Essay Sample


Essay Sample

Parlindungan Pardede

Universitas Kristen Indonesia

After studying basic concepts of the major features of a good academic essay, study the essay below to see how the principles of writing a basic essay are applied. The different parts of the essay have been labeled. The thesis statement is printed in green, the topic sentences are in blue, and each major detail is typed in red. (When you write your own essay, of course, you will not need to mark these parts of the essay unless you are asked to do so. They are marked here just so that you can more easily identify them).

Why Cat is the Best Housepet

“A dog is man’s best friend.” That common saying may contain some truth, but dogs are not the only animal friend whose companionship people enjoy. For many people, a cat is their best friend. Despite what dog lovers may believe, cats make excellent house-pets as they are good companions, they are civilized members of the household, and they are easy to care for.

In the first place, people enjoy the companionship of cats. Many cats are affectionate. They will snuggle up and ask to be petted, or scratched under the chin. Who can resist a purring cat? If they’re not feeling affectionate, cats are generally quite playful. They love to chase balls and feathers, or just about anything dangling from a string. They especially enjoy playing when their owners are participating in the game. Contrary to popular opinion, cats can be trained. Using rewards and punishments, just like with a dog, a cat can be trained to avoid unwanted behavior or perform tricks. Cats will even fetch!

In the second place, cats are civilized members of the household. Unlike dogs, cats do not bark or make other loud noises. Most cats don’t even meow very often. They generally lead a quiet existence. Cats also don’t often have “accidents.” Mother cats train their kittens to use the litter box, and most cats will use it without fail from that time on. Even stray cats usually understand the concept when shown the box and will use it regularly. Cats do have claws, and owners must make provision for this. A tall scratching post in a favorite cat area of the house will often keep the cat content to leave the furniture alone. As a last resort, of course, cats can be declawed.

Lastly, one of the most attractive features of cats as housepets is their ease of care. Cats do not have to be walked. They get plenty of exercise in the house as they play, and they do their business in the litter box. Cleaning a litter box is a quick, painless procedure. Cats also take care of their own grooming. Bathing a cat is almost never necessary because under ordinary circumstances cats clean themselves. Cats are more particular about personal cleanliness than people are. In addition, cats can be left home alone for a few hours without fear. Unlike some pets, most cats will not destroy the furnishings when left alone. They are content to go about their usual activities until their owners return.

Cats are low maintenance, civilized companions. People who have small living quarters or less time for pet care should appreciate these characteristics of cats. However, many people who have plenty of space and time still opt to have a cat because they love the cat personality. In many ways, cats are the ideal housepet.

 

Retrieved and slightly adapted from: http://lklivingston.tripod.com/essay/sample.html

2. Scientific Writings Structure


SCIENTIFIC ARTICLES STRUCTURE

Parlindungan Pardede

Christian University of Indonesia

e-mail: parlpard2010@gmail.com

Introduction

Scientific articles are the ‘storehouses’ of scientific researches results plus the procedures used to make those researches. They are written to provide a means for scientists to communicate each other about the results of their researches. To make the communication effective, the media (manuscripts) must have a standardized framework so that the authors could present their findings and ideas in an orderly, logical manner. This paper introduces the generic structure of scientific articles written based on actual and relevant studies. Discussions are focused on the stereotyped sections the articles and their features as well. By being more familiar with those things, readers are expected to have clearer idea for writing journal articles. In this paper, the term scientific article is used interchangeably with manuscript, scientific paper, journal article, research paper, or research article.

To read or download the full paper, click here

11. Classification Paragraphs


Classification Paragraphs

Parlindungan Pardede

Universitas Kristen Indonesia

The word classification comes from the word class—meaning a group of things that all have one important element in common. From this word we have the verb to classify, which means “to gather into categories, segments, methods, types, or kinds according to a single basic principle of division”. Based on this meaning, classification is defined as a logical way of thinking that enables us to organize a large number of ideas or items, their use and/or function into categories (groups). By means of classification, large amounts of materials will be more manageable and easier to understand or analyze. For instance, sciences are classified into two main groups: natural and social; and each of the groups are further classified into some subgroups. Another example is that to make a book easier to find, librarian classify books based on certain system.

A classification paragraph is the one used to clearly define something and place it in a group according to a specific basis or rule so that it only fits in one group. In other words, a classification paragraph items are grouped into categories grouped according to shared characteristics. In general, information could be classified into more than one category, but a classification paragraph must stick to a basis of classification. In the paragraph, the topic sentence comprises of two parts: the topic and the basis of classification. This classification basis constitutes the controlling idea; it controls how the writer approaches the subject. Look at the following simple but interesting and popular example.

There are three kinds of book owners. The first has all the standard sets and best sellers–unread, untouched. (This deluded individual owns wood-pulp and ink, not books.) The second has a great many books–a few of them read through, most of them dipped into, but all of them as clean and shiny as the day they were bought. (This person would probably like to make books his own, but is restrained by a false respect for their physical appearance.) The third has a few books or many–every one of them dogeared and dilapidated, shaken and loosened by continual use, marked and scribbled from front to back. (This man owns books.)”

(From: Adler, “How to Mark a Book.” The Saturday Review of Literature, July 6, 1941).

Different person may classify book owners into different numbers of group based on different basis or criteria. In the paragraph above, Adler classifies book owners (the topic) into three groups. This classification is acceptable it is based the criterion of whether the persons read the books they own or not (controlling idea). In the following example, the writer classifies paraphrases based on their uses.

Paraphrasing is used for different purposes. Some paraphrases will be designated to support already existing evidence. Others will reinforce argumentation against evidence. Still others will help to develop existing arguments and provide back-up for any conclusion drawn in the course of writing. Depending on the function, paraphrases will be introduced in accordance with their unique context. Quotations require yet another approach. They are not self-expressive because every quotation can signify a number of different things in various contexts. It is both the introduction and the commentary that follows it which decides about its context and the ultimate meaning of a given citation in an essay. Paraphrasing quotations – changing the original words or sense is not allowed.

(From: http://daria-przybyla.suite101.com/example-of-a-classification-paragraph)

To produce good classification paragraphs, the following step-by-step approach suggested by Scarry & Scarry (2011: 489-490) is worth applying.

  1. After you have selected a topic, decide on the basis for your classification.
  2. Determine the categories for your classification. Give each category an identifying title or name. Be as creative as possible. You may want to take a humorous tone. Remember, no item should belong in more than one group, and your classification should be complete.
  3. Write your topic sentence. Use one of the terms (such as group or type) that signal a classification.
  4. Write at least one or two sentences for each group, remembering that each group should be given approximately equal space and importance.
  5. Write a concluding statement. If you have not already indicated a useful purpose for the classification, do so in the conclusion.
  6. On a separate piece of paper or on the computer, copy your sentences into standard paragraph form. Before printing, read the paragraph again to check for any changes that may be needed.
  7. Do a final reading once you have printed the paragraph to check for any errors or omissions.

To achieve coherence in classification paragraphs, the following transitional words and phrases are important to use.

  • can be divided
  • can be classified
  • can be categorized
  • the first/second/third kind/type,
  • the first/second third category
  • the last category

To see how these expressions are used look at the following sample paragraphs.

Rock Music

There are three different types of rock music, alternative rock, classic rock, and hard rock, also known as metal. Alternative rock features a steady bass drum laying down the beat, with easy flowing guitar riffs over the top. The bass line is toned town, and the lyrics are sung with intensity an authority. Depending on the song, the guitars can either be acoustic guitars or electric guitars. Classic rock combines a steady driving bass drum sound, with high snare overtones, steady and often repeating guitar riffs, and an intensive bass line. The guitars are more often than not all electric guitars, and distortion is rarely used. The lyrics are sung with style and enthusiasm. Hard rock, or metal, features a hard rolling bass drum with an abundant amount of cymbal work. This style of rock uses several electric guitars with heavy distortion to bring a very intense sound. A hard, intense, driving bass line rounds out the style. The lyrics aren’t really sung so much as screamed. It doesn’t matter what your preference is, each different style of rock music is unique on its own.

 (from: http://english120.pbworks.com/w/page/)

Daters Beware

Men can be categorized by the way they treat women while dating into three groups: a social addict, a content lover, or a keeper. The first type, a social addict, is the type of man who is constantly late and everything is on his time. Social addicts are particularly self absorbed. For your birthday this type of dater will give you a gift such as a necklace, so that everybody can notice it. When it comes down to emotions and feelings, a social addict will say whatever he assume you want to hear at any given moment. The second type of dater, a content lover, is a guy who will come and go as he pleases. These men just seem to be in attendance but not involved. When he is with you, he will not open up and share his thoughts. A content lover will forget your birthday all together. Lastly there is the keeper who will not keep you waiting; in fact, he always plans ahead and involves you in the decision making. To them, your birthday is tremendously important. They will give you time for your friends and family; in addition, they always make unique plans for the two of you later that evening. Unlike the other types of daters, the keeper will attempt to be 100% in touch with their feelings towards you and are willing to talk about them. Men’s dating styles differ; nonetheless, it all comes down to what behavior you are in the mood for.

(from: http://english120.pbworks.com/w/page/)
 

Types of Friends

Friends can be classified according to their honesty, loyalty, the type that fits you into their schedule, or the type that finds time for you when they need something. An honest friend tells you the truth even if it’s not always what you want to hear. In the long run, that honest friend may have saved you from embarrassment or possibly rejection. They give you constructive criticism overall. The loyal friend is the type of friend that will be there for you through the thick and the thin. They don’t care how good or bad you may look one day; they are sensitive to your feelings, they respect you and the other people in your life, and most of all they will never let you down when times are hard. They may be what you call a best friend. The third group, the person that fits you into their schedule, is the type of person that is always on the go. They barely have time for themselves let alone another person. More than likely they will not be there for you when you need them most, because they are so wrapped up in their busy, hectic life. Then you have the self-absorbent type of “friend” that finds time for you only when they need something. This type of person isn’t what you would call a friend. This person may always be extremely nice to you because they know that if are nice to you then they will more than likely get what they want. They will call you every once in awhile when it is almost time for them to use that person again. It may be for a ride to work, home, or they just want somebody to hangout with because they have no other friends. If the person that is being used is smart they will eventually realize that they are getting used and will stop being there for that person.

(from: http://english120.pbworks.com/w/page/)

10. Paragraphs of Definition


Paragraphs of Definition

Parlindungan Pardede

Universitas Kristen Indonesia

Introduction

To define the term ‘definition’ is quite hard because it requires the definitions of definition. The word ‘definition’ comes from the verb to ‘define’, which means “to state the meaning of a word or to describe the basic qualities of something”. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, definition simply means “an explanation of the meaning of a word or phrase, especially in a dictionary”. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “a statement expressing the essential nature of something” or “the meaning of a word or word group or a sign or symbol” (http://www.merriam-webster.com), while Word Reference defines it as “an exact description of the nature, scope, or meaning of something” (http://www.wordreference.com). Based on the above definitions, definition can be defined as an explanation of the meaning of a word or term. A good definition avoids confusion or misunderstanding, because it conveys the clear and precise meaning of a term, and thus helps you to understand what other people exactly mean.

A definition can be formal or informal. The definitions provided in dictionaries are examples of formal definition, which generally include three elements: (1) a term, i.e. the word being defined; (2) class, which refers to the (big) group to which the term belongs; and (3) differentiating features, or the word or phrase that makes it different with the others from the same class. For example, in “Scientific writing is a form of writing that is based on actual and relevant studies” the term is “scientific writing”, the class is “writing”, and the differentiating features is “that is based on actual and relevant studies”. To take another example, in “Science is the field of study which attempts to describe and understand the nature of the universe in whole or part” the term is “science”, the class is “field of study”, and the differentiating features“ is “which attempts to describe and understand the nature of the universe in whole or part”.

Informal definitions express the meaning of a term partially or incompletely. They are frequently based on the writers’ experience so that they are not universal. The three common informal definitions are operational definitions, synonyms, and connotations. Operational Definitions give the meaning of an abstract word for one particular time and place. This is also called as an agreed-upon criterion. For instances, “An excellent score is when you get not less than 90 in the test.” This formulation is valid in the institution, but in other educational institutions, an excellent score might need just 86 or 95. In a certain culture, “Love is the feeling of someone when he or she likes and does nice things for you and with you”, whereas in other culture “Love means readiness to sacrifice everything for those being loved.”

Informal definitions could also be formed by using synonyms, or words that mean the same as another word. There are three ways to put the synonyms into a sentence in order to make a definition. First, by putting it into parenthesis, such as, “An individual’s intelligence (or mental capacity) is measured by using intelligent quotient (IQ) test”, “intelligence” is defined by providing its synonym, i.e., “mental capacity” in of. The synonyms could also be placed in a sentence by using dashes or an appositive, such as in “People’s main labors in life—learning, earning, and yearning—are also their major reasons for living” and “The altitude, or height above sea level, of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, is over 12,000 feet.”

Last but not least, informal definitions could also be formed through denotation and connotation. Denotation is the literal or exact dictionary meaning of the word. Connotation, on the other hand, involves all the associations related to the word. By combining both, for instance, one may write a definition like this “That politician is a snake (He a cunning, treacherous, and insidious politician).

Writing a Definition Paragraph

The definitions discussed so far are formed in single sentences. They are just brief definitions. However, definitions can be extended into a paragraph called “definition paragraph”. A definition paragraph is essentially a definition sentence which has been expanded into a paragraph by adding special meanings, description, narration and/or other kinds of paragraph development in order to clarify the term being defined. Such paragraph usually begins with a definition sentence which is used as the topic sentence. Each category in the definition is expanded into major supporting sentences, and major supporting sentences could be supported by minor supporting sentences.

To write a definition paragraph, the following tips are recommended.

  1. Write one topic sentence that mentions the element that you will define, and be sure to provide three key defining words or phrases.
  2. In about one sentence, explain your first defining word/phrase by telling why this word/phrase defines your subject.
  3. Provide one to two sentences that give a specific example of your first defining word/phrase.
  4. Starting with a transitional phrase, explain your second defining word in about one sentence just like you did for your first defining word/phrase.
  5. Write one to two sentences that give an illustrative example of your second defining word/phrase.
  6. Explain your third defining key word/phrase the same way that you explained your first and second defining key word/phrase.
  7. End your paragraph with one closing sentence.
(From: http://factoidz.com/how-to-write-one-fully-developed-and-wellorganized-definition-paragraph-eslbasic-skills/)
 

Common Terms used for Definition

  • (The term) … is defined as …
  • (The term) … is understood to be …
  • (The term) … signifies …
  • (The term) … means that …
  • (The term) … denotes …
  • (The term) … suggests …
  • (The term) … connotes …
  • (The term) … is …

Look how these tips are applied in the following definition paragraph samples

Definition Paragraph Developed by Special Meanings

In every society, social norms define a variety of relationships among people, and some of these relationships are socially recognized as family or kinship ties. A family is a socially defined set of relationships between at least two people who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. We can think of a family as including several possible relationships, the most common being between husband and wife, between parents and children, and between people who are related to each other by birth (siblings, for example) or by marriage (a woman and her mother-in-law, perhaps). Family relationships are often defi ned by custom, such as the relationship between an infant and godparents, or by law, such as the adoption of a child.

(From: Scarry & Scarry, 2011: 476)

Definition Paragraph Developed by Examples

For me, the word love means trust, friendship, and unselfishness. First of all, love means trust because when you trust someone, you can talk to him/her about anything. For example, I trust my girlfriend 100%.  It is because I trust her that I know I can tell her anything, and that is why I love her.  Furthermore, I believe that love means friendship because the people who you spend time with are your friends, and if you do not love them, then why would you hang out with them?  To illustrate, I love my two best friends because they are like brothers to me.  We are always laughing and protecting each other.  Finally, love means unselfishness because when you love someone and they love you back, there should always be sharing.  For instance, my next-door neighbor’s wife never shares anything with her husband, such as food, drinks, possessions, etc.  I sure do not see a whole lot of love there.  For me, love means the above three things.

(From: http://factoidz.com/how-to-write-one-fully-developed-and-wellorganized-definition-paragraph-eslbasic-skills/)

Definition Paragraph Developed by Descriptions

Anger is having a feeling of hatred toward someone or something. It is one of our basic emotions and can be most dangerous if it is not carefully controlled. A person can become angry when he cannot fulfill some basic need or desire that is important to him. For example, a child may become angry when he cannot play outside with his friends. An adult may become angry when he does not receive a raise in pay that he expected. Mentally, anger can interfere with our thoughts, making it difficult to think clearly. Physically, it may cause violent reactions in the muscles and in the nervous system. This causes an angry person to flush and tremble and to show other signs of disturbance. A person can be dangerous if he is in an angry mood because he can develop feelings of hostility and hatred toward another person, which can then often turn violent.

(From: http://www.sinclair.edu/centers/tlc/pub/handouts_worksheets/)

9. Paragraphs of Cause-Effect


Paragraphs of Cause-Effect

 Parlindungan Pardede

Universitas Kristen Indonesia

 

Introduction

“Cause” basically means the source of something or the reasons why or for something. “Effect” is simply the result or outcome. Therefore “cause and effect” is the causal relationship between two or more actions or two events. In reality, a cause precedes the effect, but in  a statement either the cause or effect can precede the other. Look at the following statements:

  1. The accumulation of greenhouse gases has caused global climate change.
  2. I couldn’t boot my computer because the battery was dead.
  3. Since cell motorcycless have come down so much in price, everyone can have one.

In sentence (1), “the accumulation of greenhouse gases” is the cause or reason, while ”the global climate change” is the result. In sentence (2) the result, i.e. “I couldn’t boot my computer” precedes the cause—“the battery was dead”. In sentence (3), “motorcycles have come down so much in price” is the cause, whereas “everyone can have one” is the result.

As a method of development in writing, cause-and-effect is the search for the relationship between two or more actions or events, one or some of which we conclude is the reason for the other action(s) or event(s).

Transitions Commonly Used in Cause and Effect

In the writings that examine a causal relationship, one or more of the following transitions are commonly used. Study the terms and make yourself familiar with them.

1. Common transitions for cause:

  • because
  • since
  • the reason . . . is that
  • caused by
  • results from
  • because of + noun phrase
  • due to + noun phrase

2. Common transitions for effect

  • accordingly
  • so
  • thus
  • as a result
  • resulted in
  • therefore
  • consequently
  • for this reason
  • for this reason

Three Varieties of Cause and Effect Paragraphs

Cause and effect paragraphs could be written in one of these three types. First, the paragraph that focuses on causes, i.e. the one which describes what happens and why it happens. Second, the paragraph that focuses on effects, i.e., the one which explains reasons and consequences of an idea or event. Finally, chain of causes and effects, i.e. the paragraph that shows how an action or event becomes the cause of another action or event, and this result becomes the cause of another result, and so on. To see the differences among these three paragraphs, look at the following examples. The first paragraph focuses on causes, the second focuses on effects, and the last is a chain of causes and effects.

Growing numbers of well-to-do Americans are making the decision to move to more rural parts of the country. From their point of view, it is impossible to walk the streets of a big city at night without fear of being raped, mugged, or murdered. They claim, too, that city is poisonous, more lethal than cigarette smoke, thanks to the ever-increasing traffic congestion. In addition, they complain that the food, filled with chemical additives used to preserve the appearance of freshness, grows worse with every passing day. Last but not least, fugitives from city life claim that the pace of urban living exhausts them, leaving them without the energy to enjoy the entertainment a large city supposedly offers.

The emotion of fear sets off many changes in your body. When you become frightened, you breathe more deeply, giving your muscles more oxygen and greater energy. Your hearts beats more powerfully so that your blood circulates faster, carrying oxygen to all parts of your body. Your stomach and intestines no longer contract and all digestive action stops. No saliva flows in your mouth and your throat becomes dry. Your face becomes pale and the tiny blood vessels shrink under the skin so that less blood would flow if you were cut. The blood can clot faster so that there would be less bleeding from a wound. The pupils of your eyes enlarge, admitting more light during the emergency. You might be able to perform great feats of strength in this condition.

There are more old people in the world today because of an increase in medical services. Today, more people can get medical services from doctors and nurses in hospitals and clinics. As a result, fewer people get fatal disease such as yellow fever, malaria, cholera, and typhoid. This decrease in fatal diseases causes a decrease in the number of people who die from these diseases. Because of this decrease in number of deaths, people can live longer today. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of old people living in the world today.

8. Paragraph of Comparison and Contrast


Paragraph of Comparison and Contrast

Parlindungan Pardede

Universitas Kristen Indonesia

In our daily life, we often try to make ideas clearer by relating them to one another. This could be seen in the following daily activities. Before deciding which university to attend, people read college catalogs, find information or talk to other people. To understand the nature of language learning easily, it is sometimes compared to the process of learning to swim. To see the competitive advantages of a new cell phone, its features could be contrasted to the older ones we have been familiar with. Before giving their votes in a general election, intelligent people always contrast the qualities of the candidates. Based on these activities it is clear that relationship comparison and contrast are two analysis methods used by people in daily lives. By means of comparison, people examine how two or more things are similar; by means of contrast people looks at how two or more things are different. In other words, comparison is used when we focus on similarities, and contrast when we focus on differences.

Look at the following example, in which the writer contrasts the potential capabilities of girls and boys.

Differences between the potential of girls’ and boys’ could be observed since their childhood. Female infants speak sooner, have larger vocabularies, and rarely demonstrate speech defects. (Stuttering, for instance, occurs almost exclusively among boys.) Girls exceed boys in language abilities, and this early linguistic bias often prevails throughout life. Girls read sooner, learn foreign languages more easily, and, as a result, are more likely to enter occupations involving language mastery. Boys, in contrast, show an early visual superiority. They are also clumsier, performing poorly at something like arranging a row of beads, but excel at other activities calling on total body coordination. Their attentional mechanisms are also different. A boy will react to an inanimate object as quickly as he will to a person. A male baby will often ignore the mother and babble to a blinking light, fixate on a geometric figure, and at a later point, manipulate it and attempt to take it apart. (From: Scarry & Scarry, 2011: 433)

In the following example, the writer compares the atmosphere of the earth to a window.

The atmosphere of Earth acts like any window in serving two very important functions: to let light in and to permit us to look out and to guard Earth from dangerous or uncomfortable things. A normal glazed window lets us keep our house warm by keeping out cold air. In such a way, the Earth’s atmospheric window helps to keep our planet to a comfortable temperature by holding back radiated heat and protecting us from dangerous levels of ultraviolet light. Just like a window which prevents rain, dirt, and unwelcome insects and animals from coming in, scientists have discovered that space is full of a great many very dangerous things against which our atmosphere guards us. (Adapted from: Brandon & Brandon, 2011: 289).

Approaches to Ordering Material

The first paragraph sample above is a contrastive paragraph, that is, a paragraph which discusses the differences between potential capabilities of girls and boys. Notice how the ideas in this paragraph are organized. The writer starts with the topic sentence. After that, he presents only the first subtopic (potential capabilities of girls) and their specific details. Finally, he focuses on the second subtopic (potential capabilities of boys) and their supporting specific details. Such way of ordering materials, in which a subtopic and its supporting details are presented fully before dealing with another subtopic and its supporting details is called the block method.

The other method for ordering material in a paragraph of comparison or contrast is known as the point-by-point method. In this approach, the writer compares or contrasts point 1 of subtopic 1 to point 1 of subtopic 2. Then he compares or contrasts point 2 of subtopic 1 to point 2 of subtopic 2.  He proceeds until he has covered all the points. This method is used in the second paragraph sample above. The writer begins with the topic sentence. Then he shows how the atmosphere, like a glazed window, lets light in, permits us to look out and guards Earth from dangerous or uncomfortable things. After that he explains that the atmosphere guards Earth against many very dangerous things from the space, like a window prevents rain, dirt, and unwelcome insects and animals from coming in to the house.

Visually, the outline of the point-by-point method and the block method could be compared as follow.

The Point by Point Method

Topic Sentence: Comparison or Contrast between X and Y

A. Sub-topic 1: First Comparison or Contrast

  1. point 1 of X
  2. point 1 of Y

B. Sub-topic 2: Second Comparison or Contrast

  1. point 2 of X
  2. point 2 of Y

C. Sub-topic 3: Second Comparison or Contrast

  1. point 3 of X
  2. point 3 of Y

The Block Method

Topic: Comparison or Contrast between X and Y

A. Features of X

  1. point 1 of X
  2. point 2 of X
  3. point 3 of X

B. Features of Y

  1. point 1 of X
  2. point 2 of X
  3. point 3 of X

Some writers believe that the block method works best for short paragraph, whereas the point-by-point method is often used in longer pieces of writing in which many points of comparison are made. This method helps the reader keep the comparison or contrast carefully in mind at each point.

The skill to use the two methods for ordering materials above is very essential to achieve coherence in a paragraph of comparison and contrast. Another thing that greatly contributes to comparison and contrast coherence is the careful use of transitions. The following transitions are useful to keep in mind when writing a comparison or contrast paragraph.

Transitions Commonly Used in Comparison:

  • in the same way
  • in a similar way
  • and, also, in addition
  • as well as
  • both, neither
  • each of
  • just as…so
  • similar to
  • similarly
  • like
  • moreover
  • too
  • the same

Transitions Commonly Used in contrast:

  • although
  • whereas
  • but
  • however
  • conversely
  • on the other hand
  • on the contrary
  • in contrast
  • while
  • yet
  • unlike
  • different from
  • in contrast with
  • as opposed to

The following are two other sample paragraphs. As you read, pay attention to the approach used for ordering materials and the transitional words employed in each of them.

Both Superman and Batman are heroes, but only one is truly a superhero, and taking into account their upbringing, motives, and criminal targets, that is Batman. Upbringing was not gentle for either. Superman came from Krypton, a planet that was about to self-destruct. His parents sent him as a baby on a spaceship to Earth. There he would be adopted by an ordinary farm family. His adoptive parents named him Clark Kent and reared him well. In the same generation, far away in Gotham, Bruce Wayne, the future Batman, was born to a contented, wealthy family. Tragically, his parents were killed in his presence during a mugging. He inherited the family wealth and was raised by his kindly butler. Those very different backgrounds provided Superman and Batman with powerful but different motives for fighting crime. Superman was programmed in his space capsule to know about the forces of good and evil on Earth and to fight the bad people. Unlike Superman, Batman learned from experience. Both have gone on to fight many bad people, but each one has a special enemy. For Superman, it is Lex Luthor, who has studied Superman and knows all about him, even his outstanding weakness—the mineral Kryptonite. For Batman, it is the Joker, who, as a wicked teenager, was the mugger-murderer of his parents. Many spectacular battles have ensued for both crime fighters, and one has reached the top in his profession. Superman offers overwhelming physical strength against crime, but Batman displays cunning and base passion. As he strikes fear in the hearts of the wicked, he’s not just winning; he is getting even. Most people would cheer Superman on. However, they would identify more with Batman, and he is the superhero. (From: Brandon & Brandon, 2011: 282-283).

Like the early feminist movement, which grew out of the campaign to end slavery, the present day women’s movement has been inspired and influenced by the black liberation struggle. The situation of women and blacks is similar in many ways. Just as blacks live in a world defined by whites, women live in a world defined by males. (The generic term of human being is “man”; “woman” means wife of man.”) To be female or black is to be peculiar; whiteness and maleness are the norm. Newspapers do not have “men’s pages,” nor would anyone think of discussing the “man problem”. Racial and sexual stereotypes also resemble each other: women, like blacks, are said to be childish, incapable of abstract reasoning, innately submissive, biologically suited for menial tasks, emotional, close to nature. (From: McQuade and Atwan, 1980: 216-217)

References

Brandon, Lee & Brandon. Kelly. 2011. Paragraphs and Essays with Integrated Readings (11th ed.). Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Scarry, Sandra & Scarry, John. 2011. The Writer’s Workplace with Readings: Building College Writing Skills (7th ed.) Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning

McQuade, Donald and Atwan, Robert. 1980. Thinking in Writing. New York: Alfred A. Knopf