Reading to Compare and Contrast

Apple and Orange

Comparing and contrasting is an important skill. It helps you focus on specific details, such as characters or plot that form the underpinnings of a story. This not only helps with reading comprehension, but is an essential skill in writing reports in middle school, high school and college.

A Venn diagram can be a helpful tool to compare two or more people, places, or things.  For example, if you were asked to compare an apple and an orange, you could start by writing down all the characteristics of each and then asking yourself how they are the same and how they are different.  Similarities would be captured where the circles overlap while differences would be noted outside of this area.

You may be saying, “This example is too easy!  I have to compare and contrast the flood in Genesis in the Bible to the events in the ancient book Gilgamesh.”  I whole-heartedly agree this is much, much more complicated, but the process is the same.  In this case, you may want to use two sheets of lined paper.  Draw a line down the center of each sheet and on one page.  On one side write “Genesis” and on the other side write “Gilgamesh.”  Next, write down how they are the same and how they are different.

If you need to write an essay making this or another comparison, be sure to use appropriate transition words:

Although

And

As opposed to

As well as

Better

Both

But

Compared with

Despite

Different from

Either

Even though

However

In common

In comparison

In contrast

In the same way

Instead of

Just as/like

Less

Likewise

More than

Nevertheless

On the contrary

On the other hand

Opposite

Otherwise

Same

Similar to

Similarly

Still

Whereas

Yet

Whether you need to compare apples to oranges or Genesis to Gilgamesh, try these suggestions to experience success!

Need help applying these concepts?  Call 817.421.8780 to learn about Student Success!

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(c) 2009- 2012, Monte W. Davenport, Ph.D.

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