Comparative Study, Guide to Leaving Cert English 2012

Essential words for the Comparative Question – Jamie Tuohy

The comparative question is one of the most important questions on the entire Leaving Cert exam. Worth a whopping 70 marks, it’s not one you can afford to mess up on.
Fortunately, it’s also one of the most accessible questions, because you essentially know the question before you go in and all you really have to do is tweak your essay to suit the question.
However, in saying this, it’s not as straightforward as simply regurgitating an essay you’ve learned off  – if something in your essay doesn’t pertain to the question asked, leave it out. As you will all know the modes you are going to write on before you go into the exam and you have full knowledge of each text, this post is one that might seem blatantly obvious, but with all obvious things, it tends to get ignored.
Simply, this post is a list of words you should be using in your comparative essay. You’d be amazed how many marks you can lose for not linking your paragraphs and adding  in ‘comparative words’. Students forget that they are comparing the texts and a lack of link words, topic sentences and flowing paragraphs take away from the fluidity of your essay.
Here are some examples of words you MUST be using in the comparative question to ensure top marks – if you don’t use the language of comparison, then you’re not fully answering the question. These words should add cohesion to your answer:
In contrast
While in “…….”, the same cannot be said for “…….”
Both authors take the same approach
The two texts could not be more different
Common to all these narrative is
These two key moments illustrate contrasting aspects
On the contrary
Quite the reverse is seen
The scene is reminiscent of
Equally noticeable is
In a very different way
This is the only text where we see
Nothing like this occurs in
In a similar way
The complete opposite is seen in
This is mirrored in
The same effect occurs in
Symbolism plays no part at all in this story
On the other hand
Obvious, but essential!

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