Writing a Point-by-Point Paragraph (Semicolons)
There are two basic ways to organize a comparison/contrast -- point-by-point, and block-by-block. A point-by-point organization alternates between the items being compared. In the example below, the first point is what the two animals loved to do. The paragraph then moves to the next point, running, and talks first about the cat, and then about the dog. (Once you set up a sequence, stay with it.) The final point in the paragraph concerns digging, first about the cat, and then about the dog. The block-by-block organization, obviously, puts all the sentences about the cat together, and then all the sentences about the dog. Whichever form of organization one uses, the sentence which sets up the comparison can be neatly done by using a semicolon.
Directions: Think about the pairs of words in the list below. Your objective is to select one pair and write a paragraph about the ideas in that pair. Your first (topic) sentence should indicate a basic contrast between the two ideas, and it should be composed of two main clauses joined by a semicolon. Complete the paragraph by adding three sets of sentences, first about the first term, and then about the second. [Note that some of the ideas, as in the last sentence in the example, can be in subordinate clauses.]
Cats are indoor pets; dogs are more likely to be outdoors. Mysha, our cat, loved to sit above my head on the back of my favorite chair while I watched T.V. My dog Fortune, on the other hand, much preferred to go fishing and run around the river banks.The longest run I ever saw Mysha make was from our bathroom to the front door. He had grabbed the toilet paper in the bathroom and left a trail of paper behind him. Fortune, however, ran with me for miles as I practiced for the cross country team. Both of my favorite pets liked to dig, but Mysha dug up the dirt in our houseplants, whereas Fortune dug holes in the yard to bury bones.