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Teacher Tips and Answers

Writing a Comparison-Contrast Essay

You've chosen two topics to compare and contrast, conducted research about them, and created a working thesis statement. You're ready to draft your comparison-contrast essay. The following activities will help you build a strong beginning, develop middle paragraphs, and create an ending that effectively wraps up your essay.

Writing the Beginning Paragraph

The first sentence or two of your comparison-contrast essay needs to grab your reader's interest. You can experiment with a number of different strategies to write an effective lead.

Write a lead sentence.

Experiment with leads for your essay using each strategy below. Read the examples for ideas. Then choose your favorite lead to start your essay. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.


  1. Start with a fascinating question.

    Would you rather be completely normal, with all the typical abilities and disabilities, or exceptional in one or two areas but impaired in others?


  2. Start with a thoughtful quotation.

    "Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."

    —Albert Camus


  3. Provide an anecdote.

    We've all been stuck on a slow bus, starting and stopping in heavy traffic, crammed with others just waiting to get to a destination. When the patent clerk Albert Einstein was stuck on such a bus, he imagined instead riding on a photon at the speed of light . . . and came up with the Special Theory of Relativity.


  4. Make a shocking statement.

    People with synesthesia process sound with the part of their brains meant to see pictures. As a result, they see music. When the rest of us hear a D major chord, they might see a bright blue mountain or a vibrantly orange rabbit.


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