Essay Assignments

Rough draft of Comparison/Contrast Essay -- due Thursday, October 18

For a rough draft, just write the complete essay one time without making corrections or revisions. Rough means first writing, not finished, needing corrections, don't worry about neatness or correct format.

Essay topics for the Comparison/Contrast Essay

This is not a complete list of possible topics. You may choose a topic that is not on this list.

  1. Your life now and your life five years ago
  2. Two houses or apartments that you know well
  3. Two perspectives on the same place, experience, or person: past and present
  4. Two views of the same experience
  5. Two pets
  6. The rules set for you as a child and the rules you have set (or plan to set) for your own children
  7. Two views of your parents: before and after you left home
  8. Your experiences before and after giving up a bad habit
  9. Two neighborhoods
  10. Two attitudes about the same thing
  11. A real vacation and a dream vacation
  12. A good boss and a bad boss
  13. Texting and calling
  14. Your family home and the house of your dreams
  15. Two memorable teachers or professors
  16. Two workplaces
  17. Two restaurants
  18. Infatuation versus love
  19. Two close friends
  20. A sloppy person and a neat person





The Process Essay

Here is some detailed information about writing your process (“How to”) essay.

1. The “big idea” behind the paper:

Practically everyone knows how to do something very well. In fact, many people know

how to do something so well that they could actually teach someone else to do it.

That is the main purpose behind the process essay. You are to select something (a

process) that you know how to do very well and then write a regular essay which

“teaches” the reader how to do that same thing.


2. Here are some important specifics and details. Follow them closely.

Process = a step-by-step movement from a beginning point to an ending point.


3. How do I select a topic?

a. Something you know how to do very well

b. Maybe something you do as a hobby

c. Something you do as part of your job

d. Perhaps something you learned how to do in school (but do not use any textbook to

copy from or to get steps from). All ideas should come from only one source: your own experience.


4. What kind of topic should I select?

a. Choose a topic that is interesting to you.

b. Your topic should be one that is not obvious to your reader. Your essay should really show the reader how to do something he/she does not know how to do (well).

c. Your topic can be practical or philosophical:

1. How to make something or how to perform a serve.

2. How to change your attitude toward work.


5. One of the most important purposes of this whole assignment is your ability to look at the process critically (analyze) and to divide the whole thing into several concrete steps.

a. Have at least three steps. Obviously, the more complex the process, the more

steps you will have.

b. Each step should be easy to visualize as you explain it to the reader.

c. Each step must be distinct and different from the previous step.

d. Write one whole paragraph to explain each step. When a new paragraph begins,

the reader of your paper should correctly assume that a new step in the process is

also beginning.


6. The process itself should have a definite beginning point, a middle point, and an ending point. (See transitional words and phrases below.) Your paper should seem to be always moving forward through the process to get to the end. Don’t get bogged down in the middle of the process.


7. Your introductory paragraph contains no steps; instead, it simply prepares the reader for the topic of your paper. You might try including such information as the following:

When did you first try this process? Why is this process important? Why should the

reader care about this process or be interested in it?

NOTE: By the time the introductory paragraph ends, the reader should know clearly

what the process is and that you are about to explain to him how to do it. Don’t

make your reader have to “guess” what you’re going to talk about.


8. By the same token, the concluding paragraph of your essay also contains no steps. The

purpose of the concluding paragraph is to “ease out” of the topic by talking somewhat

generally about the product or the service and then ending on a nice, warm, positive note

about the topic in general.


9. Even though you are dealing with several steps in this essay, do not literally list and label the steps as steps. For example, do not write anything like this:

Step I: Get two pieces of 2 by 4 plywood.

Step II: Sand them down until both are very smooth.

Instead, explain each step in a regular, normal paragraph using regular, normal words and

sentences. In short, this essay is not any different in appearance and style from any other type of essay.

You are to write a regular, normal essay that has the purpose of explaining to the reader

in detail the various steps involved in how to do something That’s it!


10. Do not use the two words “How to…” in your title. This is very unnecessary. By the

time the reader finishes your introduction, it should be crystal clear to him what your

topic is and that you are about to explain to him how to make it or how to perform it.

(It is all right, however, to use the words how to in your introductory paragraph if you



11. Just this one time for this one assignment, you may use the words you, your, and yours if you feel you must. In a way, you are talking directly to the reader, so the use of these pronouns might be considered necessary. However, do not overuse them.


12. Here are some important transitional words you might need to use as you take the reader through the forward journey of explaining your process:

At the start of the process In the middle of the process

At first,…….. Next,.….

In the beginning,…. After that,…..

As you start,….. Continuing with,….

To begin with,….. The next step is….

The first step,…. When this step is finished,….

When you begin,….. As you continue,……

At or near the end of the process


As you finish,…..

Toward the end,….

The last step,…..



Topics for Process Essays


How to find a good book?

How to find ideas for writing a paper?

How a bad habit develops?

How to succeed at a job interview?

How to drive defensively?

How to look fashionable on a limited budget?

How to move into a new home?

How to be a responsible pet owner?

How to choose friends?

How a student can avoid becoming burned out?

How to make ice cream?

How to quit smoking?

How to insert a contact lens?

How to wash a sweater?

How to toilet train a baby?

How to housebreak your dog?

How to conduct obedience training for dogs?

How to avoid getting panicky?

How to change a tire?

How to make soap?

How to play chess?

How to knit a sweater?

How to design a landscape?

How to design a kite?

How to perform basic magic tricks?

How to overcome insomnia?

How to apply the Heimlich maneuver?

How to survive a recession?

How to save money while saving the environment?

How to train an athlete for a sport?

How to go about emergency medical care?

How to build your own telescope?

How to learn photography?

How to repair and maintain a small engine?

How to pack a parachute properly?

How to analyze handwriting?

How to read faces?

How to use Twitter?

How to give yourself a haircut?

How to develop self-confidence?

How to get rid of a bad habit?

How to bathe a cat?

How to prepare for a vacation?

How to write an interesting essay?