Writing a Comparative Essay Using the Point-by-Point Method

Last Updated: 19 July 2024

Compare and contrast essays or comparative/comparison essays are a genre of academic writing where students analyze and evaluate the similarities and differences between two or more subjects without making judgments. Suppose you are in high school, college, or university, pursuing English, Introduction to Writing, History, Literature, Social Sciences, counseling, religion, nursing, and other subjects. In that case, you might be assigned to write comparative essays.

Although there are two major approaches for writing comparison and contrast essays, this guide focuses on the point-by-point method.

What is the Point-by-Point method in Comparison Essay?

The point-by-point comparative essay examines two subjects using the same set of criteria by applying the criteria one point at a time. It entails examining one aspect of a subject and the same aspect of the second subject within the same paragraph. It is often used when writing comparative essays if you do not want to use the block method. It is comparable to a list and is typically better for longer essays that cover four pages and above.

Related: How to write a great comparative essay.

Outline format for Point-by-Point Compare/Contrast Essay

A typical point-by-point compare/contrast essay has three parts or sections: an introduction paragraph, a body section, and a conclusion. The essay should have at least three body paragraphs. You can structure your essay as outlined below:

  1. Introduction
    1. Introduce Items or subjects (works/ people, places, things, objects
    2. Background information (subjects, frame of reference, and criteria for comparison)
    3. Thesis Statement
  2. Body Paragraph 1
         a. Summary of the main point
              i. Relation to Item 1
              ii. Relation to Item 2
              iii. Conclusion
  3. Body Paragraph 2
         a. Summary of the main point
              i. Relation to Item 1
              ii. Relation to Item 2
              iii. Conclusion
  4. Body Paragraphs 2, 3, 4 …nth
         a. Summary of the main point
              i. Relation to Item 1
              ii. Relation to Item 2
              iii. Concluding sentence
  5. Conclusion
         a. Restate Thesis
         b. Summarize how you proved your argument

Steps for Writing a Good Point by Point

When writing an essay using the point-by-point approach, you arrange the paragraphs according to the main points instead of the topic or subject. This means having a paragraph that focuses on a single point of comparison and contrast for the subject. You can apply the point-by-point approach in the following steps when assigned to write a long and complex comparative essay or paper.

Step 1: Read the Instructions

Before doing anything else, read the essay prompt to identify the scope, deadline, format, style, and length.

Consider the subjects you can discuss because some professors limit the discussion to particular subjects.

As you read, you should take notes and begin brainstorming for ideas.

Step 2: Choose a topic or the subjects

If your professor is gracious enough to give you the subjects of comparison or a compare and contrast topic, skip this step.

Otherwise, brainstorm the best subjects to compare and select a manageable, relevant, and exciting topic.

Do not go for subjects that do not have points of comparison. Instead, check if your chosen subjects have points of similarity and contrast.

Related Reading: The best topics for Compare and contrast essays.

Step 3: Research and Develop a Thesis

After choosing a topic and subjects, brainstorm ideas and research online for ideas to include in your essay. You can make a Venn diagram or a table to list the points of comparison.

Remember to organize your sources as you research. You can use online citation management tools like BibMe or CiteFast. As you research and organize your sources, develop a good thesis for your essay.

An excellent compare-and-contrast thesis statement states the main idea or focus of the essay. It names the two subjects of comparison and assertion of the similarities and differences.

The thesis should show the relationship between or among the two or more subjects you focus on in your paper.

Step 4: Create an Outline

Assuming you have done steps 1 through 3, the next step is to create a point-by-point outline for your essay. In the outline, list the frames of reference and grounds for comparison. We have given the template and an example to use.

A good outline helps you to save time when you are writing the first draft. You can envision the final paper before even writing it, which allows you to prioritize ideas, organize its flow, and develop great topic sentences for your body paragraphs. You also choose the best words and phrases to include in the essay.

Step 5: Write the First Draft

After doing everything related to writing preparation, undertake the mammoth task; writing. Focus on writing the first draft by filling out your outline. You will be amazed at how fast that can be, especially if you took good notes during research and organized the sources well.

The introduction includes the introduction of your frame of reference, grounds for comparison, and thesis. Ensure that the introduction paragraph stands out.

In the essay's body paragraphs, focus on one criterion but alternate discussing or analyzing each subject within the paragraph. For instance, if you compare two characters, you can focus on themes in the first paragraph, characters in the second paragraph, and roles in the third. In each paragraph, you will discuss both characters. You should also link your subjects as you develop your paragraphs so that your readers can see your arguments' logical and systematic flow.

Begin the body paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the subjects and states the paragraph's main point. Your paragraph should then discuss the subjects' similarities and differences point-by-point. End with a concluding sentence that states your decision as to which subject or topic you prefer and why, or you can also explain the reason for comparison. You should be persuasive as you write the concluding sentence, and be sure to transition your reader to the next paragraph.

When writing the body and you notice a category has more points than the other, ensure that you prioritize the points to have balanced points within a paragraph. When you break down points into distinct categories, you have a clear way of distinguishing those that matter the most in your essay.

Finally, write the conclusion that restates the thesis, summarizes the main points in the paragraphs, and gives a closing statement that can be a call to action or recommendation.

Step 6: Polish Your Essay

A good point-by-point comparison essay is well-researched, well-formatted, and devoid of grammatical, spelling, or stylistic mistakes. After writing the paper, ensure you take a break to develop an objective mindset. You also need such rest to cool off from writing.

Return when you are energetic and objective to read the essay first, slowly, and then keenly. Also, read it out aloud to spot errors. Ensure that your essay meets the marking criteria by addressing all the points in the rubric. As well, ensure that it does not have any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Ensure that your essay is indented well. You can use editing software like Ginger, Grammarly, or any other editing tool. You can also create a reverse outline to ensure that your essay addresses everything as required. Equally, you can hire a professional proofreader to read and comment on your paper so that you can make the necessary corrections.

Sample Point-by-Point Comparative Essay

Topic: Swimming vs. Cycling Sports

Sports have long been integral to human culture, providing avenues for physical fitness, competition, and recreation. Cycling and swimming are popular sports that engage participants in distinct ways while sharing common goals of promoting fitness and well-being. This essay presents a comprehensive comparative analysis of cycling and swimming sports using the point-by-point method. Although swimming and cycling are popular sports, comparing their similarities and differences in physical demands, health benefits, environmental impact, and accessibility reveals that they are different yet related.

Cycling and swimming sports each require specific physical attributes and exert different demands on the human body. Cycling is predominantly a lower-body exercise that engages leg muscles, such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, while enhancing cardiovascular endurance. On the other hand, swimming engages the entire body, employing the arms, legs, core, and back muscles. It provides a full-body workout, fostering improved strength, flexibility, and lung capacity. In this aspect, swimming offers a more comprehensive muscular engagement than cycling.

Both cycling and swimming are esteemed for their numerous health benefits, contributing to overall physical well-being. Cycling is renowned for promoting joint flexibility and strengthening bones, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. Moreover, cycling is a low-impact exercise, making it suitable for individuals of various age groups and those with joint-related issues. Swimming, in contrast, is a non-weight-bearing exercise, alleviating stress on joints while providing an effective means of improving cardiovascular fitness. Additionally, swimming is often recommended for individuals seeking rehabilitation from injuries or those with limited mobility due to its gentle impact on the body.

The environmental impact of cycling and swimming differs significantly, with cycling emerging as the more eco-friendly option. Cycling is a sustainable mode of transportation, promoting reduced carbon emissions and fostering environmental conservation. By choosing to cycle as a sport and mode of transport, individuals contribute positively to mitigating climate change and reducing pollution. Conversely, swimming pools necessitate substantial water and energy resources for maintenance and heating, leading to higher carbon footprints. While outdoor swimming in natural bodies of water may offer a more environmentally friendly option, it may not be as readily accessible or safe as indoor swimming facilities.

Accessibility is a critical factor in comparing cycling and swimming sports. Cycling is widely accessible, requiring only a bicycle and a safe road or cycling path. Bicycles come in various models and price ranges, catering to diverse demographics. Furthermore, cycling can be enjoyed individually or as part of group activities, fostering a sense of community engagement. In contrast, swimming may require access to swimming pools, which may not be universally available in certain areas. Additionally, swimming may necessitate specific equipment such as swimsuits, goggles, and caps, which could pose financial barriers to some individuals.

In conclusion, cycling and swimming are two popular sports that offer distinct yet complementary benefits to individuals seeking physical fitness and well-being. Cycling predominantly engages the lower body, while swimming provides a comprehensive full-body workout. Both sports promote health benefits, such as improved cardiovascular endurance and strength, albeit with different impacts on joint health. Cycling is recognized for its eco-friendly nature, contributing to reduced carbon emissions and sustainability, while swimming may carry a higher environmental burden due to water and energy consumption in pool facilities. The accessibility of cycling surpasses swimming, as it requires minimal equipment and can be enjoyed in various settings, making it a more inclusive sport. Ultimately, the choice between cycling and swimming as a preferred sport depends on individual preferences, physical capabilities, and access to facilities, with both activities offering unique avenues for physical fitness and enjoyment.


In the example above, cycling and swimming are compared point-by-point. The first body paragraph focuses on physical demands, while the second is on health benefits. The third body paragraph compares and contrasts swimming and cycling based on the environmental impact of each. The fourth paragraph focuses on accessibility.

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When you are assigned to write a compare and contrast essay, choose two subjects with an adequate basis for comparison to cover the required length or meet a given word count. It does not have to be complex; even the most basic things, such as kitchen equipment, furniture, utensils, cars, drinks, foods, and pets, can be subjects for your compare and contrast essay. In most cases, when you have more than three pages to write, consider using the point-by-point method, as it helps you handle more similarities and differences. In this case, examine one aspect of one subject and the same aspect of the second subject within the same paragraph. At least have three body paragraphs to prove your thesis.

If you need help writing a point-by-point essay, do not hesitate to place an order on our website. GradeCrest.com is the best website that writes essays for you at an affordable rate while maintaining your details' confidentiality, privacy, and security. Hire our expert compare and contrast essay writers to work on your paper today. Check out our academic essay writing services.

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What is the point-by-point method of organization?

The point-by-point approach entails writing about both subjects of comparison simultaneously using the same criteria for each subject within each paragraph. You organize the essay using individual points rather than the subject themselves, as is done via the block method. An example of a point-by-point format is when comparing two phones; for example, an iPhone and a Samsung phone, before purchasing. You can start by discussing the costs and then move to performance specs before looking at other aspects, such as waterproof ability and color availability. Unlike the block style for short essays, the point-by-point comparison style applies to long, complex papers.

How to start a point-by-point comparison essay?

Like other essays, a point-by-point comparison essay begins with an introduction paragraph with a hook statement, background information that introduces the subjects, and a thesis statement that highlights the main points or comparison and contrast criteria.

How to write a compare and contrast essay in block format?

When writing a comparative essay in block format, you first exhaustively write a subject (covering all the key points of comparison and contrast) before transitioning to writing about the second subject. The purpose of a comparative essay remains the same regardless of the style you select; to critically evaluate and analyze the similarities and differences between two or more things or subjects.

What are some words to use in a compare/contrast essay?

When writing a comparison essay, you can use these transition words:

What is the difference between Subject-by-Subject (block) and Point by Point?

The subject-by-subject style or approach entails discussing one subject at a time and writing all its points of similarity and differences before writing the same for the second subject. You address each subject in separate paragraphs, meaning you have several paragraphs, each discussing a single subject. It is what is referred to as the block method. On the other hand, a point-by-point format entails writing each point of comparison and contrast for each subject within a single paragraph. One paragraph focuses on a single aspect or criteria before moving to the next aspect.