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Now let’s apply the 7 steps to three examples.

Comparison – Contrast Essay

Prompt: “A new custom home is a much better purchase than an older, run-down home.”


Understanding the Issue

  • What does the statement mean? If you are in the market to buy a house, a new home would be a better value.
  • What is the issue at hand? What kind of home is the best to buy?
  • What is implied by the statement? That one who purchases an old home is not making a wise choice. Also implied is that an older home is run-down.
  • What is the writer’s stand on the issue? He believes a new home is superior to an old one.
  • What, if any, evidence does the writer use to support his position? Old houses are run-down, new homes can be custom built.


Choosing My Pattern of Development

This prompt requires me to employ the Comparison – Contrast pattern of development because the statement uses the word “than,” a contrasting word. Moreover, the author is trying to convince me that it is better to buy a new home than an old one.


Developing My Thesis

Thesis for Comparison–Contrast Essay (formula 1-1):

I believe that Item A, an old home, is better than Item B, a new home, because

  1. an old home exemplifies old-style motifs that are unique in today’s market,
  2. foundations are stronger in older homes,
  3. can remodel an old home in any way.


Understanding Counter Argument

Comparison – Contrast Counter Claim (formula 2-1):

Others may think Item B is better than Item A because

  1. you can “keep up with the Joneses” with your modern décor,
  2. new homes may be built quickly for easy occupancy,
  3. new homes can be custom-built.
Note that these three points should contrast directly with the three points of your thesis. (see formula 1-1)


Organizing My Thoughts


Comparison – Contrast Essay Formula (formula 3-1):

  1. Introduction – Paragraph 1
    1. Some people feel that the purchase of a new home is a smarter investment choice than the purchase of an older home.
    2. For anyone who puts stock in the aged and unique, the traditional home may be the choice of a lifetime with its old-fashioned motifs, its strong foundations, and its versatility to become the house its owner designs.
  2. Support – Paragraph 2
    1. keeping up with the Joneses – modern décor
    2. bring back old-time motifs
      1. More choices – can choose from different time periods
      2. More unique versus “cookie cutter” homes of today
  3. Support – Paragraph 3
    1. Homes can be built quicker
    2. As a result, foundations not as strong in new homes
      1. Mass production of homes – builder doesn’t establish good foundation
      2. Older homes in better condition over long period of time because built more solidly
  4. Support – Paragraph 4
    1. Custom-built
    2. Can remodel any way owner wants
      1. No allowance restrictions placed on owner by builder
  5. Conclusion – Paragraph 5
    1. Modern homes just don’t offer the old-fashioned charm an older well-built, unique home can offer.
    2. When it comes to such an important decision as purchasing a home, the choice is clear: an older home has much more to offer and will last for many years to come.


Writing My Essay


Modern-day housing developments are springing up everywhere, dotting hills and filling in every open space available. Characterized by “cookie cutter” homes, houses all cut from the same mold, the look of these communities lacks distinctiveness. For anyone who puts stock in the aged and unique rather than the new and ordinary, the traditional house may be the choice of a lifetime with its old-fashioned motifs, its strong foundations, and its versatility to become the home of its owner’s design.


Many homeowners do not feel the need to be the designer behind their home. Rather, they strive to “keep up with the Joneses” by filling their houses with the same modern décor that fills the homes of their neighbors. On the flip side, when seeking to invest in a traditional home, the buyer has a plethora of options because older homes offer so much uniqueness. This uniqueness can be seen in the motifs of style, which are almost non-existent in today’s market of prefabricated homes but are powerful reminders of days gone by in older structures. These are the structures that offer a homeowner an admirable individuality.


Clearly, modern-day homes, which lack individuality, are built more quickly than homes of the past, a fact that seems to fit today’s hurried society. But what does a homeowner have to show for this efficiency years down the road? There is much value added to a home constructed by a builder who takes time and pays attention to detail instead of putting up as many homes as possible in the shortest amount of time possible. For example, in the past when builders did take extra time and care, the foundations and overall structures were, and still are, much stronger. This is because many builders today, eager to make a quick buck, do not give homes ample time to “settle” on their foundation before continuing with the construction. Overall, older houses are in better condition, even over the course of time, because they were more solidly built.


Many prospective buyers today overlook the quality of a home’s structure and are compelled to purchase by the alluring idea of “custom building” their house. These homebuyers enjoy the process of choosing paint colors, fixtures and floor coverings. Consider an older home, however. Here the possibilities are endless, and traditional buyers may even negotiate remodeling into the price of the house. What is more, there are no spending restrictions which contemporary builders often impose on their buyers.


Spending restrictions represent just one of many ways that freedom is limited when purchasing a new home instead of an older home. Whether one prefers an elegant, plantation-style mansion or a peaceful, rustic country getaway, the distinctive older home has much more to offer than the commonplace modern home set in communities of houses that all look the same. Simply put, it comes down to whether the prospective buyer is willing to trade quality and originality for expediency.


Revising My Essay


When critiquing other essays, you often learn a lot about the strengths and weaknesses in your own writing. So here’s an assignment: Let’s take our revision questions; your job is to complete the task required for each question.


Is the introduction captivating? Why or why not? Do you recognize a certain method the author employed to make the introduction interesting?

  • Is the thesis statement concise? Does it clearly show the purpose of the essay?
  • Do the body paragraphs clearly support each point made in the thesis? If not, where does the essay lack necessary support?
  • Are there logical transitions that make the text flow smoothly between sentences and between paragraphs? Underline each word, phrase or sentence that acts as a transition.
  • Is the tone and diction consistent throughout the essay? If not, point out the places where consistency breaks down.
  • Is the use of person consistent? If not, point out the places where consistency is not maintained.
  • Is there a word, or are there words, which have been used too often in the essay? List these words. Also list the words that have been used to provide variety in the essay.
  • Do the sentences vary in length and structure?

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