How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay - Learn the Way

Usually, the requirements for the comparison and contrast essay can be different, depending on the type of topic given or chosen. As a rule, you are supposed to analyze two or more topics by pointing out the differences and similarities between them and drawing a conclusion at the end. Your overall goal here is to clear out misunderstandings, inform the reader of what they are not aware of, and support your argument with facts. You need to make sure that your audience understands how the compared subjects are interconnected and also provide an attention grabber to capture their focus and draw them in.

In the process of writing a compare and contrast essay, the student should concentrate on analyzing the differences and similarities between the two subjects they picked to explore. However, they should bear in mind that it isn't just about indicating how the topics are the same or different but rather raising an argument that is both meaningful and compelling to the audience. This type of essay may be very helpful in decision-making or shedding light on the less important information your readers are well aware of.

What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay

In order to create an excellent essay, we need to establish what a compare and contrast essay is first. Our life is all about comparing, so when we, for example, face a choice of buying apples or pears, our decision will probably be influenced by a number of factors. And unless it is impulse buying, when a person purchases something just after taking a quick glance at it, options are usually carefully weighed up. Writing the compare and contrast essay is pretty much the same: you should critically analyze two or more topics by comparing their similarities and differences before drawing a conclusion at the end of allowing the reader to have a clear understanding of the subject.

The compare and contrast essay definition is pretty self-explanatory: revealing the differences and similarities in theories, novels, and characters under a certain topic. The main idea here is to carefully analyze how two or more things are the same or different. For example, you can compare two characters in a novel: except aside from stating the obvious similarities you should also focus on their differences, thus revealing some subtle details that usually escape the reader's attention.

Compare and Contrast Essay Structure

The compare and contrast essay usually takes three forms:

Essay structure 1: Block structure

  1. Introduction (paragraph 1)
  2. Main Body Structure
    • Paragraph 2
    • Paragraph 3
    • Paragraph 4
    • Paragraph 5
  3. Conclusion (paragraph 6)

In case you are writing about two different novels, Text 1 should be focusing on the first novel, while Text 2 should be concentrating on the second one. All you need to do at this stage is basically look into the similarities between the two texts, e.g., you could expound on why some of the other novel's characters are tragic heroes by explaining it in paragraph two and paragraph 4, while in paragraphs three and five you can indicate the different reasons that led to the downfall of each of the two novels' characters.

Essay Structure 2: Alternating structure

  1. Introduction (paragraph 1)
    • Text 1 (paragraph 2) novel 1 similarities
    • Text 2 (paragraph 3) novel 2 similarities
    • Text 1 (paragraph 4) novel 1 differences
    • Text 2 (paragraph 5) novel 2 differences
  2. Conclusion (paragraph 6)

Unlike with the block structure, you will be focusing on the similarities in the first part of your essay, while your second part will be dedicated to the differences.

Essay structure 3: Integrated structure

Introduction (paragraph 1)

  1. Text 1 + Text 2 (paragraph 2)
  2. Text 1 + Text 2 (paragraph 3)
  3. Text 1 + Text 2 (paragraph 4)
  4. Conclusion (paragraph 5)

This type of structure, also referred to as the side-by-side, allows for an in-depth analysis. If you go with it, you should write about Text 1 and Text 2 in the same paragraph, stating the similarities or differences in each of the paragraphs.

How to start a Compare and Contrast Essay

Here, like in any other essay, you start with a first paragraph, which in this case is called the compare and contrast essay introduction and comprises three parts.

Hook - introduces the topic and engages the reader in continuing reading the essay. When writing a compare-and-contrast essay, it is important to ensure that the hooking sentence is a concise one. The Hook is supposed to grab the audience's attention, so it's a good idea to use a powerful statement rather than a question because it is often overused by most students. Using a unique hook is also a great way of reducing monotony and the feeling of sameness.

Background information - any information which is crucial to the reader's understanding of the context, essence, and concise background of the story. In other words, the background information should help the audience understand the topic.

Thesis - provided at the end of the introduction paragraph after the background information. The thesis is an important part of the introduction, so it is not to be neglected by the student.

Compare and contrast essay thesis statement

Students often wonder how to write a thesis for a compare and contrast essay because they simply do not understand what the thesis statement is. Actually, this is the last sentence of the introductory paragraph, but what makes it essential is the fact that it conveys the dominant idea of the whole essay. It also serves as a sort of reference point for you, preventing you from wandering off the main idea.

How to write a body paragraph for a compare and contrast essay

The body paragraphs in this type of essay can take any form, so students are free to select a body paragraph structure that best suits them. If you, for example, stick with the block structure when comparing two poems, make sure to explain the first poem in paragraphs one and two, before moving on to explaining the second one in paragraphs three and four.

If you go for the integrated structure, you should explain each of the poems' themes in the same paragraphs, while ensuring that each of the main body paragraphs has a different theme.

And lastly, if you opt for the alternating or side-by-side analysis, keep in mind that in the first and second paragraphs you should explain the poems' similarities, whereas in the third and fourth you should focus on their differences.

How to write a conclusion for a compare and contrast essay

The compare and contrast essay conclusion is the last paragraph of the entire essay in which you restate points mentioned in the introduction and body paragraphs, as well as summarize the similarities and differences dealt with in the previous parts.

Try not to repeat yourself when restating your ideas so as not to bore the reader and make them go back to what they have already read.

Compare and Contrast Essay Tips

Brainstorming and researching the subjects well is absolutely essential because that way you can learn about their similarities and differences. Gather as much information as you can, including what you think irrelevant or unnecessary information, which can be filtered out later.

Choose a structure you would like to use for your essay and which will make it easier for your readers to follow your train of thought.

The contrast and comparison essay's conclusion isn't much different from that of the majority of other essays, its primary objective being to recap all the significant points discussed and present your viewpoint in an easy-to-understand manner. Be sure to proofread the paper twice or more, correcting all possible errors before submitting.

Start your introduction with a quotation to grab the reader's attention before moving on to the thesis statement. You can also use the background information on the subjects, if there's any, to let the reader know what your essay is all about.

Organize your paragraphs in such a way as to ensure a logical progression towards the conclusion of the essay. Emphasize your opinion and use facts and examples to support your viewpoint.

20 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

We've prepared a list of interesting topic to help your creative side gear up for the writing action!

  1. What are the similarities between monkeys and humans?
  2. Which is more critical - essay or research paper?
  3. What are the similarities and differences between TOEFL and SAT, or IELTS and SAT?
  4. What differentiates females and males?
  5. Discuss love and hatred open-mindedly.
  6. What are the reasons for the existence of debit and credit cards? What role does government play in their production?
  7. What are the similarities and differences in the behavior of married and unmarried school couples?
  8. Are romantic relationships shown in films, novels, vlogs, and movies more insightful than the real-life relationships?
  9. Compare and contrast between father and mother's love.
  10. Which is better - getting married at a young age or when you're old?
  11. Which education is more effective - private or public?
  12. Is female-female friendship more lasting and rewarding than male-male friendship?
  13. What are the differences and similarities between winter and summer vacations?
  14. Which provides a better user experience - Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?
  15. Which would you choose as your pet - dog or cat?
  16. Compare and contrast the advantages of having an Android phone and iPhone.
  17. Which is a more effective way of losing weight - dieting or sports?
  18. Compare and contrast fashion trends since the 90s.
  19. Which is better - purchasing clothes from land-based shops or online ones?
  20. Should kids wear uniforms or regular clothes in school?

We hope that we've provided enough tips for you to feel confident about your writing abilities. Read our article a couple of times and start writing like a pro. And if something goes wrong - you can always buy a compare and contrast essay from our team!

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