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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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4.1 Becoming familiar with words and phrases that signal comparison and contrast

Compare and contrast can be signalled in many ways. The following activity introduces the words and phrases most commonly used in formal and academic texts.

Activity 7

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Here are some words and phrases that are commonly used to signal comparison or contrast.

butinsteadunlikeand
whilebothalsowhereas
be different (from)tooneither … norhowever
on the other handlikein contrastbe the same (as)

Copy and paste, or type, those that you think signal comparison (similarity) into the first box below, and those that signal contrast (difference) into the second box.

Comparison

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Contrast

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Answer

Table 2 Comparison and contrast
Comparison (similarity)Contrast (difference)
  • both
  • and
  • also
  • like
  • too
  • be the same (as)
  • neither … nor
  • but
  • in contrast
  • unlike
  • be different (from)
  • on the other hand
  • however
  • instead
  • while
  • whereas

Comment

You don’t need to memorise these words and phrases. By meeting them in your reading and incorporating them in your writing, you will gradually master their use.