How to structure a comparison response

Two women playing a skipping rope game with the ropes representing a comparison response when structuring an essay.

A comparison response still follows the basic essay structure:

  • an introduction
  • four or five main points supported by details
  • a conclusion - this must link back to the question, and mention both texts

When you compare texts, it’s important to talk about both texts all the way through. Don’t write all about one text, then all about the other.

In each paragraph, make sure you mention both, even if a point is mostly about one of them.

Sentence starters

Some key phrases can help you to compare texts.

Similarities Differences
Similarly…In contrast…
Equally…However…
In the same wayOn the other hand…
Just as... so does....Alternatively…
Both... and...In a different way…

When comparing texts, you are making a point about two different texts, backing up ideas with evidence and explaining the idea. Then using a linking statement, you can connect the two ideas together.

Example

Take a look at the structure of the following example, where the writer compares how their mother and father react to poor behaviour:

Both my Mum and Dad lose their temper sometimes when we misbehave, but in completely different ways.

My Mum usually reacts to everything by losing her temper really quickly and screaming in response to make sure everyone knows just how furious she is. The thing that causes her to react strictly is usually leaving lights on. The quotation, ‘If I have to tell you again to turn those lights off, I will take the bulb out of your bedroom!’ This shows that sometimes she can exaggerate in her reactions.

On the other hand, Dad will hardly ever lose his temper, or raise his voice. Instead, he will just stare at you silently, so you know instantly that you are in trouble. The quotation, ‘Well’ is the single word that he says once he has stared at you for a minute, and this shows that whilst he doesn’t scream and shout like Mum, he gives you a warning of the lecture that he is about to give you.

Analysis

Notice how the writer makes a point about how each parent loses their temper, backs it up with evidence and then explains their idea. The linking sentence starting with ‘on the other hand’ shows how the two ideas are similar or different.

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