy's Anna Karenina )
- What does dejection mean? (From Shelley's Frankenstein )
- What is animadversion ? (From Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter )
- What does it mean to be timorous ? (From Shakespeare's Othello )
- Someone called me erudite . Is that good?
- What is a mountebank ? (From Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter )
- What does incarnadine mean? (From Shakespeare's Macbeth )
- What does it mean to be puissant? (From Shakespeare's Julius Caesar)
- What is a purloiner? (From Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities)
- What does it mean to be affable ? (From Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment )
- What does it mean to be ostensible ? (From Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court )
- What does compunction mean? (From Dickens's Bleak House )
- What is behoveful ? (From Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet )
- What is a precentor ? (From Golding's Lord of the Flies )
- What does it mean to be loquacious ? (From Cervantes's Don Quixote )
- What does imprudence mean? (From Ibsen's A Doll's House )
- What is a conflagration ? (From Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde )
- What does it mean to be spurious ? (From James' Daisy Miller )
- What is a retinue ? (From Swift's Gulliver's Travels )
- What does the word forsworn mean? (From Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet )
- What does the word hauteur mean? (From Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby )
- What are vituperations ? (From Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl )
- What are ostents ? (From Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice )
- What is a sockdolager ? (From Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn )
- What does insuperable mean? (From Shelley's Frankenstein )
- What is calumny ? (From Shakespeare's Hamlet )
- What is an augury ? (From Sophocles' Antigone )
- What does squally mean? (From Dickens' Great Expectations )
- What does corporal mean? (From Shakespeare's Macbeth )
- What does it mean to be plausible ? (From Sinclair's The Jungle )
- What is a dearth ? (From Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre )
- What does it mean to vacillate ? (From Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest )
- What does it mean to obtrude someone? (From Dickens's Great Expectations )
- What is a heterodox ? (From Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter )
- What is felicity ? (From Austen's Emma )
- What does it mean to be effacing ? (From Adams's The Education of Henry Adams )
- What is a repast ? (From Chan Tsao's Dream of the Red Chamber )
- What does insouciance mean? (From Sinclair's The Jungle )
- What is a soliloquy ? (From Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn )
- I was reading The Iliad and there's this word in it: greaves . What's that?
- What does the word prodigality mean? (From Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby )
- Is there an easy way to understand The Canterbury Tales ?
- What does the scarlet letter symbolize?
- What is the significance of Grendel's cave in Beowulf ?
- How did Hawthorne show that Hester Prynne was a strong woman in The Scarlet Letter ?
- What purpose do the three witches serve at the beginning of Macbeth ?
- What can you tell me about Grendel from Beowulf ?
- What figurative language does Stephen Crane use in The Red Badge of Courage ?
- Why is Roger so mean in Lord of the Flies ?
- How do Gene and Finny mirror each other in A Separate Peace ?
- The old man and the young wife — what's up with story plots like this?
- What part does vengeance play in The Odyssey ?
- What kind of a woman is Penelope in The Odyssey ?
- Do fate and fortune guide the actions in Macbeth ?
- How does Frankenstein relate to Paradise Lost ?
- How has the way people view Othello changed over time?
- How does Henry change throughout The Red Badge of Courage ?
- What's so great about Gatsby?
- How is To Kill a Mockingbird a coming-of-age story?
- Why did Ophelia commit suicide in Hamlet ?
- What is the setting of The Scarlet Letter ?
- What is a slave narrative?
- What's an anachronism ?
- Doesn't Raskolnikov contradict himself in Crime and Punishment ?
- What is the main theme of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ?
- What does Shakespeare mean by memento mori ?
- What are inductive and deductive arguments?
- How does Alice Walker break the rules" of literature with The Color Purple ?"
- What role does Friar Laurence play in Romeo and Juliet ?
- Why did Elie Wiesel call his autobiography Night ?
- How does Shakespeare play with gender roles in Macbeth ?
- Where did Dickens get the idea to write A Tale of Two Cities ?
- What's the purpose of the preface to The Scarlet Letter ?
- What role do women play in A Tale of Two Cities ?
- Who are the heroes and villains in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?
- What are the ides of March?
- Was Kate really a shrew in The Taming of the Shrew ?
- What role does innocence play in The Catcher in the Rye ?
- How are Tom and Huck different from each other in Huckleberry Finn ?
- What is blank verse and how does Shakespeare use it?
- How do the book and film versions of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest differ?
- What is a satirical novel?
- What is the role of censorship in Fahrenheit 451 ?
- How can I keep myself on track to get through my summer reading list?
- How does Jim fit into the overall theme of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ?
- What is a major theme of The Great Gatsby ?
- How does Shakespeare use light and darkness in Romeo and Juliet ?
- Who is the narrator in Faulkner's A Rose for Emily"?"
- In Lord of the Flies , what statement is William Golding making about evil?
- How is The Catcher in the Rye different from other coming-of-age novels?
- How does Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird show two sides?
- Was there supposed to be a nuclear war in The Handmaid's Tale ? I couldn't tell.
- What is experimental theater"?"
- Does Jonas die at the end of The Giver ?
- What is an inciting incident, and how do I find one in Lord of the Flies ?
- How does King Arthur die?
- In Julius Caesar , what does this mean: Cowards die many times before their deaths
- How do you write a paper on comparing a movie with the book?
- Please explain this Kipling quote: Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.""
- What is a tragic flaw?
- What is a motif, and how can I find them in Macbeth ?
- Why didn't Socrates write any books? After all, he was supposed to be so intelligent and wise.
- Why are there blanks in place of people's names and places in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice ?
- Was Othello a king? A prince? He's referred to as My Lord" but I'm not sure of his actual title."
- I need to download some pictures of Juliet. Where would I find these?
- Why does Odysseus decide to listen to the Sirens, in The Odyssey , by Homer?
- What does prose and poetry mean? What's the difference?
- In The Scarlet Letter, why is the scaffold important and how does it change over the course of the novel?
- Why does the legend of King Arthur hold such a powerful grip over us?
- Do you like to read books?
- What are the metrical features in poetry?
- What are the riddles that Gollum asked Bilbo in The Hobbit ?
- Can you tell me what these two quotes from Much Ado About Nothing mean?
- What is connotation, and how do you find it in a poem?
- What is a dramatic monologue?
- What is formal fallacy?
- In the movie Dead Poets Society, what are some themes and values that are relevant to Transcendentalism. What is Transcendentalism?
- Why didn't Mina Harker realize she was under Dracula's spell when she witnessed her friend fall prey to him, too? Wasn't it obvious?
- In The Three Musketeers by Dumas, Cardinal Richelieu is labeled as the villain. How could he be presented as a hero instead?
- In Romeo and Juliet , what are the different types of irony used? Um, what's irony?
- What is the main theme in Fahrenheit 451 ?
- In Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities , what fact in Book the Second: Chapters 1-6, confirms Darnay's release?
- Why is Invisible Man considered a bildungsroman?
- In A Doll's House , what risqué item does Nora reveal to Dr. Rank that eventually prompts him to disclose his own secret?
- What is a definition of short story?
- What percentage of people are considered geniuses?
- How do I write and publish my own novel?
- Do I use the past or present tense to answer this question: What is this poem about?" "
- A Closer Look at Internships
- Consider Working for a Nonprofit Organization
- Create a Top-Quality Cover Letter
- Deciding Whether to Go for Your MBA
- Dress the Part for a Job Interview
- Appropriate Attire: Defining Business Casual
- Famous Americans Who Started Out in the Military
- The Benefits of Joining a Professional Organization
- Five Job Interview Mistakes
- Getting Good References for Your Job Hunt
- Lying on Your Resume
- Make the Most of Days between Jobs
- Military Career Opportunity: Translators and Interpreters
- Network Your Way into a Job
- Prepare for a Job Interview
- Preparing for Job Interview Questions
- Putting Your English Degree to Work
- Putting Your Education Degree to Work
- Take Advantage of Job and Career Fairs
- Tips for a Better Resume
- Understand Negotiable Elements of a Job Offer
- Visit the College Career Office
- Write a Resume That Will Get Noticed
- Write a Thank You Note after an Interview
- Writing a Follow-Up Letter after Submitting Your Resume
- Your Military Career: Basics of Officer Candidate School
- Your Military Career: Requirements for Officer Candidate School
- Know What to Expect in Graduate School
- Paying for Graduate School
- Plan for Graduate Education
- Tackle the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
- What Does School Accreditation Mean?
- Writing Essays for Your Business School Application
- Apply to Graduate School
- Basic Requirements for Grad School
- Choose a Graduate School
- Decide if Graduate School Is Right for You
- English Majors: Selecting a Graduate School or Program
- Getting Letters of Recommendation for Your Business School Application
- Graduate School Application: Tips, Advice, and Warnings
- Graduate School: Applying as a Returning Student
- How to Find a Mentor for Graduate School
- How to Prepare for Grad School as an Undergrad
- How Work Experience Affects Your MBA Application
- Master's Degree in Biology: Choosing a Grad School
- In what countries does Toyota produce and market cars?
- How would you use the PDSA cycle in your personal life?
- I am confused about adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing negative numbers.
- Who are some famous female mathematicians?
- Given the set of numbers [7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42], find a subset of these numbers that sums to 100.
- The speed limit on a certain part of the highway is 65 miles per hour. What is this in feet per minute?
- What is the sum of the angles of an octagon?
- In math, what does reciprocal mean?
- How many grams in an ounce?
- A number is 20 less than its square. Find all answers.
- How much is 1,000 thousands?
- How do I find the angles of an isosceles triangle whose two base angles are equal and whose third angle is 10 less than three times a base angle?
- Explain with words and an example how any number raised to the zero power is 1?
- If I had 550 coins in a machine worth $456.25, what would be the denomination of each coin?
- What three consecutive numbers add up to 417?
- How many 100,000,000s in 50 billion?
- Of 100 students asked if they like rock and roll or country music, 7 said they like neither, 90 said they like rock and roll, and 57 said they like country music. How many students like both?
- What's the formula to convert square feet into square meters?
- In math, what is the definition of order of operations?
- What's the difference between digital and analog?
- What is the square root of 523,457?
- What are all of the prime numbers?
- Our teacher told us to look for clues in math word problems. What did she mean?
- How do I figure out math word problems (without going crazy)?
- What good is geometry going to do me after I get out of school?
- I keep forgetting how to add fractions. Can you remind me?
- My teacher talks about the Greatest Common Factor. What's so great about it?
- Got any tips on finding percentages of a number?
- What does associative property mean when youâ€™re talking about adding numbers?
- How do I use domain and range in functions?
- How do I change percents to decimals and fractions? How about decimals and fractions to percents?
- What should I do if my teacher wants me to solve an inequality on a number line?
- What is a fast and easy way to work word problems?
- How do you combine numbers and symbols in an algebraic equation?
- How do I go about rounding off a number?
- What is the First Derivative Test for Local Extrema?
- Can you describe a prism for me?
- How can I double-check my answers to math equations?
- How do you factor a binomial?
- I get the words mean , mode , median , and range mixed up in math. What do they all mean?
- How do you combine like terms in algebra?
- Can you make it easier for me to understand what makes a number a prime number?
- Explain probability to me (and how about some examples)?
- Solving story problems is, well, a problem for me. Can you help?
- What's inferential statistics all about?
- Finding percentages confuses me. Do you have any tips to make it simpler?
- What's a quadratic equation, and how do I solve one?
- How do you figure out probability?
- How do you add integers?
- How do you use factoring in quadratic equations?
- What are limits in calculus?
- I've looked everywhere to find the meaning of this word and I can't find it. What's the definition of tesseract ?
- In geometry, how do you get the perimeters of a square and a rectangle?
- What is the absolute value of a negative number?
- A rectangle swimming pool is 24m longer than it is wide and is surrounded by a deck 3m wide. Find the area of the pool if the area of the deck is 324m 2 . Where do I even start to solve this problem?
- How do you classify numbers, as in rational numbers, integers, whole numbers, natural numbers, and irrational numbers? I am mostly stuck on classifying fractions.
- How do you convert a fraction to a decimal or change a decimal to a fraction?
- I am trying to find all solutions to this algebra (factoring) problem, x 3 – 3x 2 – x + 3 = 0, and I keep getting the wrong answer. Please help!
- Sometimes when I'm doing my pre-calculus homework I need help on some of the problems. Do you know where I can find help on the weekends or whenever?
- How do you convert metric measurements?
- I'm curious about converting Celsius to Fahrenheit, or Fahrenheit to Celsius. How do I convert from one to the other?
- In basic math, the fraction bar shows division. So why does this equation show multiplication instead of division? 9/9 = 1 because 1 x 9 = 9.
- I'm taking geometry and I'm having problem with the angles and the degree. Is there a way you can help me out?
- The perimeter of a rectangle is 66m. The width is 9m less than the length. What is the length and width of the rectangle?
- How many dollars are in 5,000 pesos?
- How many ounces in a pound?
- I'm having a hard time remembering percent of change. All I have is P (percent) = amount of change over original amount. Is there a better way of understanding it?
- How do I figure out tangrams?
- What are quadrilaterals?
- What is the least common multiple of 8, 6, and 12?
- How do you convert decimals to fractions?
- How did the planet" Pluto get its name? I know it's named after the mythical god of the underworld, but why?"
- What is the difference between the earth's core and its crust?
- What does gender really mean?
- What does plum pudding have to do with physics?
- What is the functionalist perspective in sociology?
- What does pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis mean?
- Why aren't viruses considered living things?
- Why does your breathing rate increase when you exercise?
- Everyone says you shouldn't clean your ears with cotton swabs because you could break an eardrum. But if you do break your eardrum, will it grow back?
- What is a mole?
- How, and why, is body fat stored?
- Where on the body do you find ciliated pseudostratified columnar epithelium?
- Since she was only married for 72 days, does Kim Kardashian have to give back her wedding gifts?
- In the United States, how can you get buried at sea?
- What exactly is Salvia divinorum , and is it legal?
- What is the composition and volume of whole blood?
- Should I refer to a widow as Mrs., Miss, or Ms.?
- Is it possible to catch more than one cold at a time?
- Why does the Earth have more gravitational force than the moon or some other planet?
- Did humans evolve from monkeys or apes?
- What is the largest organ in the human body?
- How did we end up with both Fahrenheit and Celsius scales?
- What is absolute zero?
- What is cell theory?
- How come when humans flatulate, it smells bad?
- How do I convert mL into µL, and vice versa?
- What is the most abundant element in the earth's crust?
- Is global warming man-made?
- What exactly is wind? And why does it blow?
- This sounds really disgusting, but I'm curious: Can humans drink animal blood, or any other kind of blood?
- Why is space exploration important?
- How is photosynthesis essential to life on earth?
- What is the highest mountain in New Mexico?
- What's the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?
- Who are the unbelievers" referred to in The Koran? What is it that they do not believe?"
- What is the difference between Sunnis and Shi'ites?
- What happens when you die?
- Why is it important to memorize where the 50 states are on a map?
- What kind of endangered species are there? Can you give me some examples, please?
- It's impossible to sneeze with your eyes open, so when you drive a car, is it against the law to sneeze?
- What are tectonic plates?
- I have boy trouble. I want to ask out my friend, but I am not sure he is going to say yes. Plus, he said he had a girlfriend when we talked during school. Plus, my parents don't want me to date.
- Why is the sky blue?
- Do you really shrink at the end of the day and then grow in the morning?
- What is the difference between matter" and "mass"?"
- What does "nature versus nurture" mean?
- What are closed contour lines?
- What is homeostasis ?
- What does the periodic table look like?
- Do you know anything about the law of conservation of energy? Is it really a law?
- I thought I knew what work means, but my physics teacher defines it differently. What's up with that?
- How do plants know when to drop their leaves?
- What's the surface of the moon like?
- How does the number of neutrons in the nucleus of an atom differentiate it from another atom?
- How do big rocks wear down over time?
- What does genetic recombination mean?
- How has DNA matching really made big difference in finding out who committed a crime?
- What's the difference between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems?
- What is incomplete dominance?
- Can hydrocarbons be considered compounds?
- Can you explain what molar mass is?
- Aren't fungi really plants?
- What information is contained in a chemical equation?
- What are the endocrine and exocrine systems?
- How do electrical charges interact?
- Are there more than three kingdoms of life? I can never remember.
- What are the characteristics of electrically charged objects?
- How does anomie theory explain deviant behavior?
- Why would anybody think there might be life on another planet?
- What are chemical solutions?
- Do you know of any way to simplify the overall subject of biochemical genetics?
- Can a loud noise really shatter glass?
- How do magnetic fields work?
- Did Clarence Darrow really call an animal in to testify at the famous monkey trial?
- What role does the thyroid gland play in the human body?
- What did Mendel discover about heredity when he was playing around with plants?
- How many laws of motion did Newton come up with, and what are they?
- What in the world is constructive and destructive interference?
- How do viruses do their dirty work?
- What do bones do, except give us a skeletal structure?
- Do all viruses look alike?
- My teacher keeps talking about solubility. What does that mean, anyway?
- How do positive and negative reinforcement work?
- How does nondisjunction relate to birth defects?
- With all the germs in the world today, how come everybody's not sick all the time?
- What is thermal equilibrium?
- How are sound waves created?
- What do taste buds look like — up-close?
- How often does an eclipse happen?
- What is the chemical composition of saltwater?
- I was told to write a 15-sentence answer to this question: When in life do you learn to expect the unexpected? I don't really know of an answer. Can you help me figure it out?
- My school is having a blood drive and I am considering donating blood. Can you tell me more about the whole process and if it is painful?
- Where can I download music for free? And if I do, is it illegal?
- How do I convince my parents to give me ten bucks?
- How should I deal with being a perfectionist?
- How do I convince my little brother and sisters to stay out of my room?
- Can you eat a rooster?
- How do I work out a problem with a teacher who loses the assignments I turn in and then accuses me of not doing the homework?
- Could a Tyrannosaurus rex kill King Kong?
- How would you describe a rainbow to a person who has been blind their ENTIRE life and doesn't understand colors?
- Will a tattoo inhibit hair growth?
- When did gays come about?
- I was wondering if the tilt on the earth's axis is important to animal life on earth. Could you explain?
- What are the four types of tissue found in the human body?
- Is there any easy" way to understand the Krebs Cycle?"
- Why are prostaglandins sometimes called tissue hormones?
- What is cell death? And what is the difference between apoptosis and necrosis?
- How do I find the molar mass of the elements on the periodic table?
- What do the symbols on the Periodic Table mean? For example, Gold-Au, Silver-Ag, Lead-Pb, Potassium-K, Tin-Sn, Iron-Fe, and Mercury-Hg, where did these symbols come from?
- How is your mind connected to your dreams? Does this have anything to do with psychology?
- What are the three main functions of the skeletal system?
- What are the characteristics of a moneran, protist, and fungus?
- Why does a placebo work? And who does it work for?
- What are two properties of metals, nonmetals, and metalloids?
- What is lymph? Is it part of the circulatory system in our bodies?
- Can there be life on Mars?
- How much of the ozone layer is left?
- Is it possible for a marine mammal to be infected with rabies?
- What exactly does the RNA do?
- What is the sperm travel process?
- What is a bacterial colony?
- Dealing with the myth of Cinderella, written by the Grimm brothers, how could you analyze it in terms of archetypes that Carl Jung used?
- What exactly is blood clotting and what are the processes involved?
- What is the difference between nuclear fusion and nuclear fission?
- Does a person have to have the same blood type as his or her brothers and sisters?
- My teacher said that eating poisonous mushrooms can make you sick or even kill you, but that they're not the only fungus that can. What is she talking about?
- What is the chemical equation for orange juice?
- What kind of structures are opposable toes?
- What is an oral groove?
- Dogs are spayed, but humans have hysterectomies. Isn't it all the same surgery?
- What does the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) do?
- What is the angle formed by a horizontal line and a line of sight to a point below?
- After I take the ASVAB, what is my obligation to the military?
- If I choose to take the computerized version of the GRE, will I be typing or writing my analytical and issue essays?
- Are there any MBA programs that don't require the GMAT?
- Can you use a calculator on the GMAT? What are you allowed to take in with you to the test?
- Should I keep taking the GMAT until I get a good score?
- How is the ASVAB scored?
- I canceled my GMAT score right after I took the test. Now I'm wondering if I did the right thing.
- What is the ASVAB AFQT?
- Where can I take the ASVAB?
- Is it better to guess on GMAT answers or would that count against me?
- How is my GMAT score used by grad schools?
- Is it true that the writing assessment sections of the GMAT are graded by a computer?
- What kinds of scores are reported on the GRE, and how long will it take for me to get my scores?
- What do I need to bring with me to the GRE testing center?
- How are GRE scores used?
- How do I learn stuff for in-class exams?
- How do I get ready for a math test?
- Can I take a calculator to my ACT exam?
- Do you have any tips for doing well on the AP Chemistry test?
- What can I expect in the math part of the SAT?
- How can I prepare for the SAT essay?
- What is the Critical Reasoning section of the SAT like?
- Is there a fun way to learn SAT vocabulary?
- What books should I read for the AP English Literature exam?
- How can I make sure I finish the AP essay question in time?
- Since I made the soccer team, I don't feel like I have enough time to study. Do you have any study tips so I can use my time better and make sure I don't get kicked off the team for my grades?
- I'm a huge procrastinator. How can I manage my time effectively to catch up on my assignments?
- What kind or amount of note-taking is optimal? I get lost while making a notation and miss other parts of the lecture.
- I study so hard for my tests that I know I know the material, but then I always panic and bomb. How can I reduce my test anxiety?
- I do really bad on quizzes. I'm okay with tests and homework, but I do horribly on quizzes. What can I do to prepare for quizzes?
- I've screwed up horribly this semester. I always say I'm going to change my habits, but I always end up getting lazy and doing something else. I want to succeed, but how can I get rid of my own laziness?
- If you have any music or audio notes playing on tape, CD, or whatever and you fall asleep, is it true that you'll have whatever was played memorized by the time you wake up?
- I have trouble understanding a book when I read. I try to read so that I can finish the book quickly but still understand what's going on. Could you give me a few tips on how to understand a book while reading at a quick pace?
- What is the best study method when trying to cram three chapters all at once?
- What if I have a really bad memory? When I read a page of a book, I can't go back and remember it.
- Why do some teachers say light a peppermint candle? I mean, I don't think it helps you concentrate.
- I really suck at taking multiple choice tests. Do you have any suggestions for not psyching myself out before a big test?
- Is there a WRONG way to study?
- Are the math questions on the GMAT extremely difficult and complex?
- Does it matter whether I take the SAT or ACT in my junior year or my senior year of high school?
- What does AP mean?
- How can I explain to my friend what I mean when I call him tedious ?
- Does the word privations has something to do with the government?
- What's the difference between goulash and galoshes?
- What exactly is a parallel structure?
- I have a bet on this: Learnt is a real word, right?
- Is a boor somebody who boos or somebody who bores?
- Somebody in my drama club used the word ostentation the other day. What does that mean, anyway?
- Define paraphrasing.
- What's another word that means the same thing as malevolence ?
- I find the same typo in a lot of books I read. Shouldn't connexion be connection ?
- What do you call a word that only ever appears as a plural?
- What s the difference between like and such as
- Can you show an easy way to remember when to use I" or "me" in a sentence? (And please skip the technical grammar rules.)"
- Should I say, â€œCan I have a banana?â€ or â€œMay I have a banana?â€
- Is the proper capitalization Atlantic ocean or Atlantic Ocean ?
- What does the word supercilious mean?
- Is grippe something that makes you sick?
- Does the word elucidation have something to do with drugs?
- How would you use fervid and fervent in a sentence?
- How can someone become a good writer?
- How do you cite CliffsNotes in APA, MLA, and CMS styles?
- What period in history does histrionics cover?
- People used to die from consumption. Does that mean they ate too much?
- Is it ever okay to start a sentence with the word but?
- What is the longest word in the English language?
- I'm learning English now, so I gave myself an English name â€” Vivi." However, an American told me that "Vivi" is not suitable for a name. There are some local reasons. So I want to know if "Vivi" really can't be used as a name."
- When writing a paper, what do I do to the title of a book? Do I underline it or italicize it?
- Please look at this sentence: Both Peter and John like soccer. Should it be: Both Peter and John likes soccer.
- What are the four genders of noun?
- What is it called when a word is the same both forward and backward?
- Do swans really sing when they die
- What does indignation mean?
- What is a pundit ?
- What is a cleft sentence
- What is the difference between narration and first person?
- Is it grammatically correct to say take some shots"?"
- My teacher thinks I plagiarized an essay; what should I tell him?
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- My school newspaper claimed that I am. is the shortest complete sentence in the English language. Isn't Go. a complete sentence?
- How did people make up the lb. abbreviation for pounds?
- Which is correct: "if I was" or "if I were"? And why?
- How would you use the word antecede in a sentence?
- Could you please explain the difference between affect and effect ?
- How do I write a good thesis statement?
- What do people mean when they talk about information in the public domain?
- What's the big deal about plagiarism, anyway?
- Is there a difference between envy and jealousy ?
- Can you define the words prostate and prostrate ?
- What does it mean to be threadbare ?
- Is there a difference between the words ignorant and stupid ?
- I used the word reoccur in a paper and my teacher said it should have been recur . Can you tell me the difference?
- What does it mean to be flabbergasted ?
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- What does ad infinitum mean? (From Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre )
- Do loath and loathe have different meanings?
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- What does it mean to be fastidious ? (From Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo )
- Do stationary and stationery mean the same thing?
- How is the word among different than the word between ?
- What is a hierarchy ?
- What is the difference between tortuous and torturous ?
- Can you help me understand the difference between the words censor and censure ?
- I get farther and further confused. Can you help?
- I can t keep principal and principle clear Can you help
- My teacher lowered my grade on a paper because I described a scene as grizzly . I thought that was a word.
- Are the words gamut and gauntlet interchangeable?
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- Can you tell me when to use faze instead of phase ?
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- What is the difference between the words precede and proceed ?
- How do I fix a run-on sentence?
- How useful are automatic spell-checkers?
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- When is it okay to use sentence fragments?
- What is future perfect tense?
- Is it okay to split infinitives?
- Why do people often confuse than and then in writing?
- When do I use commas with clauses?
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- What types of words or phrases should I avoid in my writing?
- What is parallel structure in writing?
- When should I use apostrophe-S?
- What is a clause?
- I have to write an essay, and I'm having a hard time getting started. Do you have any tips?
- How can I make the most out of my first draft?
- What should I avoid when writing the conclusion of a research paper?
- Are can and may interchangeable?
- What is passive voice?
- What does it mean to be quixotic ?
- What are linking verbs?
- What does it mean to use redundant adverbs?
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- How do you use possessives in front of gerunds?
- Can I end a sentence with a preposition?
- How do I decide on the scope of my essay?
- What are participles?
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- Which adjectives can't be modified with more and most ?
- What are indirect objects?
- Should I use his , his or her , or their ?
- What's the difference between farther and further ?
- What is a storyboard?
- What exactly is a theme of a story, and how can I recognize it?
- Why is English class called English in school? English is a language, so I don't think it should be a class. Please help me understand.
- What is tone exactly and how do you find it in stories?
- Where do you start when writing a character analysis?
- What is a dynamic character? What is a static character? How are they different?
- What's the difference between description and narration?
- I don't get onomatopoeias! It's as hard to spell as it is to understand!
- What is a gothic tale?
- What is the author's style" of a book?"
- What is a one-word sentence called?
- What word class would the word Novembery fit in to?
- My instructor wrote on my paper to be careful about using passive voice. What does that mean?
- Is it grammatically correct to say, She went missing"? What is the rule?"
- I need information on the social roles of language. How are individuals judged based on their use of language?
- What is the origin of the word promotion ?
- What's a preposition?
- What are some examples of homographic terms?
- I have to write an essay for my AP world history class and my teacher said to use direct comparison, but I'm confused on what he means by that. Please Help!
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- What are some examples of transitions that I can use in my writing assignment?
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- What are easy ways to identify figurative language?
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- What is the literary device of writing exactly as a character speaks, even if words are misspelled and the grammar is non-standard?
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- What is a good sentence for the word plinth ?
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- Why can't you be rude or sarcastic in your thesis statement?
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- What would a raging river be like?
A second way of organizing requires you to decide first which aspects of the poems you want to compare and contrast (theme, language, and imagery) and then to structure your essay according to these. For example, if you begin with theme, you state the themes of both poems and compare them. Then you compare the language of the two poems, then the imagery, then the tone, and so on. Two advantages of this type of organization are, first, you are forced to focus on similarities and dissimilarities and less likely to include material that isn't pertinent and, second, you avoid repetition by eliminating a separate compare-and-contrast section.
You can also combine these two types of organization. For example, you may want to discuss each poem's theme separately, and then move into a point-by-point comparison of the other aspects of the poem (language, imagery, tone, and so on).
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Organizing Compare-Contrast Paragraphs
Comparing two subjects in two paragraphs.
- Teaching Resources
- An Introduction to Teaching
- Tips & Strategies
- Policies & Discipline
- Community Involvement
- School Administration
- Technology in the Classroom
- Teaching Adult Learners
- Issues In Education
- Becoming A Teacher
- Assessments & Tests
- Elementary Education
- Secondary Education
- Special Education
- M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, University of Florida
- B.A., History, University of Florida
Organizing two compare-and-contrast paragraphs is just a mini version of creating a compare-and-contrast essay . This kind of essay examines two or more subjects by comparing their similarities and contrasting their differences. In the same way, compare-contrast paragraphs compare and contrast two things in two separate paragraphs. There are two basic methods for organizing compare-contrast paragraphs: the block format and a format where the writer separates similarities and differences.
When using the block format for a two-paragraph comparison, discuss one subject in the first paragraph and the other in the second, as follows:
Paragraph 1: The opening sentence names the two subjects and states that they are very similar, very different or have many important (or interesting) similarities and differences. The remainder of the paragraph describes the features of the first subject without referring to the second subject.
Paragraph 2: The opening sentence must contain a transition showing you are comparing the second subject to the first, such as: "Unlike (or similar to) subject No. 1, subject No. 2..." Discuss all the features of subject No. 2 in relation to subject No. 1 using compare-contrast cue words such as "like," "similar to," "also," "unlike," and "on the other hand," for each comparison. End this paragraph with a personal statement, a prediction or another enlightening conclusion.
Separating Similarities and Differences
When using this format, discuss only the similarities in the first paragraph and only the differences in the next. This format requires careful use of many compare-contrast cue words and is, therefore, more difficult to write well. Create the paragraphs as follows:
Paragraph 1: The opening sentence names the two subjects and states that they are very similar, very different or have many important (or interesting) similarities and differences. Continue discussing similarities only using compare-contrast cue words such as "like," "similar to" and "also," for each comparison.
Paragraph 2: The opening sentence must contain a transition showing that you are pivoting to discussing differences, such as: "Despite all these similarities, (these two subjects) differ in significant ways." Then describe all the differences, using compare-contrast cue words such as "differs," "unlike," and "on the other hand," for each comparison. End the paragraph with a personal statement, a prediction, or another compelling conclusion.
Create a Pre-Writing Chart
In organizing compare-contrast paragraphs , using either of the above methods, students may find it helpful to create a compare-contrast-prewriting chart . To create this chart, students would create a three-column table or chart with the following headers topping each column: "Subject 1," "Features," and "Subject 2." Students then list the subjects and features in the appropriate columns.
For example, a student might compare life in the city (Subject No. 1) vs. the country (Subject No. 2) . To start, the student would list "Entertainment," "Culture," and "Food," in the rows under the "Features" header. Then, next "Entertainment," the student could list "theaters, clubs" under the "City" header and "festivals, bonfires" under the "Country" header.
Next might be "Culture" in the "Features" column. Next to "Culture," the student would list "museums" in the "City" column and "historic places" under the "Country" column, and so on. After compiling about seven or eight rows, the student can cross out the rows that seem least relevant. Crafting such a chart helps the student create an easy visual aid to help write the compare-contrast paragraphs for either of the previously discussed methods.
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