Compare and Contrast Essay: Full Writing Guide and 150+ Topics
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Compare and contrast essays need powerful transitions. Try learning more about custom 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.
- 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 custom essay writing 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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The Ultimate Guide on Compare and Contrast Essay: Topics, Outline, Example
Learning how to write a compare and contrast essay is a rite of passage for many college students, as this essay type is one of the most common assignments in college, especially in the first year. Writing a compare and contrast essay helps students develop and improve upon skills such as critical reasoning, scientific argumentation, and organized systematic writing. The best essays of this type have a clear purpose, such as shedding light on a complex idea or clearing up misconceptions about a difficult topic. Another purpose might be illustrating how one subject is better than another or perhaps highlighting a new approach to thinking about something. The individual assignment will vary, of course, and each should come with its rubric. Pay close attention to the rubric, since it will outline what your teacher is looking for, and make sure you understand the assignment before you begin. If you have a question about the essay assignment, do not be afraid to ask your teacher for help.
What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?
The compare and contrast essay format is similar to that of other essay types . The writer must state a thesis in the introduction, argue the thesis in the body, and then form a conclusion. However, with a compare and contrast essay, the goal is to show how one subject is similar to another (i.e., compare them), as well as how it is different (i.e., contrast them). Such an essay requires upfront planning to ensure the writer has a firm grasp on both subjects. One way to plan for a compare and contrast essay is to create a Venn diagram to show how two subjects are similar and different, such as this one. Here’s an example:
You may find that you need to create several of these diagrams before you know what your thesis is and what your two subjects are. Be open to different possibilities. The first two subjects you diagram may not be the ones you want to compare and contrast in your essay, but creating that diagram may give you some useful ideas.
Compare and Contrast Essay Outline
According to our write an essay for me service professionals, it would also be a good idea to create an outline before you begin writing. The outline is like a template that you can follow to keep your essay on track throughout the writing process, and it should include the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
The standard compare and contrast essay format implies that the author should start a paper with a concise, to-the-point, and clear introduction. The good news is that the opening paragraph in this type of essay is not much different compared to other papers. It is a clause that introduces and outlines the general topic of the paper.
When writing a comparing and contrasting essay intro, you need to ensure it has the following elements:
- A hook and explanation of the general topic - The first sentence of your essay should be a hook that grabs attention and encourages readers to continue reading. Then follow general details related to the topic.
- Subjects of comparison - Next in your compare and contrast essay introduction, you should mention the specific subjects that will be compared and contrasted in the paper.
- Thesis - Finally, the opening paragraph should close with a clear and concise thesis statement.
Once you have dealt with the introduction, it’s natural to wonder how to write a body paragraph for a compare and contrast essay.
Let’s start with the length. The number of body paragraphs can vary depending on the general word limit and the number of criteria against which you will compare contrast your subjects. But, as a rule, there should be at least 2-3 paragraphs. Every paragraph should wrap around one specific criterion (either a difference or similarity) of the comparison.
As for the contents, each paragraph must have:
- Topic sentence;
- Details collected in the course of research;
- Substantial data, evidence, stats, etc. to support the claim;
- Transition to the next part.
Pro tip: Feel free to use connector phrases (e.g., both, likewise, compared to, in contrast, unlike, etc.) and words in your comparison to give your paper a logical flow and ensure the cohesion of all your points.
When you have your intro and body ready, you can move on to shaping your compare and contrast essay conclusion. As a rule, this is the simplest part to write. A conclusion in compare and contrast essay should wrap up everything discussed throughout the paper and give it a sense of completion.
Here are the main points on how to write a conclusion for a compare and contrast essay:
- Provide a summary of the key ideas/points - Start by recapping the main ideas from your body paragraphs, but keep it very concise and straight to the point.
- Give a general evaluation - Shortly analyze the outcomes of your comparison and give it a final evaluation (e.g., finalize whether the subjects have more differences or similarities).
- Emphasize the significance - In the end, restate your thesis and stress the importance of the overall topic, as well as your compare and contrast points.
Compare and Contrast Essay Structure
When it comes to the question of how to structure a compare and contrast essay, there are a few strategies that students can stick to. Namely, the two methods of organizing your paper are called a Point-by-Point Method and Block Method.
Let’s take a look at each method in detail.
As you can easily guess, this type of structure of a compare and contrast essay implies comparing and contrasting the subjects point by point. This method works best when you are planning to compare 2 or more subjects that are more or less similar or, on the contrary, different.
To help you grasp the idea, here is how a typical body paragraph should look if you use the Point-by-Point Method:
- Topic sentence
- Detail (point of comparison) 1
- Detail (point of comparison) 2
As you can see, using this method of organization, you will be reviewing all subjects by certain points within the same body paragraph, not dividing them. The key thing to remember is that all points within one paragraph should relate to each other, and there should be one general idea per paragraph.
Unlike the Point-by-Point Method that organizes a compare and contrast essay based on specific criteria of comparison, the Block compare and contrast essay structure implies organizing the paper based on your items. This approach will work best when the subjects of comparison are absolutely different and you have multiple criteria against which you will be contrasting them. In this case, every paragraph in the essay body will focus on a specific item.
Here is how the body of your paper should look like if you choose this comparing and contrasting essay format:
- Body paragraph 1 (Item 1)
- Criteria for contrasting 1
- Criteria for contrasting 2
- Criteria for contrasting 3
- Body paragraph 2 (Item 2)
- Body paragraph 3 (Item 3)
As you can see, each body paragraph investigates a single item, spanning all the criteria that make it different from other items. If you pick this method, the main rule to stick to is to only mention one item per paragraph and always use connectors to ensure smooth transitions from one item to another.
How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?
End your introduction with a thesis sentence . It will allow readers to grasp your opinion of the compared subject matters, and it will logically draw their attention to the main idea.
In the thesis, provide one idea or a statement that unites both subject matters. Even if you have discovered more differences than similarities between your subject matters, you should be able to find at least one element that they have in common and include it as part of your main idea.
In the body, present as much support for your thesis as you can. Support can come in the form of statistics, research results, interviews, or other sources. Some writers prefer to mention the evidential base in the thesis, but others prefer to wait until the body of the essay.
Draw a conclusion at the end of your essay based on the similarities and differences you have presented throughout the paper. The conclusion should not introduce any new ideas but should bring closure to the paper.
Choose Your Topic
The subjects of a compare/contrast essay can vary from some physical objects to historical figures and events. The core thing to remember when choosing compare and contrast topics is that the subjects you will compare must be different. But, at the same time have some common features. For example, you may compare Democrats and Republicans, Extroverts and Introverts, etc.
Brainstorm Similarities and Differences
If you are wondering how to start a compare and contrast essay, the answer is simple - with some brainstorming. Once you define the subjects, the next thing you need to do is to brainstorm what similarities and differences they have.
To get things right, look at your two subjects separately and analyze them. Then, make two lists, one for similar points and the other one for differences, where you will be writing down all points that come into your mind.
Pro tip: If you are wondering how to compare and contrast your subjects, making lists is definitely helpful. But, if you are more of a visual person, you may find it more convenient to map out your ideas using a Venn diagram, where you’ll have two overlapping circles, one for each of your subjects, with similarities written where the circles overlap and differences written on the other sides of circles.
Write An Introduction
To start a compare and contrast essay, you will need to write a solid introduction that transitions into a clear and specific thesis sentence. The introductory paragraph should outline the topic you want to cover and provide insight into your main idea. It should mention what matters—the people, ideas, events, or other subjects you are going to compare and contrast in the body of your essay.
In the introduction, include the necessary background information. Your introduction should be brief, but exhaustive. Before stating your thesis, you should provide a preview of your supporting arguments and positions, as your reader needs to understand why your subject matter is worth comparing and contrasting.
Pay attention to the structure of your essay, and make sure it is balanced. For instance, if the whole essay will be three pages long, you should not spend two of them on the introduction.
Develop a Thesis Statement for Your Compare and Contrast Essay
The thesis statement is one of the key elements of contrast and compare paper. Its purpose is to introduce the topic and formulate a focused argument.
To create a powerful compare and contrast thesis, replace a vague, general topic (for instance, the comparison of democracy and republic ideologies) with something more specific and detailed. For example, it may sound like, “The ideas of Republicans and Democrats vary significantly in terms of plans and policies on gun control, death penalty, and other major issues, but they do agree on certain points”.
Note how this sample compare and contrast thesis statement gives you the scope for showing both similarities and differences inherent in the ideas of these two parties. But, at the same time, the statement is not 100% concrete in terms of similar and contrasting points, so it also leaves you some space to alter your comparison.
To make your statement stronger, it is also important to answer several questions such as: “ So what? ” and “ Why do you choose to compare these particular parties? ”.
To answer these questions, be sure to add some background info concerning your topic. For example, stress that Democrats and Republicans are the two largest opposing parties.
Decide on Compare and Contrast Essay Structure
Unlike other types of essays, a comparison/contrast essay doesn’t imply using the same structure. In fact, there are a couple of ways to organize your work:
Choose any of these methods. The two things that remain unchanged are the introduction with a thesis statement and a conclusion, which have to be included regardless of the chosen structure.
Write A Body Paragraphs
Start a compare and contrast paragraph with a clear but concise topic sentence that defines one point of comparison (e.g., shape, look, etc.) against which you will compare your subjects. Then say a couple of words about each of your subjects concerning the chosen point. And, finally, highlight similarities or differences using compare and contrast words.
Use the same tactic for the following body paragraphs. Remember to focus on a single point of comparison in every paragraph to retain the integrity and logical flow of your paper and, at the same time, unfold your subjects to the fullest extent.
Write Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion
As you saw in the example above, the conclusion of an essay should help the reader understand the writer’s point of view. In other words, the best essays have a conclusion that reminds the reader of the thesis and shows, through a summary of the paper’s findings, how the thesis is correct. The example compare and contrast essay, about energy drinks, uses the thesis that energy drinks are overused and can be seen as either mind boosters or “soft drugs”. The conclusion sums up the findings from the body of the essay and then uses those findings to provide an opinion, a direct answer to the thesis question of whether energy drinks help boost the mind or inhibit it like a drug.
Once the final draft of your compare/contrast paper is ready, be sure to read it several times and eliminate any grammar, punctuation, and other mistakes.
To make proofreading simple, make use of these tips:
- Let it rest for a few hours or, even better, a day or two;
- Use grammar and spell-check tools;
- Ask a friend to cast a fresh pair of eyes on your paper to make sure that there is nothing you may have missed.
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
A good compare and contrast essay topic often includes words such as “versus” (vs.) or “or”, and these words may be useful in the essay’s title as well. Below is a list of potential compare and contrast essay topics for college papers. Ten of these sample topics have “vs.” in the title, and ten have “or”, clearly indicating that the resulting essays will either compare and contrast two completely different subjects or clarify two positions on the same subject.
Here is the list of possible topics for compare and contrast essay:
Energy Drinks: Mind Boosters or Soft Drugs
- International Monetary Fund: Economic Investments or a Debt Pit
- Abortion: Life Saver or Death Sentence
- Online Courses: Waste of Time or a Key to Better Future
- Cell Phones: Vital Gadget or a Deadly Threat
- Homeopathy: Self-Deceptiveness or Real Treatment
- GMO: Famine Problem Solution or Poison
- Online Communication: True Friendship or Illusion of Emotional Bond
- Religion: Vestige of the Past or Salvation of Nations
- Plural Marriage: Way Out of Underpopulation or Flashback to Barbarian Times
- Edward Snowden vs. Julius Caesar
- Putin vs. Obama
- Orwell vs. Huxley
- Dita Von Tease vs. Bettie Page
- Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris
- Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Sylvester Stallone
- Napoleon vs. Kutuzov
- Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates
- Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Eddison
- Jesus vs. Thor
Compare and Contrast Essay Sample
Compare and contrast essay example.
This example compare and contrast essay clarifies two positions on energy drinks. Notice that it does so by comparing and contrasting energy drinks with other types of caffeinated beverages. If you need more examples, you can order essay samples from our service.
Energy drinks in aluminum cans are relatively new for humankind, but stimulating substances were used centuries before aluminum cans were invented. Today, energy drinks seem to be a panacea for students during exams, white collar employees during deadline periods, night clubbers dancing all night long, athletes heading toward a record, drivers, and basically, everyone who is dog-tired and must stay awake and work hard. You drink a can, and then you are ready to go for several hours afterward.
The producers of energy drinks say that the stimulation effect of their products is ultimately healthy, so they carry on producing new energy drinks all the time. If these drinks were so safe, why would legislators be going after them? Energy drinks: mind boosters or soft drugs? Let us get this all straightened out.
- They enhance brain activity when needed.
- The energy-boosting effects of coffee last mere 1-2 hours, while those of energy drinks last 3-4 hours. Moreover, most of them are aerated, which makes them work faster, and coffee does not get the same treatment.
- The aluminum can allow you to consume an energy drink in almost any situation: in the car, on the dance floor, in the school library, and so on. Coffee and tea are not always so portable.
- You should drink no more than two cans of an energy drink each day. Drinking more than that increases your risk of elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, or both.
- It has been said that energy drinks fill you with energy, but that is simply not true. They work as a key to your inner energy reserves, helping you tap into your naturally stored energy. Later, you have to pay the price: insomnia, weariness, peevishness, and depression.
- The caffeine in energy drinks not only builds up an addiction if you drink more than two cans a day but also exhausts your nervous system.
What conclusion can be drawn from these pros and cons? Obviously, there is nothing healthy about energy drinks. Their contents do not differ much from everyday tea, coffee, and cocoa. Moreover, they exhaust the energy reserves of our bodies. When the stimulating effect is over in three or four hours, a person goes for another can, turning into an energy drink addict, losing the ability to restore energy in a natural way. To my mind, the cons of energy drinks outweigh the pros. My verdict is that energy drinks are mind boosters in some critical situations, but you should not drink them on a regular basis, as they can take on a drug like quality and become soft drugs.
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Compare And Contrast Essay Guide
Compare And Contrast Essay Examples
Last updated on: Jun 2, 2023
Good Compare and Contrast Essay Examples For Your Help
By: Barbara P.
Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.
Published on: Mar 22, 2023
Are you ready to challenge your critical thinking skills and take your writing to the next level? Look no further than the exciting world of compare and contrast essays!
As a college student, you'll have the unique opportunity to delve into the details and differences of a variety of subjects. But don't let the pressure of writing the perfect compare-and-contrast essay weigh you down.
To help guide you on this journey, we've got some great compare-and-contrast essay examples. It will make the writing process not only manageable but also enjoyable. So grab a pen and paper, and let's get started on this exciting adventure!
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Good Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
A compare and contrast essay is all about comparing two subjects. Writing essays is not always easy, but it can be made easier with help from the examples before you write your own first. The examples will give you an idea of the perfect compare-and-contrast essay.
We have compiled a selection of free compare-and-contrast essay examples that can help you structure this type of essay.
SAMPLE COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY INTRODUCTION EXAMPLE
BOOK COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
CITY COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
CATS & DOGS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
SCIENCE & ART COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
E-BOOKS & HARDBACK BOOKS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
HOMESCHOOLING BOOKS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
PARENTING STYLES COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
Don't know how to map out your compare and contrast essay? Visit this link to learn how to perfectly outline your essay!
Compare and Contrast Essay Examples University
Compare and contrast paper is a common assignments for university students. This type of essay tells the reader how two subjects are the same or different from each other. Also, show the points of comparison between the two subjects.
Look at the example that is mentioned below and create a well-written essay.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE UNIVERSITY
Compare and Contrast Essay Examples College
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE COLLEGE
Compare and Contrast Essay Examples High School
Compare and contrast essays are often assigned to high school students to help them improve their analytical skills .
In addition, some teachers assign this type of essay because it is a great way for students to improve their analytical and writing skills.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE HIGH SCHOOL
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE 9TH GRADE
Check out the video below to gain a quick and visual comprehension of what a compare and contrast essay entails.
Compare and Contrast Essay Examples Middle school
In middle school, students have the opportunity to write a compare-and-contrast essay. It does not require an expert level of skills, but it is still a way to improve writing skills.
Middle school students can easily write a compare-and-contrast essay with a little help from examples. We have gathered excellent examples of this essay that you can use to get started.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE MIDDLE SCHOOL
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLES 5TH GRADE
Literary Analysis Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
The perfect way to inform readers about the pros and cons of two subjects is with a comparison and contrast essay.
It starts by stating the thesis statement, and then you explain why these two subjects are being compared in this essay.
The following is an example that you can use for your help.
LITERARY ANALYSIS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE
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Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion Example
The conclusion of an essay is the last part, in which you wrap up everything. It should not include a story but rather summarize the whole document so readers have something meaningful they can take away from it.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY CONCLUSION EXAMPLE
Struggling to think of the perfect compare-and-contrast essay topic ? Visit this link for a multitude of inspiring ideas.
Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Tips
A compare and contrast essay presents the facts point by point, and mostly, the argumentative essay uses this compared-contrasted technique for its subjects.
If you are looking for some easy and simple tips to craft a perfectly researched and structured compare and contrast essay, we will not disappoint you.
Following are some quick tips that you can keep in mind while writing your essay:
- Choose the essay topic carefully.
- Research and brainstorm the points that make them similar and different.
- Create and add your main statement and claim.
- Create a Venn diagram and show the similarities and differences.
- Choose the design through which you will present your arguments and claims.
- Create compare and contrast essay outline. Use either the block method or the point-by-point structure.
- Research and add credible supporting evidence.
- Transitioning is also important. Use transitional words and phrases to engage your readers.
- Edit, proofread, and revise the essay before submission.
Create captivating essays effortlessly!
In conclusion, writing a compare and contrast essay can be an effective way to explore the similarities and differences between two topics. By using examples, it is possible to see the different approaches that can be taken when writing this type of essay.
Whether you are a student or a professional writer, these examples can provide valuable insight to enhance your writing skills. But you still don’t have to take on this challenge alone.
If you don’t feel confident in your writing skills, you can always hire our professional essay writer .
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do i write a compare and contrast essay.
Here are some steps that you should follow and write a great essay.
- Begin by brainstorming with a Venn diagram.
- Create a thesis statement.
- Develop an outline.
- Write the introduction.
- Write the body paragraphs.
- Write the conclusion.
How do you start a compare and contrast essay introduction?
When writing a compare and contrast essay, it is important to have an engaging introduction that will grab the reader's attention. A good way to do this would be by starting with a question or fact related to the topic to catch their interest.
What are some good compare and contrast essay topics?
Here are some good topics for compare and contrast essay:
- E-books or textbooks.
- Anxiety vs. Depression.
- Vegetables and fruits.
- Cinnamon vs. sugar.
- Similarities between cultural and traditional fashion trends.
How long is a compare and contrast essay?
Usually, a compare and contrast essay would consist of five paragraphs but there are no hard and fast rules regarding it. Some essays could be longer than five paragraphs, based on the scope of the topic of the essay.
What are the two methods for arranging a comparison and contrast essay?
The two ways to organize and arrange your compare and contrast essay. The first one is the Point-by-Point method and the second one is the Block method.
Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.
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26 Compelling Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Topics cover education, technology, pop culture, sports, animals, and more.
Do your writers need some inspiration? If you’re teaching students to write a compare and contrast essay, a strong example is an invaluable tool. This round-up of our favorite compare and contrast essays covers a range of topics and grade levels, so no matter your students’ interests or ages, you’ll always have a helpful example to share. You’ll find links to full essays about education, technology, pop culture, sports, animals, and more. (Need essay ideas? Check out our big list of compare and contrast essay topics! )
What is a compare and contrast essay?
When choosing a compare and contrast essay example to include on this list, we considered the structure. A strong compare and contrast essay begins with an introductory paragraph that includes background context and a strong thesis. Next, the body includes paragraphs that explore the similarities and differences. Finally, a concluding paragraph restates the thesis, draws any necessary inferences, and asks any remaining questions.
A compare and contrast essay example can be an opinion piece comparing two things and making a conclusion about which is better. For example, “Is Tom Brady really the GOAT?” It can also help consumers decide which product is better suited to them. Should you keep your subscription to Hulu or Netflix? Should you stick with Apple or explore Android? Here’s our list of compare and contrast essay samples categorized by subject.
Education and Parenting Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Private school vs. public school.
“Deciding whether to send a child to public or private school can be a tough choice for parents. … Data on whether public or private education is better can be challenging to find and difficult to understand, and the cost of private school can be daunting. … According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, public schools still attract far more students than private schools, with 50.7 million students attending public school as of 2018. Private school enrollment in the fall of 2017 was 5.7 million students, a number that is down from 6 million in 1999.”
Which parenting style is right for you?
Sample lines: “The three main types of parenting are on a type of ‘sliding scale’ of parenting, with permissive parenting as the least strict type of parenting. Permissive parenting typically has very few rules, while authoritarian parenting is thought of as a very strict, rule-driven type of parenting.”
Masked Education? The Benefits and Burdens of Wearing Face Masks in Schools During the Current Corona Pandemic
Sample lines: “Face masks can prevent the spread of the virus SARS-CoV-2. … However, covering the lower half of the face reduces the ability to communicate. Positive emotions become less recognizable, and negative emotions are amplified. Emotional mimicry, contagion, and emotionality in general are reduced and (thereby) bonding between teachers and learners, group cohesion, and learning—of which emotions are a major driver. The benefits and burdens of face masks in schools should be seriously considered and made obvious and clear to teachers and students.”
Technology Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Netflix vs. hulu 2023: which is the best streaming service.
Sample lines: “Netflix fans will point to its high-quality originals, including The Witcher , Stranger Things , Emily in Paris , Ozark , and more, as well as a wide variety of documentaries like Cheer , The Last Dance , My Octopus Teacher , and many others. It also boasts a much larger subscription base, with more than 222 million subscribers compared to Hulu’s 44 million. Hulu, on the other hand, offers a variety of extras such as HBO and Showtime—content that’s unavailable on Netflix. Its price tag is also cheaper than the competition, with its $7/mo. starting price, which is a bit more palatable than Netflix’s $10/mo. starting price.”
Kindle vs. Hardcover: Which is easier on the eyes?
Sample lines: “In the past, we would have to drag around heavy books if we were really into reading. Now, we can have all of those books, and many more, stored in one handy little device that can easily be stuffed into a backpack, purse, etc. … Many of us still prefer to hold an actual book in our hands. We love how books feel. We love how books smell (especially old books). We love books, period. … But, whether you use a Kindle or prefer hardcover books or paperbacks, the main thing is that you enjoy reading. A story in a book or on a Kindle device can open up new worlds, take you to fantasy worlds, educate you, entertain you, and so much more.”
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. … Owning an iPhone is a simpler, more convenient experience. … Android-device ownership is a bit harder. …”
Cutting the cord: Is streaming or cable better for you?
Sample lines: “Cord-cutting has become a popular trend in recent years, thanks to the rise of streaming services. For those unfamiliar, cord cutting is the process of canceling your cable subscription and instead, relying on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu to watch your favorite shows and movies. The primary difference is that you can select your streaming services à la carte while cable locks you in on a set number of channels through bundles. So, the big question is: should you cut the cord?”
PS5 vs. Nintendo Switch
Sample lines: “The crux of the comparison comes down to portability versus power. Being able to migrate fully fledged Nintendo games from a big screen to a portable device is a huge asset—and one that consumers have taken to, especially given the Nintendo Switch’s meteoric sales figures. … It is worth noting that many of the biggest franchises like Call of Duty, Madden, modern Resident Evil titles, newer Final Fantasy games, Grand Theft Auto, and open-world Ubisoft adventures like Assassin’s Creed will usually skip Nintendo Switch due to its lack of power. The inability to play these popular games practically guarantees that a consumer will pick up a modern system, while using the Switch as a secondary device.”
What is the difference between Facebook and Instagram?
Sample lines: “Have you ever wondered what is the difference between Facebook and Instagram? Instagram and Facebook are by far the most popular social media channels used by digital marketers. Not to mention that they’re also the biggest platforms used by internet users worldwide. So, today we’ll look into the differences and similarities between these two platforms to help you figure out which one is the best fit for your business.”
Digital vs. Analog Watches—What’s the Difference?
Sample lines: “In short, digital watches use an LCD or LED screen to display the time. Whereas, an analog watch features three hands to denote the hour, minutes, and seconds. With the advancement in watch technology and research, both, analog and digital watches have received significant improvements over the years. Especially, in terms of design, endurance, and accompanying features. … At the end of the day, whether you go analog or digital, it’s a personal preference to make based on your style, needs, functions, and budget.”
Pop Culture Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Christina aguilera vs. britney spears.
Sample lines: “Britney Spears vs. Christina Aguilera was the Coke vs. Pepsi of 1999 — no, really, Christina repped Coke and Britney shilled for Pepsi. The two teen idols released debut albums seven months apart before the turn of the century, with Britney’s becoming a standard-bearer for bubblegum pop and Aguilera’s taking an R&B bent to show off her range. … It’s clear that Spears and Aguilera took extremely divergent paths following their simultaneous breakout successes.”
Harry Styles vs. Ed Sheeran
Sample lines: “The world heard our fantasies and delivered us two titans simultaneously—we have been blessed with Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles. Our cup runneth over; our bounty is immeasurable. More remarkable still is the fact that both have released albums almost at the same time: Ed’s third, Divide , was released in March and broke the record for one-day Spotify streams, while Harry’s frenziedly anticipated debut solo, called Harry Styles , was released yesterday.”
The Grinch: Three Versions Compared
Sample lines: “Based on the original story of the same name, this movie takes a completely different direction by choosing to break away from the cartoony form that Seuss had established by filming the movie in a live-action form. Whoville is preparing for Christmas while the Grinch looks down upon their celebrations in disgust. Like the previous film, The Grinch hatches a plan to ruin Christmas for the Who’s. … Like in the original Grinch, he disguises himself as Santa Claus, and makes his dog, Max, into a reindeer. He then takes all of the presents from the children and households. … Cole’s favorite is the 2000 edition, while Alex has only seen the original. Tell us which one is your favorite.”
Historical and Political Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Malcom x vs. martin luther king jr.: comparison between two great leaders’ ideologies .
Sample lines: “Although they were fighting for civil rights at the same time, their ideology and way of fighting were completely distinctive. This can be for a plethora of reasons: background, upbringing, the system of thought, and vision. But keep in mind, they devoted their whole life to the same prospect. … Through boycotts and marches, he [King] hoped to end racial segregation. He felt that the abolition of segregation would improve the likelihood of integration. Malcolm X, on the other hand, spearheaded a movement for black empowerment.”
Contrast Between Obama and Trump Has Become Clear
Sample lines: “The contrast is even clearer when we look to the future. Trump promises more tax cuts, more military spending, more deficits and deeper cuts in programs for the vulnerable. He plans to nominate a coal lobbyist to head the Environmental Protection Agency. … Obama says America must move forward, and he praises progressive Democrats. … With Obama and then Trump, Americans have elected two diametrically opposed leaders leading into two very different directions.”
Sports Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Lebron james vs. kobe bryant: a complete comparison.
Sample lines: “LeBron James has achieved so much in his career that he is seen by many as the greatest of all time, or at least the only player worthy of being mentioned in the GOAT conversation next to Michael Jordan. Bridging the gap between Jordan and LeBron though was Kobe Bryant. … Should his name be mentioned more though? Can he compare to LeBron or is The King too far past The Black Mamba in historical rankings already?”
NFL: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Rivalry Comparison
Sample lines: “Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were largely considered the best quarterbacks in the NFL for the majority of the time they spent in the league together, with the icons having many head-to-head clashes in the regular season and on the AFC side of the NFL Playoffs. Manning was the leader of the Indianapolis Colts of the AFC South. … Brady spent his career as the QB of the AFC East’s New England Patriots, before taking his talents to Tampa Bay.”
Lifestyle Choices Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Mobile home vs. tiny house: similarities, differences, pros & cons.
Sample lines: “Choosing the tiny home lifestyle enables you to spend more time with those you love. The small living space ensures quality bonding time rather than hiding away in a room or behind a computer screen. … You’ll be able to connect closer to nature and find yourself able to travel the country at any given moment. On the other hand, we have the mobile home. … They are not built to be moved on a constant basis. … While moving the home again *is* possible, it may cost you several thousand dollars.”
Whole Foods vs. Walmart: The Story of Two Grocery Stores
Sample lines: “It is clear that both stores have very different stories and aims when it comes to their customers. Whole Foods looks to provide organic, healthy, exotic, and niche products for an audience with a very particular taste. … Walmart … looks to provide the best deals … and every big brand for a broader audience. … Moreover, they look to make buying affordable and accessible, and focus on the capitalist nature of buying.”
Artificial Grass vs. Turf: The Real Differences Revealed
Sample lines: “The key difference between artificial grass and turf is their intended use. Artificial turf is largely intended to be used for sports, so it is shorter and tougher. On the other hand, artificial grass is generally longer, softer and more suited to landscaping purposes. Most homeowners would opt for artificial grass as a replacement for a lawn, for example. Some people actually prefer playing sports on artificial grass, too … artificial grass is often softer and more bouncy, giving it a feel similar to playing on a grassy lawn. … At the end of the day, which one you will choose will depend on your specific household and needs.”
Minimalism vs. Maximalism: Differences, Similarities, and Use Cases
Sample lines: “Maximalists love shopping, especially finding unique pieces. They see it as a hobby—even a skill—and a way to express their personality. Minimalists don’t like shopping and see it as a waste of time and money. They’d instead use those resources to create memorable experiences. Maximalists desire one-of-a-kind possessions. Minimalists are happy with duplicates—for example, personal uniforms. … Minimalism and maximalism are about being intentional with your life and belongings. It’s about making choices based on what’s important to you.”
Healthcare Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Similarities and differences between the health systems in australia & usa.
Sample lines: “Australia and the United States are two very different countries. They are far away from each other, have contrasting fauna and flora, differ immensely by population, and have vastly different healthcare systems. The United States has a population of 331 million people, compared to Australia’s population of 25.5 million people.”
Universal Healthcare in the United States of America: A Healthy Debate
Sample lines: “Disadvantages of universal healthcare include significant upfront costs and logistical challenges. On the other hand, universal healthcare may lead to a healthier populace, and thus, in the long-term, help to mitigate the economic costs of an unhealthy nation. In particular, substantial health disparities exist in the United States, with low socio-economic status segments of the population subject to decreased access to quality healthcare and increased risk of non-communicable chronic conditions such as obesity and type II diabetes, among other determinants of poor health.”
Animals Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Compare and contrast paragraph—dogs and cats.
Sample lines: “Researchers have found that dogs have about twice the number of neurons in their cerebral cortexes than what cats have. Specifically, dogs had around 530 million neurons, whereas the domestic cat only had 250 million neurons. Moreover, dogs can be trained to learn and respond to our commands, but although your cat understands your name, and anticipates your every move, he/she may choose to ignore you.”
Giddyup! The Differences Between Horses and Dogs
Sample lines: “Horses are prey animals with a deep herding instinct. They are highly sensitive to their environment, hyper aware and ready to take flight if needed. Just like dogs, some horses are more confident than others, but just like dogs, all need a confident handler to teach them what to do. Some horses are highly reactive and can be spooked by the smallest things as are dogs. … Another distinction between horses and dogs … was that while dogs have been domesticated , horses have been tamed. … Both species have influenced our culture more than any other species on the planet.
Exotic, Domesticated, and Wild Pets
Sample lines: “Although the words ‘exotic’ and ‘wild’ are frequently used interchangeably, many people do not fully understand how these categories differ when it comes to pets. ‘A wild animal is an indigenous, non-domesticated animal, meaning that it is native to the country where you are located,’ Blue-McLendon explained. ‘For Texans, white-tailed deer, pronghorn sheep, raccoons, skunks, and bighorn sheep are wild animals … an exotic animal is one that is wild but is from a different continent than where you live.’ For example, a hedgehog in Texas would be considered an exotic animal, but in the hedgehog’s native country, it would be considered wildlife.”
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- Writing for Success: Compare/Contrast
This section will help you determine the purpose and structure of comparison/contrast in writing.
The Purpose of Compare/Contrast in Writing
Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay, then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities. For example, if you wanted to focus on contrasting two subjects you would not pick apples and oranges; rather, you might choose to compare and contrast two types of oranges or two types of apples to highlight subtle differences. For example, Red Delicious apples are sweet, while Granny Smiths are tart and acidic. Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience’s understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay.
Similarly, to focus on comparison, choose two subjects that seem at first to be unrelated. For a comparison essay, you likely would not choose two apples or two oranges because they share so many of the same properties already. Rather, you might try to compare how apples and oranges are quite similar. The more divergent the two subjects initially seem, the more interesting a comparison essay will be.
The Structure of a Compare/Contrast Essay
The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both and the reason for doing so. The thesis could lean more toward comparing, contrasting, or both. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader. Take the following thesis as an example that leans more toward contrasting:
Thesis Statement: Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.
Here the thesis sets up the two subjects to be compared and contrasted (organic versus conventional vegetables), and it makes a claim about the results that might prove useful to the reader.
You may organize compare-and-contrast essays in one of the following two ways:
- According to the subjects themselves, discussing one then the other
- According to individual points, discussing each subject in relation to each point
The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience.
Given that compare-and-contrast essays analyze the relationship between two subjects, it is helpful to have some phrases on hand that will cue the reader to such analysis.
Phrases of Comparison and Contrast
Writing an Compare/Contrast Essay
First choose whether you want to compare seemingly disparate subjects, contrast seemingly similar subjects, or compare and contrast subjects. Once you have decided on a topic, introduce it with an engaging opening paragraph. Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction, and it should establish the subjects you will compare, contrast, or both as well as state what can be learned from doing so.
The body of the essay can be organized in one of two ways: by subject or by individual points. The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your audience and your purpose. You may also consider your particular approach to the subjects as well as the nature of the subjects themselves; some subjects might better lend themselves to one structure or the other. Make sure to use comparison and contrast phrases to cue the reader to the ways in which you are analyzing the relationship between the subjects.
After you finish analyzing the subjects, write a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and reinforces your thesis.
Compare/Contrast Essay Example
Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC
By Scott McLean in Writing for Success
Both Washington, DC, and London are capital cities of English-speaking countries, and yet they offer vastly different experiences to their residents and visitors. Comparing and contrasting the two cities based on their history, their culture, and their residents show how different and similar the two are.
Both cities are rich in world and national history, though they developed on very different time lines. London, for example, has a history that dates back over two thousand years. It was part of the Roman Empire and known by the similar name, Londinium. It was not only one of the northernmost points of the Roman Empire but also the epicenter of the British Empire where it held significant global influence from the early sixteenth century on through the early twentieth century. Washington, DC, on the other hand, has only formally existed since the late eighteenth century. Though Native Americans inhabited the land several thousand years earlier, and settlers inhabited the land as early as the sixteenth century, the city did not become the capital of the United States until the 1790s. From that point onward to today, however, Washington, DC, has increasingly maintained significant global influence. Even though both cities have different histories, they have both held, and continue to hold, significant social influence in the economic and cultural global spheres.
Both Washington, DC, and London offer a wide array of museums that harbor many of the world’s most prized treasures. While Washington, DC, has the National Gallery of Art and several other Smithsonian galleries, London’s art scene and galleries have a definite edge in this category. From the Tate Modern to the British National Gallery, London’s art ranks among the world’s best. This difference and advantage has much to do with London and Britain’s historical depth compared to that of the United States. London has a much richer past than Washington, DC, and consequently has a lot more material to pull from when arranging its collections. Both cities have thriving theater districts, but again, London wins this comparison, too, both in quantity and quality of theater choices. With regard to other cultural places like restaurants, pubs, and bars, both cities are very comparable. Both have a wide selection of expensive, elegant restaurants as well as a similar amount of global and national chains. While London may be better known for its pubs and taste in beer, DC offers a different bar-going experience. With clubs and pubs that tend to stay open later than their British counterparts, the DC night life tend to be less reserved overall.
Both cities also share and differ in cultural diversity and cost of living. Both cities share a very expensive cost of living—both in terms of housing and shopping. A downtown one-bedroom apartment in DC can easily cost $1,800 per month, and a similar “flat” in London may double that amount. These high costs create socioeconomic disparity among the residents. Although both cities’ residents are predominantly wealthy, both have a significantly large population of poor and homeless. Perhaps the most significant difference between the resident demographics is the racial makeup. Washington, DC, is a “minority majority” city, which means the majority of its citizens are races other than white. In 2009, according to the US Census, 55 percent of DC residents were classified as “Black or African American” and 35 percent of its residents were classified as “white.” London, by contrast, has very few minorities—in 2006, 70 percent of its population was “white,” while only 10 percent was “black.” The racial demographic differences between the cities is drastic.
Even though Washington, DC, and London are major capital cities of English-speaking countries in the Western world, they have many differences along with their similarities. They have vastly different histories, art cultures, and racial demographics, but they remain similar in their cost of living and socioeconomic disparity.
- A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
- The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
- The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.
- There are two main organizing strategies for compare-and-contrast essays.
- Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
- Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
- Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.
- Provided by : Lumen Learning. Located at : http://lumenlearning.com/ . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- Successful Writing. Provided by : Anonymous. Located at : http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/successful-writing/s14-07-comparison-and-contrast.html . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC. Authored by : Scott McLean. Located at : http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/successful-writing/s14-07-comparison-and-contrast.html . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
- Table of Contents
Instructor Resources (Access Requires Login)
- Overview of Instructor Resources
An Overview of the Writing Process
- Introduction to the Writing Process
- Introduction to Writing
- Your Role as a Learner
- What is an Essay?
- Reading to Write
- Defining the Writing Process
- Videos: Prewriting Techniques
- Thesis Statements
- Organizing an Essay
- Creating Paragraphs
- Editing and Proofreading
- Matters of Grammar, Mechanics, and Style
- Peer Review Checklist
- Comparative Chart of Writing Strategies
- Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism
- Formatting the Works Cited Page (MLA)
- Citing Paraphrases and Summaries (APA)
- APA Citation Style, 6th edition: General Style Guidelines
- Definitional Argument Essay
- How to Write a Definition Essay
- Critical Thinking
- Video: Thesis Explained
- Effective Thesis Statements
- Student Sample: Definition Essay
- Introduction to Narrative Essay
- Student Sample: Narrative Essay
- "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell
- "Sixty-nine Cents" by Gary Shteyngart
- Video: The Danger of a Single Story
- How to Write an Annotation
- How to Write a Summary
- Writing for Success: Narration
- Introduction to Illustration/Example Essay
- "She's Your Basic L.O.L. in N.A.D" by Perri Klass
- "April & Paris" by David Sedaris
- Writing for Success: Illustration/Example
- Student Sample: Illustration/Example Essay
- Introduction to Compare/Contrast Essay
- "Disability" by Nancy Mairs
- "Friending, Ancient or Otherwise" by Alex Wright
- "A South African Storm" by Allison Howard
- Student Sample: Compare/Contrast Essay
- Introduction to Cause-and-Effect Essay
- "Cultural Baggage" by Barbara Ehrenreich
- "Women in Science" by K.C. Cole
- Writing for Success: Cause and Effect
- Student Sample: Cause-and-Effect Essay
- Introduction to Argument Essay
- Rogerian Argument
- "The Case Against Torture," by Alisa Soloman
- "The Case for Torture" by Michael Levin
- How to Write a Summary by Paraphrasing Source Material
- Writing for Success: Argument
- Student Sample: Argument Essay
- Grammar/Mechanics Mini-lessons
- Mini-lesson: Subjects and Verbs, Irregular Verbs, Subject Verb Agreement
- Mini-lesson: Sentence Types
- Mini-lesson: Fragments I
- Mini-lesson: Run-ons and Comma Splices I
- Mini-lesson: Comma Usage
- Mini-lesson: Parallelism
- Mini-lesson: The Apostrophe
- Mini-lesson: Capital Letters
- Grammar Practice - Interactive Quizzes
- De Copia - Demonstration of the Variety of Language
- Style Exercise: Voice
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How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay
Last Updated: January 23, 2023 References
This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA . Stephanie Wong Ken is a writer based in Canada. Stephanie's writing has appeared in Joyland, Catapult, Pithead Chapel, Cosmonaut's Avenue, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing from Portland State University. This article has been viewed 437,119 times.
Compare and contrast essays are often assigned to students because they promote critical thinking, analytical reasoning and organized writing. A compare and contrast essay should look at a subject in a new way, with fresh insight, using the similarities and the differences between two topics or two perspectives on one topic.
Brainstorming Your Topic
- If your instructor has already given you your topic, you may be contrasting two things that could go into the same category, but are different from each other. For example, cats and dogs are both animals, but they are different from each other in many ways. The pro-life view on abortion, and the pro-choice view on abortion could both fit under the category of a human rights issue, but they are two very distinct views or positions.
- Try to write as many similarities and differences you can think of. For example: cats and dogs are both domesticated animals. But cats have different temperaments than dogs, and cats are known to be indoor pets, while dogs tend to need to be walked and played with outside on a constant basis.
- Think about at least one or two meaningful differences and similarities between the two subjects. For example, a compare and contrast between abortion rights could lead to meaningful notes like: The pro-life stance views fetuses are full formed humans and are often based in religious beliefs, while the pro-choice stance views fetuses as undeveloped eggs and are often based in scientific beliefs.
- To focus your list, choose categories (or possible supporting points for your paper) to classify the similarities and differences between the two subjects. For example, for the abortion rights topic, you may choose categories like: legal details, women's rights, scientific stance, and religious beliefs. You can then separate each item on the list into these categories.
- Once you are done listing 10-15 differences and 5-7 similarities, circle the most important items in each list. Then, match at least three opposites from one circle to the other circle.
- Review the list and look for three different categories that describe these traits. For example, for the abortion rights topic, you may have “scientific studies of the fetus” on the pro-choice side, and “belief in life of the fetus” on the pro-life side. One possible category could then be the debate of the life of a fetus.
- If you're compare and contrasting two historical periods or events, you may ask: When did they occur (the dates and the duration)? What happened or changed during each event? Why are they significant? Who were the important people involved? How did the events occur, and what consequences did they have later in history?
- If you're compare and contrasting two ideas or theories, you may ask: What were they about? How did they originate? Who created them? What is the central focus, claim, or goal of each theory? How do the theories apply to situations/people/things, etc.? What kind of evidence is used to support each theory?
- If you're compare and contrasting two pieces of art, you may ask: What does each piece of art describe or depict? What is their tone or mood? What themes do they address? Who created them? When were they created? How do the creators of the artworks describe their own work? Why do you think the artworks were created as they were?
- If you're compare and contrasting two people, you may ask: Where is each person from? How old are they? What, if anything, are they known for? How do they identify themselves in terms of gender, race, class, etc? Do the two people have any relationship to each other? What does each person do? Why is each person interesting? What are the defining features of each person?
- Your instructor may also ask for a discussion of more than one similarity and difference between the two topics or two perspectives. Identify any gaps in your knowledge and prepare to do research so you can better compare and contrast the two topics in your essay.
Creating an Outline
- Your thesis should note the key similarities and differences of both subjects. For example: “Dogs and cats are both seen as ideal, domesticated pets, but their temperaments and breeding set them apart.”
- Your thesis should also be able to answer the question, “So what? Why should anyone care about the positives and the negatives of owning a cat or a dog?” A reader may also wonder why you chose to look at cats and dogs, and not other domesticated pets like birds, reptiles, or rabbits. Your thesis statement is much stronger if you address these questions, and a stronger thesis can lead to a stronger essay.
- The revised thesis may look like: “Dogs and cats are both considered ideal, domesticated pets, and prove more popular than other domesticated animals like birds or rabbits, but the low maintenance and particular temperament of cats makes them better pets for a variety of households.” A more concise thesis, which allows for a more open discussion of both options, may look like: “Both cats and dogs make excellent domesticated pets, but an appropriate choice depends on the pet owner's lifestyle, finances, and living accommodations.”
- Introduction: Introduce the general topic, then introduce the two specific topics. End with your thesis, which addresses what is going to be covered in the essay.
- Leads into Aspect 1: Lifestyle, with at least two details. For example, how cats do not have to watched during the day, and are easier to get care if the owner travels or is often not home.
- Leads into Aspect 2: Cost, with at least two details. For example, how food and healthcare are less expensive for cats and how cats are less likely to cause property damage to the owner's home.
- Leads into Aspect 3: Living accommodations, with at least two details. For example, how cats do not take up a lot of space and they are less intrusive as they do not require daily walks or constant play.
- End the paragraph with a transition sentence.
- Body paragraph 2 will follow the same structure, with three Aspects and two supporting details for each aspect.
- Body paragraph 3 can follow the same structure as Body paragraph 2 and 3. Or it can be a paragraph that develops the comparison made in the previous two paragraphs. You can use scientific data, crowd sourced feedback, or a personal experience. For example, you may have been in a position where you had to compare and contrast adopting a dog or a cat and made your decision based on your lifestyle, finances, and living situation. This could serve as a personal experience to back up your previous arguments.
- Conclusion: Contains a summary of your main points, a restating of your thesis, an evaluation of your analysis and any future developments that may sway your compare and contrast to one topic over the other.
- Introduction: Introduce the general topic, then introduce the two specific topics. End with your thesis, which addresses what is going to covered in the essay.
- Leads into Topic 1, Aspect 1: Cats, with two details supporting cats in the argument. For example, how cats do not have to watched during the day, and are easier to get care if the owner travels or is often not home.
- Leads into Topic 2, Aspect 1: Dogs, with two details contrasting dogs to the previous argument. For example, how dogs are pack animals and shouldn't be left alone for long periods of time, and how it can be difficult to find care for a dog when the owner is away.
- Ends with a transition sentence.
- Body paragraph 2 will follow the same structure, with a discussion of Topic 1 and Topic 2 in relation to Aspect 2, for example: “Cats are less expensive to own and care for.” There should be two supporting details for each topic.
- Body paragraph 3 will follow the same structure, with a discussion of Topic 1 and Topic 2 in relation to Aspect 3, for example: “Cats need less special house accommodations than dogs.” There should be two supporting details for each topic.
Writing an Introduction
- You should also avoid announcing your intentions in a straightforward and formal way. For example, skip statements like “In this paper, I will” or “The purpose of this essay is to”.
- Instead, your reader should be able to perceive the purpose of your essay through the first two sentences in your beginning paragraph.
- An interesting or surprising example: This could be a personal experience of when a cat proved to be a better pet than a dog, or a scientific study that shows the differences between cats and dogs.
- A provocative quotation: This could be from a source you used for your essay or one that feels relevant to your topic.
- A vivid anecdote: An anecdote is a very short story that carries moral or symbolic weight. Think of an anecdote that might be a poetic or powerful way to start your essay. You can also look through your research for your essay for any note worthy anecdotes.
- A thought provoking question: Think of a question that will get your reader thinking and engaged in your topic. For example: “Did you always wish you had a cat but ended up with a dog when you were growing up?”
- The writing process can be an important way to organize your ideas, think through certain points, and refine your thoughts. Writing or revising the introduction once you are done your essay will ensure the introduction matches the body of your essay.
- Ask a friend, advisor or classmate to read your introduction and thesis. Having someone provide feedback before you get into the body of your compare and contrast essay can help you ensure you have a well written, thorough and purposeful start to your paper. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://www.kellogg.edu/upload/eng151/chapter/writing-for-success-comparecontrast/index.html
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/comparing-and-contrasting/
- ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/comparing-and-contrasting/
- ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/compare-contrast/
- ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/writingforsuccess/chapter/10-7-comparison-and-contrast/
- ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/introductions/
About This Article
To start a compare and contrast essay, start by making a list of similarities and differences between your subjects. Once you have a clearer idea of how your subjects work in relation to each other, you can work on your introduction. Think about ways to hook or grab your reader’s attention with your opening, like giving a surprising or interesting fact or a vivid anecdote. You can also ask a thought-provoking question or use a provocative quotation. Then, introduce your general topic. Once you give your reader a bit of context, you can discuss your two specific subjects in a bit more detail before stating your thesis. Your thesis should note the main similarities and differences between both subjects. For example, “Dogs and cats are both seen as ideal domestic pets, but their temperaments and breeding set them apart.” To learn how to organize your compare and contrast essay, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Compare & Contrast Essays How things are similar or different
Compare and contrast is a common form of academic writing, either as an essay type on its own, or as part of a larger essay which includes one or more paragraphs which compare or contrast. This page gives information on what a compare and contrast essay is , how to structure this type of essay, how to use compare and contrast structure words , and how to make sure you use appropriate criteria for comparison/contrast . There is also an example compare and contrast essay on the topic of communication technology, as well as some exercises to help you practice this area.
What are compare & contrast essays?
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To compare is to examine how things are similar, while to contrast is to see how they differ. A compare and contrast essay therefore looks at the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences. This essay type is common at university, where lecturers frequently test your understanding by asking you to compare and contrast two theories, two methods, two historical periods, two characters in a novel, etc. Sometimes the whole essay will compare and contrast, though sometimes the comparison or contrast may be only part of the essay. It is also possible, especially for short exam essays, that only the similarities or the differences, not both, will be discussed. See the examples below.
- Compare and contrast Newton's ideas of gravity with those proposed by Einstein ['compare and contrast' essay]
- Examine how the economies of Spain and China are similar ['compare' only essay]
- Explain the differences between Achaemenid Empire and Parthian Empire ['contrast' only essay]
There are two main ways to structure a compare and contrast essay, namely using a block or a point-by-point structure. For the block structure, all of the information about one of the objects being compared/contrasted is given first, and all of the information about the other object is listed afterwards. This type of structure is similar to the block structure used for cause and effect and problem-solution essays. For the point-by-point structure, each similarity (or difference) for one object is followed immediately by the similarity (or difference) for the other. Both types of structure have their merits. The former is easier to write, while the latter is generally clearer as it ensures that the similarities/differences are more explicit.
The two types of structure, block and point-by-point , are shown in the diagram below.
Compare and Contrast Structure Words
Compare and contrast structure words are transition signals which show the similarities or differences. Below are some common examples.
- both... and...
- not only... but also...
- neither... nor...
- just like (+ noun)
- similar to (+ noun)
- to be similar (to)
- to be the same as
- to be alike
- to compare (to/with)
- Computers can be used to communicate easily, for example via email. Similarly/Likewise , the mobile phone is a convenient tool for communication.
- Both computers and mobile phones can be used to communicate easily with other people.
- Just like the computer, the mobile phone can be used to communicate easily with other people.
- The computer is similar to the mobile phone in the way it can be used for easy communication.
- In contrast
- In comparison
- By comparison
- On the other hand
- to differ from
- to be different (from)
- to be dissimilar to
- to be unlike
- Computers, although increasingly small, are not always easy to carry from one place to another. However , the mobile phone can be carried with ease.
- Computers are generally not very portable, whereas the mobile phone is.
- Computers differ from mobile phones in their lack of portability.
- Computers are unlike mobile phones in their lack of portability.
Criteria for comparison/contrast
When making comparisons or contrasts, it is important to be clear what criteria you are using. Study the following example, which contrasts two people. Here the criteria are unclear.
- Aaron is tall and strong. In contrast , Bruce is handsome and very intelligent.
Although this sentence has a contrast transition , the criteria for contrasting are not the same. The criteria used for Aaron are height (tall) and strength (strong). We would expect similar criteria to be used for Bruce (maybe he is short and weak), but instead we have new criteria, namely appearance (handsome) and intelligence (intelligent). This is a common mistake for students when writing this type of paragraph or essay. Compare the following, which has much clearer criteria (contrast structure words shown in bold).
- Aaron and Bruce differ in four ways. The first difference is height. Aaron is tall, while Bruce is short. A second difference is strength. Aaron is strong. In contrast , Bruce is weak. A third difference is appearance. Aaron, who is average looking, differs from Bruce, who is handsome. The final difference is intelligence. Aaron is of average intelligence. Bruce, on the other hand , is very intelligent.
Below is a compare and contrast essay. This essay uses the point-by-point structure . Click on the different areas (in the shaded boxes to the right) to highlight the different structural aspects in this essay, i.e. similarities, differences, and structure words. This will highlight not simply the paragraphs, but also the thesis statement and summary , as these repeat the comparisons and contrasts contained in the main body.
Title: There have been many advances in technology over the past fifty years. These have revolutionised the way we communicate with people who are far away. Compare and contrast methods of communication used today with those which were used in the past.
Before the advent of computers and modern technology, people communicating over long distances used traditional means such as letters and the telephone. Nowadays we have a vast array of communication tools which can complete this task, ranging from email to instant messaging and video calls. While the present and previous means of communication are similar in their general form , they differ in regard to their speed and the range of tools available . One similarity between current and previous methods of communication relates to the form of communication. In the past, both written forms such as letters were frequently used, in addition to oral forms such as telephone calls. Similarly , people nowadays use both of these forms. Just as in the past, written forms of communication are prevalent, for example via email and text messaging. In addition, oral forms are still used, including the telephone, mobile phone, and voice messages via instant messaging services. However , there are clearly many differences in the way we communicate over long distances, the most notable of which is speed. This is most evident in relation to written forms of communication. In the past, letters would take days to arrive at their destination. In contrast , an email arrives almost instantaneously and can be read seconds after it was sent. In the past, if it was necessary to send a short message, for example at work, a memo could be passed around the office, which would take some time to circulate. This is different from the current situation, in which a text message can be sent immediately. Another significant difference is the range of communication methods. Fifty years ago, the tools available for communicating over long distances were primarily the telephone and the letter. By comparison , there are a vast array of communication methods available today. These include not only the telephone, letter, email and text messages already mentioned, but also video conferences via software such as Skype or mobile phone apps such as WeChat, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. In conclusion, methods of communication have greatly advanced over the past fifty years. While there are some similarities, such as the forms of communication , there are significant differences, chiefly in relation to the speed of communication and the range of communication tools available . There is no doubt that technology will continue to progress in future, and the advanced tools which we use today may one day also become outdated.
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Below is a checklist for compare and contrast essays. Use it to check your own writing, or get a peer (another student) to help you.
There is a downloadable graphic organiser for brainstorming ideas for compare and contrast essays in the writing resources section.
Find out how to write cause & effect essays in the next section.
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Author: Sheldon Smith ‖ Last modified: 08 January 2022.
Sheldon Smith is the founder and editor of EAPFoundation.com. He has been teaching English for Academic Purposes since 2004. Find out more about him in the about section and connect with him on Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn .
Compare & contrast essays examine the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences.
Cause & effect essays consider the reasons (or causes) for something, then discuss the results (or effects).
Discussion essays require you to examine both sides of a situation and to conclude by saying which side you favour.
Problem-solution essays are a sub-type of SPSE essays (Situation, Problem, Solution, Evaluation).
Transition signals are useful in achieving good cohesion and coherence in your writing.
Reporting verbs are used to link your in-text citations to the information cited.