As a student, you are used to the fact professors or teachers assign all sorts of tasks and essays. Compare and contrast essay is one of them.
This type of essay requires an unbiased approach to the subject to show your ability to discuss similarities and differences without including your emotions and opinions into it. Throughout this guide, you’ll learn how to construct your compare and contrast and impress your teacher.
A compare and contrast essay analyzes two subjects or ideas by comparing or contrasting them. In many cases, an assignment requires both. The point of this essay is to demonstrate a deep understanding of the subject, the ability to research, and it also shows a student’s potential to analyze information from different angles.
Instead of listing similarities and differences one after another, compare and contrast essay looks into their relationship and tells the story that connects subjects that seemed incomparable.
Benefits of writing a compare and contrast essay
Contrary to popular belief, professors and teachers don’t assign essays just to keep you busy and destroy your social life. These assignments help you enhance certain skills and allow lecturers to assess them. After all, the main goal of education is to prepare you for adulthood and it is structured to help you adopt certain skills you’ll use later on. Below, you can see the important skills you develop with compare and contrast essays:
- Strengthens memories – the essay requires focusing student thinking on analyzing pairs of ideas to compare or contrast them and it, thereby, strengthens your ability to remember key content
- Improves higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) – a concept popular in the American education system. The HOTS distinguishes critical thinking skills from low-order learning outcomes. These skills include analyzing, reasoning, synthesizing, application, comprehending, and evaluation. You develop all these skills with compare and contrast essays
- Writing skills – the paper strengthens your writing skills by providing a simple structure that helps you organize information and develop your ideas with greater precision and clarity
- Develops habits of mind – compare and contrast essay helps students develop habits of mind necessary for intelligent behavior and thought. These habits include thinking flexibly, metacognition (thinking about thinking), striving for accuracy, thinking and communicating with precision and clarity, and applying past knowledge to new situations
Areas of interest
The greatest advantage of compare and contrast essay is that you can write about anything you like. After all, we compare things on a regular basis without even realizing it. You compare food items while grocery shopping, movies, books, teachers or professors, and so much more. Below, you can see categories that you should consider for high-quality compare and contrast essay:
- IT and social media
- Historical figures and personalities
- Everyday life
- Social issues and changes
Compare and contrast essay outline
The beginning is always the hardest part and essays are not the exception. What to do first? Before you begin writing the compare and contrast essay, you need to be familiar with an outline to follow. Not only does the outline keep you on the right track, but it generates ideas that you can use for the essay. How? It shows what and where to mention. Below, you can see the outline for this type of paper:
- Introduction – the introductory paragraph provides a brief intro to the topic, it’s a hook that you use to get someone’s attention. The sentence can include a fun fact, general information, statistics, quotes, among other things. Then, you transition to a specific topic or ideas you will compare so the reader knows the matter that will be discussed. The introduction ends with a thesis statement that announces the main idea or point you will compare and contrast
- Body paragraphs – the central part of the compare and contrast essay, can be organized in two ways:
- Point-by-point pattern – used to compare subjects or items that are similar. Paragraphs start with a topic sentence and deal with subjects (similarities or differences) and explanations that provide a deeper insight into their relationship
- Block pattern (organization by item) – used to compare situations or items that are entirely different at a first glance. This approach is also useful when multiple criteria are involved. When using block pattern you can divide body paragraphs into categories such as similarities first, then contrasts, a combination etc.
- Conclusion – summary of main points, short analysis of discussion in the essay, demonstrates significance of the subject
The whole idea of writing an essay can be frightening, especially because you have many other projects to work on and it’s needless to mention you have a lot of studying to do for your exams. A lot of nervousness comes from lack of information about compare and contrast essay. Students rarely come across accurate tips and tricks and it only makes the writing process longer and more frustrating. Let’s put a stop to that with these tips:
- Stick to the assignment – sometimes the essay assignment is just to compare something, or you may be required to discuss differences. In other cases, you need to do both. Regardless of the scenario, you should always stick to the assignment. If your task is to compare something, then focus on similarities rather than spending too much time on differences
- Identify meaningful comparison points – look for connections that truly matter and don’t waste your precious time on superficial comparison points. Let’s say you need to compare two books; meaningful comparison points are similarities between characters, plot, and other factors. Trivial comparison points would include font selection, cover (unless it’s symbolic), and other factors that don’t contribute to the meaning or purpose of each of those books
- Choose an organizational strategy – as seen in the outline section the body of compare and contrast essay follows one of two organizational strategies: block or point-by-point structure. Based on the subject, choose the one that works for your paper
- Assume your reader knows nothing – sometimes we fail to mention important information because we assume our lecturer already knows it. Big mistake! Always consider a reader knows nothing about the subject and your job is to inform them. This will help you compile a high-quality paper
- Back it up – keep in mind that compare and contrast essay is just like any other form of academic writing – it requires the use of evidence. Whenever you discuss some important points of comparison or contrast you need to provide evidence that supports it. Otherwise, the argument loses its strength. Of course, this also means you should include sources you used in references section
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
Your teacher or professor assigned a compare and contrast essay and gave you the freedom to choose your subject? The last thing you want is to spend way too much time on topic selection because it would prevent you from focusing on the writing process. At the same time, you want your topic to be strong and impactful.
Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
These ideas will help you find a perfect topic and focus on the writing part:
- Renaissance vs. Baroque
- Anthropology vs. religion
- Nazism and fascism: are they different or same?
- Online vs. traditional commerce
- Greek vs. Roman mythology: similarities and differences
- How Othello compares to Hamlet
- Tesla vs. Edison
- Main philosophical ideas of Macbeth against the main ideas of Hamlet
- Lord of the Rings trilogy vs. Harry Potter: similarities and differences
- Similarities and differences between public and private schools
- Aztecs vs. Mayans
- Obama vs. Trump: do they have anything in common?
- Immigration and emigration: how they differ?
- Differences between inventions and discoveries
- Similarities and differences between WWI and WWII
- Veganism and vegetarianism: compare and contrast
Easy Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- Renaissance Art vs. Baroque Art
- Antebellum Era vs. Reconstruction Era in American History
- Similarities and differences between Star Wars and Star Trek
- Cats vs. dogs: which ones make better pets
- New England Colonies vs. Middle Colonies OR vs. Southern Colonies
- Communism vs. Capitalism
- Socialism vs. Capitalism
- Greek vs. Roman Mythology
- 1984 vs. Fahrenheit 451
- Roman Empire vs. British Empire
- Real Madrid vs. Barcelona – which club is more influential?
- Differences between Mediterranean diets and Western diet
- Poetry vs. Prose
- Fiction vs. Nonfiction
- City life compared to country lifestyles
- Books vs. movies – why a film adaptation will never match books
- How rap music has changed compared to the way it was two decades ago
- Tea vs. coffee – what’s better for your health?
- The similarities between religious practices and cultural ones that shows that they both stem from the same source
- A non-gluten diet compared to a gluten filled diet
- Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton – who’s a better politician?
- The Vietnam War compared to the Korean Conflict
- Compare Hobbes’ philosophies to Locke’s philosophies
- Compare and contrast emailing someone to writing them a letter
struggle as possible.
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