How To Write A Compare Or Contrast Essay

“Samsung is a better mobile phone than iPhone because I prefer Samsung.”

That does not sound persuasive or informative, do it?

“Samsung is a better solution than iPhone because iOS devices have limited access to various apps, games, and other entertaining content, and they are more expensive for no good reason.”

This statement sounds better. It is just one out of many possible compare and contrast essay topics. If you wish to learn how to write a compare and contrast essay to improve your GPA or handle another homework assignment, the text below would be helpful.

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How to Write Compare and Contrast Essay: Defining This Type of Paper

This type of assignment is an academic paper, which depicts 2 or more similar yet different things by focusing on what they have in common and what makes them different. The purpose is to make a reader see the way chosen objects are interconnected.

It makes sense a person should start by picking a couple of good subjects to differentiate and draw parallels.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: 2 Different Approaches

A compare and contrast essay outline is far more complicated than the rest of the academic paper outline templates. It depends on which strategy the author chooses to present the chosen objects. In case the best option to introduce both topics is through point-by-point comparison, obey this structure:

  • Introductory paragraph
  • Presentation of overall idea
  • Particular issue to discuss

Fields the author is going to explore

Issue 1 - Aspect 1

Issue 2 - Aspect 1

Issue 1 - Aspect 2

Issue 2 - Aspect 2

Issue 1 - Aspect 3

Issue 2 - Aspect 3

  • Conclusion
  • Review of the basic ideas
  • Assessment and/or potential developments (forecasts)

In case of subject-by-subject comparison, simply focus on the topic 1 at the beginning (list issues & aspects) and then move to the second topic. Conclude on their differences and similarities in the closing paragraph.

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Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

An introduction reveals the main point and shares the primary data about the selected elements with the reader. Add a thesis statement. The opening paragraph must contain a brief explanation of the selected ideas to be analyzed (stress why the offered text might be valuable for the reader). Inspire the person to read the paper from cover to cover by initiating a powerful hook sentence.

Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion

Once a student is done with the body paragraphs, he/she should start working on the closing part of the paper, which often leaves the last impression. It means a writer should try hard to leave positive impressions. In a conclusion, provide a summary of the introduced evidence, restate the thesis statement by rewording it (do not copy-paste a thesis sentence from the introduction).

How to Write a 5 Paragraph Compare and Contrast Essay: Rundown

Based on everything said before, keep in mind these outtakes when working on the discussed type of academic paper:

  1. Apply some organizational instruments like a Venn diagram or Mind Map to arrange the idea obtained via intensive brainstorming & research.
  2. Keep away from the vague thesis statement.
  3. Narrow a broad idea to a couple of main points, leaving some space for the in-depth evaluation.
  4. Edit the final draft before submitting it to the instructor; a professional team of online editors will proofread and fix the mistakes for cheap!
Keep in mind that this sort of writing assignment constitutes a large-scale expository paper – brush up to challenge both!

20 Interesting & Creative Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

To make it easier, our experts have divided some of the best topics into 4 different categories. Have a look at the offered ideas. Those are the possible examples, so try to come up with a unique, exciting idea to impress the teacher!

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for College Students

  • Economic Theory of Karl Marx with Contemporary Capitalistic Movement
  • Constitution of the United States verus the Constitution of the United Kingdom
  • Political Regimes in the United States Today & a Century Ago
  • Working as a Marketing Specialist and Being a Human Resources Manager: Duties They Have in Common and Things That Make People of These Professions Different
  • Renaissance & Baroque Art: Specific Features That Make These Genres Similar Yet Different at the same Time (include professional terminology to stress your in-depth knowledge of the problem)

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for High School

  • Private Schools & Public Schools: Differences Plus Similarities
  • Should People Live in Official Marriage or Civil Union?
  • The Government of the US versus the Government of Student’s School
  • Early specimen & Christopher Columbus: Differences & Similarities
  • Football Clubs from Europe or Football Clubs from the United States

Compare and Contrast Topics for Middle School

  • Celebrating Christmas in the United States is Better Than in Europe
  • Role Models for Teens & Role Models for Grown-Ups
  • Cars versus Trains: A More Comfortable Transport to Ride Long Distances
  • Fiction and Non-Fiction Literature: Which Is a More Fun to Read?
  • What Are the Benefits of Remote Education over Traditional Learning?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for 6th Grade

  • Marvel’s Spiderman or Iron Man
  • Super Mario Land versus Sonic for PlayStation 2
  • Nintendo or Xbox: Why One Replaced Another over Time
  • Playing Games Outside or Staying at Home with TV
  • Winter Sports against Summer Sports: Pros & Cons of Each Type

Compare and Contrast Essay Example

That is how to deal with it! Another thing that may help a school/college student to develop a good homework assignment comparing several objects is a good example. Discover a plenty of free paper examples, helpful writing tools, ideas, and cheap custom writing services without leaving your home!

Types of Papers: Compare/Contrast

To write a compare/contrast essay, you’ll need to make NEW connections and/or express NEW differences between two things.  The key word here…is NEW!

  1. Choose 2 things that could go in the same category, but are also quite different. Good choices might be:
    • Basketball & Football (both sports)
    • Horses & Cats (both animals, but different in many ways)
    • Writing & Singing (both art forms, but different in many ways)
  2. Gather your ideas by writing down characteristics of each thing.  Note the differences and similarities between them.
  3. Ask yourself these important questions before you begin writing your draft:

Does my instructor want me to compare AND contrast, or am I only being asked to do one of those things?

Some instructors prefer that you only write about the differences between two things, while others want you to focus on explaining the similarities as well.  Either way, you'll need to make sure that your thesis statement reflects your instructor's expectations. For example, if I wanted to write about Social Networking sites, I'd need to write different thesis statements depending on my compare/contrast assignment.  

Sample thesis statement for contrast paper:  In terms of social networking sites, Facebook focuses on presenting your daily life to others, whereas MySpace allows you to focus more on demonstrating your personal style.

Sample thesis statement for compare/contrast paper:  While both Facebook and MySpace allow you to meet other users who have similar interests, only MySpace allows you to demonstrate your personal style.       

Are these 2 things similar and/or different, in at least one meaningful way?

If you want to write a successful compare/contrast essay, you'll need to avoid writing about really obvious differences and similarities.  For example:

  • We all know that horses are larger than cats.
  • We also know that basketball teams contain less players than football teams.

Tell us something we don't know (or might not notice)!

It would be better to write about how sensitive both horses and cats are to human needs and emotions.  You could also suggest that though both basketball and football require a lot of teamwork, basketball players are expected to be a lot more versatile than football players.

You don't have to be a genius to write an interesting compare/contrast essay--you just have to look at ordinary things in a new way!

Do I know enough about my topic to write an effective compare/contrast essay?

Unless you're being asked to do some research as part of your compare/contrast project, make sure that you choose 2 things that you feel comfortable discussing, at length.

Your instructor may ask for multiple similarities and differences--make sure you're prepared to write a well-developed, meaningful essay on a topic that you know well before you get started!   


Organizing Your Compare and Contrast Paper

There are two primary ways to organize your compare and contrast paper.

Chunking: placing all of the information for each individual subject in one place (chunk), and then using similarities as transitions.

Here’s a sample outline:

  1. Jane is distinct because…
  2. Jane is similar to Alice in these ways
  3. Alice is distinct because…

Piecing: giving pieces of the information for each individual subject in each paragraph—arranging the information by topic rather than by subject.

Here’s a sample outline:   

  1. Differences and Similarities in Jane and Alice’s appearances
  2. Differences and Similarities in Jane and Alice’s backgrounds
  3. Differences and Similarities in Jane and Alice’s interests

Sample Papers

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