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Writing A Good Comparative Essay: A Guide For 4th Grade Students

Even as a fourth grader, you may be assigned essays to write. There are dozens of different kinds of essays, each with a slightly different format and purpose, and you’ll be writing them for the rest of your time in school, so it is important to learn to write them well. Comparative papers are one of the most common kinds: in them you will compare and contrast two things. This could mean comparing and contrasting two different people, two different places, two different events in history, or really anything else you can think of.

Follow this guide to writing a good comparative essay for your fourth grade class:

  1. Choose what you want to compare
  2. The first step to writing your paper is deciding what two things you want to compare. Maybe your teacher has told you what to write about, so this will be much easier. But if they haven’t, choosing a good topic can be a challenge. When picking the two things to compare, you want to find things that are somehow related to each other, so that it makes sense that you’d be comparing them. For instance, it makes sense to compare and apple to an orange, because they are both fruit. But it doesn’t make much sense to compare and apple to a car, does it? You also want to choose two things that it will be interesting to compare. Your goal should be to show something about how they are different or similar that someone wouldn’t necessarily be able to see on their own right away.

  3. Write a thesis statement
  4. A thesis statement is just a fancy way of saying a statement that summarizes your argument. For instance, if your paper is about how two things are used differently, or how two things that looks similar came from very different backgrounds, you’d want to summarize that in one sentence. This is called your thesis statement. You should include it at the beginning of your paper, so that your reader will have an idea of what your paper is trying to show.

  5. Show how they are the same and how they are different
  6. The bulk of your paper should be showing how the two things are the same AND how they are different. Even if they are mostly one or the other, be sure to try to show both. It is helpful to make each of your paragraphs about one similarity or difference.