Barbara P.
Barbara P.

Compare and Contrast Essay - A Writing Guide & Examples

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Published on: Jul 28, 2020

Last updated on: Apr 19, 2023

Compare and Contrast Essay

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Compare and contrast essays are an important part of academic life and are often assigned as academic writing assignments. It involves exceptional research and writing skills. Moreover, this type of essay enhances the student’s ability to analyze things and think outside the box.

While writing a compare and contrast essay, we aim to do a comparison by examining two or more than two topics. Also, the topic of comparison can be anything, including an object, person, or place. However, make sure these subjects should be from the same category but different.

If you are assigned to write this essay, read this blog to understand it better.

Compare and Contrast Essay Definition

By compare, we mean that we are looking for similarities. However, by contrast, we mean the differences between the objects directly related to each other. Therefore, in a compare and contrast essay, certain things are compared and contrasted, and a formal document is prepared.

It is a type of rhetorical analysis essay that discusses different ideas and factors of two or more subjects under discussion. It is quite challenging to draft a structured piece of writing. For this purpose, a student must learn the basic elements and structure of a compare a contrast essay paper.

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Compare and Contrast Essay Structure

Structuring a good compare and contrast essay requires the proper organization of all the comparable points. Below-given is a structure that will help you organize a compare and contrast essay in two ways.

  1. According to the subjects themselves, discussing one then the other
  2. According to individual points, discussing each subject in relation to each point

The organizational structure you will choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and the audience. Similarly, it is helpful to have some phrases on hand that will cue the reader to such analysis.

Have a look at the given document to understand the format structure of an essay comparing and contrasting some subjects.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

The method for creating an outline for a compare and contrast essay is the same as all other essays. It starts with an introduction, followed by body paragraphs and a conclusion. The following is a detailed description of these sections.

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

The essay introduction is the first part of the essay. It must be attention-grabbing and interesting enough to compel the reader to read the complete essay.

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

Follow the below instructions to write a good compare and contrast essay introduction:

  • Use a hook statement to start the introduction. It is an interesting type of sentence that helps you to catch the reader’s attention. It includes a question, a quote, or an interesting fact.
  • Provide some background information related to your essay and include the main purpose.
  • Lastly, write the thesis statement for your essay. It is an essential part as it explains the entire theme in a line or two. Therefore, it should be strong enough to support your claim. After this, write the concluding sentence and wind up the introduction section.

Compare and Contrast Essay Body Paragraphs

The second section of the outline is the body paragraphs that must be written carefully. Here, we are comparing certain elements and do not want the reader to get confused.

A good compare and contrast essay usually consists of three body paragraphs. Keep in mind the following elements while writing this section.

  • Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence. This sentence serves as an introduction to the particular paragraph.
  • Include all of the collected information related to the topic. Moreover, mention the elements based on which we are comparing the provided objects.
  • Write each paragraph separately for a particular key point. Do not mix the information in all the paragraphs.
  • Write the last sentence of each body paragraph using some transitional sentences. This will inter-relate the entire part and create a flow throughout the essay.

Compare and Contrast Conclusion

The conclusion is the last part of a comparison essay outline. It is the most technical part of the essay and should be written in the following way. Knowing how to write a conclusion that leaves a lasting impression on your readers is important.

  • Summarize your entire essay and try to make it more meaningful.
  • Restate the thesis statement.
  • Recall all of the key points in a precise way.

Check out the given document to understand the outline template.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

Follow the steps given below to write an amazing compare and contrast essay.

1. Select Your Topic

Choosing the topic and field of research is the most difficult phase of writing an essay. But you do not need to worry, as our blog will help you choose the best essay topics.

Pick two such topics to analyze the similarities and differences between them. Keep in mind that the subjects might be different, but they must belong to the same category. For example, if you want to compare the personalities of two persons, make sure that the environment they live in is the same.

For example, if you want to compare the personalities of two persons, make sure that the environment they live in is the same. Here are some more examples;

      • Shakespeare vs Marlowe
      • Mozart vs Salieri
      • Picasso vs Goya
      • Vegetarians vs Non-vegetarians
      • Catholics vs Protestants
      • Generation Y vs Generation Z
      • Existentialism vs Absurdism
      • Capitalism vs Socializm
      • Print Books vs Audiobooks
      • Novels vs Dramas

2. Make Two Lists

Take a rough paper and divide it into two parts by drawing the line. You can also draw a Venn diagram and write the differences and similarities of the subjects on the respective sides.

First, note down all the similarities and then start noting down the differences. Try to write all the possible points. Also, take references from other sources and add as much information as possible. Keep in mind that you need to mention the similarities and differences from all possible aspects.

Making a list of differences between the two subjects is one of the oldest practices. A child of grade one and a doctorate-level student both use such lists to spot the differences.

3. Highlight Important Similarities and Differences

After completing a list of similarities and differences, highlight the major points. All the points will be important in their place, but here you need to analyze.

Look broadly and highlight those points which are significant in all aspects.

4. Select the Right Format

You are well aware of the typical formatting style of essays. Usually, an essay format comprises an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

Furthermore, the body of this type of essay is arranged by using one of the following methods:

  • Topic by Topic

Here, start by describing one object and allocate its specific points in the beginning. Then you turn to the second thing and write down everything you know about it in the last paragraphs.

This layout is considered to be smooth and understandable. However, it looks more like a list of points than a comparison. It is the most noticeable shortcoming of this setup. This method is also called the block method.

Here is an example;

"Let's say you're comparing and contrasting women and men. (Women are more compassionate, good multitaskers, and able to sacrifice self for the greater good than men.) Then you would concentrate on males in the following section. (men typically have enhanced physical strength and technical abilities)."

  • Point by Point

“How do you write a compare and contrast essay point-by-point?”

The main purpose of this method is to evaluate. For example, we have two different dresses from the same brand, and we know that their prices, color, and material are different. We will evaluate both of them based on their characteristics one by one.

We will evaluate which one is more economical, which color is more appealing, and which dress has the best fabric. Here is a detailed point by point compare and contrast example;

There are a few key ways in which cycling and running differ from one another. Here is a point-by-point comparison of the two activities:

1. Muscles Used: Cycling relies heavily on the quadriceps or the large muscles on the front of the thigh. Running, on the other hand, engages the whole leg, including the quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles.

2. Impact: Because cycling is a low-impact activity, it is often recommended for people who have joint pain or are recovering from injuries. Running, on the other hand, is a high-impact activity that can put strain on the joints and muscles.

3. Cardiovascular benefits: Both cycling and running are excellent for cardiovascular health, but cycling may provide a slightly better workout for the heart and lungs.

4. Calorie burn: Cycling and running are both great exercises for burning calories, but running will generally burn more calories than cycling, due to the higher impact of the activity.

5. Injury risk: Due to the low-impact nature of cycling, it tends to be a safer activity than running for those with joint pain or previous injuries. However, cyclists can still suffer from overuse injuries like tendonitis or knee pain, especially if they are not wearing proper safety gear and using high-quality equipment. For runners, the risk of injury is higher, but this can be reduced by wearing proper shoes and paying attention to any aches or pains that are experienced during training.

When writing the compare and contrast essay, each point could be transformed into a full-fledged paragraph.

  • Common and Different Separately

Also called the alternating method, here you organize your essay by starting with the comparison and ending with contrast. You may reverse the order if you want to emphasize the common features instead of differences.

5. Develop an Outline

Generally, essays have an introduction, followed by three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. But for a comparison and contrast essay, we can change things as per the need. You can increase the length of the essay’s body.

Creating a good and functional essay outline is important for a good essay.

You can discuss two similarities and then lead to two differences, or vice versa. Moreover, you can also focus on one of the subjects first, and then on the second subject. Use any approach which you think is suitable and will make your essay more organized.

6. Gather Supporting Evidence

As soon as you decide on a topic for an essay, the next step is to research it. Collect as much information as possible and find the supporting evidence and facts to make it strong.

Remember, a compare and contrast essay is an informative essay, and statistical evidence plays a significant role in making it good. Moreover, this essay is better to be factual rather than based on your personal opinions and experiences.

7. Write Away

Once you are done with the steps mentioned above, it is time to hop on to the writing process. In your introductory paragraph, introduce the two subjects of discussion to the readers. Also, mention the reason for choosing those subjects and state your thesis statement.

Afterwards, move on to the body of the essay and explain all your major points. Alternatively, you can choose to focus subject by subject.

Then, come towards the conclusion paragraph. Briefly summarize the similarities and differences by explaining your thesis in different terms.

8. Proofread and Revise Accordingly

Once you are done writing the essay, proofread it carefully. When writing the essay, it is quite possible that you may have left some minor errors. When proofreading, make sure that you find and eradicate all such errors carefully. Moreover, you can also revise it if you have left out any important point.

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Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

“What is a compare and contrast essay example?”

Here are some free compare and contrast essay examples for college. They will help you choose a topic and write an essay right according to the standards of formatting.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

The following are some interesting topics for you to write a compare and contrast essay.

  • Acting to lying
  • Parental control or full freedom
  • A female friendship vs. male friendship
  • Eating fast food against consuming healthy meals
  • Marijuana & LSD: differences and similarities
  • The main differences between the Japanese and Chinese population
  • Jesus Christ and Buddha
  • Differences in customs & traditions of various churches
  • Apple company vs. Microsoft company
  • Yoga and Pilates

Writing a compare and contrast essay can be a challenging and time-consuming task. Thus, it requires good writing and analytical skills. If you are wondering who can help me write my essay, then you should take professional help.

At, we provide you with unique and original papers. Our writing service has an extensive team of highly qualified writers and a customer support team to answer all your queries right away.

Thus, place your order now and get a well-written compare and contrast essay in no time.

Barbara P.


Barbara P., Literature, Marketing

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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