Cathy A.
Cathy A.

Compare and Contrast Essay - An Ultimate Guide

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Published on: Feb 18, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 3, 2023

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Writing a compare and contrast essay is a task that almost every student gets for his academics. Instructors assign these types of essays to assess the student’s skills in writing, evaluating, analyzing, and differentiating between different subjects.

Like other formal writings, this piece of paper requires a particular format and writing process to be drafted correctly and professionally. This blog provides information about the easy writing process of this kind of essay

Continue reading the blog to have an in-depth understanding of the compare and contrast essay.

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What is Compare and Contrast Essay?

A compare and contrast essay is the most common type of essay. 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.

Similarly, to write a compare and contrast essay, a writer puts two things together, compares them, and forms a claim.

Purpose of a Compare and Contrast Essay

A writer uses this kind of essay writing when he wants to discuss multiple subjects.

The compare-and-contrast essay is a type of writing that analyzes and discusses two topics, or subjects. Unlike other types such as argumentative or persuasive essays where there's only one main topic for your paper.

A good comparison essay should not be a simple description of two subjects but rather an analytical explanation that explores the relationship between them.

This requires critical thinking and includes topics such as current events, political candidates or travel destinations.

A successful comparison paper will provide facts about both the subjects that the essay is about.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

‘How do you write a compare and contrast essay?’

Here are the steps to write a compare and contrast essay;

  1. Choose a Good Topic - When choosing the topic, make sure that you choose those topics that are different but somewhat similar in nature. Here are some examples to give you a better idea;
    • Picasso and Goya
    • Vegans and meat lovers
    • Extroverts and introverts
    • Catholicism and Protestantism
    • Generation X and Generation Y
  2. Brainstorming - Brainstorm the similarities and differenced between the chosen topics. Use a Venn diagram for your ease. It has overlapping circles that include the differences and similarities between both the subjects.
  3. Choosing the Structure - Decide which structure will you use to present your ideas; alternating, blocking, or similarities and differences.
  4. Create the Outline - Before beginning with the writing process, create the outline for your essay.
  5. Writing the Essay - Prepare a rough draft and add all the essay sections in it. Here is how to prepare these sections.
    • Introduction

      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 reader’s 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 statement - The thesis statement is the main idea that is discussed in the essay. It is two to three sentences long and it sets the tone for the entire essay.

        Thesis statements can be difficult to write. It is important to have an understanding of a thesis statement and how to write it easily.

    • Main Body

      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 “similarly, in contrast to, however, both,” etc., are frequently used to combine the entire content, giving a logical flow to it.

    • Conclusion

      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.

  6. Proofreading

    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.

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Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

‘What is the compare and contrast essay structure and format?’

The outline shapes and provides meaning to the entire essay. It keeps the writer focused and on the right track throughout the writing process.

Use the basic essay format to structure your essay. According to the traditional compare and contrast essay outline, an essay should be divided into the following sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraphs
  3. Conclusion

The organizational structure of an essay helps a lot in clearly presenting ideas and thoughts. Readers want clear and explicit descriptions that are only possible without outlining the content.

How to structure a compare and contrast essay?

To structure a compare and contrast essay, you can choose any of the three methods explained below.

  • Alternating Method (point by point) - In this, a writer presents a certain idea about one object and the same idea about the second object simultaneously.

    Alternating Method Example
    ‘Modern science fiction films often regard alien visitors as hostile conquerors. From the destructive Martians in War of the Worlds to the White House-blasting invaders in Independence Day, alien species are shown as destructive and ruthless. But unlike their modern counterparts, the aliens in Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End peacefully unify the world instead of destroying it. The Overlords are more convincing than modern science fiction invaders because they work to earn the respect of humanity and wish to further man's evolution.’
  • Block Method (subject by subject) - According to this approach, all of the information about one subject is presented first, followed by the information and data regarding the other subject matter.

    Block Method Example
    ‘‘Melville's Captain Ahab believes that his suffering stems from the White Whale known as Moby Dick. Believing that "all visible objects" have a "little lower layer" hidden by a "pasteboard mask" (236), Ahab thinks that Moby Dick is more than just a simple beast. In his mind, the whale takes on the role of an enemy that continually plagues him.

    Like Ahab, the nameless student who narrates The Raven he cannot get beyond his suffering, and the mysterious bird that arrives at his doorstep only deepens his sorrow. At first, the narrator is happy to find some company in the bird. But when it utters its only sound, Poe's character asks, "I betook myself to linking /what this ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore / meant in croaking 'nevermore'"(70-72). Initially, the narrator rationalizes that the bird is just repeating the only phrase it knows, but it soon takes on a deeper meaning.’’
  • Similarities and Differences - The writer discusses all the similarities of the chosen subjects first and then all the points of comparison. It sounds similar to the alternate method but it is different from it.

    Similarities and Differences Method Example
    ‘In 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document that expressed that all people deserve life, liberty, and the freedom of thought. It is the responsibility of the government to protect these rights since the individual entrusts themselves to the ruling body. But in Yevgeny Zamyatin's We and George Orwell's 1984, the governments of One State and Oceania deny their citizens these basic rights, resulting in totalitarian societies. Since governments are often ranked upon how they uphold basic human rights, it is possible to determine which of these institutions has betrayed their citizens' natural rights more, based upon the UN Document.’

It is up to the writer to decide which approach will work best for his compare and contrast essay.

Compare and Contrast Essay Example

To give you a better understanding of compare and contrast essay concepts, we have gathered some useful examples.

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

If you are worried about writing a compare and contrast essay because you don’t have a strong topic, here are some topic examples for you from professionals:

  • Differences in the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.
  • Draw a comparison between creative writing and writing a research paper.
  • College life Vs. High School life - Similarities and differences
  • Traditional education Vs. Remote learning - A better option?
  • Differences between the British and American English
  • Marriage Vs. Live-in relationship - How are they different?
  • Reading from an Ebook vs. Paper book - Similarities and differences.
  • Similarities in adulthood and childhood.
  • Movies Vs. Books - a better time pass?
  • The difference in events of WWI Vs. WWII.

These are some good compare and contrast essay topics that will help you draft an amazing essay.

Read: Amazing Compare And Contrast Essay Topics

When students write for their academics, they should be extra careful about getting things right. It is always suggested that you understand the assignment guidelines before you start working on them.

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Tips to Write a Good Compare and Contrast Essay

Here are some helpful tips to write a compare and contrast essay;

  • Choose familiar and interesting topics.
  • Brainstorm and gather as much information as possible.
  • Use credible sources to support your claims.
  • Begin ahead and create a rough outline in the beginning.
  • Prepare a rough draft early in the writing process.
  • Set aside enough time for each section and work on them individually.
  • Once completed, proofread the document thoroughly.

Writing a compare and contrast essay could be difficult but you can handle it easily by following these tips.

If you find it difficult to draft multiple essays for your academics, feel free to take online help.

At, we provide academic writing services in all fields and disciplines. Our professionals are expert writers that specialize in writing different kinds of assignments including college essays, research papers, term papers, and helping the students succeed.

Contact us to discuss your academic project.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are compare and contrast words?

Here is a list of compare and contrast words: 

  • Like 
  • Also 
  • Similarly 
  • Unlike 
  • Again 
  • Likewise 
  • Yet 
  • Even 
  • Though 
  • Still 

What is a good introduction for a compare and contrast essay?

A good introduction will present the outline of the essay. This helps the readers in understanding the points and details that are discussed in the paper. To make it shine, you can add some brief historical details and information about the points discussed in the essay.

Cathy A.


Cathy A. (Literature, Marketing)

For more than five years now, Cathy has been one of our most hardworking authors on the platform. With a Masters degree in mass communication, she knows the ins and outs of professional writing. Clients often leave her glowing reviews for being an amazing writer who takes her work very seriously.

For more than five years now, Cathy has been one of our most hardworking authors on the platform. With a Masters degree in mass communication, she knows the ins and outs of professional writing. Clients often leave her glowing reviews for being an amazing writer who takes her work very seriously.

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