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Similarity and comparison - GRE essay writing

prabudhak 1 / -  
Aug 31, 2009   #1
Expecting your valuable comments...

"People often look for similarities, even between very different things, and even when it is unhelpful or harmful to do so. Instead, a thing should be considered on its own terms; we should avoid the tendency to compare it to something else."

The relative goodness or badness of a product can be known only when it is compared with other products. Starting from buying a small writing pen to buying luxury cars people tend to make comparison of products. The same idea applies for humans as well - The efficiency of one person can be known by comparing him/her with other persons. But for the comparison to be effective and harmless, things or people should be compared with other things or people of the same category.

People often compare one object with other to know the quality of the product they have. But a comparison will do any good only when compared with an object of the same kind. For example, one of my friend was planning to buy a laptop and he felt that both HP laptops and DELL laptops are good. But he wanted to get the laptop that is best valued for the money. So, he got the laptop catalog from the two laptop dealers and compared the two products. Finally he arrived at a list of pros and cons associated with each product and his final choice was to go for HP laptop since it had added advantages than the other laptop brand. He was able to arrive at this conclusion only because he did a thorough comparison between the two products. As a consequence, comparison will keep the product makers to be efficient, customer friendly and cost effective since the manufacturers are aware that they will lose the game if they lag behind their competitor.

Comparing two different things will not help much in arriving at a conclusion - sometimes it will do more harm than any good. For example, my mom used to compare my sister's way of studying with that of my sister's friend who stays next to my house. My mum scolds my sister saying that she is not studying as many hours as her friend do. This comparison is not a sensible comparison since the outcome of exam results are not based on this factor alone. Although earlier my sister was doing better in her studies than her friend, after my mom started comparing her with her friend, she became frustrated because of this her performance had come down as a consequence.

In conclusion, since comparison helps individuals to assess products or people as well as it keeps manufactures to stay competent, healthy comparison should always be encouraged. Also, people should be edified about the harms of inappropriate comparison.

EF_Sean 6 / 3,491  
Aug 31, 2009   #2
You're on the right track, but you need to tighten up your logic quite a bit for this to be acceptable for the GRE. For instance, you say that comparisons are only valid when the things being compared are in the same category. But your counter example in your last body paragraph also consists of two things in the same category -- female students presumably in the same grade. Also, even if you picked a better example, one that matched the criteria you lay out in your introduction as poor items for comparison, do you really want to say that there is nothing valuable to be gained from analogies. Is comparing an ant hill to a city, or a malicious computer program to a virus, really unhelpful? If so, why do such comparisons persist? What other criteria might influence whether or not a comparison is useful? What factors might impose limits on the usefulness of such comparisons.

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