Compare and Contrast Essay: Step-by-Step Guide With Examples

compare and contrast essay

As a student, you will be required to write different types of essays. One of the most common is the compare and contrast essay. This type of essay allows you to explore the similarities and differences between two or more items.

Do you need to write a compare and contrast essay but don't know where to start? Here is a step-by-step guide with plenty of examples to help you. There is no need to struggle with your next compare and contrast paper.

Refer to our blog for helpful tips on how you can complete compare and contrast essay in no time!

Compare and Contrast Essay Definition

One of the most common types of essays is a compare and contrast essay. In this essay, two objects or subjects from different categories are compared to evaluate their similarities and differences.

It is important to remember that the main points of comparing and contrasting are more than just identifying differences between two subjects. It uses distinct viewpoints, attempting to construct an argument subject by subject.

To compare two objects, a writer starts by describing what they have in common and then goes on with the differences.

We are constantly comparing the things in our daily life to make a choice.

For example: To manage your budget, you might decide on one item over another because it is cheaper or more affordable- even though both choices could possibly fit your needs equally well!

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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

The best way to write a good compare and contrast essay is by following this step-by-step writing process.

  • 1. Choose a Topic
  • The key here is to make sure what you compare has similarities, so there aren’t any huge leaps between your chosen topic. It's important for the audience not only to see how one thing relates or contrasts with another but also why those differences matter and have an impact.

  • 2. Consider Similarities and Differences
  • Brainstorming is a great way to help you come up with new ideas. You might consider all of the possibilities, such as distinctions and similarities, for a clear understanding of what you want to achieve.

    Gather similarities and differences, then create a Venn diagram or list of these items. Write down similarities in one part of an overlapping circle and mention differences in the other part.

    A writer will assess all the qualities of their chosen subjects through this simple representation.

    traits of object
  • 3. Build an Argument on the Subject
  • The best compare and contrast essay is a study of how two or more subjects are similar but also different. It includes an argumentative overview that analyzes the similarities between them while highlighting their differences. It provides clear reasoning behind every point made throughout your paper - this way; readers can understand where you're coming from after reading it!

  • 4. Construct the Organizational Structure
  • There are countless ways to structure your essay. A block arrangement is a basic structure used to draft a compare and contrast essay.

    There are many different ways to structure your essay. One of the most common structures is a block arrangement and point-by-point structure.

    Have a look at the structure of block arrangement in the table below.

    transition paragraph/words

    Below we have provided the best point-by-point structure in a table form.

    points-by-points structure
  • 5. Make an Outline
  • A basic five-paragraph essay outline is used to write a compare and contrast essay.

    This outline format categorizes all of the information as follows:

    1. Introduction
    2. Body Paragraph 1
    3. Body Paragraph 2
    4. Body paragraph 3
    5. Conclusion

    To form an essay, all of the information gathered is divided into five outline parts.

  • 6. Give Supporting Materials
  • Writing a compare and contrast essay is usually based on the evidence to back up your viewpoints. Provide evidence, supporting information, real-life examples, and facts to support.

  • 7. Include Transitional Words
  • Using transitions during your compare and contrast essay will help the reader get from one point to another. To make it compelling, use these word choices:

    transitional words
  • 8. Edit and Proofread
  • You should always go over your essay after you're finished writing it to ensure there are no errors in formatting, grammar, or punctuation. Finally, this step brings the essay to completion and ties up all loose ends.

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Outline for a Compare and Contrast Essay

An outline is a crucial part of any essay, but it's especially important for compare and contrast essays. The following paragraphs must include in a compare and contrast essay outline:

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

It's important to start any type of essay with an attention-grabbing introduction. The first sentence of your paper should have a hook to capture the reader's attention. A fact, quote, or short yet intriguing statement can work well for this.

Also, provide some background information on your topic in an introductory paragraph. At the end of this paragraph, a thesis statement is needed, including what you are trying to compare and contrast in this work.

The compare and contrast thesis statement is a powerful tool for showing the differences between two subjects. The introductory paragraph should paint the entire essay in vivid detail, painting an image of what readers will find in each paragraph.

Compare and Contrast Essay Body Paragraphs

Your body paragraphs should be interesting and informative so that the reader can easily digest all of your information. Explain everything thing with proper facts and reasoning.

In the first paragraph, it is important to make your reader understand how different subjects will be compared. In this final section of the body paragraph, you'll discuss both topics and their similarities and differences so that a comparison can occur between them.

The body essay structure is heavily influenced by the alternative method you use to compare (block method or point-by-point).

This means that if you choose a block comparison, then each paragraph will have information about how it relates and supports its corresponding section in its conclusion. However, if using a point-by-point structure, there should only be one main idea per paragraph so as not to overwhelm those who are unfamiliar with this style of writing but still want some clarity on what exactly you’re arguing against/for at any given time!

Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion

The essay conclusion is a concise but thorough analysis of the key points raised in the content. It depends on the subject matter and method of analysis used.

The summary is a brief but informative analysis of the key points raised within the comparison essay. It depends on whether it's analyzing one subject or many and what type of method was used for examination- be this quantitative or qualitative approach will depend largely upon your research objectives.

When it comes to comparing and contrasting two objects, you need context. Understanding your reasoning behind the comparisons will help readers understand better.

Below an example of a compare and contrast essay outline is provided for your help.

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Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Sample

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Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

These compare and contrast essay examples will help you write a paper that stands out.

Compare and Contrast Essay Sample (PDF)

Compare and Contrast Essay Sample

Block Method for Compare and Contrast Essay (PDF)

Block Method for Compare and Contrast Essay

Point-By-Point Method for Compare and Contrast Essay (PDF)

Point-By-Point Method for Compare and Contrast Essay

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Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

As with any other type of essay, the topic for a compare and contrast paper should be interesting and engaging. It must grab readers' attention from start to finish, so they cannot put down your work halfway through reading it!

A good way to choose an intriguing topic is by brainstorming all possible topics until you find one that catches your interest.

The following list of compare and contrast essay topics can help you write a great paper.

  • Introverts vs. Extroverts
  • Medication vs. Therapy
  • Movies vs. Books
  • Classical vs. Rock music
  • Fast food vs. Healthy food
  • Prose vs. Poetry
  • News vs. Reporting
  • Homicide and Suicide
  • Apple vs. Samsung
  • Pizza vs. Pasta

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Tips for Compare and Contrast Essay Writing

Every good essay needs to appeal to the readers to read it all the way through. To do this, you must present information in such a way that it interests and engages your readership - which is why accuracy matters!:

Here are some expert tips you should follow to have a higher chance of getting an ‘A+’ grade.

  • The best way to write an essay is by reading other peoples' work. When you are stuck and looking for inspiration, it's always a good idea to read some essays on similar topics as yours before starting your own draft.
  • It is important to think carefully about what you want your audience's response will be before creating any content. Brainstorming as many ideas and choosing one that seems like a good fit can help with this brainstorming process towards finding just the right tone for each piece of information.
  • Formatting is the most important thing to remember when writing an essay. Properly formatting papers will make it easier for readers and help you get better marks!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a compare and contrast essay?

The six-paragraph essay needs to compare and contrast the two items being discussed. For instance, each paragraph compares and contrasts the two items under consideration, such as a city bus and an airplane.

What is the purpose of the topic sentence in a compare contrast paragraph?

A topic sentence introduces the main idea of a paragraph. For example, X and Y are both points of comparison in compare and contrast paragraphs. X states the similarities, and Y points out differences.