English Comparative: Final Things To Remember

English Comparative: Final Things To Remember

We need to return now to a quality mentioned earlier, Efficiency of Language use. As mentioned earlier you need to use suitable language for dealing with the set task, which in part focuses on the writing/ phraseology used when composing an answer as outlined above. Several things should be kept in min:

  • Comparative terminology is essential: use linking phrases to emphasize that you are comparing your texts
  • Short sentences: longer sentences make for awkward reading and may require multiple readings to grasp their meaning, which a marker will find bothersome.
  • You don’t need to include a personal element unless this is specified in the question.

When you complete the main body of your answer, all that is left is the Conclusion to complete the set task. The function of the conclusion is to sum up what has been said and the significance of this. Here you should mention:

  • Your response to the statement
  • The paragraph topics you focused on to provide evidence of this
  • The significance of this

Such a conclusion for the answer we have been looking at would be:

‘A text’s outlook on life is shown through such features as the subject matter of the text, characters holding a vision of life, aspects of life focused on and the conclusion of the text. Such features provide or remove the concept of hope from the text, as authors either show optimistic or pessimistic parts of life. As shown with the texts on my comparative course, this has the result that each text we read presents us with an outlook on life that may be bright or dark, or a combination of brightness and darkness.’

The final quality needed, Mechanics of Language, requires that there are few spelling or grammatical mistakes in your answer. Some are permitted, but if there are enough to hinder the marker’s reading of your answer then you will lose marks.

When writing your answer, keep the following mind:

Eight comparisons

Like you have to show evidence of studying six poems in the prescribed poetry answer here you have to make at least eight comparisons in the comparative answer. When using your four paragraph topics (minimum) make sure you compare your three comparative texts in each. Hence:

Always focus on your three texts

If you only focus on two texts in a paragraph you will only make one comparison as you compare them to each other; this means you would have to write eight paragraphs (each on a different topic) to achieve the required eight comparisons. Focusing on three texts ensures you will make two comparisons per paragraph and hence will only have to compose four paragraphs.

Key moments

In one of your paragraphs, you can make each of your texts focus on key moments. When focusing on a key moment make sure to emphasize why the moment is key, such as whether it is crucial to the plot or a character’s development.

Personal element

This is not needed here, unless asked of you in the question.


The marker will expect detailed examples from your texts which will include quotes; while you do not have to use quotes extensively throughout your answer a lack of these will present your answer as summaries of your texts rather than what it should read as, an analysis of these.


This is a COMPARATIVE question. Do not dwell too long on the elaboration (how your paragraph topics illustrate the relevance of your paragraph topic). Be concise with these – the bulk of your paragraph should consist of your comparisons.


These are simply a statement of how your paragraph topic shows your introductory statement to be factual. They don’t have to too advanced, or too long; two to three lines will suffice.

Example order in your paragraphs

This is very straightforward but needs to be emphasized: organization is imperative throughout the answer. If there is a contrast in your paragraph, leave it until the end: compare two texts first, then contrast the last. If you write on a text, contrast it to another and then compare the third to the first your essay will lose coherence and the comparisons will not be clear.

Comparisons means:

Means compare and/or contrast. You should try to have at least one contrast in your answer, so as for there to be variety.

Your marker knows what’s going on!

Presume your marker knows about the texts you are writing on. When you are talking about a specific incident you do not have to detail how the story has got to this moment; just focus on the episode that illustrates your paragraph topic.


Introducing your paragraph topic and elaborating at the start of the paragraph should be kept to a minimum. The main focus of this answer is COMPARING.

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About the Author

John Ryan

John has a Masters in Modern English Literature and is the founder of RyJoLC, an educational consultancy based in Dublin that provides English language and curriculum resources to educational institutions worldwide.
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