As you work on your contrast papers, remember these things:
1. Contrast papers identify and develop differences; comparison papers identify and develop similarities.
2. Comparison or contrast papers must deal with only two items. If you have more than two, you are getting into classification.
3. The purpose of a contrast paper is to make useful distinctions. The purpose of a comparison paper is to identify useful similarities. "Useful" means not obvious. Don't point out things that are clear to even the most casual observer.
4. Remember the structural models: The block form and the swinging back and forth pattern. You need not adhere to these rigidly, but keeping them in mind will help you keep your paper balanced.
5. Use your contrast or comparison to develop an opinion or impression. Don't say, "There are many differences between Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton." Everyone knows that. Say instead, "Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are more alike than most people realize." Or say, "Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have made better Presidents than people realize." The last two sentences contain opinions or impressions. The first one states an obvious fact.
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