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Teacher Tips and Answers

Writing a Comparison-Contrast Essay

You've selected a topic, done your research, and formed a focus. Now it's time to write your first draft. Your draft doesn't have to be perfect: That's what revising and editing are for.

Writing the Beginning Paragraph

Write a lead.

Read each lead-writing strategy and example and write your own. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

The first sentence in your essay should grab the reader’s attention. It is called a “lead.” The following activity will help you write an effective lead sentence.

  1. Explain why the subject matters:
  2. Dolphins and whales are among the most majestic creatures on earth.


  3. Provide a surprising fact:
  4. Two of the smartest animals on earth live in the ocean.


  5. Ask a question:
  6. Did you know dolphins and whales come from the same biological family?


Write your focus statement.

Read about focus statements. Then write your own focus statement. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

Your beginning paragraph should end with a focus statement. The focus statement names the two subjects and starts to compare and contrast them.

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