Teacher: I learned a lot about alligators and crocodiles from that passage. I noticed that the way the passage compared and contrasted alligators and crocodiles really helped me understand the ways that alligators and crocodiles are the same, and the ways that they are different. I also noticed that there were certain words and phrases that I saw as I was reading that let me know that this was a compare and contrast passage. Let's go back to the passage now and see if we can find any words or phrases that let us know that the passage is comparing and contrasting two types of animals. [Teacher and students read through the passage again, and create a list of compare-contrast words and phrases that includes both, similar, but, different, compare, and to tell apart.]
Notice that in the sample outline, the argument begins by establishing that the two things being compared are sufficiently similar to bear the comparison . That is often an important point. You should not launch a comparison without indicating why you think these two items belong together in a comparison. For instance, if you set up a comparison in which you compared, say, Peter Rabbit and Odysseus, the reader might genuinely wonder about what these things have in common that enables the comparison between them to make any argumentative sense.