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A Guide to Comparative Analysis

Jack Todhunter | Thursday July 23, 2009

Categories: Hot Entries, Writing, Comparative Analysis, Comparing & Contrasting

To undertake a comparative analysis of the two texts, you can concentrate on a number of areas. I have made general comments here and this ‘model’ could be used with other texts.

Essentially, one of these versions of “The Monkey’s Paw? (Text B) has a lower reading age than the other (Text A). I study this story with a number of classes. It is VERY popular and we often do drama based on the action in the tale.

I use Text B because some of my students cannot understand what is happening when I read Text A to them.

How? Read on…

We need to be clear on what makes some texts easier to read than others. I have written notes under the following 3 areas to make comparative analysis fairly straightforward.

1. Words
2. Sentence Length
3. Clauses

I will outline a few areas of concern and use critical vocabulary that will help you complete this task.

1. Words

You need to look closely at the words that a writer uses in a text. Words are the basic building blocks of any text. Consider the following four bullet points:

  • lexis
  • diction
  • word choice
  • vocabulary

They are basically the same thing, only the writer has chosen different ways of expressing the same idea. Our English language is like a mongrel so we have words from lots of other languages to use if we want to.

This gives us lots of choice when we want to write. We can pick common words that lots of people understand or weird or obscure words that only a few people know.

Lexis? and “diction? are just others way of referring to words. Examiners like you to use these words because they are a bit more refined than the simple word “word?.

When I ask you to look closely at the lexis in a text, I am asking you to look closely at the words used by the writer.

Text A was written over a hundred years ago and you will notice that the writer uses a good deal of old-fashioned or archaic lexis in his tale.

Which are the easy words? Which words do you use?

Did you find any of the...


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