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Compare/Contrast Essay. Definition for the Word Success


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Instructions for CHOICE Essay (#1) –Compare/Contrast, Cause/Effect, Definition, or Classification/Division

Write an essay of at least 700 words in which you utilize compare/contrast, cause/effect, definition, or classification/division to explain the topic of your choice. You should use the chapter from your book (Successful College Writing) that talks about that specific genre to help you to organize and focus in on the topic of your choice. You are required to use at least one resource from the Kilgore College library databases, quoted or paraphrased, in your paper. You will need a works cited page. Your essay needs to be formatted according to MLA standards.


Comparing and contrasting things becomes really important in certain situations. For example, what if you are trying to figure out the best way to solve a problem? You could narrow down the possible solutions to two (or three!) options, and compare/contrast them to see what the best way to fix a problem might be. Another important part of compare/contrast is to see how things fit together (or don’t) for synthesis and analysis – two skills that you will very likely be expected to exhibit in your college career.


Cause /Effect is a great way to talk about changes that you have witnessed, or changes that you would like to see happen. It is also great way to talk about impact events – things that make big changes in a big way.


Classification/Division essays explains how subjects might be grouped into categories (classification) and/or divided into more specific groups. Example: Animals is a very general topic that can be broken down (divided) according to category (classification): vertebrates and invertebrates. Those categories can then be broken down again: Birds, Mammals, Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Arthropods, Sponges, Worms, Mollusks, Echinoderms, and Coelenterates. Then, you can take one of those categories and explain why a certain animal does or does not belong to that category.

For this essay, please make sure that you don’t try to tackle something quite so general – make it specific enough that you can manage it in the space that you have. People have written multi-volume books about animal categories, so that topic is way too big. Make sure your topic is small enough that you can talk about all of the parts in your essay. Also, make sure that your topic is big enough to give you plenty to talk about. If all you can think of is the different colors of an object, it probably isn’t going to be enough. Compare/Contrast

Whatever your topic is, make sure that you take the time to separate your ideas into paragraphs and explain yourself in a logical, understandable way. If you start by talking about animals that can walk on two legs and contrasting them with animals that can only walk on four, then you talk about snakes and contrast them with lizards, your reader is likely to get very confused unless you explain why you are transitioning into the new topic. Be very clear.


No, I don’t want to know what Webster’s dictionary says. One way of approaching a definition essay is to start with a word that you are not quite familiar with, like pedagogy. Then, when you are researching, find an article where a scholar is explaining what pedagogy is and how they do it – you can use their definition to get you started. Explain why their definition is or is not correct. Since pedagogy is a pretty broad topic, it might mean different things to different people, so you might talk about that. Compare/Contrast

Another way to approach a definition essay might be to start with a word that has many different meanings, like love. The Greeks had more than 6 different words to describe different types of love, so a definition essay about love might talk about each of those different types and why they still fall under the definition of love.


Identifying Your Topic –

During class, we will be talking quite a lot about how to narrow down your perspective into a workable topic, so don’t panic yet. If, after we have talked about topic selections in class, you are still unsure or uncertain, please let me know. We can come up with something together!


You are required to use at least one resource from the Kilgore College Library Databases in this essay. You may use more than that if you feel like you need to. Additional resources may include other articles from the Kilgore College Library Databases, books or newspapers, but not websites, blogs, or social media.

Reminders and Helpers:::


Your essay should have an introduction paragraph, a conclusion paragraph, and several body paragraphs (at least two).


Include a thesis statement as the last sentence of your introduction.  This is the statement that tells (1) what your topic is, (3) how you feel about your topic, and (2) how you are planning to prove that you are correct.


Suggested organization:    (Be sure that your paragraph organization makes sense.)


Introduction: (5-10 sentences)

  1. You’ve written a creative title. Now come up with a “hook” line to grab your reader’s attention.
  2. What is the essential information in your first paragraph? What basic facts must the reader know to appreciate your work? Think about it before you write. In the first paragraph provide enough information that your readers understand what is going on—and want to know more.
  3. Thesis Statement: What is your topic? What do you want to say about your topic? How are you going to prove that what you are saying is correct? Answer all 3 questions and combine them into a single statement to make your Thesis statement.

Example: Abortion should be illegal because it violates the constitution, it violates federal laws, and ultimately, it is murder, which is already illegal.

Body paragraphs: (2-4 paragraphs) (8-15 sentences each)

Complete each step for all body paragraphs:

  1. Start with a topic sentence. What point do you want to make in this paragraph? This point should be reflected in your thesis statement.

Example: Abortion violates the 14th amendment of the constitution.

  1. Provide evidence (at least 2 forms) to demonstrate that your topic sentence is valid.
  2. Provide a closing sentence that reviews the point you have made.
Conclusion: (5-10 sentences) Compare/Contrast
  1. Restate your thesis.
  2. Summarize your arguments
  3. Wrap up your argument. Choose one:
    1. Suggest a course of action the reader should take
    2. Encourage the reader to see things the way that you see them

-Include only the supporting details and evidence that will contribute to your work.

-Avoid supporting your position with religious/biblical references unless your issue applies to a specific group of believers.

– Avoid generalizing your position (e.g. using the expressions all people, all situations).

-Use such words and phrases as some, often, It seems likely, perhaps, seldom, rarely, etc.

– Avoid allowing your emotions to take over your work (NO EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!!!)

-Avoid drawing conclusions based on too little or faulty evidence.

-Avoid presenting only two options if there are more.

-Avoid sarcasm.

-Avoid starting sentences with the expressions I feel, I believe, In my opinion, or I think. These phrases are redundant. It will be clear to the reader that these are your beliefs and onions.

-Don’t suggest that you are “proving” something. You are “suggesting,” “demonstrating,” and “offering the possibility.”

-Do not include statements about what you are doing (e.g. “Today, I am going to tell you about…” This is unnecessary.

-Do not use the second person.

-Use transitions to move from one point to another when necessary