Rhetorical Strategy of Comparing and Contrasting
Authors will use different stylistic and writing devices to make their meaning more clearly understood. One of those devices is Comparison and Contrast. When an author describes the ways in which two things are alike, he or she is comparing them. When the author describes the ways in which two things are different, he or she is contrasting them. The “compare and contrast” essay is one of the most common forms in nonfiction. It is often signaled with certain words: a comparison may be indicated with such words as ‘both’, ‘same’, ‘like’, ‘too’, and ‘as well’; while a contrast may be indicated by words like ‘but’, ‘however’, ‘on the other hand’, ‘instead’, and ‘yet’. Of course, comparisons and contrasts may be implicit without using any such signaling language. A single sentence may both compare and contrast. Consider the sentence “Brian and Sheila love ice cream, but Brian prefers vanilla and Sheila prefers strawberry.” In one sentence, the author has described both a similarity (love of ice cream) and a difference (favorite flavor).
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Last updated: 01/08/2018
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