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Comparing and Contrasting
Author: ADMIN (ukstudent at gmail dot com)
Published: Tue, 05-Jul-2005
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Comparing and Contrasting. Article by Academic Phrasebank of The University of Manchester

By understanding similarities and differences between two things, we can increase our understanding and learn more about both. This usually involves a process of analysis, in which we compare the specific parts as well as whole. Comparison may also be a preliminary stage of evaluation. For example, by comparing specific aspects of A and B, we can decide which is more useful or valuable. Many paragraphs whose function is to compare or contrast will begin with an introductory sentence expressed in general terms. Note the introductory sentences below:

Introductory Sentences: Differences

X is different from Y in a number of respects.
There are a number of important differences between X and Y.
X differs from Y in a number of important ways.
Smith (2003) found distinct differences between X and Y.

Women and men differ not only in physical attributes but also in the way in which they ......

Introductory Sentences: Similarities

The mode of processing used by the right brain is similar to that used by the left brain.
The mode of processing used by the right brain is comparable in complexity to that used by the left brain.
The effects of nitrous dioxide on human health are similar to those of ground level ozone.
Both X and Y generally take place in a "safe environment".

There are a number of similarities between X and Y.
Numerous studies have compared the brain cells in man and animals and found that the cells are essentially identical.

Comparison within one sentence

In contrast to oral communities, it is very difficult to get away from calendar time in literate societies.

Oral societies tend to be more concerned with the present, whereas literate societies have a very definite awareness of the past.

Women's brains process language simultaneously in the two sides of the brain, while men tend to process it in the left side only.

This interpretation contrasts with that of Smith and Jones (2004) who argue that ......

Comparison within one sentence (comparative forms)

Women are faster/slower than men at certain precision manual tasks, such as placing pegs in holes on a board.
Women tend to perform better/worse than men on tests of perceptual speed.
Further, men are more/less accurate in tests of target-directed motor skills.
The corpus callosum, a part of the brain connecting the two hemispheres, may be more/less extensive in women.

Women are more/less likely than men to suffer aphasia when the front part of the brain is damaged.
Adolescents are less likely to be put to sleep by alcohol than adults.

Women tend to have greater/less verbal fluency than men.
Men learned the route in fewer trials and made fewer errors than did women.

Comparison across two sentences

It is very difficult to get away from calendar time in literate societies. By contrast/in contrast, many people in oral communities have little idea of the calendar year of their birth.

Tests show that women generally can recall lists of words or paragraphs of text better than men. On the other hand, men usually perform better on tests that require the ability to mentally rotate an image in order to solve a problem.

Young children learning their first language need simplified, comprehensible input. Similarly, low level adult L2 learners need graded input supplied in most cases by a teacher.

Speech functions are less likely to be affected in women because the critical area is less often affected. A similar pattern emerges in studies of the control of hand movements.

Copyright for this article belongs to Academic Phrasebank of The University of Manchester

This document was re-printed with the kind permission of John Morley. Original Source of the article is located here: http://www.phrasebank.man.ac.uk/comparing.htm

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