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Last updated 28 August 2001
 
Argumentation | Compare and Contrast| Definition | Description | Cause and Effect
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Outlining for a Compare/Contrast Essay

After you've brainstormed but before you start writing your paper, you should create an outline, to make sure your ideas are well-developed and organized in a logical order.

Here's an example of an outline for a personal essay on your two teachers, Sally Strict and Larry Lax:

Parallel Structure:

I. Intro

Thesis: Although Sally Strict & Larry Lax are both respected teachers at our school, their teaching styles and expectations for students differ significantly. While Ms. Strict maintains a highly structured classroom atmosphere to keep her pupils disciplined and motivated, Mr. Lax downplays structure in order to allow his students to push themselves.

II. Sally Strict

A. Teacher’s Demeanor
1. Always greets students curtly as they enter; stares at them while
they proceed quietly to their seats
2. Always makes sure class discussion sticks to the class material
(no personal anecdotes)
3. Does not approve of laughter during class time; punishes
snickering students

B. Classroom Atmosphere/Student Conduct
1. No hats in class, no feet on table
2. Does not allow students to go to bathroom or get drink
3. Must raise your hand to talk or you lose points

C. Homework
1. Homework collected every day at the beginning of class
2. Homework must always be typed and stapled
3. Has high standards for all work

III. Larry Lax

A. Teacher’s Demeanor
  1. Arrives to class just as bell rings; sometimes late -- always has
coffee
  2. Often goes on tangents related to sports, movies, or Survivor
  3. Always wants to hear jokes and limericks; makes time for at least
two per day

B. Classroom Atmosphere/Student Conduct
  1. No policy on hats; doesn’t allow feet on table, but sometimes
doesn’t notice
  2. Always permits students to go to bathroom or get drinks (unless
he’s in a bad mood)
  3. Wants you to raise your hand before speaking, but doesn’t deduct
points if you don’t

C. Homework
  1. Daily homework rarely collected
  2. Can be turned in unstapled, even handwritten
  3. Has high standards for important written assignments

IV. Conclusion

Integrated Structure:

I. Intro

Thesis: Although Sally Strict & Larry Lax are both respected teachers at our school, their teaching styles and expectations for students differ significantly. While Ms. Strict maintains a highly structured classroom atmosphere to keep her pupils disciplined and motivated, Mr. Lax downplays structure in order to allow his students to push themselves.

II. Teacher’s Demeanor
A. Arrival to class
   1. Sally -- on time
   2. Larry -- as bell rings
B. During Class Discussions
   1. Sally -- sticks to material; no humor
   2. Larry -- many tangents; loves jokes

III. Classroom Atmosphere/Student Conduct
A. Classroom decorum
   1. Sally -- no hats, no feet on table
   2. Larry -- hats ok, no feet on table (but relaxed about it)
B. Leaving class
   1. Sally -- students never permitted to leave classroom
   2. Larry -- allows students to go to bathroom, get drink
C. Hand Raising
   1. Sally -- must always raise hand before speaking
   2. Larry -- wants students to raise hand

IV. Homework
A. Daily homework
   1. Sally -- collected daily
   2. Larry -- occasionally collected
B. Acceptable Homework
   1. Sally -- must be typed, stapled
   2. Larry -- can be handwritten, ok if not stapled
C. Grading standards
   1 Sally -- high standards for written assignments
   2. Larry -- high standards for written assignments

V. Conclusion

Click here for a sample outline for a general literary compare/contrast essay.

Click here for a sample outline for a 9th grade literary compare/contrast essay.

Once you have finished outlining your paper, you can start writing the actual paper, beginning with the introduction. If you feel that your thesis is too broad or too narrow to develop, you should fine tune your thesis.

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About this page:
These materials were originally created by the English Department.