How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

Last Updated: 04 July 2019
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Are you wondering how to write a compare and contrast essay? Relax, this article introduces you to the compare and contrast essay definition. It also details the compare and contrast essay structure and its different organization styles.


Simply, a compare and contrast essay lists the similarities and differences between concepts for a given item or subject. For instance, you could be asked to compare and contrast sea and air transport, themes in two films/movies/documentaries, or two forms of arts or artists.


Definition of Compare and Contrast Essay


The purpose of compare and contrast essay is to weigh either side of an idea through outlining the strengths and weaknesses of both sides given the central theme.


Mostly, the thesis statement of a compare and contrast essay must highlight the two central ideas that are being compared and contrasted in the essay. Besides, the thesis should be clear, concise, and convincing.


Structure of Compare and Contrast Essay


Fundamentally, compare and contrast essays follow the classic five-paragraph essay format. The paragraphs include an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion, in that order.


As previously highlighted, the introduction must have a catchy and informative thesis statement. The body paragraph is the meat of your essay, ensure that each has an introductory sentence, supporting facts, and a conclusion sentence.


How many paragraphs should compare and contrast essay have? Even though most of the compare and contrast essays have three body paragraphs, you are allowed to use as many as the ideas can last. However, be mindful of the word count on the essay prompt.


The last paragraph of the body should acknowledge competitive arguments or concession. Modestly, it highlights the counterarguments just like in an argumentative essay.


The conclusion should summarize the evidence presented and the major points. Here, it would be best if you restated the thesis but make a solid argument than in the introduction.


How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay: Organization


There are a plethora of ways to organize a compare and contrast essay. They include point by point, subject by subject, or compare then contrast organization.


The point by point approach switches between different points when comparing and contrasting ideas. It goes from the notable dimensions in step by step form. It is very clear. However, if you miss a useful transition, your compare and contrast essay becomes flat.


The subject by subject approach entails dealing with all the points for one topic then focusing on those of the other.  It allows clarity and flow and is devoid of confusion. Nevertheless, the comparison and contrasts only become visible in the later sections of the essay.


Finally, the compare then contrast approach is similar to the subject-by-subject approach. It involves presenting the comparisons first based on identified aspects, then the contrast. It is the most common form of compare and contrast essay. All the points come out clearly.


Compare and Contrast Essay Topics


When choosing the best topics for compare and contrast essays, research and brainstorming are inevitable. It would be best if you researched on some of the potential topics given your subject. Some examples of compare and contrast essay topics include:



  1. Extroverts versus Introverts

  2. Nurture versus nature

  3. Comparing Between Natural Birth and Caesarian Birth

  4. Comparison of Generation X and Generation Y

  5. Orthodox and Catholics

  6. Christianity and Islam

  7. Chinese Culture and Western Culture

  8. Vegans and Meat Eaters

  9. Picasso and Modigliani

  10. President Trump and President Obama


Important Tips when Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay



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