outline of compare and contrast essay

Compare and Contrast Essay: Full Writing Guide and 150+ Topics

outline of compare and contrast essay

Compare and contrast essays are academic papers in which a student analyses two or more subjects with each other. To compare means to explore similarities between subjects, while to contrast means to look at their differences. Both subjects of the comparison are usually in the same category, although they have their differences. For example, it can be two movies, two universities, two cars etc.

Good compare and contrast papers from college essay writer focus on a central point, explaining the importance and implications of this analysis. A compare and contrast essay thesis must make a meaningful comparison. Find the central theme of your essay and do some brainstorming for your thesis.

This type of essay is very common among college and university students. Professors challenge their students to use their analytical and comparative skills and pay close attention to the subjects of their comparisons. This type of essay exercises observance and analysis, helps to establish a frame of reference, and makes meaningful arguments about a subject. Let's get deeper on how to write a compare and contrast essay with our research writing services .

How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay: Brainstorm Similarities and Differences

Now that you know what is compare and contrast essay and are set with your topic, the first thing you should do is grab a piece of paper and make a list with two columns: similarities and differences. Jot down key things first, the most striking ones. Then try to look at the subjects from a different angle, incorporating your imagination.

If you are more of a visual learner, creating a Venn diagram might be a good idea. In order to create it, draw two circles that overlap. In the section where it overlaps, note similarities. Differences should be written in the part of the circle that does not overlap.

Let’s look at a simple example of compare and contrast essay. Let one of the subjects be oranges, and the other one be apples. Oranges have thick peel, originally from India, and are tropical fruit. These characteristics pertain only to oranges and should be in the part of the circle that does not overlap. For the same section on apples, we put thin peel, originated in Turkey or Kazakhstan, and moderate to subtropical. In the section that overlaps, let’s say that they are both fruit, can be juiced, and grow on trees. This simple, yet good example illustrates how the same concept can be applied to many other complicated topics with additional points of comparison and contrast.

Example of compare and contrast

This format of visual aid helps to organize similarities and differences and make them easier to perceive. Your diagram will give you a clear idea of the things you can write about.

Another good idea for brainstorming in preparation for your comparison contrast essay is to create a list with 2 columns, one for each subject, and compare the same characteristics for each of them simultaneously. This compare and contrast format will make writing your comparison contrast paper argument a breeze, as you will have your ideas ready and organized.

One mistake you should avoid is simply listing all of the differences or similarities for each subject. Sometimes students get too caught up in looking for similarities and differences that their compare and contrast essays end up sounding like grocery lists. Your essay should be based on analyzing the similarities and differences, analyzing your conclusions about the two subjects, and finding connections between them—while following a specific format.

Compare and Contrast Essay Structure and Outline

So, how do you structure this compare and contrast paper? Well, since compare and contrast essay examples rely heavily on factual analysis, there are two outline methods that can help you organize your facts. You can use the block method, or point-by-point method, to write a compare and contrast essay outline.

While using the block structure of a compare and contrast essay, all the information is presented for the first subject, and its characteristics and specific details are explained. This concludes one block. The second block takes the same approach as the first for the second subject.

The point-by-point structure lists each similarity and difference simultaneously—making notes of both subjects. For example, you can list a characteristic specific to one subject, followed by its similarity or difference to the other subject.

Both formats have their pros and cons. The block method is clearly easier for a compare and contrast essay writer, as you simply point out all of the information about the two subjects, and basically leave it to the reader to do the comparison. The point-by-point format requires you to analyze the points yourself while making similarities and differences more explicit to the reader for them to be easier to understand. Here is a detailed structure of each type presented below.

Point-by-Point Method

  • Introduce the topic;
  • Specify your theme;
  • Present your thesis - cover all areas of the essay in one sentence.
Example thesis: Cars and motorcycles make for excellent means of transportation, but a good choice depends on the person’s lifestyle, finances, and the city they live in.

Body Paragraph 1 - LIFESTYLE

  • Topic Sentence: Motorcycles impact the owner’s lifestyle less than cars.
  • Topic 1 - Motorcycles
  • ~ Argument: Motorcycles are smaller and more comfortable to store.
  • ~ Argument: Motorcycles are easy to learn and use.
  • Topic 2 - Cars
  • ~ Argument: Cars are a big deal - they are like a second home.
  • ~ Argument: It takes time to learn to become a good driver.

Body Paragraph 2 - FINANCES

  • Topic sentence: Cars are much more expensive than motorcycles
  • ~ Argument: You can buy a good motorcycle for under 300$.
  • ~ Argument: Fewer parts that are more accessible to fix.
  • ~ Argument: Parts and service are expensive if something breaks.
  • ~ Argument: Cars need more gas than motorcycles.

Body Paragraph 3 - CITY

  • Topic sentence: Cars are a better option for bigger cities with wider roads.
  • ~ Argument: Riding motorcycles in a big city is more dangerous than with cars.
  • ~ Argument: Motorcycles work great in a city like Rome, where all the streets are narrow.
  • ~ Argument: Big cities are easier and more comfortable to navigate by car.
  • ~ Argument: With a car, traveling outside of the city is much easier.
  • Sum up all you wrote in the article.

Block Method

  • Thesis — cover all areas of the essay in one sentence

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic Sentence: Motorcycles are cheaper and easier to take care of than cars.
  • Aspect 1 - Lifestyle
  • Aspect 2 - Finances
  • ~ Argument: Fewer parts, easier to fix.
  • Aspect 3 - City
  • ~ Argument: Riding motorcycles in a big city is more dangerous than cars.

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence: Cars are more expensive but more comfortable for a big city and for travelling.
  • ~ Argument: Cars are a big deal—like a second home.
  • ~ Argument: With a car, traveling outside the city is much more comfortable.

Body Paragraph 3 ‍

Use the last paragraph to evaluate the comparisons and explain why they’re essential. Giving a lot of facts can be intense. To water it down, try to give the reader any real-life applications of these facts.

Depending on the structure selected, you can begin to create an outline for your essay. The typical comparison essay follows the format of having an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion — though, if you need to focus on each subject in more detailed ways, feel free to include an extra paragraph to cover all of the most important points.

To make your compare and contrast essay flow better, we recommend using special transition words and phrases. They will add variety and improve your paper overall.

For the section where you compare two subjects, you can include any of the following words: similarly, likewise, also, both, just like, similar to, the same as, alike, or to compare to. When contrasting two subjects, use: in contrast, in comparison, by comparison, on the other hand, while, whereas, but, to differ from, dissimilar to, or unlike.

Show Your Evidence

Arguments for any essay, including compare and contrast essays, need to be supported by sufficient evidence. Make good use of your personal experiences, books, scholarly articles, magazine and newspaper articles, movies, or anything that will make your argument sound credible. For example, in your essay, if you were to compare attending college on campus vs. distance-based learning, you could include your personal experiences of being a student, and how often students show up to class on a daily basis. You could also talk about your experience taking online classes, which makes your argument about online classes credible as well.

Helpful Final Tips

The biggest tip dissertation writing services can give you is to have the right attitude when writing a compare contrast essay, and actively engage the reader in the discussion. If you find it interesting, so will your reader! Here are some more compare and contrast essay tips that will help you to polish yours up:

types of writing

  • Compare and contrast essays need powerful transitions. Try learning more about writing transition sentences using the words we provided for you in the 'Compare and Contrast Structure and Outline' section.
  • Always clarify the concepts you introduce in your essay. Always explain lesser known information—don’t assume the reader must already know it.
  • Do not forget to proofread. Small mistakes, but in high quantities, can result in a low grade. Pay attention to your grammar and punctuation.
  • Have a friend or family member take a look at your essay; they may notice things you have missed.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Now that you know everything there is to know about compare and contrast essays, let’s take a look at some compare and contrast examples to get you started on your paper or get a hand from our essay helper .

Different countries across the world have diverse cultural practices, and this has an effect on work relationships and development. Geert Hofstede came up with a structured way of comparing cultural dimensions of different countries. The theory explains the impacts of a community’s culture on the values of the community members, and the way these values relate to their behaviors. He gives scores as a way to help distinguish people from different nations using the following dimensions: long-term orientation, individualism, power distance, indulgence, necessity avoidance, and masculinity. Let us examine comparisons between two countries: the United Kingdom and China — based on Hofstede’s Six Dimensions of Culture.
Over the last two decades, the demand from consumers for organic foods has increased tremendously. In fact, the popularity of organic foods has exploded significantly with consumers, spending a considerably higher amount of money on them as compared to the amount spent on inorganic foods. The US market noted an increase in sales of more than 10% between 2014 and 2015 (Brown, n.p). The increase is in line with the views of many consumers that organic foods are safer, tastier, and healthier compared to the inorganic foods. Furthermore, considering the environmental effects of foods, organic foods present less risk of environmental pollution — compared to inorganic foods. By definition, organic foods are those that are grown without any artificial chemical treatment, or treatment by use of other substances that have been modified genetically, such as hormones and/or antibiotics (Brown, n.p).

Still feeling confused about the complexities of the compare and contrast essay? Feel free to contact our paper writing service to get a professional writing help.

Finding the Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics For You

When choosing a topic for your comparison essay, remember that subjects cannot be drastically different, because there would be little to no points of comparison (similarities). The same goes for too many similarities, which will result in poor contrasts. For example, it is better to write about two composers, rather than a composer and a singer.

It is extremely important to choose a topic you are passionate about. You never want to come across something that seems dull and uninspiring for you. Here are some excellent ways to brainstorm for a topic from essay writer :

  • Find categories: Choose a type (like animals, films or economics), and compare subjects within that category – wild animals to farm animals, Star Wars to Star Trek, private companies to public companies, etc.
  • Random Surprising Fact: Dig for fun facts which could make great topics. Did you know that chickens can be traced back to dinosaurs?
  • Movie vs. Book: Most of the time, the book is better than the movie — unless it’s Blade Runner or Lord of the Rings. If you’re a pop culture lover, compare movies vs. books, video games, comics, etc.

Use our rewrite essay service when you need help from professionals.

How to Choose a Great Compare and Contrast Topic

College students should consider providing themselves with a chance to use all topic examples. With enough revision, an advantage is gained. As it will be possible to compare arguments and contrast their aspects. Also, discuss numerous situations to get closer to the conclusion.

For example:

  • Choose a topic from the field of your interests. Otherwise you risk failing your paper.
  • It is a good idea to choose a topic based upon the class subject or specialist subject. (Unless the requirements say otherwise.)
  • Analyze each argument carefully. Include every detail for each opposing idea. Without doing so, you can definitely lower grades.
  • Write a conclusion that summarizes both arguments. It should allow readers to find the answer they’re looking for.
  • It is up to you to determine which arguments are right and wrong in the final conclusion.
  • Before approaching the final conclusion, it’s important to discuss each argument equally. It is a bad idea to be biased, as it can also lower grades.

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150 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics to Consider

Choosing a topic can be a challenging task, but there are plenty of options to consider. In the following sections, we have compiled a list of 150 compare and contrast essay topics to help you get started. These topics cover a wide range of subjects, from education and technology to history and politics. Whether you are a high school student or a college student, you are sure to find a topic that interests you. So, read on to discover some great compare and contrast essay ideas.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics For College Students

When attending a college, at any time your professor can assign you the task of writing this form of an essay. Consider these topics for college students from our team to get the grades you deserve.

  • Attending a College Course Vs. Distance-Based Learning.
  • Writing a Research Paper Vs. Writing a Creative Writing Paper. What are the differences and similarities?
  • The differences between a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree.
  • The key aspects of the differences between the US and the UK education systems.
  • Completing assignments at a library compared with doing so at home. Which is the most efficient?
  • The similarities and differences in the behavior among married and unmarried couples.
  • The similarities and differences between the EU (European Union) and ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations)?
  • The similarities and significant differences between American and Canadian English.
  • Writing an Internship Report Vs. Writing a Research Paper
  • The differences between US colleges and colleges in the EU?

Interesting Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Some topics for the compare and contrast essay format can be boring. To keep up motivation, doing a research , have a look at these topics. Maybe they can serve you as research paper help .

  • Public Transport Vs. Driving A Car. Which is more efficient?
  • Mandarin Vs. Cantonese: What are the differences between these Chinese languages?
  • Sports Cars Vs. Luxurious Family Cars
  • Wireless Technology Vs. Wired Devices
  • Thai Food Vs. Filipino Cuisine
  • What is the difference and similarities between a register office marriage and a traditional marriage?
  • The 2000s Vs. The 2010s. What are the differences and what makes them similar?
  • Abu Dhabi Vs. Dubai. What are the main factors involved in the differences?
  • What are the differences between American and British culture?
  • What does the New York Metro do differently to the London Underground?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for High School Students

When writing essays for high school, it is good to keep them informative. Have a look at these compare and contrast sample topics.

  • Highschool Life Vs. College Life
  • Paying College Fees Vs. Being Awarded a Scholarship
  • All Night Study Sessions Vs. Late Night Parties
  • Teenager Vs. Young Adult Relationships
  • Being in a Relationship Vs. Being Single
  • Male Vs. Female Behavior
  • The similarities and differences between a high school diploma and a college degree
  • The similarities and differences between Economics and Business Studies
  • The benefits of having a part-time job, instead of a freelance job, in college
  • High School Extra Curricular Activities Vs. Voluntarily Community Services

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Science

At some point, every science student will be assigned this type of essay. To keep things at flow, have a look at best compare and contrast essay example topics on science:

  • Undiscovered Species on Earth Vs. Potential Life on Mars: What will we discover in the future?
  • The benefits of Gasoline Powered Cars Vs. Electric Powered Cars
  • The differences of the Milky Way Vs. Centaurus (Galaxies).
  • Earthquakes Vs. Hurricanes: What should be prepared for the most?
  • The differences between our moon and Mars’ moons.
  • SpaceX Vs. NASA. What is done differently within these organizations?
  • The differences and similarities between Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox’s theories on the cosmos. Do they agree or correspond with each other?
  • Pregnancy Vs. Motherhood
  • Jupiter Vs. Saturn
  • Greenhouse Farming Vs. Polytunnel Farming

Sports & Leisure Topics

Studying Physical Education? Or a gym fanatic? Have a look at our compare and contrast essay topics for sports and leisure.

  • The English Premier League Compared With The Bundesliga
  • Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona
  • Football Vs. Basketball
  • Walking Vs. Eating Outside with Your Partner
  • Jamaica Team Vs. United States Team: Main Factors and Differences
  • Formula One Vs. Off-Road Racing
  • Germany Team Vs. Brazil Team
  • Morning Exercise Vs. Evening Exercise.
  • Manning Team Vs. Brazil Team
  • Swimming Vs. Cycling

Topics About Culture

Culture can have several meanings. If you’re a Religious Studies or Culture student, take a look at these good compare and contrast essay topics about culture.

  • The fundamental similarities and differences between Pope Francis and Tawadros II of Alexandria
  • Canadian Vs. Australian Religion
  • The differences between Islamic and Christian Holidays
  • The cultural similarities and differences between the Native Aboriginals and Caucasian Australians
  • Native American Culture Vs. New England Culture
  • The cultural differences and similarities between Italians and Sicilians
  • In-depth: The origins of Buddhism and Hinduism
  • In-depth: The origins of Christianity and Islam
  • Greek Gods Vs. Hindu Gods
  • The Bible: Old Testament Vs. New Testament

Unique Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

What about writing an essay which is out of the ordinary? Consider following these topics to write a compare and contrast essay on, that are unique.

  • The reasons why some wealthy people pay extortionate amounts of money for gold-plated cell phones, rather than buying the normal phone.
  • The differences between Lipton Tea and Ahmad Tea
  • American Football Vs. British Football: What are their differences?
  • The differences and similarities between France and Britain
  • Fanta Vs. 7Up
  • Traditional Helicopters Vs. Lifesize Drones
  • The differences and similarities between Boston Dynamics and the fictional equivalent Skynet (From Terminator Movies).
  • Socialism Vs. Capitalism: Which is better?
  • Curved Screen TVs’ Vs. Regular Flat Screen TVs’: Are they really worth big bucks?
  • Is it better to wear black or white at funerals?

Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Sometimes, it may be a requirement to take it back a notch. Especially if you’re new to these style of writing. Consider having a look at these good compare and contrast essay topics that are pretty easy to start off.

  • Is it a good idea to work on weekdays or weekends?
  • Black of White Coffee
  • Becoming a teacher or a doctor? Which career choice has more of an impact on society?
  • Air Travel Vs. Sea Travel: Which is better?
  • Rail Travel Vs. Road Travel: Which is more convenient?
  • What makes Europe far greater than Africa? In terms of financial growth, regulations, public funds, policies etc…
  • Eating fruit for breakfast Vs. cereals
  • Staying Home to Read Vs. Traveling the World During Holidays. Which is more beneficial for personal growth?
  • Japanese Vs. Brazilian Cuisine
  • What makes ASEAN Nations more efficient than African Nations?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics About TV Shows, Music and Movies

We all enjoy at least one of these things. If not, all of them. Why not have a go at writing a compare and contrast essay about what you have been recently watching or listening to?

  • Breaking Bad Vs. Better Call Saul: Which is more commonly binge watched?
  • The differences between Dance Music and Heavy Metal
  • James Bond Vs. Johnny English
  • Iron Man Vs. The Incredible Hulk: Who would win?
  • What is done differently in modern movies, compared to old black and white movies?
  • Dumber and Dumber 2 Vs. Ted: Which movie is funnier?
  • Are Horror movies or Action Movies best suited to you?
  • The differences and similarities between Mozart and Beethoven compositions.
  • Hip Hop Vs. Traditional Music
  • Classical Music Vs. Pop Music. Which genre helps people concentrate?

Topics About Art

Sometimes, art students are required to write this style of essay. Have a look at these compare and contrast essay topics about the arts of the centuries.

  • The fundamental differences and similarities between paintings and sculptures
  • The different styles of Vincent Van Gogh and Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Viewing Original Art Compared With Digital Copies. How are these experiences different?
  • 18th Century Paintings Vs. 21st Century Digitally Illustrated Images
  • German Art Vs. American Art
  • Modern Painting Vs. Modern Photography
  • How can we compare modern graphic designers to 18th-century painters?
  • Ancient Greek Art Vs. Ancient Egyptian Art
  • Ancient Japanese Art Vs. Ancient Persian Art
  • What 16th Century Painting Materials were used compared with the modern day?

Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Almost every student at any stage of academics is assigned this style of writing. If you’re lacking inspiration, consider looking at some of the best compare and contrast essay topics to get you on track with your writing.

  • The United States and North Korea Governmental Conflict: What is the reason behind this phenomenon?
  • In the Early Hours, Drinking Water is far healthier than consuming soda.
  • The United States Vs. The People’s Republic of China: Which economy is the most efficient?
  • Studying in Foreign Countries Vs. Studying In Your Hometown: Which is more of an advantage?
  • Toast Vs. Cereal: Which is the most consumed in the morning?
  • Sleeping Vs. Daydreaming: Which is the most commonly prefered? And amongst who?
  • Learning French Vs. Chinese: Which is the most straightforward?
  • Android Phones Vs. iPhones
  • The Liberation of Slaves Vs. The Liberation of Women: Which is more remembered?
  • The differences between the US Dollar and British Pound. What are their advantages? And How do they correspond with each other?

Easy Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

In all types of academics, these essays occur. If you’re new to this style of writing, check our easy compare and contrast essay topics.

  • The Third Reich Vs. North Korea
  • Tea Vs. Coffee
  • iPhone Vs. Samsung
  • KFC Vs. Wendy’s
  • Laurel or Yanny?
  • Healthy Lifestyle Vs. Obese Lifestyle
  • Forkes Vs. Sporks
  • Rice Vs. Porridge
  • Roast Dinner Vs. Chicken & Mushroom Pie
  • What’s the difference between apples and oranges?

Psychology Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Deciding upon good compare and contrast essay topics for psychology assignments can be difficult. Consider referring to our list of 10 psychology compare and contrast essay topics to help get the deserved grades.

  • What is a more severe eating order? Bulimia or Anorexia
  • Modern Medicine Vs. Traditional Medicine for Treating Depression?
  • Soft Drugs Vs. Hard Drugs. Which is more dangerous for people’s psychological well-being?
  • How do the differences between Lust and Love have an effect on people’s mindsets?
  • Ego Vs. Superego
  • Parents Advice Vs. Peers Advice amongst children and teens.
  • Strict Parenting Vs. Relaxed Parenting
  • Mental Institutions Vs. Stress Clinics
  • Bipolar Disorder Vs. Epilepsy
  • How does child abuse affect victims in later life?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Sixth Graders

From time to time, your teacher will assign the task of writing a compare and contrast essay. It can be hard to choose a topic, especially for beginners. Check out our easy compare and contrast essay topics for sixth graders.

  • Exam Preparation Vs. Homework Assignments
  • Homeschooling Vs. Public Education
  • High School Vs. Elementary School
  • 5th Grade Vs. 6th Grade: What makes them different or the same?
  • Are Moms’ or Dads’ more strict among children?
  • Is it better to have strict parents or more open parents?
  • Sandy Beaches Vs. Pebble Beaches: Which beaches are more popular?
  • Is it a good idea to learn guitar or piano?
  • Is it better to eat vegetable salads or pieces of fruit for lunch?
  • 1st Grade Vs. 6th Grade

Funny Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Sometimes, it is good to have a laugh. As they always say : 'laughter is the best medicine'. Check out these funny compare and contrast essay topics for a little giggle when writing.

  • What is the best way to waste your time? Watching Funny Animal Videos or Mr. Bean Clips?
  • Are Pug Dogs or Maltese Dogs crazier?
  • Pot Noodles Vs. McDonalds Meals.
  • What is the difference between Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson?
  • Mrs. Doubtfire Vs. Mrs. Brown. How are they similar?
  • Which game is more addictive? Flappy Bird or Angry Birds?
  • Big Shaq Vs. PSY
  • Stewie Griffin Vs. Maggie Simpson
  • Quarter Pounders Vs. Big Macs
  • Mr. Bean Vs. Alan Harper

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Compare and contrast essays are a common academic assignment that requires you to analyze the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. 

However, you need a strong outline as your foundation to craft a successful and compelling essay. Outlining organizes your points logically and makes your writing more coherent. 

So how do you start with making a good outline?

This blog will walk you through the steps of creating an effective compare and contrast essay outline. You’ll also get some helpful practical tips and examples along the way. 

Let’s get into it!

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What is a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline?

An outline for a compare and contrast essay aims to organize all the information in a readable manner. It's a roadmap that lays out how you organize and present your ideas.

Here are the main goals of an outline:

  • Clarity and Organization: An outline helps you organize your thoughts and ideas in a clear and structured manner. It ensures that all the ideas are presented in a systematic way.
  • Efficiency: Creating an outline streamlines the writing process. It saves you time by providing a clear direction. It keeps the writer focused on developing the main argument and supporting evidence.
  • Prevention of Overlooking Key Points: With a well-constructed outline, you're less likely to overlook essential points. It serves as a checklist for your essay, ensuring that it is comprehensive and balanced.

Two Types of Compare & Contrast Essay Structure

Before we dive into the outlining steps, you should know about the two main organizing strategies for this type of essay:

  • Point-by-Point Structure (or organization by criteria)
  • Block Method (or organization by item)

Each approach offers unique advantages and is suited to different writing situations. Let's explore these two structures in detail.

Point-by-Point Structure

The point-by-point structure involves comparing and contrasting specific aspects of your chosen subjects.

For instance, when comparing two car models point-by-point, you can first compare and discuss their fuel efficiency, then interior space, and finally compare and contrast their tech features.

This way, you proceed by covering each aspect at a time. Here is what this structure looks like:

Block Method

The block method, also known as organization by item, offers a different approach to structuring your compare and contrast essay. 

In this structure, you present all the information about one subject before moving on to the other, and finally compare and evaluate the subjects in the last paragraph before the conclusion. 

This straightforward approach is particularly useful when your subjects have few similarities and differences. Here’s an example of a block method compare and contrast:

Now that you know about the two types of compare and contrast outlines, let’s move on to how to craft them.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Compare & Contrast Outline 

Creating a compare and contrast essay outline may seem like a complex task, but fear not! Following these simple steps below will make outlining easier and smoother.

Step 1: Choose Your Subjects & Gather Information

Step 2: identify key points of comparison, step 3: develop a thesis statement.

  • Step 4: Organize Your Outline 

Let’s get into each of these steps:

The first and most crucial step is to select the subjects or topics you'll be comparing and contrasting. Make sure that your subjects are related and offer meaningful comparisons. 

Determine the purpose of your essay. Are you aiming to persuade, inform, or simply analyze? Understanding your purpose will help you gather relevant information about your subjects and shape your thesis statement.

Looking for topic ideas? Find 100+ compare and contrast essay topics to write about.

Consider the aspects or criteria you'll use to compare and contrast your subjects. These will become the basis for your body paragraphs. Common approaches include similarities and differences in structure, content, historical context, or impact of your chosen subjects.

Your thesis statement is the heart of your essay. It should concisely state the main point or argument of your essay and provide a roadmap for what your readers can expect. Make sure it reflects the essence of your comparison.

Step 4: Organize Your Outline

Now, it's time to create the actual outline structure. There are three components of an essay outline:

  • Introduction
  • The main body

Start with the basic framework:

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

An essay introduction aims to present your compare and contrast subjects and provide some context.  

In the introduction part of your outline, you should add the following:

  • Hook Statement - A hook is the opening sentence of your essay that aims to catch the readers’ attention. Depending on the topic, choose a catchy statement for your introduction to make it interesting for the readers. 
  • Points about Significance/Context - To make your essay introduction strong and engaging, add the points about the context or significance of the topic to your outline.
  • Thesis Statement - A thesis statement is the writer’s main argument about the topic. 

Compare and Contrast Essay Body Paragraphs

Before outlining your body paragraphs, choose one of the two structures described above. That is, choose whether you want to write your essay in a point-by-point structure or by the block method.

Here’s what to add to your body paragraph outline if it follows a point by point organization:

If you’re using the block method, here’s what your body paragraph outline should include:

Conclusion 

In your outline for the conclusion, you should include the following components:

  • Restate the Thesis: Reiterate your thesis statement, emphasizing the main argument of your essay. This reinforces the central message you want your readers to take away.
  • Summarized Points: Summarize the points you made in the body paragraphs.
  • Final Insight or Observation: Add a final insight, observation, or thought to end the conclusion. This could be a reflection on the significance of your comparisons, a call to action, or a broader perspective on the topic.

Starting with gathering information and ending with a complete outline, these 4 easy steps will let you have a great start.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Examples

Here are some outline examples that will make it easy for you to understand the process described above. Check them out to see what your final outlines should look like.

5 Paragraph Compare And Contrast Essay Outline Example

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline Middle School

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline 5th Grade

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline 6th Grade

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline High School

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline Point By Point

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline Block Method

Oedipus and Hamlet Compare And Contrast Essay Outline

Argumentative Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Want to read complete essays instead? Check out our blog on compare and contrast essay examples to read expertly written samples!

Tips for Making Better Compare and Contrast Outlines

Creating a compare and contrast essay outline is a crucial step in the essay-writing process. With the right tips, you can make your outlines more effective and efficient. 

Here are some valuable tips to help you craft better compare and contrast outlines:

  • Clarify Your Purpose: Before you start outlining, ensure you have a clear understanding of the purpose of your essay. Are you aiming to inform or analyze and evaluate? Your outline should align with your essay's objectives.
  • Choose the Right Structure: Select the structure (point-by-point or block method) that best suits your subjects and the nature of your comparison. Some topics may work better with one method over the other.
  • Be Consistent: Maintain consistency in your outline. Use the same format for each body paragraph, making it easier for you to stay organized and for your readers to follow your argument.
  • Prioritize Key Points: Not all comparisons and contrasts are of equal importance. Focus on the most significant aspects to avoid overwhelming your essay with minor details.
  • Balance Similarities and Differences: Ensure your outline includes a balanced mix of similarities and differences. This balance contributes to a well-rounded and persuasive essay.
  • Review and Revise: After creating your initial outline, take a step back and review it critically. Does it effectively convey your ideas? Are there any redundancies or gaps in your comparisons? Make revisions as needed.
  • Stay Focused: It's easy to get sidetracked when comparing and contrasting. Stick to your chosen criteria and avoid going off-topic in your outline.
  • Use Clear Language: Keep your outline concise and use clear, straightforward language. Avoid jargon or overly complex sentences that could confuse your readers.
  • Seek Feedback: If possible, share your outline with a peer or instructor for feedback. They can offer valuable insights and suggestions for improvement.

To Conclude,

Crafting a well-structured compare and contrast essay outline is a skill that can elevate your essays. We've explored the purpose, components, and step-by-step process for creating effective outlines. You’re now equipped to shape your ideas, organize your arguments, and guide your readers through compelling comparisons and contrasts. 

Remember, outlining isn't just a preliminary step; it's your blueprint for essay excellence. So utilize the steps and tips you learned above to craft excellent comparison essays!

Still, if you are looking for expert guidance and custom-written essays, MyPerfectWords.com is here for you. Just request us to “do my essay” and our professional writers will provide tailored essays within your deadline. 

So let our writing services ease your essay burden - Contact Now!

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Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay | Tips & Examples

Published on August 6, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

Comparing and contrasting is an important skill in academic writing . It involves taking two or more subjects and analyzing the differences and similarities between them.

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Table of contents

When should i compare and contrast, making effective comparisons, comparing and contrasting as a brainstorming tool, structuring your comparisons, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about comparing and contrasting.

Many assignments will invite you to make comparisons quite explicitly, as in these prompts.

  • Compare the treatment of the theme of beauty in the poetry of William Wordsworth and John Keats.
  • Compare and contrast in-class and distance learning. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?

Some other prompts may not directly ask you to compare and contrast, but present you with a topic where comparing and contrasting could be a good approach.

One way to approach this essay might be to contrast the situation before the Great Depression with the situation during it, to highlight how large a difference it made.

Comparing and contrasting is also used in all kinds of academic contexts where it’s not explicitly prompted. For example, a literature review involves comparing and contrasting different studies on your topic, and an argumentative essay may involve weighing up the pros and cons of different arguments.

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outline of compare and contrast essay

As the name suggests, comparing and contrasting is about identifying both similarities and differences. You might focus on contrasting quite different subjects or comparing subjects with a lot in common—but there must be some grounds for comparison in the first place.

For example, you might contrast French society before and after the French Revolution; you’d likely find many differences, but there would be a valid basis for comparison. However, if you contrasted pre-revolutionary France with Han-dynasty China, your reader might wonder why you chose to compare these two societies.

This is why it’s important to clarify the point of your comparisons by writing a focused thesis statement . Every element of an essay should serve your central argument in some way. Consider what you’re trying to accomplish with any comparisons you make, and be sure to make this clear to the reader.

Comparing and contrasting can be a useful tool to help organize your thoughts before you begin writing any type of academic text. You might use it to compare different theories and approaches you’ve encountered in your preliminary research, for example.

Let’s say your research involves the competing psychological approaches of behaviorism and cognitive psychology. You might make a table to summarize the key differences between them.

Or say you’re writing about the major global conflicts of the twentieth century. You might visualize the key similarities and differences in a Venn diagram.

A Venn diagram showing the similarities and differences between World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.

These visualizations wouldn’t make it into your actual writing, so they don’t have to be very formal in terms of phrasing or presentation. The point of comparing and contrasting at this stage is to help you organize and shape your ideas to aid you in structuring your arguments.

When comparing and contrasting in an essay, there are two main ways to structure your comparisons: the alternating method and the block method.

The alternating method

In the alternating method, you structure your text according to what aspect you’re comparing. You cover both your subjects side by side in terms of a specific point of comparison. Your text is structured like this:

Mouse over the example paragraph below to see how this approach works.

One challenge teachers face is identifying and assisting students who are struggling without disrupting the rest of the class. In a traditional classroom environment, the teacher can easily identify when a student is struggling based on their demeanor in class or simply by regularly checking on students during exercises. They can then offer assistance quietly during the exercise or discuss it further after class. Meanwhile, in a Zoom-based class, the lack of physical presence makes it more difficult to pay attention to individual students’ responses and notice frustrations, and there is less flexibility to speak with students privately to offer assistance. In this case, therefore, the traditional classroom environment holds the advantage, although it appears likely that aiding students in a virtual classroom environment will become easier as the technology, and teachers’ familiarity with it, improves.

The block method

In the block method, you cover each of the overall subjects you’re comparing in a block. You say everything you have to say about your first subject, then discuss your second subject, making comparisons and contrasts back to the things you’ve already said about the first. Your text is structured like this:

  • Point of comparison A
  • Point of comparison B

The most commonly cited advantage of distance learning is the flexibility and accessibility it offers. Rather than being required to travel to a specific location every week (and to live near enough to feasibly do so), students can participate from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows not only for a wider geographical spread of students but for the possibility of studying while travelling. However, distance learning presents its own accessibility challenges; not all students have a stable internet connection and a computer or other device with which to participate in online classes, and less technologically literate students and teachers may struggle with the technical aspects of class participation. Furthermore, discomfort and distractions can hinder an individual student’s ability to engage with the class from home, creating divergent learning experiences for different students. Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.

Note that these two methods can be combined; these two example paragraphs could both be part of the same essay, but it’s wise to use an essay outline to plan out which approach you’re taking in each paragraph.

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Some essay prompts include the keywords “compare” and/or “contrast.” In these cases, an essay structured around comparing and contrasting is the appropriate response.

Comparing and contrasting is also a useful approach in all kinds of academic writing : You might compare different studies in a literature review , weigh up different arguments in an argumentative essay , or consider different theoretical approaches in a theoretical framework .

Your subjects might be very different or quite similar, but it’s important that there be meaningful grounds for comparison . You can probably describe many differences between a cat and a bicycle, but there isn’t really any connection between them to justify the comparison.

You’ll have to write a thesis statement explaining the central point you want to make in your essay , so be sure to know in advance what connects your subjects and makes them worth comparing.

Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:

  • The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
  • The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.

It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.

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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

09 November, 2020

17 minutes read

Author:  Elizabeth Brown

You have been assigned a compare and contrast essay but what is it and where do you even begin? The purpose of this type of essay is to focus on two or more topics examining them for subtle differences and unexpected similarities. These topics can be closely related, say a zebra and a horse, or they can be vastly different, like a pizza and salad. The focus of a compare and contrast essay is to bring to light something unknown, show whether one is superior to another, argue a point with supported facts, or clear up a misunderstanding.  

Compare and Contrast Essay

WWI and WWII. London and Paris. “Gone with the Wind” and “The Thorn Birds.” What do these things have in common? Or how do they differ?

This is a compare and contrast essay in a nutshell. Its main focus is on spotting the similarities or differences in terms of this or that object, phenomenon, or event. But there’s more to it. So, let’s look into all the details more profoundly.

Compare vs contrast

What is a compare and contrast essay?

A compare and contrast essay is a piece of academic writing focused on finding similarities or differences between several objects.

“Well,” you might think, “it’s the easiest paper ever. Why even bother looking for samples and examples?” Is that what you’re thinking? Then we’ve got a surprise for you.

Even though it all seems pretty self-explanatory, a compare and contrast essay can be a real challenge to compose. Especially if you don’t know all the pitfalls to pay attention to.

Evidently, you can always choose to seek the assistance of a good essay writing service like HandMadeWriting. With us, you don’t have to spend long nights working on a piece like this. However, we guarantee that we’ll cover all the bases in this guide and you’ll be able to craft a decent compare and contrast essay in the end.

Of course, the essence of this type of writing lies in finding common or different characteristics of two objects, places, events, or people. However, the piece can look differently depending on the approach a student considers to use when working on it.

While still on the subject, let’s look into different approaches to writing a compare and contrast essay.

How to write a Compare and contrast essay outline

how to write a compare and contrast essay outline

An outline will serve as a roadmap for your project. It will be the lighthouse you will keep your eyes on amidst all the arguments and ideas you want to mention in a piece.

Related Post: How to Write an Argumentative essay

Besides, it will help you keep your thoughts organized and well-structured. So, what should an outline for this type of essay look like?

Compare and Contrast essay outline example

Now use this scheme and adjust it to your own essay. Remember that an outline is only a blueprint: no need to go into numerous details at each section. Simply mention what you will talk about in each section and mark what sources you will use to back up your ideas.

Related Posts: Essay Outline | Research Paper Outline

Once you crafted an outline, you’re all set to start your essay.

The structure of a compare and contrast essay

There are three approaches to writing this type of essay:

  • Point by point method

Venn diagram

Block structure.

Approaches to writing a compare and contrast essay

Point-by-point method

This method focuses on comparing or contrasting various points of the same object. This being said, we find it essential to add that you can only choose two objects which you can really compare.

Thus, it is a great idea to compare two books of the same genre, but it makes no sense to compare a basketball and a soccer team: they’re completely different.

To demonstrate what this method is about, let’s try to compare public and private education in the USA. We will focus on three main aspects: the cost of such education, quality of education (based on the results and achievements of graduates), and the workload.

The author should mention these aspects in the introduction saying that he will compare or contrast two different options of obtaining a degree based on these points.

Next, come the main body paragraphs. Each of them is dedicated to only one point.

Topic: Public and private education comparison

Introduction.

Main body paragraphs #1:   The cost of education

  • Higher at privately help institutions (e.g. provide a range of tuition fees across one specialization)
  • Lower (yet not completely free) at public educational establishments (e.g. offer a list of things an average student pays for at a public institution)

Main body paragraph #2:   Quality of the education

  • Typically higher at private institutions (e.g. smaller classes, a more dedicated teacher-student approach, access to necessary materials, etc.)
  • Typically lower with exceptions (e.g. offer examples of statistical data which proves that public education can be just as effective)

Main body paragraph #3:   The workload

  • Heavier at private colleges where tutors get more one-on-one time with each student. As a result, students have less time for extracurricular activities.
  • Might be lighter than at a private institution.

Conclusion.

This is what a point-by-point approach looks like. Now, let’s check out the other two.

Venn diagram is “a diagram that shows all possible logical relations between a finite collection of different sets.” It is an excellent tool to visualize the content and brainstorm ideas.

Specifically, if you ever decide to use this tool for one of the compare and contrast essay topics, here is what it would look like:

Firstly, simply draw two or more circles (depending on the number of objects you’re comparing). Secondly, write down things they have in common inside the intersection of these circles leaving the differences on the outside.

Let’s see how students can use this approach to crafting a compare and contrast essay outline.

Topic: Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy

Main body paragraph #1: They were both presidents.

  • Lincoln was the 16th, while Kennedy – the 35th.
  • Lincoln served for five years, and Kennedy for three years.

Paragraph #2: They were both assassinated on Friday (share the story and background of each of these cases).

  • Kennedy was killed on the 23rd of November, 1963, by Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • Lincoln was shot dead on April 15th, 1865, by John Wilkes Booth.

Paragraph #3: They were commemorated by being posted on the US money.

  • Tell about Kennedy’s half-dollar.
  • A five-dollar bill with Abraham Lincoln.

Paragraph #4: Differences.

  • Kennedy was a Democrat, while Lincoln was a Republican.
  • Lincoln fought in the Civil War and signed the Emancipation Proclamation, while Kennedy focused on civil rights, foreign policies, and a space mission.

Finally, let’s see what a block structure approach will look like in practice.

This approach allows the students to compare different objects based on a particular writing pattern. A benefit of using this method lies in the structure and the level of organization of your piece.

Firstly, the author takes the first object and describes it in the first paragraph. Then, he proceeds to describe the second object in the second paragraph. Throughout the process, features or qualities are looked into step by step.

Let’s see what it would look like on the example.

Topic: Cats and dogs: Who makes a better pet?

An introduction.

Paragraph #1: Cats

  • Don’t need their master to walk with them.
  • Take care of their own hygiene.
  • Require minimum training.

Paragraph #2: Dogs

  • Need regular walks with their masters to exercise.
  • Can’t wash themselves.
  • Need the training to maintain proper behavior.

These are the three main methods used to craft a compare and contrast essay. Just choose the one that you feel most comfortable using and move on to the actual writing part.

Alternatively, you can look for help from a professional custom writing service like  HandMade Writing . It’s your chance to shave hours off your week and end up having an A+ in no time!

How to write a compare and contrast essay

Knowing all the approaches is one thing. Nevertheless, there is much more you need to know about this type of writing if you want to succeed.

As a rule, a compare and contrast essay writing is based on an in-depth analysis of two or more objects and practical findings of them (don’t confuse it with a reflective essay which allows you to focus on your own reflections rather than solid facts). That is why every student must start with finding proper credible sources and reading them carefully. As you read, don’t forget to take notes: your goal is to find whether similarities between the objects outweigh the differences or vice versa. But, of course, this is only true if you were given a choice to either contrast or compare the notions.

Next, take your time to craft a decent outline. Yes, you heard it right: you need it way before you dive into the first draft creation. Wondering how to write an outline? Here are several useful tips.

How to start a compare and contrast essay

The first thing a reader should see in your essay is an attention grabber. What can serve as one?

  • A quote by a famous person.
  • A literary quote.
  • An anecdote.
  • An interesting definition.
  • A little-known fact.
  • An open-end question.
  • A beautifully painted scene.

These are the basic ideas on how to make your audience sit up and listen from the very first moment. Later on, develop this hook into a thesis statement.

Related post: H ow to write an Essay introduction?  | Essay format guide 

Thesis statement

Usually, thesis statement presents your argument to the readers. It invites the audience to dispute your position and encourages a discussion around the topic of your choice.

The Writing Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill states that  a thesis statement “tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion. It’s also a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.”

The secret of  a good thesis statement is in its length. It shouldn’t be longer than one sentence. Here is a good example:

“If it weren’t for Abraham Lincoln’s wisdom, excellent diplomatic skills, and patriotism, he could have been the last President of the existing and prospering United States of America.”

How to organize the main body paragraphs

We’ve already mentioned briefly what the main body paragraph should really look like. Now, let’s take a step forward and look into each nuance in more detail.

  • An argument. The first sentence of every paragraph of your comparative essay should present the argument that supports the thesis statement. Keep it short and up to the point. And only use the arguments you can actually back up with sufficient evidence.
  • Evidence. Next, provide at least one (but better two or three) pieces of evidence that support your argument. We encourage college students to use only credible sources at this point. Eventually, this will add credibility to your writing and definitely get you a better grade.
  • A conclusion. Finally, summarize the argument and the evidence for it in one sentence. Keep it short and to the point, but don’t underestimate the importance of this part of your paragraph. Obviously, it’s often the only part your audience will remember from the whole piece.

Generally, college students get to choose how many main body paragraphs they want to have in their piece. Besides, the word count plays an important role here: you can’t have six main body paragraphs if you only have 500 words. For the most part, there won’t be enough space for all the essential parts of the paragraph. And you’ll end up crafting an incomprehensive and poorly-structured essay. We’re begging you to be wise not to lose good grades to not thought-through writing process.

In addition, if you aren’t a college student yet, but are going to enter a college or university soon, don’t forget to check out our complete guide to writing a scholarship essay . It’s your chance to stretch a buck by getting the financial help from college!

How to end a compare and contrast essay

Finally, get ready to compose a top-notch closure for the piece. Even though it comes last in your essay, it must be nothing short of perfect.

Studies show that conclusions are your last chance to impress a reader. Overall, the structure of this last section is quite standard.

  • Restate that thesis statement to remind your audience of what your whole article centered around.
  • Go over the pieces of evidence you used along the way.
  • Finish with an open question, a call-to-action, or a challenge for the audience.

See? It’s not as difficult as you might have thought it will be. Still, you have to take your time to polish it and make it count.

Compare&Contrast essay example

Good compare and contrast essay topics.

Well, now that you know everything you need about the process of writing such papers, it seems like you’re simply destined to grab readers’ attention and keep them interested from the start.

And though we would really want to tell you it is really so, it won’t necessarily be true.

Likewise, there is one more secret you can’t miss: a good essay requires an engaging topic.

Certainly, we know that finding excellent good topics sentence might be difficult. Thus, we’ve gathered a short list of thing we think you might find exciting to write about.

However, you can find 127 great compare and contrast essay topics in our recent guide. They’re all unique and interesting. So, don’t hesitate to take a look and pick something to write about.

  • Greek vs. Roman mythology: Differences and similarities.
  • Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: Compare the techniques, history, and professionalism of the players in these two football clubs.
  • Veganism vs. Vegetarianism: Differences in the dieting styles.
  • American English vs. British English.
  • Public vs. private education: The good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • Being a freelancer vs. being self-employed.
  • Christianity in Europe vs. Christianity in Asia in the 21st century.
  • Traditional vs. Unconventional cancer treatments around the globe.
  • Breastfeeding vs. infant formula: Which is a better choice both for the mother and the baby?
  • Car-sharing vs. Hitchhiking: Which would you choose to travel the world?
Related post: Top argumentative essay topics

Transition words

Transition words are your key to the smooth reading experience. Here are two lists of transition words students should use when crafting this type of paper.

Transitions words

Transitions in a comparison essay:

  • In the same way
  • By the same token
  • Coupled with
  • In addition
  • Identically
  • Correspondingly
  • Together with
  • Comparatively

Contrast transitions:

  • Nonetheless
  • In contrast
  • Notwithstanding
  • On the contrary
  • On the other hand
  • At the same time

We tried to cover all the information a student might need when working on a compare and contrast essay. Use this guide step by step for the best results. Don’t fall victim to the idea that you need no assistance in composing this type of academic writing. Of course, it might be tricky. So, it’s in your best interest to use professional assistance.

Problems with writing Your Compare and Contrast Essay? Try our Essay Writer Service!

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Comparing and Contrasting

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective. It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond “Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others.”

Introduction

In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements. One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another. By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them.

Recognizing comparison/contrast in assignments

Some assignments use words—like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences—that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast. Here are a few hypothetical examples:

  • Compare and contrast Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression.
  • Compare WWI to WWII, identifying similarities in the causes, development, and outcomes of the wars.
  • Contrast Wordsworth and Coleridge; what are the major differences in their poetry?

Notice that some topics ask only for comparison, others only for contrast, and others for both.

But it’s not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast. And in some cases, comparison/contrast is only part of the essay—you begin by comparing and/or contrasting two or more things and then use what you’ve learned to construct an argument or evaluation. Consider these examples, noticing the language that is used to ask for the comparison/contrast and whether the comparison/contrast is only one part of a larger assignment:

  • Choose a particular idea or theme, such as romantic love, death, or nature, and consider how it is treated in two Romantic poems.
  • How do the different authors we have studied so far define and describe oppression?
  • Compare Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression. What does each imply about women’s collusion in their own oppression? Which is more accurate?
  • In the texts we’ve studied, soldiers who served in different wars offer differing accounts of their experiences and feelings both during and after the fighting. What commonalities are there in these accounts? What factors do you think are responsible for their differences?

You may want to check out our handout on understanding assignments for additional tips.

Using comparison/contrast for all kinds of writing projects

Sometimes you may want to use comparison/contrast techniques in your own pre-writing work to get ideas that you can later use for an argument, even if comparison/contrast isn’t an official requirement for the paper you’re writing. For example, if you wanted to argue that Frye’s account of oppression is better than both de Beauvoir’s and Bartky’s, comparing and contrasting the main arguments of those three authors might help you construct your evaluation—even though the topic may not have asked for comparison/contrast and the lists of similarities and differences you generate may not appear anywhere in the final draft of your paper.

Discovering similarities and differences

Making a Venn diagram or a chart can help you quickly and efficiently compare and contrast two or more things or ideas. To make a Venn diagram, simply draw some overlapping circles, one circle for each item you’re considering. In the central area where they overlap, list the traits the two items have in common. Assign each one of the areas that doesn’t overlap; in those areas, you can list the traits that make the things different. Here’s a very simple example, using two pizza places:

Venn diagram indicating that both Pepper's and Amante serve pizza with unusual ingredients at moderate prices, despite differences in location, wait times, and delivery options

To make a chart, figure out what criteria you want to focus on in comparing the items. Along the left side of the page, list each of the criteria. Across the top, list the names of the items. You should then have a box per item for each criterion; you can fill the boxes in and then survey what you’ve discovered.

As you generate points of comparison, consider the purpose and content of the assignment and the focus of the class. What do you think the professor wants you to learn by doing this comparison/contrast? How does it fit with what you have been studying so far and with the other assignments in the course? Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself?

Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. These are by no means complete or definitive lists; they’re just here to give you some ideas—you can generate your own questions for these and other types of comparison. You may want to begin by using the questions reporters traditionally ask: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? If you’re talking about objects, you might also consider general properties like size, shape, color, sound, weight, taste, texture, smell, number, duration, and location.

Two historical periods or events

  • When did they occur—do you know the date(s) and duration? What happened or changed during each? Why are they significant?
  • What kinds of work did people do? What kinds of relationships did they have? What did they value?
  • What kinds of governments were there? Who were important people involved?
  • What caused events in these periods, and what consequences did they have later on?

Two ideas or theories

  • What are they about?
  • Did they originate at some particular time?
  • Who created them? Who uses or defends them?
  • What is the central focus, claim, or goal of each? What conclusions do they offer?
  • How are they applied to situations/people/things/etc.?
  • Which seems more plausible to you, and why? How broad is their scope?
  • What kind of evidence is usually offered for them?

Two pieces of writing or art

  • What are their titles? What do they describe or depict?
  • What is their tone or mood? What is their form?
  • Who created them? When were they created? Why do you think they were created as they were? What themes do they address?
  • Do you think one is of higher quality or greater merit than the other(s)—and if so, why?
  • For writing: what plot, characterization, setting, theme, tone, and type of narration are used?
  • Where are they from? How old are they? What is the gender, race, class, etc. of each?
  • What, if anything, are they known for? Do they have any relationship to each other?
  • What are they like? What did/do they do? What do they believe? Why are they interesting?
  • What stands out most about each of them?

Deciding what to focus on

By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations! Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s relevant to the assignment?
  • What’s relevant to the course?
  • What’s interesting and informative?
  • What matters to the argument you are going to make?
  • What’s basic or central (and needs to be mentioned even if obvious)?
  • Overall, what’s more important—the similarities or the differences?

Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels. For most literature classes, the fact that they both use Caslon type (a kind of typeface, like the fonts you may use in your writing) is not going to be relevant, nor is the fact that one of them has a few illustrations and the other has none; literature classes are more likely to focus on subjects like characterization, plot, setting, the writer’s style and intentions, language, central themes, and so forth. However, if you were writing a paper for a class on typesetting or on how illustrations are used to enhance novels, the typeface and presence or absence of illustrations might be absolutely critical to include in your final paper.

Sometimes a particular point of comparison or contrast might be relevant but not terribly revealing or interesting. For example, if you are writing a paper about Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” and Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight,” pointing out that they both have nature as a central theme is relevant (comparisons of poetry often talk about themes) but not terribly interesting; your class has probably already had many discussions about the Romantic poets’ fondness for nature. Talking about the different ways nature is depicted or the different aspects of nature that are emphasized might be more interesting and show a more sophisticated understanding of the poems.

Your thesis

The thesis of your comparison/contrast paper is very important: it can help you create a focused argument and give your reader a road map so she/he doesn’t get lost in the sea of points you are about to make. As in any paper, you will want to replace vague reports of your general topic (for example, “This paper will compare and contrast two pizza places,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in some ways and different in others,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in many ways, but they have one major difference”) with something more detailed and specific. For example, you might say, “Pepper’s and Amante have similar prices and ingredients, but their atmospheres and willingness to deliver set them apart.”

Be careful, though—although this thesis is fairly specific and does propose a simple argument (that atmosphere and delivery make the two pizza places different), your instructor will often be looking for a bit more analysis. In this case, the obvious question is “So what? Why should anyone care that Pepper’s and Amante are different in this way?” One might also wonder why the writer chose those two particular pizza places to compare—why not Papa John’s, Dominos, or Pizza Hut? Again, thinking about the context the class provides may help you answer such questions and make a stronger argument. Here’s a revision of the thesis mentioned earlier:

Pepper’s and Amante both offer a greater variety of ingredients than other Chapel Hill/Carrboro pizza places (and than any of the national chains), but the funky, lively atmosphere at Pepper’s makes it a better place to give visiting friends and family a taste of local culture.

You may find our handout on constructing thesis statements useful at this stage.

Organizing your paper

There are many different ways to organize a comparison/contrast essay. Here are two:

Subject-by-subject

Begin by saying everything you have to say about the first subject you are discussing, then move on and make all the points you want to make about the second subject (and after that, the third, and so on, if you’re comparing/contrasting more than two things). If the paper is short, you might be able to fit all of your points about each item into a single paragraph, but it’s more likely that you’d have several paragraphs per item. Using our pizza place comparison/contrast as an example, after the introduction, you might have a paragraph about the ingredients available at Pepper’s, a paragraph about its location, and a paragraph about its ambience. Then you’d have three similar paragraphs about Amante, followed by your conclusion.

The danger of this subject-by-subject organization is that your paper will simply be a list of points: a certain number of points (in my example, three) about one subject, then a certain number of points about another. This is usually not what college instructors are looking for in a paper—generally they want you to compare or contrast two or more things very directly, rather than just listing the traits the things have and leaving it up to the reader to reflect on how those traits are similar or different and why those similarities or differences matter. Thus, if you use the subject-by-subject form, you will probably want to have a very strong, analytical thesis and at least one body paragraph that ties all of your different points together.

A subject-by-subject structure can be a logical choice if you are writing what is sometimes called a “lens” comparison, in which you use one subject or item (which isn’t really your main topic) to better understand another item (which is). For example, you might be asked to compare a poem you’ve already covered thoroughly in class with one you are reading on your own. It might make sense to give a brief summary of your main ideas about the first poem (this would be your first subject, the “lens”), and then spend most of your paper discussing how those points are similar to or different from your ideas about the second.

Point-by-point

Rather than addressing things one subject at a time, you may wish to talk about one point of comparison at a time. There are two main ways this might play out, depending on how much you have to say about each of the things you are comparing. If you have just a little, you might, in a single paragraph, discuss how a certain point of comparison/contrast relates to all the items you are discussing. For example, I might describe, in one paragraph, what the prices are like at both Pepper’s and Amante; in the next paragraph, I might compare the ingredients available; in a third, I might contrast the atmospheres of the two restaurants.

If I had a bit more to say about the items I was comparing/contrasting, I might devote a whole paragraph to how each point relates to each item. For example, I might have a whole paragraph about the clientele at Pepper’s, followed by a whole paragraph about the clientele at Amante; then I would move on and do two more paragraphs discussing my next point of comparison/contrast—like the ingredients available at each restaurant.

There are no hard and fast rules about organizing a comparison/contrast paper, of course. Just be sure that your reader can easily tell what’s going on! Be aware, too, of the placement of your different points. If you are writing a comparison/contrast in service of an argument, keep in mind that the last point you make is the one you are leaving your reader with. For example, if I am trying to argue that Amante is better than Pepper’s, I should end with a contrast that leaves Amante sounding good, rather than with a point of comparison that I have to admit makes Pepper’s look better. If you’ve decided that the differences between the items you’re comparing/contrasting are most important, you’ll want to end with the differences—and vice versa, if the similarities seem most important to you.

Our handout on organization can help you write good topic sentences and transitions and make sure that you have a good overall structure in place for your paper.

Cue words and other tips

To help your reader keep track of where you are in the comparison/contrast, you’ll want to be sure that your transitions and topic sentences are especially strong. Your thesis should already have given the reader an idea of the points you’ll be making and the organization you’ll be using, but you can help her/him out with some extra cues. The following words may be helpful to you in signaling your intentions:

  • like, similar to, also, unlike, similarly, in the same way, likewise, again, compared to, in contrast, in like manner, contrasted with, on the contrary, however, although, yet, even though, still, but, nevertheless, conversely, at the same time, regardless, despite, while, on the one hand … on the other hand.

For example, you might have a topic sentence like one of these:

  • Compared to Pepper’s, Amante is quiet.
  • Like Amante, Pepper’s offers fresh garlic as a topping.
  • Despite their different locations (downtown Chapel Hill and downtown Carrboro), Pepper’s and Amante are both fairly easy to get to.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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helping students be successful writing a compare and contrast essay in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade

Scaffolding a Compare and Contrast Essay With Frames and Templates

helping students be successful writing a compare and contrast essay in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade

Writing can be hard and frustrating for upper elementary students; writing a compare and contrast essay can be even harder and more frustrating.

Often, this skill gets pushed to the back burner.  It is a lot easier to practice comparing and contrasting with things that take less time - like by using a Venn Diagram.  

However, teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students to compare and contrast topics within their writing is an important skill. Scaffolding student writing through sentence or paragraph frames and essay templates can minimize the frustration of students, save valuable time, and help your students become better writers.  Providing structure helps focus yoru students.

Below, find ideas for scaffolding so that your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students can be successful with comparing and contrasting in their writing - and eventually writing a compare and contrast essay!

Start Small - With Compare and Contrast Sentence Starters or Frames

Students don't have to write an entire essay every time you want them to practice comparing and contrasting within their writing - they can practice this skill by simply writing a sentence that compares or contrasts two things.

Providing students with sentence starters is a great way to ease them into using compare and contrast language in their writing.  This is especially beneficial for your ELL and low language students, but ALL of your students will benefit from this strategy.

Example Sentence Starters

1. __________ and __________ are different because __________.

2. __________ and __________ are alike because __________.

3. The most important difference between __________ and __________ is __________.

4. An important similarity between __________ and __________ is __________.

5.  While __________ and __________ are alike because __________, they have different __________.

Using a Paragraph Template or Frame

After students have been successful at writing sentences that compare and contrast, expand to short paragraphs. Provide scaffolding similar to the sentence frames to help your 3rd grade, 4th grade, or 5th grade students be successful.

Using scaffolding like this will not only help them with comparing and contrasting language, but will improve their overall writing as well.

(You might find some of these other writing tips and ideas helpful.)

Example Paragraph Frames

1. __________ and __________ have many differences. The most important difference is _________________________. Another difference is _________________________. Finally, _________________________.

2. __________ and __________ are similar in many ways. For example, ____________________. Furthermore, they both ____________________. A final similarity is ____________________.

3.  __________ and __________ are similar in some ways, but different in others.  For example, they both ____________________.  Despite this similarity, they are different because ____________________.  This difference is important because ____________________.

comparing and contrasting scaffolded essay template / outline for upper elementary

Compare and Contrast Essay Template / Structure / Outline

Writing an essay can be overwhelming.  Teachers often try to support students by modeling good essay writing - which is an essential step.  But having students go straight from having a compare and contrast essay modeled for them to writing their own independently can be a huge jump for some.  They are going straight from "I do" to "You do."

A scaffolded essay outline makes a good "we do" for upper elementary students.  Provide students with a scaffolded template that clearly lays out the structure of a good compare and contrast essay.  This helps students stay on topic and reminds them what a good compare and contrast essay should look like.

Eventually, you will take this scaffolding away.  Or, you can use the scaffolding to differentiate.  Provide more scaffolding for students that needed, while students have a good grasp might only have topic students scaffolded for them - or maybe even no scaffolding at all.

no prep scaffolded compare and contrast essay to help your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students be successful writers

If you know your students would benefit from this type of scaffolding, but don’t have the time to create it yourself, check out my Compare and Contrast Writing Resource.

It walks students through the writing process with scaffolding each step of the way. This resource also provides a model essay so that you can model expectations for your students. Plus, it can be used over and over again with different topics.

You might also like these other ideas for scaffolding your instruction, or these compare and contrast activities and ideas.  

Want a Compare and Contrast Freebie?

Free reading comprehension practice for third, fourth, and fifth graders - paired passages about Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin

Download these reading passages with a compare and contrast activity for free and use it to today!

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Compare And Contrast Essay

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline

Cathy A.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline - Step by Step Guide

12 min read

Published on: Mar 1, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 30, 2024

compare and contrast essay outline

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Have you ever been assigned a compare and contrast essay and found yourself staring at a blank page, unsure of where to start?

It can be overwhelming to tackle this type of essay without a clear plan in place. With so many possible points of comparison and contrast, it's easy to get lost in a sea of ideas.

But fear not! 

With a solid outline, you can organize your thoughts and arguments, and create a well-structured essay that effectively compares and contrasts two or more subjects.

In this post, we'll guide you through the process of creating a compare-and-contrast essay outline, providing you with tips and examples along the way. 

Let's dive in!

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What is a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline?

This type of essay simply asks you to compare and contrast two things that belong to the same category. 

Think of it as comparing two apples or two oranges, not cats and dogs - we're talking about similarities and differences within a specific group.

When we say " compare ," we mean finding the similarities between the two subjects. And when we say " contrast ," we're looking at the differences. 

To successfully compare and contrast, the subjects must be in the same category. 

Choosing A Subject For Your Compare And Contrast Essay 

When it comes to choosing a subject for your compare and contrast essay, remember to keep these key factors in mind:

  • State, discuss, and elaborate on something that is not widely known.
  • Clarify any common misunderstandings about the subject.
  • Focus on a central point and analyze it thoroughly.
  • Make a meaningful comparison between the two subjects.
  • Back up your claims with solid facts and evidence from reliable sources.

To ensure that you cover all of these points in your essay, it's a smart idea to create an outline before you start writing.

There are two different structures you can use for a compare-and-contrast essay: the point-by-point method and the block method. 

You'll need to decide which method to use based on your specific topic and the points you want to make. With a well-planned outline, you'll be able to organize your thoughts and write a clear, effective essay that makes a compelling argument.

Point-by-Point Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

A point-by-point compare and contrast essay outline follows a specific structure to help you organize your thoughts and make clear, concise arguments.

Here's an example of what a point-by-point compare and contrast-essay outline might look like:

In a point-by-point compare and contrast essay outline, you'll examine each point of comparison or contrast between the two subjects. 

For each point, you'll discuss the similarities and differences between the two subjects, alternating between the two as you go. 

This format allows for a clear and logical progression of ideas and makes it easy for readers to follow your argument.

Here is a block diagram to help you understand the format more clearly.

Check out this video to learn more! 

Compare and Contrast Essay Block Method Outline

A compare-and-contrast essay using the block method outline is another way to organize your thoughts when writing this type of essay. Here's an example of what a block method outline might look like

In a block method outline, you'll discuss all the similarities and differences of one subject before moving on to the next. 

This format allows you to delve more deeply into each subject and make clear, comprehensive arguments about the similarities and differences. 

Make sure to connect your points back to the thesis statement, and use transitions to smoothly move from one point to the next.

Here is a block diagram to help you understand more!

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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline?  

To write a good compare and contrast essay , make sure that you have explored the similarities and differences in an orderly manner. You might use a Venn diagram or simple lists to do that.  

Once you have collected the raw data, the next step is to arrange it in the form of an essay. For this purpose, you need an outline. By creating an outline, you will ensure that you do not miss out on any important point. 

A compare and contrast essay outline has the following elements. 

1. Introduction 2. Body paragraphs 3. Conclusion 

These are the elements that are present in the outline for nearly all types of essays. The method of writing an introductory part of an essay is the same for all essay types. 

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

The introduction of a compare and contrast essay must be written to let the reader know about the overall theme of the essay. 

To convey all this information, the writer needs to write the introduction properly. A strong and appropriate introduction of a compare and contrast essay has the following parts:

1. A Hook Statement

It is a statement with which we start our compare and contrast essay. We can use a famous quotation, an interesting fact, or a question as a hook for our essay. 

A hook statement helps to seek the reader’s attention and convince the reader to read the complete essay.  

2. Background Information

Providing background information for a compare and contrast essay topic leaves a good impression on the reader. In the background information, you must mention the purpose of why you have chosen this particular topic for the essay.  

In the background information, also let your readers know what scope do you expect from this essay. 

3. Thesis Statement 

A thesis statement is the essence of an entire essay. It is a sentence or two that explains the whole theme and topic of your essay. 

The thesis statement is stated at the end of the introduction before the body paragraphs start. Ensure that the thesis statement you write is arguable, meaningful, and strong enough to support your essay. 

Make sure that you end the introduction with good transition words. It helps to show a logical connection with the rest of the essay’s body.

Compare And Contrast Essay Body 

Writing any type of essay is the same, but not for a compare and contrast essay. To write the body of a compare and contrast essay, there are two standard methods. 

It might use a 5 paragraph essay format, but the content in the body paragraphs is different. Though, the body paragraph, in any case, starts with a topic sentence. 

When you get the title and aspects to compare but without a certain number of criteria to cover similarities and differences, you have to brainstorm. 

Take a blank piece of paper and write the first item in the left corner, and the second item in the right corner. Make a Venn diagram and start analyzing.

ven diagram - compare and contrast essay outline - CollegeEssay.org

Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion 

Once you are done writing the introduction and body paragraphs in the outline, it's time to draw a conclusion. 

A good conclusion is neither too long nor too short. Usually, the conclusion comprises six sentences at maximum. In these sentences, you are supposed to provide a summary of all the main points of comparison you have discussed in your essay.

The conclusion includes a reiteration of the thesis statement in a more effective way. Make sure that the content you add in conclusion is directly referring to the rest of the essay. 

Add a small sentient to evaluate the significant points and give a good concluding statement at the end.

Here is a template for you to follow!

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Examples  

Examples can help you understand the concept of the essay outline in a better way. Here are some well-written examples and compare and contrast essay outline sample for your help. Use them as a guide to create a good outline.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template Middle School

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline - College

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline - High School

MLA Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Ap World History Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Oedipus And Hamlet Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

5 Paragraph Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

So there you have it!

Creating an outline provides a blueprint for your essay and helps you organize your thoughts effectively. 

In this blog, we not only taught you how to create an outline for your compare and contrast essay, but we also provided you with examples and topics to help you get started. 

However, if you need help with your compare-and-contrast essay, do not panic anymore! 

Our compare and contrast essay writing service is here to your rescue! We have a team of dedicated and skilled essay writers who will make sure to deliver top-quality and original essays. 

At our essay writing website , we focus on providing you with the best essays at the most reasonable prices. 

But, if you are on a tight deadline, you can try our essay writer AI to generate an essay in less than a minute. 

Get in touch with our customer support team and let us take away all your stress. 

Place your order now and see the results for yourself. 

How do you structure a compare and contrast essay?

Here are two ways that will help you to structure a compare and contrast essay. 

  • Point-by-point pattern 
  • Block pattern 

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outline of compare and contrast essay

Feb 15, 2023

How to write a Compare and Contrast Essay | Outlines and Examples

Need help writing a compare and contrast essay check out these tips and examples to get you started.

A compare and contrast essay is a differentiation of two or more topics, explaining similarities and differences between them through an essay writing format. It is essential that each topic is clearly highlighted in order to be accurately compared.

This form of academic writing works best for essay topics that have similarities to be compared to each other. For example, you can compare and contrast two novels or authors, or two school subjects or cuisines. In order to write this type of essay well, it is important to conduct research and use reliable sources to ensure the accuracy of your work.

If you want to write high-quality compare-and-contrast essays, we recommend using Jenni.ai's Free Essay Writer for AI assistance. Get your essays done 10x faster with the help of artificial intelligence!

What is a compare and contrast essay?

A compare and contrast essay is a type of written work where the writer analyzes and compares two or more subjects to identify their similarities and differences. This essay is a useful tool for gaining a deeper understanding of the subjects being compared and for improving our knowledge of them.

In a compare and contrast essay, the first step is to identify the subjects that will be analyzed. This could be two books, historical events, pieces of art, or any other subjects that can be compared. The writer must then gather information on each of the subjects in order to develop a strong thesis statement.

 The body of the essay is where the writer compares and contrasts the subjects. This can be done in a point-by-point or block comparison format. The conclusion should summarize the main points of the essay and restate the thesis statement in a new, more insightful way.

Types of Compare and Contrast Essays

A compare-and-contrast type of essay has two main approaches. There is the block method and the point-by-point style. Let's dive a little deeper into each one!

Block Method - The block method presents all arguments related to the initial statement in the essay and compares them directly to the opposing statement. The purpose is to provide an in-depth analysis of each point by presenting supporting evidence in the form of examples that focuses on one statement over the other.

Phrases such as "in relation to" or "in the same way" is best used in the block method as it helps establish the relationship between each argument. Keep in mind that in order for the points to be presented effectively, these quotes are presented in relation directly to the initial statement in order to analyze the relationship between the two subjects.

Point-by-point Method - The point-by-point method presents an argument for each point that is directly compared against the opposing statement. In this method, the writer focuses on one point or aspect at a time, describing both statements and how they are similar or different in a precise manner.

This method is used more in academic writing and essay writing because it is simpler and easier to use than the block method. However, writers are not discouraged from using either approach as long as they understand how to effectively use each of them.

Tips on how to create your Compare and Contrast Essay

Creating a compare and contrast essay is relatively simple once you understand the basic concepts behind it. Here are some helpful tips to get you started with creating a high-quality essay:

Create a general overview that defines each of the paragraphs and how they relate to each other. This is essential after doing research to give the readers a general idea of what the essay will be about.

Create a structure for your paper by creating a roadmap for each paragraph that clearly outlines how the information will be presented. This will help the writer structure their thoughts and ideas and make sure nothing is left out or forgotten about during the editing process.

Transitions are very useful in comparing and contrasting essays as they provide a clear connection between each point being discussed and how it relates to the other points.

Create symmetrical comparisons when presenting your ideas to the readers to ensure everything is explained properly. For example, if you are comparing and contrasting two literary works, it should be clear for the reader how the ideas presented in one work relate to the ideas presented in the other work.

After finishing your entire essay, make sure to proofread and edit accordingly to make sure that all the relevant talking points are panned out correctly throughout the whole essay structure. 

How to Outline Compare and Contrast Essays?

Now that we have talked about the basics of a compare and contrast essay, we will now talk about the process and steps for outlining to help you out accomplish your essay effectively.

Block Method Outline:

In a block format compare and contrast essay, the writer discusses all the similarities and differences between one subject before moving on to the next subject.

Here is an example of how the block format in a compare and contrast essay might be structured:

I. Introduction Paragraph

A. Background information on the subjects being compared and contrasted

B. Thesis statement outlining the purpose of the essay

II. Block format of Subject 1

A. Detailed description of Subject 1

B. Analysis of the similarities and differences between Subject 1 and Subject 2

III. Block format of Subject 2

A. Detailed description of Subject 2

B. Analysis of the similarities and differences between Subject 2 and Subject 1

IV. Conclusion

A. Summary of the main points of the essay

B. Restatement of the thesis statement in a new, more insightful way

In this format, the writer first provides a detailed description of one subject and then analyzes its similarities and differences with the other subject. This is repeated for the second subject, ensuring that all similarities and differences are thoroughly discussed. This format allows the writer to provide a comprehensive analysis of each subject before moving on to the next, making it a useful format for writing a detailed and thorough compare-and-contrast essay.

Point by point Method:

A point-by-point compare and contrast essay is a type of essay where the writer compares and contrasts two or more subjects by discussing a specific aspect or point of each subject in relation to the other.

Here is an example of how a point-by-point compare and contrast essay might be structured:

I. Introductory Paragraph

II. Point 1: Comparison of aspect 1 of Subject 1 and Subject 2

A. Analysis of aspect 1 of Subject 1

B. Analysis of aspect 1 of Subject 2

C. Comparison and contrast of aspect 1 of Subject 1 and Subject 2

III. Point 2: Comparison of aspect 2 of Subject 1 and Subject 2

A. Analysis of aspect 2 of Subject 1

B. Analysis of aspect 2 of Subject 2

C. Comparison and contrast of aspect 2 of Subject 1 and Subject 2

IV. Point 3: Comparison of aspect 3 of Subject 1 and Subject 2

A. Analysis of aspect 3 of Subject 1

B. Analysis of aspect 3 of Subject 2

C. Comparison and contrast of aspect 3 of Subject 1 and Subject 2

V. Conclusion

In this format, the writer focuses on one aspect or point at a time, comparing and contrasting it between the two subjects. This allows the writer to provide a detailed and thorough analysis of each aspect, making it a useful format for writing a highly specific and focused compare-and-contrast essay.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Now that we have talked about all the essential things needed to create a compare and contrast essay, let's move on to some examples that will inspire you to create your very own essay! 

Example #1: iPhone vs. Android: Which is better for you?

"The iPhone vs. Android comparison is a never-ending debate on which one is best. It will likely never have a real winner, but we're going to try and help you to find your personal pick all the same.

The latest version of both operating systems — iOS 16 and Android 13 — are both excellent, but in slightly different ways. Many of their features overlap, but design-wise they look quite different, aside from the basic touchscreen-focused layout. Whichever of the best phones available today you buy, they'll be running one of these two OSes.

Pitting iPhone vs. Android, we take a look at the respective strengths of each mobile platform, so you can pick the right one for you the next time you buy a smartphone. If you want to see the current flagships for Android and iOS, be sure to check out our Pixel 7 Pro vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max and Pixel 7 vs. iPhone 14 face-offs. And if you're convinced to want to leave your iPhone, read more about Google's new Switch To Android app that will help you move over.

Why iPhone is better

You're invested in Apple's ecosystem. This might seem like a shallow reason, but Apple obviously makes a wide breadth of tech products, and if you already own a Mac, iPad or Apple Watch, getting an iPhone makes a lot of sense.

Apple has designed a multitude of continuity features that allow you to carry over work and data from one of its devices to another, and these features can certainly save you time. Take Handoff, for example, where calls on your iPhone and web pages in Safari can move seamlessly between iOS and macOS. Universal Clipboard makes text copied on one platform usable on the other. Another one of our favourites is Continuity Camera, which allows you to take pictures and scan documents using your iPhone's camera, and then view and edit them on your Mac. You can even complete purchases on your Mac by using biometric authentication features on your iPhone via Apple Pay.

Only a handful of Android phone makers have hardware ecosystems that approach Apple's, and even for some that come close, like Samsung, you won't get the depth of integration possible between the iPhone and other Apple-built devices. Microsoft is helping Google close the gap somewhat with its new Your Phone app for Windows, which allows Android users to respond to texts and notifications on their PCs, though the experience is a little clunky and there is still work to be done."  

Example #2: MOBILE HOME VS TINY HOUSE | SIMILARITIES, DIFFERENCES, PROS & CONS  

"A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE TINY HOUSE MOVEMENT

Interestingly, the modern tiny house movement sprouted in the 1980s, increasing in popularity these last three decades. Thanks to blogging, books, and magazine spotlights, the tiny house bug has spread and grown significantly.

While the real estate crisis has had an impact on the tiny house movement’s popularity, that’s not all that makes it appealing.

People love the tiny house options for practical, ethical, and emotional reasons.

PRACTICAL REASONS

Additionally, choosing a smaller home can save you lots of money. You’ll spend less on utilities. Maintenance will cost you less as there is not so much house to maintain and remodel. They are more economical than a stick-built home, and your property taxes are something to brag about.

Another practical point is minimalism in your belongings. In a tiny home, you will have no choice but to whittle down your belongings to what you will actually use. There is freedom in this.

ETHICAL REASONS

From an ethical standpoint, tiny house proponents are environmentally friendly. They use less CO2 than the average home. Due to the smaller space, energy spent on heating and cooling is greatly reduced. Oftentimes these tiny homes are made out of recycled materials. They are usually self-sufficient, making use of renewable energies such as rainwater. Thus they provide homeowners with everything they need.

Homeowners like to choose the way of the tiny home in an effort to help the environment.

There you have it. A brief scoop on the mobile home vs tiny house movement. We hope you found this article interesting and helpful."

Creating compare-and-contrast essays is quite fun to write especially if you have familiarized yourself with the topics at hand. Just make sure to keep our tips in mind to create high-quality essays.

If you want your compare-and-contrast essays done 10x faster, we recommend using Jenni.ai along with the tips and guidelines we provided you in this post. Jenni.ai is a fantastic AI software that aids your essay writing process so that you could produce your writing needs faster and better than ever!

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Outline for Compare and Contrast Essay: Methods and Examples

outline of compare and contrast essay

Quick Navigation

  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Compare-and-Contrast Essay – An Overview
  • 3. Importance of Creating an Outline for Compare and Contrast Essay
  • 4.1 Block Method
  • 4.2 Point-by-Point Method
  • 5. Steps to Develop an Outline for Compare and Contrast Essay
  • 6. How to Compose an Outline for Compare and Contrast Essay
  • 7.1 Block Method Example
  • 7.2 Point-by-Point Structure Example
  • 8. Final Tips on Outline for Compare and Contrast Essay

Introduction

Compare and contrast essays are an excellent way to develop critical thinking skills and improve one’s ability to analyze information. These types of essays allow writers to explore the similarities and differences between two or more subjects, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. However, writing a compare-and-contrast essay can be challenging without a well-organized outline. In this article, the experts from our ‘ write my paper ‘ service will guide you on how to create an outline for compare-and-contrast essays and provide examples for better comprehension.

Compare-and-Contrast Essay – An Overview

A compare-and-contrast essay is creative and analytical writing that requires you to study and compare two or more subjects, ideas, or concepts. Comparing two subjects explore similarities between them, whereas contrasting figures out the differences. The objective of this essay is to identify the similarities and differences between the subjects and to present a clear understanding of their unique characteristics.

A compare-and-contrast essay helps to establish a context for the subject matter and enables one to make significant arguments through observation and analytical skills. One important aspect of this type of essay is choosing the right subjects. The subjects should be related in some way, but also have significant differences that allow for a meaningful comparison. For example, you could compare and contrast two different cultures, two different cities, or two different movies.

When writing a compare and contrast essay , it’s important to have a clear thesis statement that outlines the main points of comparison. The body paragraphs should provide specific examples and evidence to support your argument. Additionally, you should use transitional words and phrases to help the reader follow your line of thought.

Importance of Creating an Outline for Compare and Contrast Essay

Creating an outline is an essential part of the writing process for any type of essay. It helps writers organize their thoughts and ideas, ensuring that their writing is coherent, logical, and flows smoothly. When it comes to a compare and contrast essay, an outline is even more critical as it helps writers identify the similarities and differences between the subjects they are analyzing, which can sometimes be complex and nuanced.

An outline provides a structure for your essay, making it easier to write a clear and concise essay that effectively compares and contrasts the two subjects. It allows you to plan the essay, ensuring that you have covered all the important points you want to discuss, and helps to prevent you from wandering off-topic.

To structure a compare and contrast essay, two outline methods can be utilized to organize the factual analysis. These are the block method and the point-by-point method.

  • Block Structure: The block method entails presenting all the information about the first subject, including its characteristics and specific details, and then doing the same for the second subject.
  • Point-by-point Structure: This method involves listing similarities and differences simultaneously for both subjects, by analyzing each point and making them more explicit for the reader to understand.

Each format has its advantages and disadvantages, with the block method being simpler for the writer, while the point-by-point method requires deeper analysis to make the similarities and differences more comprehensible to the reader. Let us look at each method closely to understand how to create an outline for compare and contrast effectively.

Outline for Compare-and-Contrast Essay – The Methods

There are two main methods for creating a compare-and-contrast essay outline: the block method and the point-by-point method. Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice depends on your preferences and the requirements of your assignment.

Block Method

The block method is also known as the subject-by-subject or the whole-to-whole method. In this structure, you first discuss all the aspects of one subject or object, then move on to the other subject or object and discuss all its aspects. The block method is useful when the subjects being compared are complex and have many similarities and differences.

Outline Template:

I. Introduction

A. General statement about the subjects being compared

B. Thesis statement

II. Body Paragraph 1: Subject A

A. Aspect 1

B. Aspect 2

C. Aspect 3

III. Body Paragraph 2: Subject B

IV. Conclusion

A. Restate thesis statement

B. Summarize the main points

C. Final thoughts or recommendations

Point-by-Point Structure

The point-by-point structure is also known as the alternating or back-and-forth method. In this structure, you compare and contrast each aspect of both subjects or objects in each paragraph. The point-by-point structure is useful when the subjects being compared have a lot of similarities and differences.

A. General statement about the subjects being compared; specify your theme

II. Body Paragraph 1: Aspect 1

A. Subject A

B. Subject B

III. Body Paragraph 2: Aspect 2

IV. Body Paragraph 3: Aspect 3

V. Conclusion

Creating a well-structured outline for a compare and contrast essay can be achieved by using either of the two patterns described. If you encounter any challenges in following the pattern or you don’t know how to conclude an essay , you can seek guidance from the experienced professionals at PenMyPaper. Their expertise in writing various types of essays on diverse topics can prove invaluable in your essay-writing endeavors.

Steps to Develop an Outline for Compare and Contrast Essay

Follow the steps below to create an outline for compare and contrast essay smoothly.

Step 1: Choose Your Subjects

Before starting the outline, you need to choose the subjects that you will be comparing and contrasting. Check out some topics for compare and contrast essay and a few examples to develop a better understanding of how it is written. Once you have decided on a broad topic, for example, topics related to science, history, social media, etc., it is important to select subjects that have significant differences and similarities. Based on the topic, choose two subjects and ensure that they share some common features or are related. For example, you might compare and contrast two different types of music or two different sports teams.

Step 2: Gather Information

Once you have chosen your subjects, you need to gather information about them by researching extensively. It is important to have a good understanding of each subject before you start the outline. You can use resources such as books, articles, or online resources from credible and reliable sources to gather information. Make sure to take notes on the significant similarities and differences between the two subjects. This will help you to organize your thoughts and make sure that you are addressing all of the important points in your essay.

Step 3: Write Your Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement should clearly state the purpose of your essay and what you will be comparing and contrasting. It should be a single sentence that presents your argument and provides a direction for your paper. Make sure your thesis statement is concise and accurately reflects the main points of your essay.

Step 4: Create an Outline Structure

The outline structure should be clear and easy to follow. You can choose a particular method to outline your essay. The point-by-point method may be more effective when the subjects being compared have many similarities and differences that can be addressed on a point-by-point basis. This method may also be more useful when the writer wants to emphasize the direct comparison between the two subjects.

The block method, on the other hand, may be more appropriate when the writer wants to emphasize the differences between the two subjects, and when the subjects being compared have few similarities. It may also be more straightforward for the reader to follow when the writer has a lot of information to present.

Ultimately, both methods can be effective if used appropriately, and the choice between them depends on the specific requirements of the assignment and the writer’s goals for the essay.

Step 5: Fill in the Details

Once you have the outline structure, fill in the details for each point. Make sure to use specific examples and evidence to support your points. Be sure to organize your information clearly and concisely.

How to Compose an Outline for Compare and Contrast Essay

To write an outline for a compare and contrast essay, it’s crucial to follow the essay format. The entire paper should be organized effectively and adhere to respective guidelines, regardless of whether you are writing in MLA format or Harvard style. The following is a comprehensive writing pattern for a compare and contrast essay:

The introduction is the first part of the essay, and it’s important to grab the reader’s attention and give them an idea of what the essay will cover. A hook sentence is a great way to do this. This could be an anecdote, quote, question, or anything else that will pique the reader’s interest. After the hook, the introduction should introduce the two topics or subjects. These topics should be related to a central theme, and it’s important to make this connection clear to the reader. Thereafter, provide some background information on the topic which could be a brief history of the subject or a summary of the main points you’ll be discussing. Finally, the introduction should end with a specific thesis statement that will guide the essay and give it focus.

Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of a compare and contrast essay should present the similarities and differences between the two subjects or topics. Depending on the number of criteria or aspects you need to discuss, you can have several body paragraphs. You can brainstorm and analyze different comparing and contrasting elements, using a Venn diagram or list. Each paragraph should present one aspect of the comparison, and it’s important to be clear and concise. You should state your opinions about each similarity and difference and support them with evidence, statistics, or official data. It’s also important to use transition words or phrases to make the essay flow smoothly from one paragraph to the next.

The conclusion is the final part of the essay and should summarize the main ideas discussed in the paper. This should include a restatement of the thesis, as well as a summary of the main points covered in the body paragraphs. In addition, the conclusion should evaluate the points being discussed in the paper and analyze possible solutions. Finally, the conclusion should clarify the significance of the main topic and show the objective behind showing the differences or similarities between them. This can be a powerful way to leave a lasting impression on the readers.

Examples of Outline for Compare and Contrast Essay

Here are some examples of compare-and-contrast essay outline using both the block method and the point-by-point structure:

Block Method Example

Topic: Staycation vs Vacation

A. General introduction to the topic

B. Brief explanation of the two types of vacations: staycations and vacations

C. Thesis statement

A. Staycations

1. Definition

2. Advantages

a. Cost-effective

b. Less time for traveling

c. Opportunity to explore local attractions

3. Disadvantages

a. Limited options for entertainment

b. Limited opportunities to disconnect from work and responsibilities

c. Lack of change in scenery

B. Vacations

a. Opportunity to explore new places and cultures

b. Chance to disconnect from work and responsibilities

c. Change in scenery

a. More expensive

b. Requires more planning and travel time

c. Unfamiliar surroundings may be stressful or overwhelming

III. Conclusion

B. Summarize key points of comparison and contrast

C. Offer personal perspective or recommendation

Point-by-Point Structure Example

Topic: Comparing and contrasting two different types of cars

A. Brief description of the two types of cars

II. Body Paragraph 1: Price

1. Price range

2. Features included

III. Body Paragraph 2: Performance

1. Acceleration

2. Fuel efficiency

IV. Body Paragraph 3: Safety

1. Safety features

2. Crash test ratings

Final Tips on Outline for Compare and Contrast Essay

  • Use transitional phrases

Transitional phrases are important in a compare and contrast essay because they help the reader to understand how the two subjects are related. Some examples of transitional phrases include “similarly,” “in contrast,” and “on the other hand.”

  • Focus on the most important points

When creating your outline, make sure to focus on the most important points. You don’t need to cover every single similarity and difference between the two subjects. Instead, focus on the ones that are most relevant to your thesis statement.

  • Use specific examples

To make your essay more engaging, use specific examples to illustrate your points. This will help the reader to understand your argument and make your essay more memorable.

  • Revise and edit your outline

Once you have created your outline, take some time to revise and edit it. Make sure that each point is relevant to your thesis statement and that the overall organization makes sense.

To wrap up, a compare-and-contrast essay is a valuable academic exercise that requires a clear understanding of the subjects being compared and contrasted. The point-by-point and block methods are both effective in organizing the essay, but the choice between them depends on the specific requirements of the assignment and the goals of the writer. To create a successful compare and contrast essay, it is essential to have a well-structured outline, a clear thesis statement, and supporting evidence.

In case you have further doubts or need more assistance, seeking guidance from professionals can help ensure a well-written and impactful essay. Just say ‘write my paper for me’ and the expert writers at PenMyPaper will provide help with any type of assignment. Check out our knowledge base to find a plethora of useful articles that include expository essay examples , narrative essay topics, explanation essays, and much more.

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5 Compare and Contrast Essay Examples (Full Text)

A compare and contrast essay selects two or more items that are critically analyzed to demonstrate their differences and similarities. Here is a template for you that provides the general structure:

compare and contrast essay format

A range of example essays is presented below.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

#1 jean piaget vs lev vygotsky essay.

1480 Words | 5 Pages | 10 References

(Level: University Undergraduate)

paget vs vygotsky essay

Thesis Statement: “This essay will critically examine and compare the developmental theories of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, focusing on their differing views on cognitive development in children and their influence on educational psychology, through an exploration of key concepts such as the role of culture and environment, scaffolding, equilibration, and their overall implications for educational practices..”

#2 Democracy vs Authoritarianism Essay

democracy vs authoritarianism essay

Thesis Statement: “The thesis of this analysis is that, despite the efficiency and control offered by authoritarian regimes, democratic systems, with their emphasis on individual freedoms, participatory governance, and social welfare, present a more balanced and ethically sound approach to governance, better aligned with the ideals of a just and progressive society.”

#3 Apples vs Oranges Essay

1190 Words | 5 Pages | 0 References

(Level: 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade)

apples vs oranges essay

Thesis Statement: “While apples and oranges are both popular and nutritious fruits, they differ significantly in their taste profiles, nutritional benefits, cultural symbolism, and culinary applications.”

#4 Nature vs Nurture Essay

1525 Words | 5 Pages | 11 References

(Level: High School and College)

nature vs nurture essay

Thesis Statement: “The purpose of this essay is to examine and elucidate the complex and interconnected roles of genetic inheritance (nature) and environmental influences (nurture) in shaping human development across various domains such as physical traits, personality, behavior, intelligence, and abilities.”

#5 Dogs vs Cats Essay

1095 Words | 5 Pages | 7 Bibliographic Sources

(Level: 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade)

Thesis Statement: “This essay explores the distinctive characteristics, emotional connections, and lifestyle considerations associated with owning dogs and cats, aiming to illuminate the unique joys and benefits each pet brings to their human companions.”

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

I’ve recorded a full video for you on how to write a compare and contrast essay:

Get the Compare and Contrast Templates with AI Prompts Here

In the video, I outline the steps to writing your essay. Here they are explained below:

1. Essay Planning

First, I recommend using my compare and contrast worksheet, which acts like a Venn Diagram, walking you through the steps of comparing the similarities and differences of the concepts or items you’re comparing.

I recommend selecting 3-5 features that can be compared, as shown in the worksheet:

compare and contrast worksheet

Grab the Worksheet as Part of the Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Pack

2. Writing the Essay

Once you’ve completed the worksheet, you’re ready to start writing. Go systematically through each feature you are comparing and discuss the similarities and differences, then make an evaluative statement after showing your depth of knowledge:

compare and contrast essay template

Get the Rest of the Premium Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Pack (With AI Prompts) Here

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement

Compare and contrast thesis statements can either:

  • Remain neutral in an expository tone.
  • Prosecute an argument about which of the items you’re comparing is overall best.

To write an argumentative thesis statement for a compare and contrast essay, try this AI Prompts:

💡 AI Prompt to Generate Ideas I am writing a compare and contrast essay that compares [Concept 1] and [Concept2]. Give me 5 potential single-sentence thesis statements that pass a reasonable judgement.

Ready to Write your Essay?

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Take action! Choose one of the following options to start writing your compare and contrast essay now:

Read Next: Process Essay Examples

compare and contrast examples and definition

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8.6: Essay Type- Comparing and Contrasting Literature

  • Last updated
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  • Page ID 101138

  • Heather Ringo & Athena Kashyap
  • City College of San Francisco via ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative

Compare and Contrast Essay Basics

The Compare and Contrast Essay is a literary analysis essay, but, instead of examining one work, it examines two or more works. These works must be united by a common theme or thesis statement. For example, while a literary analysis essay might explore the significance of ghosts in William Shakespeare's Hamlet, a compare/contrast essay might explore the significance of the supernatural in Hamlet and Macbeth .

Literary Analysis Thesis Statement:

While Horatio seems to think the ghost of Old Hamlet is a demon trying to lead Hamlet to death, and Gertrude and Claudius think it is a figment of Hamlet's insanity, Hamlet's status as an unreliable narrator and the ghost actually symbolizes the oppression of Catholics during Shakespeare's time period.

Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement:

The unreliable narrators paired with the ghosts in both Hamlet and Macbeth symbolize the oppression of Catholics in Shakespeare's time period.

Essay Genre Expectations

  • Use first-person pronouns sparingly (you, me, we, our)
  • Avoid colloquialisms
  • Spell out contractions
  • Use subject-specific terminology, such as naming literary devices
  • Texts: two or more
  • Avoid summary. Aim for analysis and interpretation
  • MLA formatting and citations

Organization

While the literary analysis essay follows a fairly simple argumentative essay structure, the compare and contrast essay is slightly more complicated. It might be arranged by:

  • Literary work (the block method)
  • Topics/subtopics (the point-by-point method)

In general, ensure each paragraph supports the thesis statement and that both literary works receive equal attention. Include as many body paragraphs as needed to build your argument.

First Option for Organization: The Block Method

In this first option for organization, you will need to discuss both literary works in the introduction and thesis statement, but then the body of the paper will be divided in half. The first half of the body paragraphs should focus on one literary work, while the second half of the body paragraphs should focus on the other literary work.

  • Background of topic
  • Background of works related to topic
  • Thesis Statement
  • Topic sentence
  • Introduction of evidence
  • Evidence from the first literary work
  • Explanation of evidence
  • Analysis of evidence
  • Evidence from the second literary work
  • Restatement of thesis in new words
  • Summary of essay arguments

Second Option for Organization: The Point-by-Point Method

With this second option for organization, you may decide to write about both literary works within the same body paragraph every time, or you may choose to consistently alternate back and forth between the literary works in separate body paragraphs.

  • Evidence from both literary works

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: Template and Example

High school and college students often face challenges when crafting a compare-and-contrast essay. A well-written paper of this kind needs to be structured appropriately to earn you good grades. Knowing how to organize your ideas allows you to present your ideas in a coherent and logical manner

Our specialists will write a custom essay specially for you!

The picture explains what a compare-and-contrast essay is and how it can be structured.

This article by our custom-writing team delves into all the fine details of structuring your compare-and-contrast paper. It also provides practical examples of the two main outlining methods you may use. Keep reading to up your writing game!

  • 👀 Comparison Essay Outline Types
  • 🔍 Before You Start
  • ✍️ How to Write an Outline
  • ✅ Outline Template
  • 📑 Outline Examples

🔗 References

👀 compare and contrast essay outline types.

A compare and contrast paper studies similarities and differences between two or more subjects. But how do you present the points of comparison? Well, in this kind of essay, there are two methods of structuring the text: point-by-point and block .

Before composing your essay, it’s crucial to choose the approach that suits your assignment best. Your choice will depend on how you want to approach and present your ideas.

Let’s examine these two methods in more detail.

Point-by-Point Comparison Essay

The point-by-point method implies discussing one point of comparison at a time. For example, if you’re comparing two cities, you may dedicate separate paragraphs to their size, population, and architecture.

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The point-by-point arrangement has advantages and disadvantages. Keep them in mind before deciding whether to use it or not.

The picture describes the features of point-by-point and block comparison essay outline methods.

Block Method Compare and Contrast Essay

The block method, also known as subject-by-subject comparison, is a way of outlining your assignment that involves discussing each subject separately. For example, in an essay about different types of fruit, you will discuss the features of one fruit at a time.

This approach has shortcomings and strengths that may affect how you want to handle your essay.

🔍 Comparative Essay Outline: Before You Start

After you’ve chosen a topic (you’re welcome to consult our list of compare-and contrast essay topics for inspiration,) you enter the pre-writing stage. It involves brainstorming, researching, and determining which points are the most important. Here’s how to do it:

  • Brainstorming and in-depth research are vital when working on a compare-and-contrast essay. It helps you figure out the direction your paper will take and provides you with source materials. At this initial stage, your main goal is to identify various similarities and differences between the things you want to write about.
  • After determining the similarities and differences between your subjects of choice, decide which points are the most significant . They will assist you in developing your essay’s thesis statement and paragraphs.

It’s important to remember that you can leave some things out of your assignment. There may be so much material to cover that you will never finish the paper in the first place!

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So, how do you determine what’s worth including in your paper? Consider the following factors:

Useful Tip:

You can draw a Venn diagram and list the similarities and differences to make your comparison easier. Simply draw large intersecting circles and name each one to reflect the traits or subjects you are comparing. Write all the similarities inside the circles’ intersections and differences in the remaining space of each one.

Here’s an example of a Venn diagram comparing the US and Canada with crosses and checkmarks representing what’s different and similar between them, respectively:

The picture shows a Venn diagram comparing the US and Canada.

✍️ How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Do you need some more guidance in outlining your paper? Well, look no further! Here is a comprehensive coverage of how to write a perfect outline for your compare-and-contrast essay.

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

Your essay’s introduction is arguably its most important section. It gives readers a solid summary of your paper’s contents and helps them understand what to expect as your comparison essay progresses.

Here’s what a good introduction is made of:

Get an originally-written paper according to your instructions!

  • Background information about your topic that the readers need to know before proceeding.
  • A catchy hook that captures and retains your audience’s attention up to the end.
  • A thesis statement that provides a direction and ties up your whole assignment. All your arguments will focus on defending this statement.

Hook for Compare and Contrast Essay + Example

Ways of creating a hook can differ based on your essay’s purpose and overall tone:

Here is a hook example to inspire you. It uses statistics in the form of a question:

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Need more ideas on how to start your essay? Check out our article on hooks in writing !

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis

Formulating your paper’s thesis statement is critical to drafting the outline. In most cases, its purpose is to clarify what features make the subjects of comparison different or similar.

Note that your essay’s thesis may vary depending on its function. For instance, it might serve an informational or judgmental purpose:

  • If your thesis is informative , you only need to enumerate differences and similarities between your subjects of comparison.
  • But if your thesis is judgmental , you should state which similarities or differences are the most significant.

Check out these examples to understand the difference better:

Comparison Essay Outline: Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs in a contrast essay support your thesis about the subjects you are comparing.

Each body paragraph should start with a topic sentence that states the passage’s main idea. The rest depends on the type of outline you’re using: you either discuss the features of one subject of comparison or focus on one criterion and describe it in relation to each topic.

Let’s see it in more detail. Say, we’re comparing subjects A and B according to their features 1, 2, and 3:

📌 Point-by-Point Body Paragraphs Arrangement

📌 Block Method Body Paragraphs Arrangement

Compare and Contrast Essay Transition Words

A compare and contrast essay features a set of similar and distinct items. To make the comparison easier to understand, you can use words that create a smooth transition between your ideas and thoughts.

Transition words serve 4 essential purposes in a compare and contrast assignment:

  • They make transitioning and linking between thoughts easier.
  • They make your writing more dynamic.
  • They improve readability in your paper.
  • They set the stage for ideas that will be introduced next.

Here are transition words you can use to show similarities in your comparison essay:

Similarly, too, just as, also, both, comparatively, same as, like, in the same way.

For contrasting, use appropriate transition words to give your paper a more logical, coherent flow. These include:

However, in contrast to, conversely, while, more than/less than, rather than, unlike, although, compared with.

Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion

Finally, it’s time to wrap up your comparison essay. Your conclusion should contain 2 core elements:

  • Summarized key points. Sum up the main arguments you’ve presented throughout your essay. Make sure to refrain from introducing any new ideas at this point!
  • A restated thesis. Your essay’s conclusion should also restate your thesis and prove that you’ve effectively defended it in the body paragraphs.
  • A final thought. A good conclusion leaves the reader with something to think about. In a compare-and-contrast essay, it can be a statement that connects it to the broader context or underlines the topic’s significance.

✅ Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template

Now, let’s sum up everything you’ve learned about different ways to outline your compare-and-contrast essay using the block or point-by-point approaches. Here are the templates you can use for structuring your paper:

📌 Point-by-Point Method Outline Template

📌 Block Method Outline Template

📑 Compare and Contrast Outline Examples

Are you stuck with your paper and need an outline example to inspire you? You’ll find it below!

Here are 2 outline samples done using point-by-point and block methods.

📌 Point by Point Outline Example: Differences between Fresh and Canned Foods

📌 Block Method Outline Example: Differences between Backpacking and Staying in Hotels

We hope these insights and template examples will inspire you to master the structure of the compare-and-contrast essays. Use these ideas to excel in your studies and do your homework quickly!

Further reading:

  • Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Tips and Examples
  • Literature Review Outline: Examples, Approaches, & Templates
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline: Examples & Strategies
  • How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline: Template & Examples

❓ Compare and Contrast Essay Outline FAQs

You can use different approaches to hook your readers from the get-go. Start your paper using an anecdote, a relevant question, or an exciting fact about the subjects you compare. You may also use a related quote from a famous person.

The body paragraphs in a comparative essay provide a detailed and systematic analysis of the similarities and differences between the two or more. Each body paragraph should focus on a specific point of comparison and provide evidence to support the argument.

Subject-by-subject comparison is a method of organizing and presenting a comparison essay in which you first discuss all aspects of one subject, followed by a discussion of all aspects of the next subject. This approach is also sometimes called a point-by-point comparison.

A point-by-point comparison is a method of organizing a compare-and-contrast essay in which you discuss specific points of comparison between the subjects. You select the criteria and discuss each one in a separate paragraph or section.

To end a compare and contrast essay, restate the thesis statement, summarize the main points, and provide a final thought. This creates a clear and concise summary of the essay’s argument and proves its significance to the reader.

  • Comparison and Contrast: University of Minnesota  
  • Comparing and Contrasting: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  
  • How to Write a Compare-and-Contrast Essay: Grammarly  
  • Writing for Success: Compare/Contrast: Kellogg Community College  
  • Compare & Contrast Essay: Excelsior University Site  
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  • Organizational Patterns for the Comparison/Contrast Essay: San José State University  
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Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: Types & Examples

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Creating a winning essay from scratch is a real challenge. But starting with a good outline helps a lot. In this article we will show you how to write a compare and contrast essay outline. Having a structured plan ensures that you build your arguments in an easy-to-follow manner. For that reason, this article is jam-packed with detailed writing tips followed by outline templates. Besides, you will find some examples you are sure to like. So let’s dive deep into the details!

What Is Compare and Contrast Essay Outline and Why Is It Important?

A compare and contrast outline is a scheme of your future paper on the basis of which you can contrast two or more objects. It’s a visual structure of your piece showing a clear plan for your work.  Outlines  are used to show connections between critical ideas within your text. Writing a compare and contrast essay outline helps you in a number of ways:  

  • Organizing your ideas
  • Shaping the pattern of descriptions
  • Listing all similarities & differences between objects
  • Review your paper’s structure
  • Correcting all mistakes at the early stage.

You can choose between two main types of compare and contrast essay outlines:

  • Point-by-point method
  • Block pattern.

Each of these methods depends on the way you want to arrange facts about 2 or more items. Both techniques have their advantages and disadvantages. We will describe them down below so you can choose the most suitable method.

Compare and Contrast Essay: Point-By-Point Outline

Compare and contrast essay point-by-point outline is used to analyse one aspect of 2 items within one paragraph. You can choose any similar or different characteristic. Then, you will explore each object in terms of this aspect. A point-by-point method is very helpful if you have multiple items for comparison. Let’s see how its structure should look:  

  • Engaging hook
  • List of items to compare
  • Thesis statement: list of criteria or topics of comparison
  • Brief Summary

This structure helps to provide an organized review of the objects or situation you compare against the whole list of criteria you have selected. You can create as many paragraphs as you need to cover your topic in detail. The point-by-point method may be quite hard at first, but once you master it, you will be able to create an explicit overview of any objects. We recommend using a good compare and contrast essay example .

Compare and Contrast Essay: Block Method Outline

A compare and contrast essay block method outline typically involves comparison of multiple items which are quite different from each other. Each item is described within its own block, where you put it against all criteria you have selected for analysis. This is how it should look like:

  • Captivating hook
  • List of items for comparison
  • Thesis statement: list of criteria or topics for contrast
  • Aspect 3, etc
  • Brief summary

The block method is way easier than the point-by-point one. So if you are a beginner or want to keep things simple, use this method without hesitation.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

When writing a compare and contrast essay outline, you should set a proper organization of your ideas in this plan from the start. First, choose one of the best compare and contrast essay topics and introduce it. Then, you list the items or subjects you compare against each other. After that, provide your thesis statement with criteria for comparison. Finally, you will write one sentence per each paragraph, showing what is similar and what is different between the items. Let’s look at each section more in detail.  

Introduction for Your Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Let us start with the compare and contrast essay introduction. Outline should be short so better give only 1 sentence per each element. Here are the key components your essay introduction should contain:  

  • Main topic of your essay Start with an interesting hook.
  • Items you will compare This could be people, animals, concepts, academic areas , drinks – whatever you chose to write about.
  • Thesis statement with the list of aspects Size, color, usability, negative consequences of usage or consumption, etc – depending on the context.

Make sure your thesis statement is clear. For better results, feel free to use  Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement Generator .  

Body Paragraphs in Your Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

When it comes to body paragraph, outline for compare and contrast essay should follow an appropriate pattern – block or point-to-point one. It depends on the number of selected items as well as aspects they will be compared by. If you analyze 2 items using 3 criteria, your block pattern outline will have two body paragraphs. At the same time, a point-to-point pattern may have 3 body paragraphs. This happens because you can choose 3 characteristics for comparison. It would be useful to conduct a preliminary research before writing the outline. This way, you will understand which pattern is better to use.  

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline – Conclusion

Last but not the least – an effective compare and contrast essay conclusion. It should briefly summarize the key ideas of your work. This boils down to:

  • Restatement of your thesis presented in introduction.
  • Key findings discovered during the comparison.
  • Significance of your comparison.

Each part of the conclusion in your plan should be one sentence long. Remember to keep your outline brief as it will make it easier to review before writing an entire text.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template

We have prepared a simple compare and contrast essay outline template for your reference. Feel free to use the template by StudyCrumb to make your own outline on the topic you have selected.

  • Main topic mentioning the items for comparison
  • Thesis statement with the list of characteristics
  • Compare the items by the first criterion
  • Or put the first item against all criteria
  • Compare the items by the second criterion
  • Or put the second item against all criteria, etc
  • Re-evaluating your thesis
  • Summarizing comparison results

You can also find more templates for inspiration below.

Compare and Contrast Essay Point-By-Point Outline Template

Here is another compare and contrast essay point-by-point outline template for your in more detail.

  • Main topic: comparison of Item A & Item B
  • Thesis statement: find out the relation between A and B using criteria
  • Inspect A using criterion 1
  • Examine B using criterion 1
  • Inspect A using criterion 2
  • Examine B using criterion 2
  • Inspect A using criterion 3
  • Examine B using criterion 3
  • Highlight the relation between A & B
  • Summarize the comparison results
  • Elaborate on the significance of findings.

Keep in mind that your own outline could differ a lot since you might have much more criteria to analyze your selected items.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template for Block Pattern

Here is another template: compare and contrast essay block method outline. Check it out and proceed with writing on your specific topic.

  • Main topic: presenting the contrast between Item A & Item B
  • Thesis statement: list criteria 1, 2 and 3 for analysis of A & B
  • A's criterion 1
  • A's criterion 2
  • A's criterion 3
  • B's criterion 1
  • B's criterion 2
  • B's criterion 3
  • Highlight the contrast between A & B
  • Summarize your findings
  • Explain the importance of your analysis.

Remember that your outline doesn’t need to be perfect. Just make it informative. This way, it will turn out very helpful for you.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Example

Are you looking for some helpful compare and contrast essay outline examples? We’ve got some for you to analyze. Take it and use it to make your own essay.

Example of Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Have you found some new ideas of what to write about? Good luck to you and thanks for visiting this page.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: Final Thoughts

We have explored a compare and contrast essay outline in detail. Now it’s time to use all rules covered in this blog post to create your own plan. Use our templates to organize your thoughts when comparing items to each other. Make sure to review your plan before writing a full version of your essay. Remember that compare and contrast essay is a typical assignment that can influence your final results.

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Feel free to get in touch with our custom academic writing service at any time. Our academic experts will be happy to write a tailored paper from scratch or add professional touches to your draft.  

FAQ About Compare and Contrast Essay Outlines

1. how do you write a college compare and contrast essay outline.

A typical college compare and contrast essay outline presents 1 specific subject in each paragraph. It either offers a comparison or contrast of some items. The goal of a college essay is to demonstrate how well you can describe similarities and differences between your different items. Still, you should keep your essay structure plain. Do not make any overcomplicated statements.

2. How do you write a 5 paragraph compare and contrast essay outline?

A 5-paragraph compare and contrast essay outline is a simple type of work. It consists of an introduction, 3 body paragraphs and a brief conclusion. Here is how you write your plan:

  • Pick your topic carefully.
  • Organize your ideas.
  • Develop your thesis statement.
  • Decide on the structuring method.
  • Assign key characteristics to each item.
  • Write, proofread & edit.

3. What is a compare and contrast essay outline with transition words?

While writing a compare and contrast essay outline, you should use transition words to provide a smooth flow. It must look logical: each transition between sentences and paragraphs should be meaningful. The following transition words are expected to be used in your outline:

  • In the same way
  • In like manner
  • By the same token
  • On the contrary etc.

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Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.

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    Compare/Contrast by Topic: Your paragraph will discuss all the points for one topic first, then do the same for the other topic. For example: End with a Concluding Sentence: Conclude your paragraph by stating your decision as to which topic you prefer and why, or by explaining the purpose of the comparison. You can be persuasive in this final ...

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