Compare and Contrast is a text structure or pattern of organization where the similarities and differences of two or more things are explored. It is important to remember that with the compare and contrast text structure the text should be discussing similarities and differences. If the text only discusses similarities, it is only comparing. Likewise, if it only discusses ways that the things are different, it is only contrasting. The text must do both to be considered compare and contrast.
Example: Apples and oranges are both fruits, which means that they have seeds inside of them. Each has a skin, but orange skins are thick and easy to peel. Apple skins are thinner and do not peel easily. Oranges also contain more acid than apples, but both fruits are delicious.
Identifying when the writer is comparing and contrasting is usually not difficult because the speaker will bounce back and forth between two subjects and this pattern is generally pretty easy to recognize. However, here are some signal words that may indicate that the text is written using the compare and contrast organizational pattern: like, unlike, both, neither, similar, and different.
Here is a simple worksheet on compare and contrast if your students need more practice.
Here is a more complex set of worksheets on text structure if your students are ready to advance.
Learn More About Text Structure
Patterns of Organization
Text Structure Worksheets and Activities
Interactive Text Structure Practice Quiz
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