How to Write a Compare-and-Contrast Essay
A compare-and-contrast essay is a style of essay that points out the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. It’s ideal for showing what separates and unites related things or concepts, particularly if the subjects are often confused for each other or unjustly lumped together.
Compare-and-contrast essays have a lot in common with other essay types, but differ in many ways, too—and that’s the heart of comparing and contrasting! By seeing the differences and similarities, the reader better understands each of the subjects by using the other subject as a frame of reference.
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In this guide, we explain how to write a compare-and-contrast essay, including some advanced tips and examples. We discuss how to structure your essay and how to frame your thesis , but first, let’s take a broader look at why comparison essays are so useful.
Purpose of a compare-and-contrast essay
Let’s say you want to write an essay about how great renewable resources are, but you spend a lot of your time explaining how fossil fuels work. To truly understand why renewable resources are so amazing, your reader needs a little background on their alternative, fossil fuels—but the essay’s attention is divided so equally that it’s like there are two topics.
That’s when compare-and-contrast essays function at their best. If two topics relate to each other or define each other, you can better explain them both by showcasing their similarities and differences. That goes double for topics that are often conflated or confused for each other; it helps readers when someone points out exactly what’s the same about them and what’s different.
Unlike argumentative essays or persuasive essays , compare-and-contrast essays deal with multiple topics instead of focusing on one. The downside is that they don’t describe the individual subjects as much as single-topic essays. They’re also a common assignment for college essays since they show the instructor how well you grasp both subjects.
How to write a compare-and-contrast essay
When writing a compare-and-contrast essay, it helps to figure out two things: what your thesis is (the subject matter) and how you plan to structure it.
First things first: You need to choose which subjects you’re comparing. This isn’t always easy, especially if you have to pick the subjects on your own.
For inspiration, here are some compare-and-contrast essay example topics:
- fossil fuels and renewable resources
- Coca-Cola and Pepsi
- Mona Lisa and The Girl with a Pearl Earring
- ’80s punk rock music and ’90s grunge music
- Dorothea Lange and Diane Arbus
- London in the 1600s and London now
- the LGBTQIA+ community before and after Stonewall
- Roman Empire and Greek Empire
- loop quantum gravity and string theory
- evolution and creationism
- liberalism and conservatism
- fascism and despotism
Once you’ve settled on your subjects, you can begin generating ideas. It helps to first list all the similarities and differences between your subjects . When you see them all written down, you can start formulating connections and decide what structure to use for your compare-and-contrast essay.
If you’re stuck, try making a Venn diagram . This is a visual aid that helps you understand which characteristics your subjects share, and which ones are exclusive.
Looking at your lists, you can then decide on the thesis. To do so, ask yourself a few questions: What are you trying to show in your compare-and-contrast essay? What do you want your reader to take away? For example, do you want to emphasize that Dorothea Lange’s work influenced Diane Arbus, or that they are two very distinct artists?
Compare-and-contrast essays follow our own recommended essay structure . While the linked guide goes into more detail, in a nutshell, your compare-and-contrast essay should follow a simple format of beginning, middle, and end:
- Introduction: where you explain your thesis or what your essay will discuss
- Body: where you actually list the similarities and differences of your subjects; the largest section
- Conclusion: where you wrap up and summarize your points
The introduction, usually one or two paragraphs, should include a thesis statement to show the reader what to expect for the rest of your essay. You can write your introduction following the same guidelines as other essay types, though be sure to mention all your subjects. Likewise, you can write an essay conclusion with the standard rules and best practices.
It’s the body where compare-and-contrast essays get tricky. Do you write about both subjects at the same time, or switch back and forth? Let’s talk deeper on this below.
How to structure a compare-and-contrast essay
The hardest part of structuring a compare-and-contrast essay is knowing when to talk about which subject. Essentially, you have three options:
- block method (subject by subject): You discuss one subject in full and then move on to the next subject.
- alternating method (point by point): You discuss one subject’s take on a certain aspect and then another subject’s take immediately afterward, followed by a new aspect.
- similarities and differences: You discuss all the similarities between your subjects and then all the differences, or vice versa (differences first and then similarities).
No matter which option you choose, you have to pay particular attention to topic sentences . Paragraphs in compare-and-contrast essays can get complicated, so it’s crucial to have a good topic or introduction sentence for each paragraph to make the flow of ideas clear.
Block method (subject by subject)
The block method is usually divided into paragraphs: a paragraph about one subject and then a new paragraph about another subject. Take the compare-and-contrast essay example When Nothing Lies Beyond the Mask: Comparing Moby Dick and The Raven . In the first paragraph after the introduction, the author talks only about Ahab from Moby Dick , but in the next paragraph talks only about the narrator from The Raven . Each subject gets its own paragraph.
Using the block method, you can go back and forth like this for pages, covering as many topics as you need. This approach is best for giving each subject its own attention but tends to slightly weaken the connection between the two.
Alternating method (point by point)
As another option, you can break paragraphs up by a specific topic and issue, and in each paragraph discuss both or all subjects. Let’s look at another compare-and-contrast essay example, The Reality of Science Fiction: Comparing Clarke to Cruise . Here, both subjects are discussed in the same paragraph, one right after another.
This approach works best when you want to emphasize the connection between your subjects, or lack thereof. In our example above, the author wishes to highlight just how different the aliens of Arthur Clarke are from those of other authors, particularly H. G. Wells. To emphasize this, the essay author juxtaposes the two points right next to each other in the same paragraph.
Similarities and differences
The third option is quite similar to the alternating approach, with each subject being discussed side by side in the same paragraph. However, the paragraphs aren’t divided by different topics, but instead by what the subjects have in common and what they don’t.
Take a look at the compare-and-contrast essay example Government by the People, for the People has Perished from the Earth , which compares the dystopias of George Orwell’s 1984 and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We . The first paragraph after the introduction discusses what the governments in the two books have in common, but the next paragraph explains how they differ.
This method works best if you want to focus on a particular similarity or difference between your subjects, or if you want to build up to a powerful conclusion or reveal at the end.
The writing process for compare-and-contrast essays
Want to know how to write a compare-and-contrast essay step by step? The writing process is the same as all essay writing, although adapted specifically for drawing comparisons:
1 Brainstorming — As mentioned above, brainstorming should involve listing all the similarities and difficulties; creating a Venn diagram is a useful method.
2 Preparation — Looking at your brainstorming lists, decide which structuring method would best get your point across: block, alternating, or similarities/differences.
3 Drafting — Here you write your rough draft ; this is the longest and toughest phase.
4 Revising — Does the structure you’ve chosen work? With the first draft finished, you can more easily identify any areas that need to be fixed, revised, or rewritten from scratch.
5 Proofreading — Finally, you want to make sure you corrected all the spelling and grammatical mistakes in your draft. With a writing assistant like Grammarly, this phase is a breeze.
If you want to learn more about this process, read our comprehensive guide on essay writing , which better explains the details.
Tips for writing compare-and-contrast essays
Beyond knowing the full process for crafting a compare-and-contrast essay, it helps to learn a few tips to ensure it shines.
Choose topics that are related
In other words, choose topics that have plenty in common, otherwise, your essay will be all contrasting and no comparing. Typically, subjects in compare-and-contrast essays share a strong connection, such as two people in the same profession or two products in the same category.
Without this unifying thread, the reader is left wondering, “What’s the point of comparing these two things?” Not only will it confound your audience, but you’ll also struggle more to come up with points when writing. Solve these problems before they start by smartly choosing your subjects at the beginning.
Write for clarity
Essays with only one subject can be confusing enough—imagine how complicated it gets with two or more subjects. One of the biggest obstacles with compare-and-contrast essays is communicating clearly so your reader knows which points relate to which subject, and what conclusion the entire essay is building toward.
But when you’re in the heat of a writing session, it can be difficult—and distracting—to stop and evaluate your work for clarity. Luckily, Grammarly offers suggestions to rewrite entire sentences in order to improve the clarity of your writing.
If the writing in your compare-and-contrast essay starts getting messy, Grammarly’s writing suggestions recommend alternative phrasings to clear things up. Just one click and your writing gets the professional editor treatment. Try Grammarly now and see how your writing improves.
50 College-Level Compare and Contrast Topics for an Essay
Compare and contrast essays are common college assignments that test your critical thinking skills as well as your essay writing. The task may seem daunting, but don’t panic – I am here to help with any possible hurdles:
- Getting started: what does compare and contrast actually mean?
- Good compare and contrast essay topics: what should I write about?
- Making your case: how should I write in the essay introduction and body paragraphs?
Follow this simple guide to write a successful compare and contrast essay!
What Does Compare and Contrast Mean?
Very simply, to compare and contrast is to consider two (or more) things and observe what is similar about those things and what is different about them. Think of it this way: to compare is to find the qualities, attributes, etc, that are the same and to contrast is to find the ways in which they differ. In a compare and contrast essay, you write about and analyze the observations you have made.
For example, let’s compare and contrast a penguin and a pigeon. When we compare the two, we can observe that both are birds, both have feathers, both have beaks, and both lay eggs. They are different in that pigeons can fly and penguins cannot, penguins are excellent swimmers and pigeons are not, and they both live in very different climates. Those are the contrasts. In an essay, we’d then go on to discuss those observations in detail.
Compare and Contrast Essay Ideas
Writing a good essay largely depends on what you choose to write about, as you need to find two comparable subjects – people, books, traditions, phenomena, etc. Here are some ideas, grouped by subject, to help get you started!
1. Family life now and 100 years ago (consider the age people enter the marriage, attitude to sex life before marriage, attitude to and prevalence of divorce, the prevalence of married women in labor, child-rearing practices, etc.)
2. Environmental impact of humanity now and 100 years ago
3. Awareness of personal footprint and striving for sustainability in society over the last two decades (go beyond sorting of the waste; consider the impact of the rising awareness on the fur industry, the reluctance of the young generation to work in oil companies, refusing from meat due having overpopulation reasons in mind, etc.)
4. Portrayal of women in advertisements of mid-20s century vs now
5. Common jobs in the 18th century and today
6. Funerals in the past and today
7. Important holidays in the past and today
8. Voting rights in the past and today
9. Immigration to the U.S. in the past and today (compare and contrast the reasons for immigration, its prevalence, requirements of the state, etc.)
10. Communism versus libertarianism
11. The role of religion in creating legislation in different countries/cultures
12. Socializing in the past and now
13. Offline vs online business in 2021
14. The use of robotics now vs 10 years ago
15. The 2020s in the fantastic movies and prediction of the past vs “the future” as it is now
16. NASA vs SpaceX
Related : Sociology Research Topics
1. Public vs private education
2. Traditional school vs homeschooling
3. Online vs offline education
4. Old vs new methods of teaching
5. Accessibility of higher education in the last two decades (consider what barriers have been tackled; have the rising student debt and Covid become the new barriers to consider?)
6. School curriculum change over the last two decades (what has changed, what is no longer taught, what new classes and teaching methods appeared; note the increased focus on STEM, sustainability, disappearing cursive classes, sex education, etc.)
Related : Argumentative Essay Topics on Education
1. Healthcare systems in America and elsewhere in the world (this is a helpful article to start with)
2. Cloning vs gene modification
3. Healthy living over the last decade/ in different socio-economic groups (compare the attitudes to healthy food, Macdonalds, smoking, binge drinking, exercising, etc. now and twenty years ago; alternatively, compare and contrast the statistics for the affluent and poor citizens)
4. Abortion laws in the U.S. and other countries (this is a useful article to start with)
5. Traditional doctor appointments vs telemedicine
6. How is depression diagnosed and treated now compared to the past decades (you may also consider the change in the treatment of other illnesses and conditions that are believed to be medicalized, such as obesity, alcoholism, menopause, etc.)
7. Traditional medicine vs. homeopathy
8. Covid-19 vs Spanish flu epidemics
9. The response to Covid-19 in two different states (see this post for more Covid-related essay topics and facts)
10. Aguments for and against mandadory vacination
11. Nursing home care vs assisted living
Related : Controversial Medical Topics for an Essay
Philosophy and Ethics
1. Compare and compare two Abrahamic religions.
2. Plato versus Aristotle.
3. Utilitarian ethics versus deontological ethics.
4. The influence of philosophy historically compared to today.
5. Interpretations of philosophical texts in different cultures/countries.
6. Pro-life vs pro-choice arguments in the abortion debate (if you struggle to find similarities other than relating to one topic, consider what these arguments fail to account for; for example, both have men out of the equation, see more ideas for an abortion essay here ).
7. Work ethics vs personal ethics.
8. Compare and contrast two leadership theories.
9. Compare and contrast liberal and radical feminism (the other two types of feminism that can be compared are equality feminism and difference feminism).
10. Patriotism versus nationalism/ cosmopolitanism (see this guide on writing a patriotism essay )
Related : Philosophy and Ethics Essay Topics
Art and Literature
1. art by the same artist at different points in their career (for example, Picasso’s The Old Fisherman and Le Matador ).
2. art depicting the same subject in very different styles (for example, a park by in Pointillist style and another in Cubist style).
3. the work of two artists working in the same time/place (for example, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni).
4. the reception of an artists’ work during their lifetime compared to today; attitudes towards art and artists in different cultures.
5. Two pieces of work by the same writer at different times in their life (for example, A Streetcar Named Desire and Sweet Bird of Youth by Tenessee Williams).
6. Novels written at the same time portraying the same place (for example, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and Jane Austen’s Emma )
7. Work by poets regarded as part of the same movement (for example, Keats and Coleridge of the Romantics)
8. Exploration of the same theme (for example, the portrayal of ‘good versus evil’ in Lord of the Rings and Alice in Wonderland )
How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay
Chosen your topic? Okay, good! Let’s think about actually writing the essay.
An introduction is an opportunity to set expectations for the rest of the work – so let’s set them high! It’s important to begin the essay with a hook that will draw in your reader. Then, introduce the two (or more) things you will be discussing. Briefly outline the similarities and differences you will discuss. Lastly, clearly state your thesis .
Here’s an example of an introduction to an essay comparing and contrasting traditional television and online streaming services:
Almost half of Americans born after the year 1978 do not own a television ( hook ). Young people seem to have fallen out of love with television in just a few short decades; in the year 2000, most Americans watched their television set for at least two hours a day . But why have we abandoned this once-loved pastime? The answer is simple: online streaming services (both things have been introduced ). In its heyday, television was extremely popular among young people, as streaming services are now. Both provide entertainment, show a wide range of media of different genres, inform us about what’s going on in the world around us and connect us as a society ( outline of similarities). However, there are several differences between the two. Television lacks the diversity of modern streaming services, viewers are forced to watch programs curated by the channel, and there is far less freedom of choice. That said, less time in front of the television means less time watching the news and less community spirit. Streaming services can also be expensive ( outline of differences). It would, however, seem that modern streaming services are overall superior to good, old-fashioned TV ( thesis statement ).
For more help on writing introductions, check out Essay Introduction Paragraph: Essential Elements and Examples .
Here are top rules for creating a strong thesis statement for a compare and contrast essay:
- Relevant to the type of essay you’re writing. In an essay where we’re going to compare two things, the thesis statement should compare two things!
- Debatable. Show that you’ve come to your own conclusion about something and are sharing your findings. “Cake is delicious” would not, for example, be a successful thesis statement.
- Narrow. Make sure you haven’t bitten off more than you can chew with a thesis statement covering an enormous topic.
- Well-structured. A parallel structure will make a long thesis statement easier to read and understand.
For more help on thesis statements, take a look at A Strong Thesis Statement: Tips and Examples .
In the first paragraph after your introduction, provide some context for your essay. Why are you writing about this? Why now? For the example given above, you can further back up the introductory statement with some statistics , showing that you have done your research about the subject. For example, compare the number of TV sets bought in 2000 compared to 2020, or show the fall in live viewing ratings for popular programs. For streaming services, you might mention how many people subscribe to Netflix or Hulu, or how much money streaming sites are making. Make sure you cite any sources you use properly, for maximum marks!
Next, discuss the similarities between the two things you are discussing. How long this section will depend on how similar your subjects are! For some topics, you can have a fairly long section on similarities. However, if you were writing about radically different political systems, points of view, or works of art, then your comparison section may be shorter.
Discuss the differences in the order you’ve outlined them in the introduction. Make sure the similar and different points are contributing to your thesis. For example, if I were to argue that there are too many cartoons on Netflix and too many soaps on mainstream TV, that wouldn’t contribute to my argument. However, if you were to argue that television can offer live updates on current affairs, in a way that Hulu does not, that would contribute to an argument about which one is, overall, superior.
Other Writing Tips
Choose the right topic: Before you get started, you might find it helpful to make a list of all the similarities and differences between the things you are comparing. Make sure there are enough similarities to make your argument seem sensible. For example, pop music and classical music are both music genres but, beyond that, there’s no real reason to compare them. However, if you compare something like family life in the past and now, there are lots of things you can discuss in your essay and this leads to larger inferences about the social change that has taken place.
Do your research: Research the topic you will discuss as much as possible and be prepared to discuss the positive aspects of both things you are comparing. In the long run, this will actually make your argument stronger.
What would you compare and contrast if you could write about anything? Share your idea in the comments!
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Compare and contrast essays are taught in school for many reasons. For one thing, they are relatively easy to teach, understand, and format. Students can typically understand the structure with just a short amount of instruction. In addition, these essays allow students develop critical thinking skills to approach a variety of topics.
One fun way to get students started brainstorming their compare and contrast essays is to create a Venn diagram , where the overlapping sections of the circle contain similarities and the non-overlapping areas contain the differing traits.
Following is a list of 101 topics for compare and contrast essays that you are welcome to use in your classroom. As you look through the list you will see that some items are academic in nature while others are included for interest-building and fun writing activities.
- Apple vs. Microsoft
- Coke vs. Pepsi
- Renaissance Art vs. Baroque Art
- Antebellum Era vs. Reconstruction Era in American History
- Childhood vs. Adulthood
- Star Wars vs. Star Trek
- Biology vs. Chemistry
- Astrology vs. Astronomy
- American Government vs. British Government (or any world government)
- Fruits vs. Vegetables
- Dogs vs. Cats
- Ego vs. Superego
- Christianity vs. Judaism (or any world religion )
- Republican vs. Democrat
- Monarchy vs. Presidency
- US President vs. UK Prime Minister
- Jazz vs. Classical Music
- Red vs. White (or any two colors)
- Soccer vs. Football
- North vs. South Before the Civil War
- New England Colonies vs. Middle Colonies OR vs. Southern Colonies
- Cash vs. Credit Cards
- Sam vs. Frodo Baggins
- Gandalf vs. Dumbledore
- Fred vs. Shaggy
- Rap vs. Pop
- Articles of Confederation vs. U.S. Constitution
- Henry VIII vs. King Louis XIV
- Stocks vs. Bonds
- Monopolies vs. Oligopolies
- Communism vs. Capitalism
- Socialism vs. Capitalism
- Diesel vs. Petroleum
- Nuclear Power vs. Solar Power
- Saltwater Fish vs. Freshwater Fish
- Squids vs. Octopus
- Mammals vs. Reptiles
- Baleen vs. Toothed Whales
- Seals vs. Sea Lions
- Crocodiles vs. Alligators
- Bats vs. Birds
- Oven vs. Microwave
- Greek vs. Roman Mythology
- Chinese vs. Japanese
- Comedy vs. Drama
- Renting vs. Owning
- Mozart vs. Beethoven
- Online vs. Traditional Education
- North vs. South Pole
- Watercolor vs. Oil
- 1984 vs. Fahrenheit 451
- Emily Dickinson vs. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- W.E.B. DuBois vs. Booker T. Washington
- Strawberries vs. Apples
- Airplanes vs. Helicopters
- Hitler vs. Napoleon
- Roman Empire vs. British Empire
- Paper vs. Plastic
- Italy vs. Spain
- Baseball vs. Cricket
- Jefferson vs. Adams
- Thoroughbreds vs. Clydesdales
- Spiders vs. Scorpions
- Northern Hemisphere vs. Southern Hemisphere
- Hobbes vs. Locke
- Friends vs. Family
- Dried Fruit vs. Fresh
- Porcelain vs. Glass
- Modern Dance vs. Ballroom Dancing
- American Idol vs. The Voice
- Reality TV vs. Sitcoms
- Picard vs. Kirk
- Books vs. Movies
- Magazines vs. Comic Books
- Antique vs. New
- Public vs. Private Transportation
- Email vs. Letters
- Facebook vs. Twitter
- Coffee vs. an Energy Drink
- Toads vs. Frogs
- Profit vs. Non-Profit
- Boys vs. Girls
- Birds vs. Dinosaurs
- High School vs. College
- Chamberlain vs. Churchill
- Offense vs. Defense
- Jordan vs. Bryant
- Harry vs. Draco
- Roses vs. Carnations
- Poetry vs. Prose
- Fiction vs. Nonfiction
- Lions vs. Tigers
- Vampires vs. Werewolves
- Lollipops vs. popsicles
- Summer vs. Winter
- Recycling vs. Landfill
- Motorcycle vs. Bicycle
- Halogen vs. Incandescent
- Newton vs. Einstein
- . Go on vacation vs. Staycation
- Rock vs. Scissors
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How to Write a Comparative Essay – A Complete Guide
10 min read
Published on: Jan 28, 2020
Last updated on: Nov 21, 2023
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Comparative essay is a common assignment for school and college students. Many students are not aware of the complexities of crafting a strong comparative essay.
If you too are struggling with this, don't worry!
In this blog, you will get a complete writing guide for comparative essay writing. From structuring formats to creative topics, this guide has it all.
So, keep reading!
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What is a Comparative Essay?
A comparative essay is a type of essay in which an essay writer compares at least two or more items. The author compares two subjects with the same relation in terms of similarities and differences depending on the assignment.
The main purpose of the comparative essay is to:
- Highlight the similarities and differences in a systematic manner.
- Provide great clarity of the subject to the readers.
- Analyze two things and describe their advantages and drawbacks.
A comparative essay is also known as compare and contrast essay or a comparison essay. It analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both. The Venn diagram is the best tool for writing a paper about the comparison between two subjects.
Moreover, a comparative analysis essay discusses the similarities and differences of themes, items, events, views, places, concepts, etc. For example, you can compare two different novels (e.g., The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Red Badge of Courage).
However, a comparative essay is not limited to specific topics. It covers almost every topic or subject with some relation.
Comparative Essay Structure
A good comparative essay is based on how well you structure your essay. It helps the reader to understand your essay better.
The structure is more important than what you write. This is because it is necessary to organize your essay so that the reader can easily go through the comparisons made in an essay.
The following are the two main methods in which you can organize your comparative essay.
The point-by-point or alternating method provides a detailed overview of the items that you are comparing. In this method, organize items in terms of similarities and differences.
This method makes the writing phase easy for the writer to handle two completely different essay subjects. It is highly recommended where some depth and detail are required.
Below given is the structure of the point-by-point method.
The block method is the easiest as compared to the point-by-point method. In this method, you divide the information in terms of parameters. It means that the first paragraph compares the first subject and all their items, then the second one compares the second, and so on.
However, make sure that you write the subject in the same order. This method is best for lengthy essays and complicated subjects.
Here is the structure of the block method.
Therefore, keep these methods in mind and choose the one according to the chosen subject.
Mixed Paragraphs Method
In this method, one paragraph explains one aspect of the subject. As a writer, you will handle one point at a time and one by one. This method is quite beneficial as it allows you to give equal weightage to each subject and help the readers identify the point of comparison easily.
How to Start a Comparative Essay?
Here, we have gathered some steps that you should follow to start a well-written comparative essay.
Choose a Topic
The foremost step in writing a comparative essay is to choose a suitable topic.
Choose a topic or theme that is interesting to write about and appeals to the reader.
An interesting essay topic motivates the reader to know about the subject. Also, try to avoid complicated topics for your comparative essay.
Develop a List of Similarities and Differences
Create a list of similarities and differences between two subjects that you want to include in the essay. Moreover, this list helps you decide the basis of your comparison by constructing your initial plan.
Evaluate the list and establish your argument and thesis statement .
Establish the Basis for Comparison
The basis for comparison is the ground for you to compare the subjects. In most cases, it is assigned to you, so check your assignment or prompt.
Furthermore, the main goal of the comparison essay is to inform the reader of something interesting. It means that your subject must be unique to make your argument interesting.
Do the Research
In this step, you have to gather information for your subject. If your comparative essay is about social issues, historical events, or science-related topics, you must do in-depth research.
However, make sure that you gather data from credible sources and cite them properly in the essay.
Create an Outline
An essay outline serves as a roadmap for your essay, organizing key elements into a structured format.
With your topic, list of comparisons, basis for comparison, and research in hand, the next step is to create a comprehensive outline.
Here is a standard comparative essay outline:
How to Write a Comparative Essay?
Now that you have the basic information organized in an outline, you can get started on the writing process.
Here are the essential parts of a comparative essay:
Comparative Essay Introduction
Start off by grabbing your reader's attention in the introduction . Use something catchy, like a quote, question, or interesting fact about your subjects.
Then, give a quick background so your reader knows what's going on.
The most important part is your thesis statement, where you state the main argument , the basis for comparison, and why the comparison is significant.
This is what a typical thesis statement for a comparative essay looks like:
Comparative Essay Body Paragraphs
The body paragraphs are where you really get into the details of your subjects. Each paragraph should focus on one thing you're comparing.
Start by talking about the first point of comparison. Then, go on to the next points. Make sure to talk about two to three differences to give a good picture.
After that, switch gears and talk about the things they have in common. Just like you discussed three differences, try to cover three similarities.
This way, your essay stays balanced and fair. This approach helps your reader understand both the ways your subjects are different and the ways they are similar. Keep it simple and clear for a strong essay.
Comparative Essay Conclusion
In your conclusion , bring together the key insights from your analysis to create a strong and impactful closing.
Consider the broader context or implications of the subjects' differences and similarities. What do these insights reveal about the broader themes or ideas you're exploring?
Discuss the broader implications of these findings and restate your thesis. Avoid introducing new information and end with a thought-provoking statement that leaves a lasting impression.
Below is the detailed comparative essay template format for you to understand better.
Comparative Essay Format
Comparative Essay Examples
Have a look at these comparative essay examples pdf to get an idea of the perfect essay.
Comparative Essay on Summer and Winter
Comparative Essay on Books vs. Movies
Comparative Essay Sample
Comparative Essay Thesis Example
Comparative Essay on Football vs Cricket
Comparative Essay on Pet and Wild Animals
Comparative Essay Topics
Comparative essay topics are not very difficult or complex. Check this list of essay topics and pick the one that you want to write about.
- How do education and employment compare?
- Living in a big city or staying in a village.
- The school principal or college dean.
- New Year vs. Christmas celebration.
- Dried Fruit vs. Fresh. Which is better?
- Similarities between philosophy and religion.
- British colonization and Spanish colonization.
- Nuclear power for peace or war?
- Bacteria or viruses.
- Fast food vs. homemade food.
Tips for Writing A Good Comparative Essay
Writing a compelling comparative essay requires thoughtful consideration and strategic planning. Here are some valuable tips to enhance the quality of your comparative essay:
- Clearly define what you're comparing, like themes or characters.
- Plan your essay structure using methods like point-by-point or block paragraphs.
- Craft an introduction that introduces subjects and states your purpose.
- Ensure an equal discussion of both similarities and differences.
- Use linking words for seamless transitions between paragraphs.
- Gather credible information for depth and authenticity.
- Use clear and simple language, avoiding unnecessary jargon.
- Dedicate each paragraph to a specific point of comparison.
- Summarize key points, restate the thesis, and emphasize significance.
- Thoroughly check for clarity, coherence, and correct any errors.
Transition Words For Comparative Essays
Transition words are crucial for guiding your reader through the comparative analysis. They help establish connections between ideas and ensure a smooth flow in your essay.
Here are some transition words and phrases to improve the flow of your comparative essay:
Transition Words for Similarities
- In the same vein
- In like manner
- In a similar fashion
- In tandem with
Transition Words for Differences
- On the contrary
- In contrast
- In spite of
- On the flip side
- In contradistinction
Check out this blog listing more transition words that you can use to enhance your essay’s coherence!
In conclusion, now that you have the important steps and helpful tips to write a good comparative essay, you can start working on your own essay.
However, if you find it tough to begin, you can always hire our professional essay writing service .
Our skilled writers can handle any type of essay or assignment you need. So, don't wait—place your order now and make your academic journey easier!
Frequently Asked Question
How long is a comparative essay.
A comparative essay is 4-5 pages long, but it depends on your chosen idea and topic.
How do you end a comparative essay?
Here are some tips that will help you to end the comparative essay.
- Restate the thesis statement
- Wrap up the entire essay
- Highlight the main points
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How to Write a Comparison Essay
24 Jul 2021
As we navigate our lives, we can’t help but notice the elements in our environment, whether it’s the latest car, a fashion trend, or even some experiences. Think about your favorite Mexican restaurant, then visit another; automatically, you’re likely to size them up to each other. So when your professors assign you homework to compare two samples in a case study, it may seem natural.
But at the college level, something happens, our natural ability to compare vacates us. You may be stuck wondering how to write a comparison essay. This is a common dilemma many students face. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to walk you through the perfect paper's construction steps. Below, you’ll find:
- A comprehensive guide on how to write a comparison essay, outlining its purpose, how to choose relevant topics for comparison, and the structure for presenting the content effectively.
- That the comparison essay requires the writer to analyze two objects, events, or theories and identify their similarities and differences, supporting findings with empirical data.
- For a successful comparison essay, it's essential to choose relevant subjects, have a clear and precise thesis statement, and employ an effective structure, depending on the subjects and purpose of the essay.
So read on to learn how the pros from Papersowl suggest writing a compare and contrast essay.
What Is a Comparison Essay?
As it sounds, your comparative essay should analyze two objects, events, or theories and determine the similarities and differences . The overall goal of the paper is for the reader to clearly identify how the studied criteria are the same and where they diverge. In a marketing class, you may evaluate two similar products and develop a plan to demonstrate their features and benefits. Or, in a psychology class, you may have an in-depth look at two therapy techniques and then evaluate the results of a particular case study.
Your paper's critical component is that you must ensure your findings are backed up with empirical data. While you may feel one subject is “better” than another, giving examples to prove your position is important. Information that can be weighed or measured, such as a device's performance or the results of a process, is strong evidence to support a claim.
Choosing a Great Topic for a Comparison Essay
What you write about could make or break your paper. As in any academic work, a good compare and contrast essay will have a purpose that adds value. For this, consider topics that are helpful in your discipline. Effective compare and contrast topics should expand the universe of knowledge or valid claims that have not yet been proven. A few examples of topics include:
- Economics : Fiscal Policy vs. Monetary Policy – An Analysis of the great depression and the Era of stagflation
- Political Science : Obama and Bush – Inspirational speaker vs. humble demeanor
- Literature : Faulkner and Hemingway – A Paradox of Prose
- Philosophy : Existentialism and Utilitarianism
- Law : Applications of Common Law vs. Statue Law Regarding Property
In addition to these academic subjects, you may be tasked to write a good application comparison essay when entering college. These topics could be more light-hearted and include comparing your youth with your adolescent years or comparing two close friends.
The pre-writing stage is an indispensable phase in the essay-writing process, laying the foundation for a well-organized and insightful piece. Before diving into the actual writing, this preparatory stage allows you to explore, organize, and refine their thoughts. For compare and contrast essays, this often involves researching the chosen subjects to uncover detailed information, nuances, and perspectives. Techniques such as brainstorming can help identify key points of similarity and difference, while tools like Venn diagrams visually map out where subjects overlap and where they diverge. This visual representation can be particularly invaluable in determining the essay's structure and focus. Additionally, the pre-writing stage is an opportune time to formulate a tentative thesis statement, which will provide direction and purpose as the essay evolves. By dedicating time to this initial phase, writers can ensure a clearer, more coherent essay, minimizing potential roadblocks and revisions later in the writing process. In essence, the pre-writing is akin to blueprinting; it's where the groundwork is laid for the construction of a compelling narrative.
The thesis statement is the anchor of any well-structured essay, offering readers a concise snapshot of what to expect. In a compare and contrast essay, the thesis not only indicates the subjects to be compared but also the focus and purpose of the comparison. Begin by pinpointing the main similarities or differences you want to highlight. For instance, if comparing apples to oranges, your thesis might read: "While apples and oranges both provide essential vitamins and are popular fruits, they differ in texture, taste, and cultural significance." This statement not only sets the subjects of comparison but also guides readers on the specific aspects being compared.
Crafting an effective thesis requires clarity and precision. It should avoid vague language and ensure that readers can anticipate the direction of the discussion. Remember, a strong thesis statement acts as a roadmap, helping to steer both the writer and the reader through the essay's argumentative landscape.
Stuck with finding the right title?
Get plenty of fresh and catchy topic ideas and pick the perfect one with PapersOwl Title Generator.
Structure for a Compare and Contrast Essay
When setting out to write a compare and contrast essay, one of the initial and fundamental decisions you'll need to make is regarding the essay's structure. Your choice of structure can have a profound impact on the clarity and effectiveness of your presentation. Here's how you can determine the best structure for your essay:
Understand Your Subjects:
- Before choosing a structure, you need a clear understanding of your subjects and the points of comparison. Are there numerous similarities and differences, or just a few major ones?
Purpose of the Essay:
- Are you trying to highlight the stark differences between your subjects, shed light on unexpected similarities, or do both? Your purpose can guide the structure.
- Think about your readers. If your subjects are very unfamiliar to your audience, the block method might be better because it allows for a more in-depth exploration of each subject before contrasting.
Two Predominant Structures:
Block Method: In this structure, you discuss all relevant points related to one subject and then move on to the next subject. This approach can be particularly useful if you want your readers to have an in-depth understanding of each subject before highlighting the contrasts.
✏️ Example: If you're comparing apples and oranges, you would first discuss everything about apples and then everything about oranges.
Point-by-Point Method: This is a more integrated approach. For each point of comparison, you alternate between the two subjects. This method keeps the comparison and contrast front and center and can make direct contrasts clearer.
✏️ Example: Discuss the color of apples and then the color of oranges, followed by the texture of apples and then the texture of oranges, and so on.
Whichever structure you choose, your primary goal should be clarity. Ensure that your points of comparison are clear and that readers can easily follow your reasoning. Remember, while these are the two primary structures, they are not set in stone. Depending on your topic, you might find it effective to blend these structures in some sections.
In conclusion, the structure you choose for your compare and contrast essay will significantly shape your argument's presentation. While the block method allows for a deep dive into each subject separately, the point-by-point method maintains a tight focus on the comparison throughout the essay. Evaluate your subjects, your purpose, and your audience, and choose the structure that most effectively communicates your points.
Compare and Contrast Essay Outline
A good essay outline will contain, at a minimum, the three core sections – introduction, body, and conclusion. Often times the intro can be the most difficult to write, and it should be reserved for last. Once you have all your ideas laid out, hammering out a solid beginning is much easier to inform the reader what is to follow. You can pick out an interesting fact in your paper to write a strong hook to lure your readers in. Also, you’ll be able to tighten up your compare-and-contrast thesis to give a stronger impression.
Comparison Essay Outline Example
In this example, we’ll compare and contrast the essay point by point. In our comparison essay structure, we’ve elected to speak about similarities and follow up with differences and apply an extended conclusion with analysis and then the actual concluding paragraph for the scope of the paper.
In our comparative essay outline example, we’ve put together a basic template of what the paper should look like. Mind you, this is an informal template for an introduction to compare and contrast essay . If your course requires you to submit a formal outline in APA or MLA style, be sure to draft one according to the latest style guide.
You can use this comparative essay outline template to draft your paper as a means to get your ideas out on paper. Like many students, you could be short on time or not have the ability to complete your paper. In this case, you can use our writing service, and we’ll draft a perfect custom text for you to meet any deadlines you have.
We all have our opinions and curiosities, and sharing them with the world is a fun experience. And you can through an effective contrast and comparison paper. Just be sure to pick subjects that can be analyzed and back up your conclusions with data, and you’ll be well on your way to unlocking the world's inner workings. Sometimes you may find a lack of inspiration for a topic or are stressed to get a high grade. We are here to help 24/7/365 to get you out of a jam and write your papers for you in your time of need. So reach out to us, and we are here to help.
Tips to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay
If you’re wondering how to write a comparison essay fast, there are a few tricks to make the most of your time. Follow these steps professional writers use, and you’ll get your paper done to meet the tightest deadlines.
- Brainstorm on a scratch pad : You may be used to using your computer for everything, but for organizing your ideas, old-fashioned scratch paper works best. Draw a side-by-side chart and start listing out the characteristics of your subjects. Mention all the pros and cons, physical characteristics, as well as processes and applications that each possesses.
- Make sure to choose comparable subjects that will make sense to the reader.
- Ensure that the thesis statement is strong and to the point.
- Do good research and ensure that your arguments are clearly stated.
- Build your outline of compare and contrast essay : You can start to compare and contrast essay outline with your data table. Check the required length of your paper and start building a paragraph structure that will meet any bullet points and suffice the word count. Be sure to start off with your most interesting points to keep the reader engaged.
- Draft your paper : Be sure to include a catchy title that is on point with the contents of your work. As a general rule, try not to go over 12 words in your title. Also, note that the thesis statement for the comparison and contrast essay should relate to every section of your text.
- Use transitional words to make it easier for the reader to follow the arguments presented in your essay.
Transitional words and phrases are the connective tissues of an essay, ensuring the flow of ideas is seamless and readers can easily navigate the content. Especially crucial in compare and contrast essays, these transitions aid in clarifying comparisons or highlighting disparities. Words like "similarly," "likewise," and "equally" signal similarities between subjects, guiding the reader's understanding of how two things align. Conversely, phrases such as "on the other hand," "however," and "in contrast" denote differences, emphasizing the distinct characteristics of each subject.
- Review your work : Now, it’s time to smooth out some rough patches in your initial draft and fine-tune some sections. Pay special attention to retaining your paper’s focus and meeting all the task requirements. Many students get stuck in this phase and, while they’ve met the requirements, are not happy with the final product. In this case, a comparison essay to buy is a great alternative. Hiring a specialist in your subject is the best way to get a good grade.
There are various factors to consider, such as structure, format, and even finding the right resources. Fortunately, cheap essay writing services such as PapersOwl make the process much easier. Simply provide your instructions, and their professional writers will create an original paper for you.
Comparison Essay Format
Universities are real sticklers for formatting. This may seem like an annoyance for many students, but academic work should be consistent across disciplines to aid analysts in efficiently referencing work and applying it to their own studies. Depending on your course, you may be required to write a comparison essay in MLA format or APA. So armed with the latest style guide of your choice, let’s get down to how to write a good comparison essay outline.
Bringing It All Together
Comparing and contrasting is an intrinsic part of our daily decision-making. From choosing restaurants to assessing products, we inherently evaluate based on similarities and differences. Yet, when tasked with a formal compare and contrast essay in academia, many students falter. This guide aims to simplify the process, providing structure and clarity. Emphasizing the importance of a solid thesis, structured format, and the use of transitional phrases, it offers a blueprint for effective essay writing.
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I am a proficient writer from the United States with over five years of experience in academic writing. I comfortably complete given assignments within stipulated deadlines and at the same time deliver high-quality work, which follows the guidelines provided.
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- Comparing and contrasting in an essay | Tips & examples
Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay | Tips & Examples
Published on August 6, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
Comparing and contrasting is an important skill in academic writing . It involves taking two or more subjects and analyzing the differences and similarities between them.
Table of contents
When should i compare and contrast, making effective comparisons, comparing and contrasting as a brainstorming tool, structuring your comparisons, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about comparing and contrasting.
Many assignments will invite you to make comparisons quite explicitly, as in these prompts.
- Compare the treatment of the theme of beauty in the poetry of William Wordsworth and John Keats.
- Compare and contrast in-class and distance learning. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?
Some other prompts may not directly ask you to compare and contrast, but present you with a topic where comparing and contrasting could be a good approach.
One way to approach this essay might be to contrast the situation before the Great Depression with the situation during it, to highlight how large a difference it made.
Comparing and contrasting is also used in all kinds of academic contexts where it’s not explicitly prompted. For example, a literature review involves comparing and contrasting different studies on your topic, and an argumentative essay may involve weighing up the pros and cons of different arguments.
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As the name suggests, comparing and contrasting is about identifying both similarities and differences. You might focus on contrasting quite different subjects or comparing subjects with a lot in common—but there must be some grounds for comparison in the first place.
For example, you might contrast French society before and after the French Revolution; you’d likely find many differences, but there would be a valid basis for comparison. However, if you contrasted pre-revolutionary France with Han-dynasty China, your reader might wonder why you chose to compare these two societies.
This is why it’s important to clarify the point of your comparisons by writing a focused thesis statement . Every element of an essay should serve your central argument in some way. Consider what you’re trying to accomplish with any comparisons you make, and be sure to make this clear to the reader.
Comparing and contrasting can be a useful tool to help organize your thoughts before you begin writing any type of academic text. You might use it to compare different theories and approaches you’ve encountered in your preliminary research, for example.
Let’s say your research involves the competing psychological approaches of behaviorism and cognitive psychology. You might make a table to summarize the key differences between them.
Or say you’re writing about the major global conflicts of the twentieth century. You might visualize the key similarities and differences in a Venn diagram.
These visualizations wouldn’t make it into your actual writing, so they don’t have to be very formal in terms of phrasing or presentation. The point of comparing and contrasting at this stage is to help you organize and shape your ideas to aid you in structuring your arguments.
When comparing and contrasting in an essay, there are two main ways to structure your comparisons: the alternating method and the block method.
The alternating method
In the alternating method, you structure your text according to what aspect you’re comparing. You cover both your subjects side by side in terms of a specific point of comparison. Your text is structured like this:
Mouse over the example paragraph below to see how this approach works.
One challenge teachers face is identifying and assisting students who are struggling without disrupting the rest of the class. In a traditional classroom environment, the teacher can easily identify when a student is struggling based on their demeanor in class or simply by regularly checking on students during exercises. They can then offer assistance quietly during the exercise or discuss it further after class. Meanwhile, in a Zoom-based class, the lack of physical presence makes it more difficult to pay attention to individual students’ responses and notice frustrations, and there is less flexibility to speak with students privately to offer assistance. In this case, therefore, the traditional classroom environment holds the advantage, although it appears likely that aiding students in a virtual classroom environment will become easier as the technology, and teachers’ familiarity with it, improves.
The block method
In the block method, you cover each of the overall subjects you’re comparing in a block. You say everything you have to say about your first subject, then discuss your second subject, making comparisons and contrasts back to the things you’ve already said about the first. Your text is structured like this:
- Point of comparison A
- Point of comparison B
The most commonly cited advantage of distance learning is the flexibility and accessibility it offers. Rather than being required to travel to a specific location every week (and to live near enough to feasibly do so), students can participate from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows not only for a wider geographical spread of students but for the possibility of studying while travelling. However, distance learning presents its own accessibility challenges; not all students have a stable internet connection and a computer or other device with which to participate in online classes, and less technologically literate students and teachers may struggle with the technical aspects of class participation. Furthermore, discomfort and distractions can hinder an individual student’s ability to engage with the class from home, creating divergent learning experiences for different students. Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.
Note that these two methods can be combined; these two example paragraphs could both be part of the same essay, but it’s wise to use an essay outline to plan out which approach you’re taking in each paragraph.
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Some essay prompts include the keywords “compare” and/or “contrast.” In these cases, an essay structured around comparing and contrasting is the appropriate response.
Comparing and contrasting is also a useful approach in all kinds of academic writing : You might compare different studies in a literature review , weigh up different arguments in an argumentative essay , or consider different theoretical approaches in a theoretical framework .
Your subjects might be very different or quite similar, but it’s important that there be meaningful grounds for comparison . You can probably describe many differences between a cat and a bicycle, but there isn’t really any connection between them to justify the comparison.
You’ll have to write a thesis statement explaining the central point you want to make in your essay , so be sure to know in advance what connects your subjects and makes them worth comparing.
Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:
- The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
- The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.
It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.
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Comparing and Contrasting
What this handout is about.
This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective. It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond “Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others.”
In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements. One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another. By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them.
Recognizing comparison/contrast in assignments
Some assignments use words—like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences—that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast. Here are a few hypothetical examples:
- Compare and contrast Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression.
- Compare WWI to WWII, identifying similarities in the causes, development, and outcomes of the wars.
- Contrast Wordsworth and Coleridge; what are the major differences in their poetry?
Notice that some topics ask only for comparison, others only for contrast, and others for both.
But it’s not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast. And in some cases, comparison/contrast is only part of the essay—you begin by comparing and/or contrasting two or more things and then use what you’ve learned to construct an argument or evaluation. Consider these examples, noticing the language that is used to ask for the comparison/contrast and whether the comparison/contrast is only one part of a larger assignment:
- Choose a particular idea or theme, such as romantic love, death, or nature, and consider how it is treated in two Romantic poems.
- How do the different authors we have studied so far define and describe oppression?
- Compare Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression. What does each imply about women’s collusion in their own oppression? Which is more accurate?
- In the texts we’ve studied, soldiers who served in different wars offer differing accounts of their experiences and feelings both during and after the fighting. What commonalities are there in these accounts? What factors do you think are responsible for their differences?
You may want to check out our handout on understanding assignments for additional tips.
Using comparison/contrast for all kinds of writing projects
Sometimes you may want to use comparison/contrast techniques in your own pre-writing work to get ideas that you can later use for an argument, even if comparison/contrast isn’t an official requirement for the paper you’re writing. For example, if you wanted to argue that Frye’s account of oppression is better than both de Beauvoir’s and Bartky’s, comparing and contrasting the main arguments of those three authors might help you construct your evaluation—even though the topic may not have asked for comparison/contrast and the lists of similarities and differences you generate may not appear anywhere in the final draft of your paper.
Discovering similarities and differences
Making a Venn diagram or a chart can help you quickly and efficiently compare and contrast two or more things or ideas. To make a Venn diagram, simply draw some overlapping circles, one circle for each item you’re considering. In the central area where they overlap, list the traits the two items have in common. Assign each one of the areas that doesn’t overlap; in those areas, you can list the traits that make the things different. Here’s a very simple example, using two pizza places:
To make a chart, figure out what criteria you want to focus on in comparing the items. Along the left side of the page, list each of the criteria. Across the top, list the names of the items. You should then have a box per item for each criterion; you can fill the boxes in and then survey what you’ve discovered.
As you generate points of comparison, consider the purpose and content of the assignment and the focus of the class. What do you think the professor wants you to learn by doing this comparison/contrast? How does it fit with what you have been studying so far and with the other assignments in the course? Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself?
Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. These are by no means complete or definitive lists; they’re just here to give you some ideas—you can generate your own questions for these and other types of comparison. You may want to begin by using the questions reporters traditionally ask: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? If you’re talking about objects, you might also consider general properties like size, shape, color, sound, weight, taste, texture, smell, number, duration, and location.
Two historical periods or events
- When did they occur—do you know the date(s) and duration? What happened or changed during each? Why are they significant?
- What kinds of work did people do? What kinds of relationships did they have? What did they value?
- What kinds of governments were there? Who were important people involved?
- What caused events in these periods, and what consequences did they have later on?
Two ideas or theories
- What are they about?
- Did they originate at some particular time?
- Who created them? Who uses or defends them?
- What is the central focus, claim, or goal of each? What conclusions do they offer?
- How are they applied to situations/people/things/etc.?
- Which seems more plausible to you, and why? How broad is their scope?
- What kind of evidence is usually offered for them?
Two pieces of writing or art
- What are their titles? What do they describe or depict?
- What is their tone or mood? What is their form?
- Who created them? When were they created? Why do you think they were created as they were? What themes do they address?
- Do you think one is of higher quality or greater merit than the other(s)—and if so, why?
- For writing: what plot, characterization, setting, theme, tone, and type of narration are used?
- Where are they from? How old are they? What is the gender, race, class, etc. of each?
- What, if anything, are they known for? Do they have any relationship to each other?
- What are they like? What did/do they do? What do they believe? Why are they interesting?
- What stands out most about each of them?
Deciding what to focus on
By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations! Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper. Ask yourself these questions:
- What’s relevant to the assignment?
- What’s relevant to the course?
- What’s interesting and informative?
- What matters to the argument you are going to make?
- What’s basic or central (and needs to be mentioned even if obvious)?
- Overall, what’s more important—the similarities or the differences?
Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels. For most literature classes, the fact that they both use Caslon type (a kind of typeface, like the fonts you may use in your writing) is not going to be relevant, nor is the fact that one of them has a few illustrations and the other has none; literature classes are more likely to focus on subjects like characterization, plot, setting, the writer’s style and intentions, language, central themes, and so forth. However, if you were writing a paper for a class on typesetting or on how illustrations are used to enhance novels, the typeface and presence or absence of illustrations might be absolutely critical to include in your final paper.
Sometimes a particular point of comparison or contrast might be relevant but not terribly revealing or interesting. For example, if you are writing a paper about Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” and Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight,” pointing out that they both have nature as a central theme is relevant (comparisons of poetry often talk about themes) but not terribly interesting; your class has probably already had many discussions about the Romantic poets’ fondness for nature. Talking about the different ways nature is depicted or the different aspects of nature that are emphasized might be more interesting and show a more sophisticated understanding of the poems.
The thesis of your comparison/contrast paper is very important: it can help you create a focused argument and give your reader a road map so she/he doesn’t get lost in the sea of points you are about to make. As in any paper, you will want to replace vague reports of your general topic (for example, “This paper will compare and contrast two pizza places,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in some ways and different in others,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in many ways, but they have one major difference”) with something more detailed and specific. For example, you might say, “Pepper’s and Amante have similar prices and ingredients, but their atmospheres and willingness to deliver set them apart.”
Be careful, though—although this thesis is fairly specific and does propose a simple argument (that atmosphere and delivery make the two pizza places different), your instructor will often be looking for a bit more analysis. In this case, the obvious question is “So what? Why should anyone care that Pepper’s and Amante are different in this way?” One might also wonder why the writer chose those two particular pizza places to compare—why not Papa John’s, Dominos, or Pizza Hut? Again, thinking about the context the class provides may help you answer such questions and make a stronger argument. Here’s a revision of the thesis mentioned earlier:
Pepper’s and Amante both offer a greater variety of ingredients than other Chapel Hill/Carrboro pizza places (and than any of the national chains), but the funky, lively atmosphere at Pepper’s makes it a better place to give visiting friends and family a taste of local culture.
You may find our handout on constructing thesis statements useful at this stage.
Organizing your paper
There are many different ways to organize a comparison/contrast essay. Here are two:
Begin by saying everything you have to say about the first subject you are discussing, then move on and make all the points you want to make about the second subject (and after that, the third, and so on, if you’re comparing/contrasting more than two things). If the paper is short, you might be able to fit all of your points about each item into a single paragraph, but it’s more likely that you’d have several paragraphs per item. Using our pizza place comparison/contrast as an example, after the introduction, you might have a paragraph about the ingredients available at Pepper’s, a paragraph about its location, and a paragraph about its ambience. Then you’d have three similar paragraphs about Amante, followed by your conclusion.
The danger of this subject-by-subject organization is that your paper will simply be a list of points: a certain number of points (in my example, three) about one subject, then a certain number of points about another. This is usually not what college instructors are looking for in a paper—generally they want you to compare or contrast two or more things very directly, rather than just listing the traits the things have and leaving it up to the reader to reflect on how those traits are similar or different and why those similarities or differences matter. Thus, if you use the subject-by-subject form, you will probably want to have a very strong, analytical thesis and at least one body paragraph that ties all of your different points together.
A subject-by-subject structure can be a logical choice if you are writing what is sometimes called a “lens” comparison, in which you use one subject or item (which isn’t really your main topic) to better understand another item (which is). For example, you might be asked to compare a poem you’ve already covered thoroughly in class with one you are reading on your own. It might make sense to give a brief summary of your main ideas about the first poem (this would be your first subject, the “lens”), and then spend most of your paper discussing how those points are similar to or different from your ideas about the second.
Rather than addressing things one subject at a time, you may wish to talk about one point of comparison at a time. There are two main ways this might play out, depending on how much you have to say about each of the things you are comparing. If you have just a little, you might, in a single paragraph, discuss how a certain point of comparison/contrast relates to all the items you are discussing. For example, I might describe, in one paragraph, what the prices are like at both Pepper’s and Amante; in the next paragraph, I might compare the ingredients available; in a third, I might contrast the atmospheres of the two restaurants.
If I had a bit more to say about the items I was comparing/contrasting, I might devote a whole paragraph to how each point relates to each item. For example, I might have a whole paragraph about the clientele at Pepper’s, followed by a whole paragraph about the clientele at Amante; then I would move on and do two more paragraphs discussing my next point of comparison/contrast—like the ingredients available at each restaurant.
There are no hard and fast rules about organizing a comparison/contrast paper, of course. Just be sure that your reader can easily tell what’s going on! Be aware, too, of the placement of your different points. If you are writing a comparison/contrast in service of an argument, keep in mind that the last point you make is the one you are leaving your reader with. For example, if I am trying to argue that Amante is better than Pepper’s, I should end with a contrast that leaves Amante sounding good, rather than with a point of comparison that I have to admit makes Pepper’s look better. If you’ve decided that the differences between the items you’re comparing/contrasting are most important, you’ll want to end with the differences—and vice versa, if the similarities seem most important to you.
Our handout on organization can help you write good topic sentences and transitions and make sure that you have a good overall structure in place for your paper.
Cue words and other tips
To help your reader keep track of where you are in the comparison/contrast, you’ll want to be sure that your transitions and topic sentences are especially strong. Your thesis should already have given the reader an idea of the points you’ll be making and the organization you’ll be using, but you can help her/him out with some extra cues. The following words may be helpful to you in signaling your intentions:
- like, similar to, also, unlike, similarly, in the same way, likewise, again, compared to, in contrast, in like manner, contrasted with, on the contrary, however, although, yet, even though, still, but, nevertheless, conversely, at the same time, regardless, despite, while, on the one hand … on the other hand.
For example, you might have a topic sentence like one of these:
- Compared to Pepper’s, Amante is quiet.
- Like Amante, Pepper’s offers fresh garlic as a topping.
- Despite their different locations (downtown Chapel Hill and downtown Carrboro), Pepper’s and Amante are both fairly easy to get to.
You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay
- 9th March 2021
In a compare and contrast essay , you look at the similarities and differences between two subjects. How do you write one, though? Key steps include:
- Pick two things to compare based on the assignment you were given.
- Brainstorm the similarities and differences between your chosen subjects.
- Choose a structure for your essay and plan how you will write it.
- Write up your comparison and use evidence to support your argument.
- Revise and proofread your essay to make sure it is perfect.
For more advice on each stage, check out our guide below.
1. Pick Two Subjects to Compare and Contrast
A compare and contrast assignment will ask you, unsurprisingly, to compare and contrast two things. In some cases, the assignment question will make this clear. For instance, if the assignment says “Compare how Mozart and Beethoven use melody,” you will have a very clear sense of what to write about!
Other times, you will have a choice of what to compare. In this case, you will want to pick two things that are similar enough to make a useful comparison.
For example, comparing Mozart and Beethoven makes sense because both are classical composers. This means there will be lots of points of comparison between them. But comparing Mozart to a Ferrari SF90 Stradale would just be confusing: one is a renowned composer and musician, the other is a high-end sports car, so they have very little in common that we could usefully compare.
At the same time, the things you pick should be different enough that you can find points of contrast. Were you asked to compare the calorific content of two types of fast food, for example, it might not make sense to compare hamburgers and cheeseburgers as they are too similar. But you could compare hamburgers and pizzas since both are forms of fast food but they differ in other respects.
As such, if you need to pick the subjects of your essay, read your assignment question carefully and try to find two things that will produce a helpful comparison.
2. Brainstorm Their Similarities and Differences
The next step is to brainstorm similarities and differences between your chosen subjects. You can do this as a simple list, but you could also use a Venn diagram .
This is a set of overlapping circles, each of which represents one subject. You can then add characteristics to each circle, with anything your subjects have in common going in the overlapping bit in the middle.
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Once you’ve listed characteristics, you’ll need to pick out the similarities and differences relevant to your essay. If you were assigned a question, use this to guide your choices. Otherwise, look for features that seem surprising or interesting and plan your essay around these. The key is to pick points of comparison that help us to understand each thing better, or where the similarities and differences show us something that we might not have expected or noticed otherwise.
3. Choose a Structure for Your Essay
As with any essay, you will want to start with a short introduction where you introduce your topic and what you will argue. Beyond this, most compare and contrast essays are structured in one of two ways. Decide which approach to take before you write your essay outline :
- Divide by subject – Cover each subject in turn, looking at the key features you’ve identified in the previous step. You can then include a final section where you highlight what comparing the subjects tell us.
- Divide by individual points – Break your essay down into a series of sections. Each section will then focus on one of the key features you’ve identified, explaining the similarities and differences between your chosen subjects.
For instance, if you were comparing two novels, you could write about each novel in turn and then compare them at the end. Alternatively, you could structure your essay so that each section covers an individual idea (e.g., one on structure, one on characters, one on language), looking at how each book uses these things.
In either case, you will want to end on a conclusion where you summarize what the comparison has shown us about the two subjects.
4. Use Supporting Evidence for Your Argument
It is important that you also back up your statements with supporting evidence. In some cases, this will simply involve pointing to the features of each subject that you’re discussing (e.g., citing specific parts of the novels you’re comparing).
However, you can also do extra research to back up your arguments. Were you comparing two countries’ economic performance, for example, you could use statistics from other studies or reports to show the similarities and differences.
5. Proofread Your Compare and Contrast Essay
Once you have a first draft of your compare and contrast essay, take a break. If you have time, leave it overnight. The aim is to come back to it with fresh eyes and reread it, looking for any areas you could improve. After this, you can redraft your essay to make sure your argument is clear, concise, and convincing.
It is also a good idea to have your essay proofread before submitting it. This will ensure your work is error free and help you get the marks you deserve.
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How to Write a Comparison Essay
- Essay Outline
- Expressions For Comparison Essays
- Sample Comparison 1
- Sample Comparison 2
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A comparison essay compares and contrasts two things. That is, it points out the similarities and differences (mostly focusing on the differences) of those two things. The two things usually belong to the same class (ex. two cities, two politicians, two sports, etc.). Relatively equal attention is given to the two subjects being compared. The essay may treat the two things objectively and impartially. Or it may be partial, favoring one thing over the other (ex. "American football is a sissy's game compared to rugby").
The important thing in any comparison essay is that the criteria for comparison should remain the same; that is, the same attributes should be compared . For example, if you are comparing an electric bulb lamp with a gas lamp, compare them both according to their physical characteristics, their history of development, and their operation.
Narrow Your Focus (in this essay, as in any essay). For example, if you compare two religions, focus on one particular aspect which you can discuss in depth and detail, e.g., sin in Buddhism vs. sin in Christianity, or salvation in two religions. Or if your topic is political, you might compare the Conservative attitude to old growth logging vs. the Green Party's attitude to old growth logging, or the Conservative attitude to the Persian Gulf War vs. the NDP attitude to the same war.
Each paragraph should deal with only one idea and deal with it thoroughly . Give adequate explanation and specific examples to support each idea. The first paragraph introduces the topic, captures the reader's attention, and provides a definite summary of the essay. It may be wise to end the first paragraph with a thesis statement that summarizes the main points of difference (or similarity). For example, "Submarines and warships differ not only in construction, but in their style of weapons and method of attack." This gives the reader a brief outline of your essay, allowing him to anticipate what's to come. Each middle paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that summarizes the main idea of that paragraph (ex. "The musical styles of Van Halen and Steely Dan are as differing in texture as are broken glass and clear water"). An opening sentence like this that uses a metaphor or simile not only summarizes the paragraph but captures the reader's attention, making him want to read on. Avoid a topic sentence that is too dull and too broad (ex. "There are many differences in the musical styles of Van Halen and Steely Dan").
VARY THE STRUCTURE
The structure of the comparison essay may vary. You may use simultaneous comparison structure in which the two things are compared together, feature by feature, point by point. For example, "The electric light bulb lasts 80 hours, while the gas lamp lasts only 20 hours . . . ." Or as in this example (comparing two American presidents):
Consider how perfectly Harding met the requirements for president. Wilson was a visionary who liked to identify himself with "forward-looking men"; Harding was as old-fashioned as those wooden Indians which used to stand in front of cigar stores, "a flower of the period before safety razors." Harding believed that statemanship had come to its apogee in the days of McKinley and Foraker. Wilson was cold. Harding was an affable small-town man, at ease with "folks"; he was an ideal companion to play poker with all Saturday night. Wilson had always been difficult of access; Harding was accessible to the last degree. etc.
Don't use simultaneous structure all the way through the essay, however. It becomes monotonous. Use it sparingly. For most of the essay, use parallel order structure .
In parallel order structure you compare the two things separately but take up the same points in the same order. For example, you may spend half a paragraph on "thing A" and the other half of the paragraph on the corresponding characteristics of "thing B." Or, if you have enough material, devote one paragraph to the physical characteristics of an electric bulb lamp, and the next paragraph to the physical characteristics of the gas lamp.
Or say everything there is to say about the electric bulb lamp (its physical characteristics, history of development and operation), followed by everything there is to say about the gas lamp.
For the sake of variety you may switch to simultaneous comparison at one point in the essay, and then switch back to parallel order structure for the rest of the essay. In fact, there are many ways to structure a comparison essay; use whichever organization works best for your particular paper. Here are a few sample organizational methods. "A" stands for "thing A" (ex. electric lamp) and "B" stands for "thing B" (ex. gas lamp). Each number (1,2,3, etc.) stands for a different aspect of that thing (ex. physical characteristics, operation, history of development).
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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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80 Intriguing Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Kids and Teens
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127 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
13 December, 2020
13 minutes read
Author: Elizabeth Brown
Crafting a compare and contrast essay is typically much more interesting and fun than working on a dissertation. With this piece of writing, a student gets his chance to be creative. Besides, one doesn’t have to re-invent the bicycle: these essays already have a purpose and a topic. All you have to do is find similarities or differences between specific notions. And yes, there is one more problem to it.
Half of the success of a compare and contrast essay lies in a properly-chosen topic. Now, this can be tricky.
Just think about it: would want to read a piece on a beaten topic like “Books vs. Television”? Or would you rather give a read to an unusual compare and contrast Korean and Vietnam war essay? While you know everything about the first one, the second topic actually sounds interesting.
Choosing compare and contrast essay topics can be time-consuming and daunting. However, with the guide our essay writer prepared, you will find a great title with no problem.
By the way, if you need a reminder of what such writing looks like and what components it consists of, don’t hesitate to read our guide on how to write a compare and contrast essay . It will help you structure and organize your knowledge in this regard.
And here is a short introduction to what this type of academic writing should really look like.
How to write a compare and contrast essay
Depending on the task you received from your tutor, in this particular academic paper you are either to compare several things or notions or contrast them.
Here is what a structure of this type of writing looks like:
- An engaging opening with a “hook.”
- A thesis statement that explains what is the focus of your writing and whether you’ll be comparing or contrasting the notions.
- If you don’t know how to write a thesis statement , here is a guide that will explain you all the details step by step.
- An argument #1 that supports the thesis statement.
- Evidence proving the author’s position.
- A short conclusion.
- A short reminder of a problem described in the essay.
- A brief overview of the similarities or differences (aka supporting arguments).
- A call to action or a interesting question to the audience.
Any A-grade essay would follow this structure. Thus, if you aim to receive better grades, consider taking this structure into account.
Meanwhile, as a student you get tons of other writing assignments. If you’re currently struggling with choosing good argumentative essay topics , don’t hesitate to take a look at our recent guide!
Finally, let’s dive into the search. After all, this is a key to crafting an excellent piece.
What makes good compare and contrast essay topics
Several factors make some topics your best option compared to the rest.
No matter how great the topic of your choice is, the target audience can sense when you genuinely care about what you are writing, and when you’re simply following the structure with no personal interest in the subject. If you write yawning and find it hard to find any evidence to support your position, chances are you’ve chosen a wrong topic. A compare and contrast dog and cat essay might be a good topic for a person deeply loving these furry little creatures. But someone not that much into domestic animals won’t be able to write a single line of an essay comparing dogs and cats. So, choose your topic wisely.
Availability of trusted sources.
In some cases, you have to use trusted sources to prove your point. Otherwise, your position might seem biased and subjective. That is why we strongly recommend you to check whether the compare and contrast essay titles you opted can be supported by evidence found at the trusted sources.
Recommendation of a tutor.
Last but not least, ask for recommendations. With years of experience under his belt, your tutor might have an eye for great topics. So, why not using his experience for your own good? Besides, apart from good topics suggestions, he can also provide you with great sources to explore. So, don’t lose an opportunity to make your life easier with his assistance!
Proper formatting style.
Proper formatting is hard to overestimate when it comes to A-grade essay writing. A great deal of your grade depends on it. That is why we recommend you to check out our essay format guide to figure out what your piece should look like.
These are the criteria that help you pick a good theme for your paper. But where should you look for theme to choose from in the first place? We know the answer.
If you aren’t sure you have the time and energy to craft a piece yourself, we’re here to help. Handmade Writing is a reliable place to order your academic papers from.
Sources of interesting topics
Basically, there are six sources students can go to these days:
- Social media.
- Scientific journals.
Each one of them is filled with personalities, facts, events, and locations to contrast and compare. Therefore, don’t hesitate to explore these right sources.
By the way, if you are looking for ideas or inspiration on how to write a scholarship essay , we’ve got something for you. We’ve gathered a guide that will walk you step by step through the process of composing a good essay that’ll get you college scholarship!
Easy compare and contrast essay topics for college students
- High school vs college.
- McDonalds and Burger King: Explain how these two fast food chains similar or different from each other.
- Public schools and homeschooling: Which do you prefer?
- Basketball and football: Popularity, speed of play, dependency on athleticism, personal preference, etc.
- Lamborgini vs. Bugatti.
- Virtual vs. Augmented reality: Which technology is the future?
- Star Wars vs. Star Trek: Which is better?
- Communism vs. Socialism: The good, the bad, and the ugly.
- American English vs British English.
- Conventional or E-learning: What would you choose?
- Computer and video games: Which is more fun?
- Inner beauty and outer beauty.
- Snapchat and Instagram: What makes them similar (different)?
- Stalin or Hitler: Which is a bigger evil? Or what in their management style was similar?
- Living in the big city or living in the country: What would you choose?
- Italian vs. Spanish cuisines.
- Active vacation in the mountains vs. passive rest by the sea.
- Facebook vs. Twitter.
- Windows vs. Linux.
- Android or iOS: Which is the future?
Funny compare and contrast essay topics
- Chandler, Joey and Ross: Which one of them is cooler?
- Pizza or pasta: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, which of these would you choose?
- Batman vs. SuperMan; Avengers vs. Justice League.
- Soccer vs football: How are they different apart from their name?
- Iron Man or Hulk: Which one is the best superhero of his time?
- Michael Jackson vs. Elvis Presley.
- George and Lennie.
- Harry Potter vs. Ronald Weasley: One is way cooler than the other.
- Simpsons or the South Park?
- Eternal summer or eternal winter: Which is the least of all evil?
- WW1 and WW2: Reasons, participants, number of dead and wounded, etc.
- Renaissance and Barocco.
- Roman and Greek mythology.
- Crusaders vs. Saracens.
- The European economics before and after WW2.
- Abolition of slavery in the USA and Europe.
- Japanese and European feudalism essay.
- Gender roles in the Roman Empire vs Ottoman Empire.
- British colonization and Spanish colonization.
- Lincoln and Kennedy.
- Reconstruction in America against the Industrial Age.
- Mongolian Empire and Persian Empire.
- Monaco vs Luxembourg: Countries’ history comparison.
- Worker unions history in the USA vs. Great Britain.
- Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great.
Compare and contrast essay between two jobs
- Marketer vs. Digital Marketer.
- Anthropologist vs. Philosopher vs. Psychologist
- Software Engineer vs. Software Architect.
- Film producer and a Film Director.
- Working from home and working at an office.
- Linguist and a Grammarian.
- Developer or a Coder?
- QA Specialist or a Test Engineer.
- Dean or a Principal.
- Accountant vs. Economist.
- Journalist vs. Reporter.
- Recruiter vs. HR Generalist.
- Copywriter vs. Content Marketer.
Compare and contrast essay between two cultures
- Egypt and Mesopotamia compare and contrast essay
- Modern European and American culture.
- Urbanism and ruralism.
- Vegetarianism vs. pescetarianism.
- Compare and contrast Mexico and United States essay.
- Emo culture and gothic.
- Compare and contrast Sparta and Athens essay.
- Bookworms vs. Film Buffs.
- Culture and ethnicity.
- Christianity, Islam and Judaism essay.
Interesting topics about literature
- Bible vs. Quran.
- 1984 vs. Fahrenheit 451.
- Chronicles of Narnia: Film or the book series?
- The Great Gatsby vs. The Catcher in the Rye.
- Fiction against non-fiction.
- Divine Comedy vs. Paradise Lost.
- Lord of the Rings: The book against the latest film production?
- Expository and Persuasive writing.
- Harry Potter vs. Lord of the Rings.
- Anne Frank’s Diary vs. I am Malala.
- Classic poetry against the modern one.
- Paper books against the e-books: The never-ending battle.
- Anne of Green Gables vs. Pollyanna.
- Pride and Prejudice vs. Bridget Jones’ Diary.
- Bronte sisters vs. Jane Austen.
- Drama and Comedy.
- To Kill a Mockingbird or The Help.
- Little Women vs. Little Men.
- Poetry and prose: What makes them different?
Topics related to movies and cinematography
- Wolf of Wall Street vs. Great Gatsby.
- Main differences between European and American films.
- Horror films and thrillers.
- House M.D. against Grey’s Anatomy.
- Sherlock Holmes: The old series or the new episodes?
- Polyanna: Which is better – a film or the book?
- Japanese horror films vs. American.
- Home Alone 1 vs. Home Alone 4.
- The Wizard of Oz against Gone With the Wind.
- The Sound of Music vs. Mary Poppins.
- Beverly Hills, 90210 or Melrose Place.
- Friends vs. The Office.
- Charlie Chaplin and Mr. Bean.
- The Pianist or Schindler’s List.
- Romeo and Juliet: 1968, 1996, and 2013 productions.
- Forrest Gump or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
- 300 or Gladiator.
- Lord of the Rings: extended edition vs. director’s cut.
- Ben-Hur (1959) vs. Ben-Hur (2016).
- Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) and Prince of Egypt.
- Dunkirk vs. Saving Private Ryan.
- The Green Mile vs. The Shawshank Redemption.
- Les Miserables (2012) vs. The Greatest Showman.
Music and arts-related topics
- Beyonce vs. Rihanna.
- Whitney Houston against Adele.
- Britney Spears against Madonna.
- Mona Lisa vs. Girl with a Pearl Earring.
- Van Gogh against Picasso.
- Impressionism against Expressionism.
- Opera and ballet.
- Spotify or Deezer.
- Records or Live concerts.
- Jazz or classical music.
- Musical theatre vs. Play with music.
- Renaissance and Enlightenment epochs in arts.
- African vs. Asian art.
- Rock music of the XX century vs. today.
- Religious hymns and secular songs about Christmas.
- Music people listened to in their twenties in the XX century and now.
- Protagonist of the modern pop music culture and that of the 1960s.
We guarantee that you can easily find a good title among the ones we suggested. If you find it hard to compose a good compare and contrast essay even after choosing one of our topics, don’t hesitate to us a line asking for help.
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Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
Compare and contrast essays are some of the most interesting assignments and students (well, some) enjoy writing them. This is because unlike most kinds of essays, it is hardly possible to get writer's block when you are handling these. You are given the freedom to not only pick compare and contrast topics on your own, but you have the freedom to choose the side of your support as well as how to contrast it.
However, the fact that you are given all this freedom does not mean that this is the simplest essay to write. The biggest challenge is usually in picking the best topic for you and this can be quite a huge issue if you are not careful in what you are doing. Let's see compare and contrast essay topics ideas as well as brief strategies you can use in your writing.
Tips On How To Write Superb Compare And Contrast Essays
The first thing that you need to do before you start writing is to choose an appropriate topic to write about. This should essentially be a topic of interest to you or something that you can discuss in length without any problem whatsoever. Lucky for you, there are so many topics you could focus on when writing and it is all up to you to determine the exact topic that you want to build on.
In most cases, the topics you choose should be closely related. For example if you chose to go with sports, choose two contrasting topics that are in the same category such as soccer vs basketball. You should steer clear of choosing topics that do not have any kind of relationship whatsoever such as pasta vs winter. This will be difficult to compare as they do not have any similarities and are basically worlds apart.
However, there is an exception of really good art students who can pull off contrasting two things that are completely different or discussing certain topics from an artistic point of view. For example one may choose a topic such as, life in the shoes of a werewolf. You see that it is an unusual topic that may be quite difficult to imagine or explain, but some students may just turn that topic into a masterpiece.
Students are encouraged that when choosing a topic, you think outside the box as this will most likely earn you better grades. Students who excel in writing about such complex topic may have a chance to be enrolled into some of the best Art universities to develop their skills and talent.
How To Choose Your Sources
Just because you are given total freedom about what you are going to write, does not mean that you should write casually without giving any proof. Remember that a compare and contrast essay is an academic essay so the language and formatting should all be formal.
Referencing and giving citations in your work is one of the best ways of proving your points, hence explaining why you chose a particular stand. The sources that you choose should be up to date and not more than 5 years old unless you are discussing a historical topic. Always check for the credibility of your sources before using them in your essay so as not to give false information. Some of the best sources of information include:
- Official textbooks and encyclopedias.
- Published journals.
- Official magazines.
- Academic and research reports.
Steps To Writing A Compare And Contrast Essay
As you may know, a compare and contrast essay is not really written like other common kinds of essays . There are certain aspects about it that make it so different from all these other essays and you need to be aware of that before you start writing.
The first thing you need to do is identify the type of compare and contrast essay that you are handling. There are basically four types:
- Events . These essays focus on the comparison of different historical events in life or in books.
- Different situations . They examine the differences of certain cases that you may have found yourself in or even others. If you know how to write a newspaper editorial you are familiar with this stylistics
- Characters . Focused on people or characters in books, what they did and the impact.
- Locations or travelling essays . Discusses different places and locations in the world.
As much as compare and contrast essays are written a bit differently from other types of essays , there are certain aspects about them that are similar to the writing format of other essays.
- Introduction . Just like in any other essay, a good compare and contrast essay has to have an introduction that is catchy and functional. Here, you need to explain what your topic is all about and what you hope to achieve at the end of the discussion. It should also have a thesis statement that will give a little more information about the subject matter and why you have chosen to discuss it.
- Your argument . The next step is to start writing about your stand point, while giving proof of why you think that the way you are looking at it is the best. Use references, quotations and citations to develop your argument into something readable and easy to understand.
- Opposing arguments . You need to do thorough research about the opposing arguments that your rival would use to counter your points. You should discuss at least two points here and refute these points standing with your own.
- Concluding statement . Here, you can choose to rephrase your thesis statement and supporting that your point of view is the best. Conclude with a powerful statement that will impact on the reader. Use some cause and effect essay outline to emphasise the connection between the paragraphs.
Writing Tips To Make Your Essay Stand Out
Any good essay has to stand out and encourage the reader to continue reading from the beginning to the end, no matter the type of essay it is. This is why you need to ensure that you make your compare and contrast essay as interesting and accurate as possible using these tips.
- Check other essays for inspiration. Starting your own essay from scratch can be a bit confusing for most students. This is why you need to take some time and check out other written essays in the same category as the one you are writing for the best ways to start, develop your argument and finally conclude. See how to incorporate quotes, sayings and humor into your compare and contrast essay. Also check on creative ways to use our references to add some backbone to your argument.
- Think critically. This is necessary when you are trying to find a suitable topic to write about since there are so many to choose from. Brainstorm and write down a list of your best topics listing down the differences and similarities to see which work well together and have a lot of points that you can discuss.
- Seek professional assistance. Identifying great education services can help you get your hands on really useful sources on your chosen topics. This will help you build a strong argument and to be able to back what you are discussing. You can write literature review where you reveal your sources and how they helped in your discussion. It is a really great way of increasing your word count without unnecessary fluff.
- Proper formatting and in text citations. As earlier mentioned, a compare and contrast essay is an academic paper so the correct formatting needs to be used according to what you were instructed to do. In text citations give evidence of your discussion and why you chose the argument that you did.
So now you know how to choose the best compare and contrast topics and the different segments that you need to address when writing. You also understand how to find sources and the best kind to use in your paper to make it relevant and interesting. however, you may still have a problem identifying the best topics for you to discuss, which is why we have highlighted different topics that you can use in your compare and contrast essay.
Best Compare And Contrast Topics For University Students
- Sciences vs Arts: which are the most viable in the job market?
- Essays vs research papers: what is the difference:
- Home schooling: what are the benefits and disadvantages?
- College education: should it be free? What is to be gained if that step was taken?
- College degrees: how relevant are they in today’s job market?
- Education: is it necessary to become successful in life?
- Exams: are they a true reflection of a student’s ability?
- Boarding schools vs day schools: what are the major differences?
- Hostels vs renting: what are the advantages and disadvantages?
Political And Historical Topics
- Karl Marx vs Friedrich Hegel: who made the most impact?
- The bible vs the Quran: what are the differences in teachings
- The 60s vs the 90s music: which was better?
- Capitalism vs communism: which is superior?
- Dictatorship and democratic: how are they different?
- Al Qaeda vs Boko Haram: are they the same?
- African government vs western governments: what are the differences in governance?
- Greek gods: real or not?
- Us president vs Monarch of England: what are the differences in power?
Compare And Contrast Topics For Starters
- Tomatoes: are they fruits or vegetables?
- Netball vs basketball: are the rules different or the same?
- Samsung vs apple: which is the better brand?
- Being miserable in a mansion or happy in a shanty: which is better?
- Differences between the American and the British.
- Aliens: real or not?
- Marijuana: is it dangerous or a blessing in disguise?
- Winter vs summer: which is better?
- Dinner date vs movie and drinks.
Battle Of The Opposites Essay Topics
- White vs black.
- Alibaba vs amazon.
- Religious marriage vs civil marriage.
- Dogs vs cats.
- Happiness vs sadness.
- Pizza vs pasta.
- WW1 vs WW2.
- Good girl vs bad boy.
- Electric vs gas cars.
Teenage Compare And Contrast Essays
- Watching at home vs going out to a movie.
- When should one be allowed to date?
- Reading vs watching? Which is easier
- Arts vs Science
- Hip hop vs RnB
- White collar vs blue collar
- Android vs IOS
- Casual vs casual official? What is more appropriate?
- Snapchat vs Instagram: which is better?
IT And Social Media Essay Topics
- Does paper mailing have a space in future?
- Desktop computers vs tablets
- Facebook vs Twitter: which is better?
- Online jobs vs traditional jobs?
- SEO vs traditional marketing? Which yield more results?
- Blogs vs websites.
- Traditional learning vs E-learning: what does the future hold?
- Windows vs IOS.
- Radio vs newspapers.
Movie and Music Comparison Ideas
- Rock vs country.
- Batman vs superman: who is the true hero of the world?
- DC vs Marvel?
- Comedy vs Horror
- Dumbledore vs Voldemort
- Vampires vs werewolves: who are stronger?
- 3D vs normal screening? Differences and similarities?
- Avengers vs fantastic four
- Michael Jackson vs Prince: who is the true kind of pop music?
Compare And Contrast Literature Topics
- Fiction vs nonfiction: which has a larger readership?
- Romance vs horror.
- Past vs present works of literature: which is better?
- Hardcopy vs E- books
- Romeo and Juliet: takeaway lessons
- Is Shakespeare the greatest poet who ever lived?
- Poetry vs hip hop: are there any similarities?
- Greek vs Egyptian mythology
- Is harry potter the best magical fantasy book ever written?
Scientific Topic Ideas
- Uranus vs Saturn: are there any similarities?
- The sun vs the moon
- Chemistry vs biology
- Nuclear vs fossil energy
- Disputable scientific statements
- Science and technology: are they interdependent?
- Is there life on other planets
- Can theories in physics be used to explain all aspects of life?
- Hurricanes vs tornados
Everyday Compare And Contrast Topics
- Coffee vs tea
- Wood vs bricks: which is better to build with
- The west vs the east: similarities
- Catholics vs protestants
- African countries vs European countries
- Flying vs driving: which one is better?
- McDonalds vs KFC
- Cartoon network vs Nickelodeon
- American English vs British English
Philosophy Topic Ideas
- Music vs poetry: do they have the same effect on people
- Philosophers vs historians: are they similar?
- Which is more important food or health care?
- Are humans wilder than wild animals?
- Should there be justification for evil deeds?
- Friends vs enemies: who should you be weary of?
- Good vs evil: where is the line drawn?
- Simplest explanation vs complex explanation: which is best?
- Similarities between philosophy and religion.
- The pen is mightier than the sword: how true is this?
The above mentioned compare and contrast essay topics are just a few of the many topics you can choose to discuss in your essay. If you are still having problems making a decision, then you can always ask for assistance from our professional essay writers who will help you find the best topic. You can also order a fully written compare and contrast essay and ease the amount of work you have to do.
It’s no wonder that students like to write contrast and compare essays because they leave a lot of space for creativity and own opinion. Such an essay allows the student to put in his own thoughts on the subjects compared and it can be quite fun to compare two entities rather just analyzing one and composing an essay on that. Of course, this doesn’t make it a very easy job and there are some rules and tips you should be aware of before starting to write a comparative essay.
Main Parts of Writing a Compare Essay
Before you even start writing it is very important to choose the topic that will put you in advantage. In most of the situations, you should look for items to compare that have some differences but similarities as well. For example, you can’t go on writing a comparative essay between a stone and rock and roll. So focus on comparison items that will give you the chance to talk about things they have in common but as well on how one is better than the other at certain aspects.
After you establish the comparison items you needs to do some proper research so that you have enough information on both to be able to perform a proper comparison. There are several sources from where you can gather information on your subjects but make sure that you always go with facts. Your text will need some proper back-up and sources to be cited. You can use sources like:
- Scientific magazines
- Academic journals
- Official Reports
How to Write a Comparative and Contrast Essay
If you think that you can simply use the basic essay tips you learned in class or for other types of essays, you’re wrong. The thing with comparative and contrast essays is that you’re not just focusing on one item and anything you write has to be constructed in such a way that it can be used to compare it with the other one.
You can start with the type of topic you choose for your compare and contrast essay. Usually, the topics are divided into 4 categories:
- People and Fiction
No matter what category you choose to go with, you will have to always follow the structure of any academic paper. If you’re not sure how that goes, let us refresh your memory a bit.
Here is the place where you have to try and get your readers to listen and hook them with your story. You need to present your topic, of course, and also your thesis statement which has the role of indicating to your readers what is the probable course of the entire work. The thesis statement usually goes in the first paragraph, somewhere around the last sentence of it.
Emphasizing on your arguments
After you’ve done the research, it’s time to develop the arguments that you make when comparing one thing to another. Makes sure to include reliable sources and don’t overdo it, just make it enough for your comparison to look well-researched.
In this section things will go the other way around. You need to research the selected topic and find facts to contradict your initial thesis. Again, choose at least one example and expand it into a paragraph at least that contains the counter-argument and as well as sources you used to reach that conclusion.
Obviously, this is the part where you draw your conclusions. You can restate your thesis statement and point out some of the arguments used over the entire essay that backs it up.
More Tips on Writing a Comparative and Contrast Essay
Always check for possible examples of essays when working on your hook sentence. This sentence has a great influence on a first-time reader of your work decision to keep reading or simply pass. There’s a wide variety of hooks you can use such as:
- Literary queotes
- Anecdotes or jokes
- Quotes of important persons
- Setting scenes
- Quotes from poetry
- Scientific arguments
- Rhetorical questions
Never stop brainstorming since it’s the best way to make a decision regarding the two items you’re going to write about. Make sure to write them down so you can go over them later and finally decide what you’re going to focus on. You can even start to sketch a few similarities and differences between the topic you brainstormed so that you have an idea on how complicated it will be to write the essay.
If needed, you can always turn to professionals to give you a nudge or help you with your topics or sources. You can appeal to books, movies or articles that are discussing the same topic you’re going to approach in your essay.
Make sure you don’t forget about in-text citations and formatting since you’re writing an academic paper. You have to use all the correct citations, including indirect and direct quotes to make your text even more believable.
We are trying to keep the part on how to write a comparative and contrast essay as brief as possible as we already approached this subject, in full, in another article. This article puts more focus on subjects and topic for these types of essays since without a good topic, you might end up getting stuck and have to start over and over again. So here are the best 150 topics you can elaborate a compare and contrast essay on.
Topics for Compare and Contrast Essays That Can be Used by College Students
As you can see, the topics are divided into multiple categories so that it would be easier for you to select one. We chose to start this list of categorized topics with what’s most relevant for college students and that’s obviously college itself and how to handle it. So, here we go:
- College vs Schools – what’s changed?
- Unemployed students compared to students that work. Who’s having the right approach.
- Essays vs research papers – what’s the best choice?
- British English or American English – what are the major differences?
- Are there any similarities between employment and education?
- TOEFL and SAT – what are the similarities and differences?
- Ph. D and Master Degree – main differences
- Argumentative papers vs persuasive paper – same or different
- Traditional Education or remote education – what works best?
6th Grade Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- Summer or Winter – what’s the best season?
- Christmas at home vs Christmas traveling
- Wolves and dogs – differences and similarities
- Flowers and Weeds – why do we need both?
- Novels or comic books – what’s more interesting to read?
- Ping-pong vs tennis – what’s your favorite game?
- Reading a book vs watching TV
- Female friend or male friends – which ones are best?
- Western USA vs Eastern USA
Middle School Essay Topics
- Zeus vs King Arthur – which one is cooler?
- Role models of 1950s compared to modern role models
- Watching a move at home compared with going to the cinema
- Is there a link between school bullies and dictators?
- Is a hurricane worse than a tsunami or the other way around?
- Christmas, Halloween or Prom night – which one is the most fun?
- Bicycle or car driving – which one is more difficult?
- 5-star hotels vs 3-star ones – why should you choose each of them?
- Parents or celebrities – who influences a teenager most of all?
High School Compare and Contrast Essay Themes
- Historic literature or fiction – which one appeals most to college students?
- College Tests vs High School examinations – what is the most important of the two?
- E-learning versus traditional learning – is science and technology really helping with the learning process?
- New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons – who has more fans?
- Printed books vs e-books – what is the most appealing form of reading for colleague students?
- Story buildings or wooden houses – what type of construction is best?
- Portugal and Spain – what are the main similarities and differences?
- Japanese concept of beauty compared with the American one – what are the standards?
- Modern rock music compared with rock from the early 20th century – what are the differences and how did this genre evolve?
Day-to-day Compare and Contrast Essay Themes
- Buffy or Twilight – similarities and differences in characters
- Macbeth vs Julius Caesar – what do they have in common?
- Modernism vs realism – main differences and similarities
- Prose vs poetry – what are the literary elements that differentiate these genres
- Rural vs urban living – what are the similarities and differences
- Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump – who should have won and what do they have in common?
- Barcelona vs Real Madrid – differences and things the two clubs have in common
- Android vs iOS – benefits of both operating systems
- Textbooks or tablets in schools – what are the advantages and disadvantages of each in the process of learning?
- Asylums vs Jails
- Star Trek vs Star Wards
- Family Guy vs American Dad
- Pineapple vs Apple
- Scandinavian Mythology vs Greek Mythology
Politics and History Compare Essay Topics
- Washington’s Ideas compared with Lincoln’s way of action
- Baroque vs Renaissance epochs
- Religious Studies vs Anthropology
- Soviet Government opposed to the American Government
- UK Prime Minister vs US President
- South and North Before the events of the Civil War in the United States
- King Louis XIV compared with Henry VIII
- Nazism and fascism: are there any differences?
- Difference in the events of World War II and World War I
Easy to Approach Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- Comparing an orange to an apple
- Day Time vs Night Time – what are the advantages of each time frame?
- What are the main differences between animals and people
- Being rich opposed to living in poverty
- Tea or Coffee – What are the similarities and contrasts?
- Living in a small village opposed to living in a big city
- The differences between feeling sad or lonely
- Main differences and similarities between British and American traditional dishes
- Camping sites – seashore or in the woods?
Opposite Compare Essay Topics
- Males vs Females
- Pepsi or Coke?
- White vs Red
- Peace vs War
- Riding the bus or driving a car?
- Hatred and love
- Positive and negative aspects of working a lot
- Sun and the Moon
- Soft toys or dolls – what are the most appropriate toys?
Compare and Contrast Topics for Teenagers
- Adulthood vs Childhood
- Living on Campus opposed to living at home
- Watching a movie or reading the book that the movie was made after?
- Freelancing or working in an office?
- Scientific writing vs academic writing
- Radio shows or TV show?
- Professional career or education – what should you focus on?
- Roman and Greek culture – what are the main similarities and differences
- Science Classes compared with Art Classes
Social Media and IT Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- Traditional Mailing vs email
- Traditional Commerce vs e-commerce
- Real-life dating vs online dating sites and apps
- Video Computer games vs smartphone games
- Forbes or New York Times?
- MySpace or Facebook? What’s the best social network?
- Online job application vs traditional methods
- Traditional writing services compared with online writing services
- Online advertising compared with traditional advertising
Music and Movie Compare and Contrast Essay Themes
- Charmed or Buffy?
- Movies against books: Reading is the best way to explore a novel?
- Rock vs Jazz
- Frodo vs Sam – Which Lord of the Rings character is more important?
- Dumbledore vs Gandalf
- Soviet cinematography vs American films
- Loki and Thor – Brothers or Enemies?
- Thriller or horror films – what do they have in common
- Draco Malfoy vs Harry Potter
Literature-Inspired Compare and Contrast Essay Ideas
- Drama vs Comedy
- Roman vs Greek Mythology
- Lessons learned from Beauty and the Best
- Lyrics of Prose – what students prefer?
- Nowadays Lyrics compared with poetry of the 13th century
- Non-fiction vs fiction literature
- Harry Potter vs Lord of the Rings
- Literature of the past compared with the one of the future
Scientific Topics for Compare and Contrast Essays
- Microwave vs Oven
- Chemistry vs Physics
- Andromeda and Milky Way
- What are the differences between Mars and Earth
- Differences and similarities of the two moon missions
- DaVinci vs Thomas Jefferson
- Tsunami vs Earthquakes – what’s the worse natural phenomenon
- Two different chemical reactions formulas
- Limited control software vs full access navigation
Popular Compare Essay Themes
- Football vs Soccer
- Korean vs Chinese
- Personal point of view vs public opinion
- Water or juice
- Dark beer vs light beer
- Obesity and Anorexia – what is the most dangerous
- Divorce and marriage
- Linux or Windows – Paid vs free OS
- Capitalism vs Marxism
Philosophical Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- Is Miami Beach a better place to live rather than home?
- Life and Death
- Anchored in reality or dreamy – what are the pros and cons?
- Friends or more – where’s the limit?
- Mental and physical needs of humans
- Fantasy world or reality?
- Macbeth and Hamlet – a philosophical approach
- Humans and dogs – similarities
- Free access compared with reserved rights – how intellectual property should be treated?
- Roman philosophers vs Greek ones
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- Informal Essay Writing Tips
- How To Write a Book Review
- How to Quote Someone in an Essay
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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 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 team to get the grades you deserve.
- Attending a College Course Vs. Distance-Based Learning.
- Writing a Research Paper Vs. Writing a Creative Writing Paper. What are the differences and similarities?
- The differences between a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree.
- The key aspects of the differences between the US and the UK education systems.
- Completing assignments at a library compared with doing so at home. Which is the most efficient?
- The similarities and differences in the behavior among married and unmarried couples.
- The similarities and differences between the EU (European Union) and ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations)?
- The similarities and significant differences between American and Canadian English.
- Writing an Internship Report Vs. Writing a Research Paper
- The differences between US colleges and colleges in the EU?
Interesting Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
Some topics for the compare and contrast essay format can be boring. To keep up motivation, doing a research , have a look at these topics. Maybe they can serve you as research paper help .
- Public Transport Vs. Driving A Car. Which is more efficient?
- Mandarin Vs. Cantonese: What are the differences between these Chinese languages?
- Sports Cars Vs. Luxurious Family Cars
- Wireless Technology Vs. Wired Devices
- Thai Food Vs. Filipino Cuisine
- What is the difference and similarities between a register office marriage and a traditional marriage?
- The 2000s Vs. The 2010s. What are the differences and what makes them similar?
- Abu Dhabi Vs. Dubai. What are the main factors involved in the differences?
- What are the differences between American and British culture?
- What does the New York Metro do differently to the London Underground?
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for High School Students
When writing essays for high school, it is good to keep them informative. Have a look at these compare and contrast sample topics.
- Highschool Life Vs. College Life
- Paying College Fees Vs. Being Awarded a Scholarship
- All Night Study Sessions Vs. Late Night Parties
- Teenager Vs. Young Adult Relationships
- Being in a Relationship Vs. Being Single
- Male Vs. Female Behavior
- The similarities and differences between a high school diploma and a college degree
- The similarities and differences between Economics and Business Studies
- The benefits of having a part-time job, instead of a freelance job, in college
- High School Extra Curricular Activities Vs. Voluntarily Community Services
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Science
At some point, every science student will be assigned this type of essay. To keep things at flow, have a look at best compare and contrast essay example topics on science:
- Undiscovered Species on Earth Vs. Potential Life on Mars: What will we discover in the future?
- The benefits of Gasoline Powered Cars Vs. Electric Powered Cars
- The differences of the Milky Way Vs. Centaurus (Galaxies).
- Earthquakes Vs. Hurricanes: What should be prepared for the most?
- The differences between our moon and Mars’ moons.
- SpaceX Vs. NASA. What is done differently within these organizations?
- The differences and similarities between Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox’s theories on the cosmos. Do they agree or correspond with each other?
- Pregnancy Vs. Motherhood
- Jupiter Vs. Saturn
- Greenhouse Farming Vs. Polytunnel Farming
Sports & Leisure Topics
Studying Physical Education? Or a gym fanatic? Have a look at our compare and contrast essay topics for sports and leisure.
- The English Premier League Compared With The Bundesliga
- Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona
- Football Vs. Basketball
- Walking Vs. Eating Outside with Your Partner
- Jamaica Team Vs. United States Team: Main Factors and Differences
- Formula One Vs. Off-Road Racing
- Germany Team Vs. Brazil Team
- Morning Exercise Vs. Evening Exercise.
- Manning Team Vs. Brazil Team
- Swimming Vs. Cycling
Topics About Culture
Culture can have several meanings. If you’re a Religious Studies or Culture student, take a look at these good compare and contrast essay topics about culture.
- The fundamental similarities and differences between Pope Francis and Tawadros II of Alexandria
- Canadian Vs. Australian Religion
- The differences between Islamic and Christian Holidays
- The cultural similarities and differences between the Native Aboriginals and Caucasian Australians
- Native American Culture Vs. New England Culture
- The cultural differences and similarities between Italians and Sicilians
- In-depth: The origins of Buddhism and Hinduism
- In-depth: The origins of Christianity and Islam
- Greek Gods Vs. Hindu Gods
- The Bible: Old Testament Vs. New Testament
Unique Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
What about writing an essay which is out of the ordinary? Consider following these topics to write a compare and contrast essay on, that are unique.
- The reasons why some wealthy people pay extortionate amounts of money for gold-plated cell phones, rather than buying the normal phone.
- The differences between Lipton Tea and Ahmad Tea
- American Football Vs. British Football: What are their differences?
- The differences and similarities between France and Britain
- Fanta Vs. 7Up
- Traditional Helicopters Vs. Lifesize Drones
- The differences and similarities between Boston Dynamics and the fictional equivalent Skynet (From Terminator Movies).
- Socialism Vs. Capitalism: Which is better?
- Curved Screen TVs’ Vs. Regular Flat Screen TVs’: Are they really worth big bucks?
- Is it better to wear black or white at funerals?
Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
Sometimes, it may be a requirement to take it back a notch. Especially if you’re new to these style of writing. Consider having a look at these good compare and contrast essay topics that are pretty easy to start off.
- Is it a good idea to work on weekdays or weekends?
- Black of White Coffee
- Becoming a teacher or a doctor? Which career choice has more of an impact on society?
- Air Travel Vs. Sea Travel: Which is better?
- Rail Travel Vs. Road Travel: Which is more convenient?
- What makes Europe far greater than Africa? In terms of financial growth, regulations, public funds, policies etc…
- Eating fruit for breakfast Vs. cereals
- Staying Home to Read Vs. Traveling the World During Holidays. Which is more beneficial for personal growth?
- Japanese Vs. Brazilian Cuisine
- What makes ASEAN Nations more efficient than African Nations?
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics About TV Shows, Music and Movies
We all enjoy at least one of these things. If not, all of them. Why not have a go at writing a compare and contrast essay about what you have been recently watching or listening to?
- Breaking Bad Vs. Better Call Saul: Which is more commonly binge watched?
- The differences between Dance Music and Heavy Metal
- James Bond Vs. Johnny English
- Iron Man Vs. The Incredible Hulk: Who would win?
- What is done differently in modern movies, compared to old black and white movies?
- Dumber and Dumber 2 Vs. Ted: Which movie is funnier?
- Are Horror movies or Action Movies best suited to you?
- The differences and similarities between Mozart and Beethoven compositions.
- Hip Hop Vs. Traditional Music
- Classical Music Vs. Pop Music. Which genre helps people concentrate?
Topics About Art
Sometimes, art students are required to write this style of essay. Have a look at these compare and contrast essay topics about the arts of the centuries.
- The fundamental differences and similarities between paintings and sculptures
- The different styles of Vincent Van Gogh and Leonardo Da Vinci.
- Viewing Original Art Compared With Digital Copies. How are these experiences different?
- 18th Century Paintings Vs. 21st Century Digitally Illustrated Images
- German Art Vs. American Art
- Modern Painting Vs. Modern Photography
- How can we compare modern graphic designers to 18th-century painters?
- Ancient Greek Art Vs. Ancient Egyptian Art
- Ancient Japanese Art Vs. Ancient Persian Art
- What 16th Century Painting Materials were used compared with the modern day?
Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
Almost every student at any stage of academics is assigned this style of writing. If you’re lacking inspiration, consider looking at some of the best compare and contrast essay topics to get you on track with your writing.
- The United States and North Korea Governmental Conflict: What is the reason behind this phenomenon?
- In the Early Hours, Drinking Water is far healthier than consuming soda.
- The United States Vs. The People’s Republic of China: Which economy is the most efficient?
- Studying in Foreign Countries Vs. Studying In Your Hometown: Which is more of an advantage?
- Toast Vs. Cereal: Which is the most consumed in the morning?
- Sleeping Vs. Daydreaming: Which is the most commonly prefered? And amongst who?
- Learning French Vs. Chinese: Which is the most straightforward?
- Android Phones Vs. iPhones
- The Liberation of Slaves Vs. The Liberation of Women: Which is more remembered?
- The differences between the US Dollar and British Pound. What are their advantages? And How do they correspond with each other?
Easy Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
In all types of academics, these essays occur. If you’re new to this style of writing, check our easy compare and contrast essay topics.
- The Third Reich Vs. North Korea
- Tea Vs. Coffee
- iPhone Vs. Samsung
- KFC Vs. Wendy’s
- Laurel or Yanny?
- Healthy Lifestyle Vs. Obese Lifestyle
- Forkes Vs. Sporks
- Rice Vs. Porridge
- Roast Dinner Vs. Chicken & Mushroom Pie
- What’s the difference between apples and oranges?
Psychology Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
Deciding upon good compare and contrast essay topics for psychology assignments can be difficult. Consider referring to our list of 10 psychology compare and contrast essay topics to help get the deserved grades.
- What is a more severe eating order? Bulimia or Anorexia
- Modern Medicine Vs. Traditional Medicine for Treating Depression?
- Soft Drugs Vs. Hard Drugs. Which is more dangerous for people’s psychological well-being?
- How do the differences between Lust and Love have an effect on people’s mindsets?
- Ego Vs. Superego
- Parents Advice Vs. Peers Advice amongst children and teens.
- Strict Parenting Vs. Relaxed Parenting
- Mental Institutions Vs. Stress Clinics
- Bipolar Disorder Vs. Epilepsy
- How does child abuse affect victims in later life?
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Sixth Graders
From time to time, your teacher will assign the task of writing a compare and contrast essay. It can be hard to choose a topic, especially for beginners. Check out our easy compare and contrast essay topics for sixth graders.
- Exam Preparation Vs. Homework Assignments
- Homeschooling Vs. Public Education
- High School Vs. Elementary School
- 5th Grade Vs. 6th Grade: What makes them different or the same?
- Are Moms’ or Dads’ more strict among children?
- Is it better to have strict parents or more open parents?
- Sandy Beaches Vs. Pebble Beaches: Which beaches are more popular?
- Is it a good idea to learn guitar or piano?
- Is it better to eat vegetable salads or pieces of fruit for lunch?
- 1st Grade Vs. 6th Grade
Funny Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
Sometimes, it is good to have a laugh. As they always say : 'laughter is the best medicine'. Check out these funny compare and contrast essay topics for a little giggle when writing.
- What is the best way to waste your time? Watching Funny Animal Videos or Mr. Bean Clips?
- Are Pug Dogs or Maltese Dogs crazier?
- Pot Noodles Vs. McDonalds Meals.
- What is the difference between Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson?
- Mrs. Doubtfire Vs. Mrs. Brown. How are they similar?
- Which game is more addictive? Flappy Bird or Angry Birds?
- Big Shaq Vs. PSY
- Stewie Griffin Vs. Maggie Simpson
- Quarter Pounders Vs. Big Macs
- Mr. Bean Vs. Alan Harper
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Compare And Contrast Essay
Compare and Contrast Essay - An Ultimate Guide
18 min read
Published on: Feb 18, 2020
Last updated on: Nov 29, 2023
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Are you a student facing the challenge of writing a compare and contrast essay?
This type of essay can be challenging, as it requires them to evaluate, analyze, and differentiate between various subjects. However, don't let this task intimidate you!
In this blog, we will provide you with a step-by-step process for writing a compare and contrast essay. Our expert advice and practical tips will help you gain the confidence and skills needed to craft a compelling and well-organized essay.
So, let's get started!
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What is Compare and Contrast Essay?
According to the compare and contrast essay definition it is written to observe and evaluate the similarities and differences between two objects or subjects.
We compare things in our daily life to make choices. Hypothetically, if a person has a limited budget and goes shopping, he would compare things and make choices that will best suit him.
To write a compare and contrast essay, you can combine two things, compare them, and form a claim.
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Purpose of a Compare and Contrast Essay
The purpose of the compare and contrast essay is:
- To analyze similarities and differences between two or more subjects
- To showcase your ability to critically examine and evaluate different aspects of the subjects
- To enhance your analytical and critical thinking skills
- To demonstrate your understanding of the subjects and their characteristics
- To provide insights and draw meaningful conclusions from the comparisons
- To engage readers by presenting thought-provoking comparisons and contrasts
- To fulfill academic requirements and demonstrate your knowledge on the given topic.
A successful comparison paper will provide facts about both the subjects that the essay is about.
Want to learn more about this type of essay? Check out this informative video!
Types of Compare and Contrast Essay
When it comes to writing a compare and contrast essay, there are several types you can choose from. Each type has its unique approach and structure that will help you present your ideas effectively.
Here are the most common types of compare and contrast essays.
The point-by-point comparison, also known as the alternating method, is where you compare and contrast the two subjects point by point. This method is effective when the subjects being compared have several similarities and differences.
With this method, you can easily show how the two subjects are similar or different on a specific aspect. For instance, if you were comparing two cities, you can compare their climate, transportation, and lifestyle using this method.
Example: Here's an example using this structure:
The block comparison, also known as the subject-by-subject method, is where you present all the information about one subject and then move to the next subject. This method is effective when the subjects being compared have several significant differences.
This method is often used for longer essays, and it can help you present your ideas in a clear and organized manner.
Example: Here's an example using this block comparison:
Compare and Contrast Essay Outline
The outline shapes and provides meaning to the entire essay. It keeps the writer focused and on the right track throughout the writing process.
Here is the traditional compare and contrast essay outline:
Check out this link if you need in depth compare and contrast essay outline ?
How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?
Here are the steps to write a compare and contrast essay;
- Picasso and Goya
- Vegans and meat lovers
- Extroverts and introverts
- Catholicism and Protestantism
- Generation X and Generation Y
- Brainstorming - Brainstorm the similarities and differences between the chosen topics. Use a Venn diagram for your ease. It has overlapping circles that include the differences and similarities between both subjects.
- Choosing the Structure - Decide which structure will you use to present your ideas; alternating, blocking, or similarities and differences.
- Create the Outline - Before beginning with the writing process, create the outline for your essay.
The introduction is the first thing that a reader reads. The introduction informs the readers of what is discussed in the essay. The introductory paragraphs have three elements:
- A hook - is a statement used to grab the readerâs attention. It can be a sentence or two, which will be strictly related to the topic and kind of essay.
- The major similarity or difference - This is added to help the readers understand what is discussed in the essay. But everything is presented briefly.
Thesis statements can be difficult to write. It is important to have an understanding of a thesis statement and how to write it easily.
The main body of an essay is the section where all the gathered information is presented in a structured way. The body paragraphs are written to prove the thesis statement and the stance that a writer made about the topic.
Usually, this section has three paragraphs. Each paragraph should have a topic sentence that will work as a preview of what is going to be discussed in that particular paragraph.
In a compare and contrast essay, body paragraphs are connected by transition words. Words such as âsimilarly, in contrast to, however, both,â etc., are frequently used to combine the entire content, giving a logical flow to it.
The conclusion of a compare and contrast essay is the summed up final verdict of the writer. The major points are summarized in the concluding paragraph of an essay, and the thesis statement is restated. Make sure that you stick to the discussed ideas and do not add any new information here.
The last part of the writing process of an essay is its proofreading and revision. In this step, you go through your essay one more time to see if there are any mistakes and errors.
Make sure the vocabulary, grammar, spellings, citation, facts, syntax, format are accurate and appropriate. Also, check if the objects are carefully compared, contrasted, and written.
If you come across some errors, correct them before submitting the essay to your instructor.
Compare and Contrast Structure Words
Here are some examples of compare and contrast words:
Compare and Contrast Essay Example
To give you a better understanding of compare and contrast essay concepts, we have gathered some useful examples.
Compare and Contrast Essay Template
Compare And Contrast Essay On City And Village Life
Compare And Contrast Essay On Cricket And Football
Compare And Contrast Essay On Summer And Winter
Compare And Contrast Essay About Traditional And Online Education
Thesis Statement For Compare And Contrast Essay
Learning through examples is a sure short way of learning effectively and in less time. Good compare and contrast essay examples will help you understand everything more quickly.
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
Here are some compare and contrast essay topics:
- Online learning vs. traditional classroom learning: Which is more effective?
- Vegetarianism vs. meat-eating: Which is better for your health?
- High school vs. college: How are they different and similar?
- Living in the city vs. living in the countryside: Which is better for your lifestyle?
- Democracy vs. dictatorship: Which form of government is better for the people?
- Public schools vs. private schools: Which offers a better education?
- Traditional book reading vs. e-book reading: Which is more enjoyable and effective?
- Online shopping vs. in-store shopping: Which is more convenient and cost-effective?
- Dogs vs. cats: Which make better pets?
- Working from home vs. working in an office: Which is more productive and efficient?
These are some good compare and contrast essay topics that will help you draft an amazing essay.
Visit this link if you need more amazing compare and contrast essay topics !
Tips to Write a Good Compare and Contrast Essay
When writing a compare and contrast essay, it's important to keep some tips in mind to ensure that your essay is effective and engaging. Here are some tips to help you:
- Avoid generalizations: While it can be tempting to make sweeping generalizations about the subjects you're comparing, it's important to provide specific examples and evidence to support your claims.
- Keep the focus on the subjects being compared: Your essay should be focused on the two (or more) subjects you are comparing and contrasting. Avoid going off on tangents or discussing unrelated topics.
- Provide evidence to support your claims: Whether you are arguing that one subject is better than the other, it's important to use evidence to back up your claims. This could include examples, statistics, quotes, or other types of evidence.
- Use transitional phrases: When moving from one subject to the other, use transitional phrases to make the connections clear. Examples of transitional phrases include "on the other hand," "in contrast," and "similarly."
- Organize your essay effectively: Depending on the type of compare and contrast essay you're writing, you may need to use a point-by-point or block structure. Be sure to choose a structure that works for your topic, and use clear headings and subheadings to help organize your essay.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your essay is well-written and effective in communicating your ideas to your reader.
Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay
Let's take a look at some potential pitfalls to avoid while writing your essay:
- Not clearly identifying the basis for comparison - Without a clear basis for comparison, the essay may lack coherence and direction.
- Not providing enough details - These essays require a level of detail that is sufficient to illustrate similarities and differences between the subjects being compared.
- Choosing subjects that are too different - It can be challenging to compare and contrast subjects that are too dissimilar, leading to a weak essay.
- Focusing only on differences - While it is important to highlight differences between the subjects, ignoring similarities can lead to an imbalanced essay.
- Failing to use transitions - Without transitional phrases, the essay may seem disjointed and difficult to follow.
- Not using a consistent structure - Compare and contrast essays require a consistent structure, such as point-by-point or block method, to maintain clarity and organization.
- Being too subjective - While it is important to express your opinion, be sure to present objective evidence to support your claims.
- Ignoring formatting and citation guidelines - Failure to adhere to formatting and citation guidelines can result in plagiarism or lower grades.
- Not proofreading carefully - Typos, grammar errors, and spelling mistakes can detract from the overall quality of the essay.
Here's a compare and contrast essay checklist:
The Bottom Line!
We hope that this guide has provided you with valuable insights and techniques for writing a successful compare and contrast essay. With the right approach, this type of essay can be an exciting opportunity to explore similarities and differences between two subjects.
If you need further assistance or want to ensure that your essay meets the highest standards, don't hesitate to reach out to us at CollegeEssay.org .
Our compare and contrast essay writing service makes academic life easier for students by providing the best essays written by skilled professionals.
We offer the best professional essay writing service to students and provide them with expert guidance to help them achieve academic success.
Contact our expert essay writing service today to help you take the first step towards acing your compare and contrast essay! However, if you are on a budget and don't have time to hire a writer, we have just the solution for that. Use our AI essay writer to get plagiarism-free content within a few minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good example of compare and contrast.
A good example of a compare and contrast essay is to compare and contrast two different types of pets, such as dogs and cats. Both pets are popular but have distinct differences in behavior, care, and interaction with their owners.
How do you start a compare and contrast essay example?
To start a compare and contrast essay, begin by choosing two subjects to compare and contrast. Then, brainstorm similarities and differences between the two subjects and create a thesis statement that outlines the main points of comparison and contrast.
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4.1: Introduction to Comparison and Contrast Essay
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The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. Comparison and contrast is simply telling how two things are alike or different. The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both. The thesis should focus on comparing, contrasting, or both.
Key Elements of the Compare and Contrast:
- 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.
- 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.
Objectives: By the end of this unit, you will be able to
- Identify compare & contrast relationships in model essays
- Construct clearly formulated thesis statements that show compare & contrast relationships
- Use pre-writing techniques to brainstorm and organize ideas showing a comparison and/or contrast
- Construct an outline for a five-paragraph compare & contrast essay
- Write a five-paragraph compare & contrast essay
- Use a variety of vocabulary and language structures that express compare & contrast essay relationships
Example Thesis: Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.
Organic grown tomatoes purchased at the farmers’ market are very different from tomatoes that are grown conventionally. To begin with, although tomatoes from both sources will mostly be red, the tomatoes at the farmers’ market are a brighter red than those at a grocery store. That doesn’t mean they are shinier—in fact, grocery store tomatoes are often shinier since they have been waxed. You are likely to see great size variation in tomatoes at the farmers’ market, with tomatoes ranging from only a couple of inches across to eight inches across. By contrast, the tomatoes in a grocery store will be fairly uniform in size. All the visual differences are interesting, but the most important difference is the taste. The farmers’ market tomatoes will be bursting with flavor from ripening on the vine in their own time. However, the grocery store tomatoes are often close to being flavorless. In conclusion, the differences in organic and conventionally grown tomatoes are obvious in color, size and taste.
Compare And Contrast Essay Guide
Compare And Contrast Essay Examples
Last updated on: Nov 20, 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
Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!
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. You can also use our AI-powered essay typer to generate sample essays for your specific topic and subject.
However, if you don’t feel confident in your writing skills, you can always hire our professional essay writer.
5StarEssays.com offer comprehensive essay writing service for students across the globe. Our experts are highly trained and qualified, making sure all of your essays will meet academic requirements while receiving top grades.
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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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US schools taught me to sound poetic in my writing. My switch to a UK education required results.
- I moved from Southern California to the UK when I was 16.
- My school experience in both countries could not be more different.
- Now, as a journalist, I appreciate what both styles of teaching taught me.
The first essay I turned in for the UK school I transferred to at 16 was for my English literature class — historically, my best subject.
I wrote about Tess of the D'Urbervilles; her pain, her isolation, the unfairness of her ending. The essay came back with the lowest grade I had ever received, alongside a single comment at the top: "This reads like poetry." When I thanked the teacher for the comment, asking why I had earned such a low grade , I was informed that she wasn't actually complimenting me.
My experience in my school in California was different
Growing up in Southern California schools, I knew exactly what it took to excel academically.
I read avidly, wrote passionately, and sincerely thanked my teachers at the end of every lesson. After all, they were the ones who awarded me my grades at the end of each trimester — being liked by them was imperative.
It wasn't much of a requirement for my essays to actually display knowledge of the subject I was writing about; if I could speak charismatically, both in my writing and to my teachers themselves, I knew I could get an A. Maybe it was a reflection of California as a whole, where self-presentation is curated like an art form.
Things in England were very different. Where American schools encouraged me to schmooze, quietly imparting the importance of every teacher's view of me upon my grades, my teachers in England worked only to make sure I clearly defined and argued my points, with no need for flowery language. My arguments needed to be concise and expertly navigated, following a strict structure of explanation, which allowed no room for my beloved adverbs and emotive descriptors.
In the UK, my exams were graded externally
The reason for this difference is clear. Rather than grades being determined and handed out by teachers like in California, in England, students sit externally-marked exams at the end of each year, the outcome of which solely decides our grades. It didn't matter to my English teachers if I was poetic, whether they personally liked me and wanted me to succeed — these things would do nothing to aid me in scoring well in my exams.
It took many failed essays to break my habits, convinced that if I just wrote a little more beautifully on the next one, my teachers would overlook my lack of evidence, quotes, and explanations.
Exams were more important for me in the UK than homework
On the plus side, another difference I experienced in the two countries' education systems is that these poor assignments didn't negatively affect my grades as they would have in the US; all possibilities of success hang on the exams.
Eventually, I learned to prioritize the techniques that would ensure the grades I so wanted, beginning to cut out superfluous language from my academic papers with clinical precision. I suppose it must have been the right decision because I ended up doing well enough in the fateful exams to land me a place at the University of Cambridge, where I undertook an undergraduate degree studying the philosophy and sociology of educational systems.
Now, as a professional journalist living in London, I'm grateful to be able to use both writing styles in my work. I still enjoy the employment of descriptive language I learned in US schools, and it serves me well in writing about the intimate topics that I cover in my job. But I equally find the concise, fact-based English style to greatly aid me in reporting and explaining the most important facts of any given event I am writing about.
I am passionate and persuasive, the product of two very different education systems which shaped me.
Watch: A top movie actor reveals how he learns different accents
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Want to Make Money As a Writer? Here's How to Write Things People Really Want to Read These were the strategies I used to build a healthy newsletter business.
By Nathan Baschez • Dec 4, 2023
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Want to earn a living as a writer? Don't worry, you don't need professional training.
I'm proof of that. The newsletter I co-founded, Every , has nearly 70,000 subscribers, and we publish essays that help people understand technology, productivity, and AI. It drives a healthy business — even though my cofounder, Dan, and I were never professional writers. (My career has been in product.)
I won't lie: I've made a lot of mistakes since launching Every. I am a deeply flawed writer. But I do feel confident that I've learned some useful things about writing essays that spread on the internet.
Here are the frameworks, metaphors, aphorisms, and various other forms of advice that I find myself returning to when I struggle with writing.
Why essays spread
Every article has thrust and drag . The thrust of a piece is what motivates readers to invest the energy necessary to extract its meaning. It is the reason they click. Drag is everything that makes the reader's task harder, such as meandering intros, convoluted sentences, abstruse locution and even little things like a missing Oxford comma.
When your writing has more thrust than drag for a group of readers, it will spread and your audience will grow. Achieving this takes practice and experimentation.
The idea of thrust and drag may seem obvious, but it helps to decompose the problem of growing an audience into its component parts. Do you know what people want to read about? Can you channel that knowledge into compelling writing? These are independent variables, so work on one at a time.
Sources of obsession
How can you know what people want to read about? This is the hardest part about writing, at least for me.
My theory is that most people read deep non-fiction writing in order to cultivate an obsession . Some obsessions last weeks, others last decades. People are willing to skim and graze random articles, but that's not the kind of readership you want to attract. You want people to care.
The best advice I have for finding these people is to not try too hard. We've all seen the writers who are pandering to a recent trend or copying a "proven" format. It usually doesn't work, because in order to feed someone's obsession you need to be able to go unusually deep. This takes a lot of energy, and the benefits from writing are sufficiently uncertain to make it a bad bet to do so if you're only doing it to grow an audience.
A better (and more fun) strategy is to work unusually hard to cultivate your own obsessions. Run experiments! Do research! Try things! And, of course, write about it. When you're pursuing your own curiosity, it matters less if others immediately care. The work becomes its own reward.
Angles, not topics
I asked GPT-3 for a list of article ideas for me with the prompt: "My name is Nathan Baschez. Use what you know about me to suggest topics of articles I should write." This is what it came up with:
- Strategies for successful startup growth and scaling
- Analysis of emerging trends in the technology industry
- The importance of brand storytelling in marketing
- The role of effective leadership in building high-performing teams
- The future of work and remote collaboration
- Lessons learned from your experience building companies such as Substack
- Innovation and disruption in media and journalism industries
- The impact of social media on modern society and the changing nature of communication
- Personal development and career growth strategies
- The role of empathy and emotional intelligence in business success.
These are great topics, but none work as a starting point for an article. To start writing, I need a sharp angle.
For example, last week I was thinking about why ChatGPT broke out now when the underlying AI model is a couple of years old. I realized that the success of DALL-E 2 and Stable Diffusion helped spread a narrative that AI is exciting right now, which helped prime people to be excited about a new product like ChatGPT. This, to me, is a good angle. It's a specific question with a specific answer—not a general topic area like "the rise of AI."
But what makes a compelling angle?
Made to STIRC
Angles that spread usually check the following boxes:
- Surprising — presents unexpected new information or theories
- True — we actually believe it
- Important — has an impact on our behavior
- Relevant — related to domains we care about
- Cool — we think we'll look impressive for sharing it
It's hard to come up with angles that fit all of these criteria. You're not going to be able to do it every week. But at least you know what you're looking for.
Find the central question
To sharpen your angles, ask yourself early in the writing process what the central question is. Once you can frame this, the rest of the piece becomes much easier to write.
"If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions." — Not Albert Einstein
For this piece, the central question is, "How can I write essays that spread online?" It seems obvious, but it was only something I figured out about halfway through the first draft. When I started writing, all I had was a fuzzy idea that I would write about the frameworks and theories about writing I've developed over the past three years. The original placeholder title was "writing advice." Most essays start this way.
Once you've found the central question, you can go back and re-orient everything you've written to provide answers as logically as possible.
Plot a logical through-line
Readers are more logical than most writers think. They'll bail on a piece if it meanders aimlessly, and they'll stick with it if it seems like most ideas follow logically from what came before, even if those ideas aren't terribly compelling.
I learned this lesson when I worked at Gimlet Media. When I sat in on meetings where editors would give the podcast producers and hosts feedback on rough cuts of episodes, I couldn't believe how logical their advice was. I thought the creative process was about hand-wavy, inexplicable, personal, and perhaps even emotional decisions. False! Logic also matters. You can't move people if they're confused.
The most common mistake when I'm editing is when a writer jumps from one idea to another without explanation or transition. You can reduce 50% of the drag in your writing if you edit yourself so that each line follows logically from what came before.
Use an organizing principle
So how do you ensure a logical flow of ideas? You could take it one sentence at a time, but that's hard. Especially when you're writing the first draft, if you don't have a foundational structure you can return to, you'll often have no idea what to say next.
My best-performing essays often have an organizing principle that makes the structure easy to follow. For example, this essay starts at the beginning of the creative process and follows in more or less chronological order. My most popular essay, " Why Content is King ," goes over each of Hamilton Helmer's 7 Powers in order, and shows how they apply to media. If you look at each of my most popular posts , you'll probably be able to identify a clear organizing principle.
Ask for feedback
Good feedback from the right kind of reader can transform an essay. Without the help of my colleagues at Every my writing wouldn't have spread nearly as far.
There are two types of people from whom you can get good feedback:
- Professional editors
- Readers in your target audience
Each has unique value to offer.
Professional editors who aren't familiar with your world won't have a nose for what your audience cares about, so they won't be able to add much thrust, but they can reduce drag and help you articulate your thoughts more clearly.
Readers in your target audience probably won't have the editorial prowess to improve sentences or help you structure a piece, but they can help you identify what works and doesn't about a draft. Because readers aren't used to giving feedback, I ask them to look out for anything that triggers the following reactions:
- Disagree/don't believe
The acronym is ABCD, which is nice and memorable.
Set and meet sacred deadlines
I didn't set deadlines until last year, and it was by far my best and most prolific year as a writer. Once I committed to publishing weekly, everything improved. The numbers went up, sure, but more importantly I learned to control my creativity. I no longer need to wait for inspiration to strike, I just sit down and start working and I know eventually something good will come out.
When you're starting out, especially if you're writing on your own outside the context of an editorial organization, it will be hard to make a deadline feel sacred. The best way to do it is to start a newsletter where you promise you'll publish on a certain day of the week, every week, rain or shine. This is painful, but necessary. The best way to improve your writing is to publish a lot of writing. Hoarding drafts teaches you little.
Writing on the internet is like playing Battleship . You don't know how a piece will land until you put it out there. Over time, the more shots you take, the more you can form a map in your mind of what works and what doesn't.
Regard public recognition with bemused detachment
Never let the scoreboard (likes, views, subscribers, etc.) affect your motivation. This is impossible, of course, but it's worth striving toward. If publishing essays starts to feel like pulling the lever of a slot machine, you're in trouble. Writers do awful things when they become addicted to public recognition. It becomes a sort of game where they try to make the numbers go up, and they lose touch with the reason to write in the first place. This eventually has the perverse effect of making the numbers go down, because readers don't want to be pandered to.
I learned this the hard way. In the first year of Divinations, the growth metrics were all up and to the right. Gradually I began to feel as if I was on a high wire—one mediocre essay away from alienating my audience. The stress consumed me, and I stopped having fun writing. The numbers suffered, and I started writing less often so I could "focus on building the business." In retrospect, almost everything I did besides write or edit was a waste of time that cost the company significant momentum.
At some point early in 2022, I pulled myself out of this funk. I committed to a weekly publishing schedule. This structure did not make my anxiety disappear, but it did force me to confront it. I read a book called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert that taught me an important lesson: writing can and should be fun. You should do it because you get a thrill out of it. Sure, it can also be hard, but so can everything. Focus on the parts you like. When you sit down to write, remind yourself that you're doing so in order to experience those fun, joyful moments. This taps into—and even expands—a much more durable form of motivation than public recognition: intrinsic satisfaction.
When you publish, of course you'll be happy if you get a good response. But the balanced reaction is more along the lines of "Huh, you liked that? Interesting…," rather than, "OMG they like me!!! I am not worthless after all!"
If I'm being honest, the hopes and dreams of that guy sitting under the bookshelf in the San Francisco apartment were closer to garnering the latter reaction than the former. I wanted to write so I could learn about business strategy, partly because I found the subject valuable and interesting, but also so I could become a Smart Guy™ in the eyes of tech Twitter. Now I'm not so sure how much that matters to me. I'm more attuned to the work that gives me joy and brings genuine value into the world. I still have an ego and perform my little routines to try and fortify it. But the ego has less of a death grip on me now. I can set it aside, and allow feelings like curiosity and joy take over when I write. It is and always will be a work in progress—a bit of a mess at times. But it's me. I'm learning to feel okay with that.
This essay was originally published on Every .
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20 Things That Happened for the First Time in 2023
A series of surprising and serious events and trends that were unprecedented until now.
By Tricia Tisak
This article is part of a series called Turning Points , in which writers explore what critical moments from this year might mean for the year ahead. You can read more by visiting the Turning Points series page .
1. London’s West End lights up to celebrate Ramadan.
London’s West End glowed with 30,000 festive holiday lights strung up to mark the Islamic holy month of Ramadan for the first time in March. Mayor Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, ceremoniously lit the “Happy Ramadan” display of lights depicting the phases of the moon over Coventry Street. The installation was the first Ramadan celebration of its kind in a major European city.
2. Cells from two male mice produce live offspring.
Scientists from Osaka University in Japan have created mice from two biologically male parents for the first time, according to a study published in March in the journal Nature. Scientists took skin cells from the tails of male mice and used them to generate eggs that were implanted into female mice, eventually producing live offspring. The reproductive feat could have future implications for fertility treatments and the preservation of endangered species.
3. Jimin becomes the first Korean solo artist to top the charts.
Jimin, best known as a member of the K-pop group BTS, became the first South Korean solo artist to top Billboard’s Hot 100 with his hit “Like Crazy” in April. The weekly rankings reflect the most popular songs in the United States across genres. Several months later, fellow BTS member Jungkook became the second South Korean solo artist to take the No. 1 spot with his single “Seven.”
4. Chinese currency overtakes the American dollar in China’s international payments.
The Chinese yuan for the first time overtook the American dollar as the most widely used currency for cross-border payments in China in March. The Chinese government has been promoting the use of the yuan, also known as the renminbi, to internationalize its currency and challenge the American dollar’s dominance.
5. Scientists successfully extract rocks from Earth’s mantle.
After several unsuccessful attempts dating back to 1961, researchers drilled into the Earth’s mantle in May, retrieving sample after sample of the coveted dense rock for the first time. Scientists deployed an ocean drilling vessel to a spot where the mantle has been pushed up closer to the ocean floor because of the tectonic activity near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge — an area known as the Moho. The samples are giving geologists a more pristine look at what exactly lies under the Earth’s crust.
6. A 3-D scan of the Titanic wreckage shows more detail than ever before.
A full-size 3-D scan of the Titanic wreckage was revealed for the first time in May, showing detailed images of both the ship and its three-mile debris field. The wreckage is difficult to access and even harder to photograph in the murky depths some 12,500 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. The more than 715,000 still images were captured by Magellan Ltd., a deepwater seabed mapping company, more than a century after the ship sank in 1912.
7. A man with paralysis walks again using his thoughts.
With the aid of brain and spinal implants , a man with paralysis was able to walk again more than a decade after his injury by using his thoughts, according to a study published in May in the journal Nature. The implants, which use artificial intelligence technology, decoded electrical signals in his brain and sent messages to his muscles, allowing him to stand and walk with the aid of a walker. Although spinal implants have achieved similar results in the past, a button had to be pushed to activate the signals each time.
8. More than 10 percent of Japan’s population is at least 80 years old.
For the first time on record, at least one in 10 people in Japan is over the age of 80 , according to Japanese national data . Released by the Health Ministry in June, the data also showed that in 2022, births in Japan slowed to their lowest rate since the country began keeping records in 1899. The country, which is home to more than 125 million people, has the world’s oldest population.
9. Regulators approve the first over-the-counter oral contraceptive and a pill to combat postpartum depression.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a nonprescription birth control pill for the first time in July. Opill is expected to become available at pharmacies and grocery stores across the United States in early 2024. Weeks later, the F.D.A. approved the first postpartum depression pill . Zurzuvae was found in clinical trials to take effect in as little as three days, unlike other antidepressants, which can take at least two weeks.
10. The first methane-fueled rocket launches into space.
A methane-fueled Zhuque-2 rocket, created by the Chinese private space company Landspace , reached orbit in July. Although it is a greenhouse gas, methane is widely viewed as more environmentally friendly than the standard kerosene-based fuel that is used for most spaceflights.
11. The Brazilian Constitution is officially translated into an Indigenous language.
The Constitution of Brazil was given an official translation into Nheengatu, one of the more widely spoken Indigenous languages in the Amazon. The translated document , unveiled in July during a ceremony in São Gabriel da Cachoeira, was hailed by activists and Brazilian officials as a significant step in preserving and honoring Indigenous languages and cultures in the country.
12. India lands a spacecraft near the moon’s south pole.
India became the first country to successfully land near the moon’s south pole, a shadowed area of rugged terrain where prior missions by India and Russia both ended in crashes. India’s Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft touched down about 370 miles from the south pole in August. The landing made India the fourth country to launch spacecraft that reached the lunar surface, after the former Soviet Union, the United States and China. Scientists have been eager to explore the area after traces of water in the form of ice were discovered there.
13. A.I. helps decipher text from an ancient Roman scroll.
Artificial intelligence has helped interpret part of an ancient scroll for the first time in modern memory. In August, a computer science student’s A.I. model extracted the ancient Greek word “porphyras” — or “purple” — from a Herculaneum scroll , one of hundreds that were buried and preserved in ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79.
14. Virgin Galactic makes its first space tourism flight.
Virgin Galactic flew its first group of tourists into space in August. Three ticket holders, including a mother-daughter duo and an Olympian, were launched into space from New Mexico in the VSS Unity , a rocket-powered space plane. Hundreds of people are on the waiting list for future flights, according to Virgin Galactic, with tickets currently priced at $450,000.
15. Microplastics are found in the clouds.
Researchers in Japan have found evidence that microplastics are in the clouds, according to a paper published in August in the journal Environmental Chemistry Letters, raising questions about possible climate effects. Scientists from Waseda University in Tokyo found airborne microplastics in clouds above Mount Fuji that they believe came mainly from the ocean.
16. A Category 5 storm forms in every ocean basin in the world.
A Category 5 storm, which packs winds of at least 157 miles per hour (252 kilometers per hour), formed in every ocean basin in a single year for the first time on record. Meteorologists tracked storms in the seven ocean basins which make up the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. Experts say that rising ocean temperatures played a role in the year’s active storm season.
17. A highly lethal variant of bird flu reaches Antarctica.
The HPAI H5N1 virus was confirmed in bird and seal populations on Bird Island in Antarctica for the first time in October, alarming conservationists who note that native wildlife have no defenses against many viruses, which could potentially lead to lower breeding numbers or even the extinction of isolated species.
18. Women vote in a major Vatican meeting.
A Vatican assembly of 300 bishops from across the globe included nuns and laywomen who, for the first time, had voting rights in the synod. Topics of discussion included the advancement of women in church roles, with some priests even supporting the ordination of women deacons, a much-debated topic among Catholics.
19. Researchers discover a black hole that’s 13.2 billion years old.
Researchers using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the James Webb Space Telescope confirmed the existence of the universe’s oldest black hole recorded to date. It is estimated to have formed about 470 million years after the Big Bang and is 10 times bigger than the black hole in the Milky Way.
20. Earth has its hottest 12-month period on record.
From November 2022 to October 2023, Earth experienced its hottest 12 months on record, according to the nonprofit organization Climate Central . The group’s analysis shows that global temperatures have risen 1.3 degrees Celsius (2.3 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial records, alarming environmental and climate scientists, as the data is nearing the 1.5-degree Celsius (2.7-degree Fahrenheit) global warming benchmark set by the 2015 Paris Agreement.