Essay Writing Resources cover image Essay Writing Resources cover image

Essay Writing with EssayPro

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

“Marvel Comics movies are better than DC because I like Marvel more.”
Doesn’t sound convincing, does it? You certainly don’t want your thesis to look like that. But how do we make an informative and persuasive compare and contrast essay argument? Let’s take a look at a better example.

“DC comics movies a lazy Hollywood money-grabber, ridiculed by cheap explosions aimed to take the audience’s attention away from inconsistent characters and recycled plotlines. On the other hand, Marvel Studios have created a fresh, breathing universe, broken stereotypes with characters that grow and develop every film. We get thrills every time they’re in danger, reminding us of what good cinema can be.”

marvel vs DC

Now that’s more like it. Want to make your compare and contrast essay effective? Read on to learn a few simple tactics from our professional writers on EssayPro.


Table Of Contents

Compare And Contrast Essay Definition

Compare and contrast essays require a student to take two or more subjects and analyse them in relationship to each other and the central theme. Comparing explores analogies, and similarities between subjects while contrasting looks at the differences. Good compare and contrast essays analyse the topics and tie them to a central theme of the piece.

A compare and contrast essay thesis must introduce the areas covered in the essay and make a convincing argument. To find the central theme for your thesis, you must first find a topic and do some brainstorming.

Finding the Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics For You

We always recommend exploring a topic that you’re passionate about. If you’re enthusiastic, so will your writing be. After all, no one wants to read a dull, uninspired essay. There is no correct answer to how to choose a topic. However, there are only certain strategies you could use for brainstorming:

man choosing a topic

Find subjects in the same category: Categories could be different. Animals, Films, Economics - these are all categories. Compare wild animals to farm animals, Star Wars to Star Trek, private companies to public companies, etc. You get the idea.

Random Surprising Fact: Did you know the closest animal we have to a t-rex is a chicken? Or that one of Jupiter’s moons has a similar atmosphere to that of Earth? These kinds of topics are the most ‘clickbaity’ ones. Fun facts are almost guaranteed to make great essays, as long as the author keeps it compelling.

Movie vs Book: This one's for pop culture lovers. Most of the time, the book is better than the movie. However, there are certain cases where both the film and the book have gained tremendous success and critical praise (like Blade Runner, or Lord of the Rings). You could do movies vs book, video game, comics, etc.

Looking to steal a topic from us? Here are some good compare and contrast essay topics by our top writers. Feel free to get ideas and get creative!

25 Great Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for College Students

College life is all about knowledge and experience, questioning the status quo and leaving your mark on the world. Controversial essay topics are welcome in academia because everyone’s opinion is respected. Write about something relatable to the college experience, and you’re guaranteed to gain the attention of your peers.

  • Studying hard vs getting your hands dirty - where do you learn more?
  • Writing a systematic vs a free-form academic assignment.
  • Homeschooling vs physically going to college in 2018.
  • Similarities and differences between a teenager and a young adult.
  • Reading books vs listening to audiobooks.
  • Native English speakers vs international English speakers - is there a huge difference?
  • American vs Japanese school system.
  • The success rate of non-graduates vs graduates. Do you really need college?
  • Studying alone vs together - which is more productive?
  • Anxiety in excess partying vs excess studying students. How do we find a balance?

Sports

Sports is another hot topic in college. Studying can easily become monotone if you’re spending hours in the library. That is why sports are so prevalent in college. They give you the escape you need to get your mind off studies, all the while keeping you fit and energetic.

  • Working out alone vs going to the gym.
  • Running vs biking.
  • Traditional sports vs cybersports.
  • Dota 2 vs chess.
  • American sports vs European sports.

man doing push ups

Media

Media topics are also frequently discussed in topics. Communications students study film, journalism, music, art, pop trends and anything else in the world of media. They analyse each piece thoroughly to see what the creator is trying to communicate to the audience.

  • Blockbuster movies vs ‘meaningful’ movies.
  • Pop music vs underground or alternative music.
  • Esthetic art vs provocative art.
  • The portrayal of heroes vs villains in pop culture.
  • 50s music vs 60s music.

popcorn drink and a movie tape

History and Politics

Those in the field of political science may find themselves overwhelmed with topic ideas. Analyzing the definition of ‘justice’ in different countries can already generate a debate that will have Plato scratching his head.

  • Compare and contrast Europe before and after the Renaissance.
  • Nazism vs Soviet Union ‘Communism’.
  • Donald Trump vs King Jong Un
  • American vs Ancient Greek Democracy.
  • American North vs South Upbringing Mentality Before the Civil War.

astronaut with flag

Finding a Central Theme

Finding the right theme is all about brainstorming. Pick two subjects and observe their similarities or differences. Write down all your thoughts; it may help you find the central theme of your essay.

Let’s say we’re looking at Pepsi vs Marlboro. Without a central theme, the comparison would look something like this:

A classic can of Pepsi is dark blue, while a pack of classic Marlboros is red and white. Pepsi produces sugar drinks while Marlboro produces cigarettes.

This is one of the cases when the reader asks “So What?”

The central theme is important because it addresses that very crucial question. Let’s take a look at the same comparison, but add a little flavour. How does Pepsi vs Marlboro look when mixed with themes of addiction, health issues, and consumer exploitation by mass corporations?

“A can of Pepsi shares no similarities with a pack of Marlboro cigarettes at first glance. However, if we look for points of comparisons, we notice that both are mass produced products. Both product designs are iconic, the Pepsi logo, and the Marlboro logo. Both products contain additives that have been found to cause addiction, and their over-consumption can lead to severe health issues. Cigarettes increase chances of lung disease. Canned soda drinks with a lot of sugar can cause obesity. Marlboro cigarettes have almost erased their logo from the packet and launched anti-smoking ads across the world. On the other hand, Pepsi has gone full retro, releasing bottles and cans with classic 20th-century designs. They frequently sponsor events and promote their company through various means. Can we conclude that Pepsi takes advantage of substance abuse to increase their profit? “

This is a much more detailed comparison, even though we’re still on the brainstorming stage. See how the central theme gives your essay substance?

Try it yourself! Find compare and contrast essay ideas and do some brainstorming to find a central theme. This will help you a LOT with forming your argument.

Classic Essay Outline

The classic 5-paragraph-essay structure works for almost any essay out there. You know the one:

Introduction. The intro gives the reader all the necessary info they need to know about the topic. It must be captivating and present a thesis towards the end, stating the purpose and direction of the essay. When thinking about how to start a compare and contrast essay, try to make it memorable.
Body. This is where the comparison and contrast happens. Unload your information based on the essay outline. Remember to write based off of the outline. This way every point is organised and transparent. Make sure you know the correct compare and contrast essay format when writing.
Conclusion. Summarize all the evidence and present a final thought on the topic. Don’t end like “We may conclude that Topic A and B are similar and different in many regards.” Offer a solid argument and give the reader something to think about. What was the purpose of this essay? Why is this comparison significant?

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline - Point-by-Point and Block Methods

The 5-paragraph-essay is a simple, but there are a few outline methods that work individually for compare and contrast essays. Unorganized compare and contrast essays are very confusing and hard to navigate for the reader. These essays rely heavily on factual analysis. That is why we suggest using the following two methods to organise facts in your compare and contrast essay outline.

Point by Point Method

Intro

  • Introduce the topic;
  • Specify your theme;
  • Thesis - Cover all areas of the essay in one sentence: Cars and motorcycles make for excellent means of transportation, but a good choice depends on the person’s lifestyle, finances, and the city they live in.

Body Paragraph 1 - LIFESTYLE

  • Topic Sentence: Motorcycles impact the owner’s lifestyle less than cars.
  • Topic 1 - Motorcycles
    • Argument: Motorcycles are smaller and more comfortable to store.
    • Argument: Motorcycles are easy to learn and use.
  • Topic 2 - Cars
    • Argument: Cars are a big deal - like a second home.
    • Argument: It takes time to learn to be a good driver.

Body Paragraph 2 - FINANCES

  • Topic sentence: Cars are much more expensive than motorcycles
  • Topic 1 - Cars
    • Argument: Parts and service are expensive if something breaks.
    • Argument: Cars need more gas than motorcycles.
  • Topic 2 - Motorcycles
    • Argument: You can buy a good motorcycle for under 100$.
    • Argument: Fewer parts, easier to fix.

Body Paragraph 2 - CITY

  • Topic sentence: Cars are a better option for a bigger city with wider roads.
  • Topic 1 - Cars
    • Argument: Big cities are easier and comfier to navigate by car.
    • Argument: With a car, travelling outside the city is much easier.
  • Topic 2 - Motorcycles
    • Argument: Riding motorcycles in a big city is more dangerous than cars.
    • Argument: Motorcycles work great in a city like Rome, where all the streets are narrow.

Conclusion

Block Method

compare and contrast block method

Intro

  • Introduce the topic;
  • Specify your theme;
  • Thesis - Cover all areas of the essay in one sentence: Cars and motorcycles make for excellent means of transportation, but a good choice depends on the person’s lifestyle, finances, and the city they live in.

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic Sentence: Motorcycles are cheaper and easier to take care off than cars.
  • Aspect 1 - Lifestyle
    • Argument: Motorcycles are smaller and more comfortable to store.
    • Argument: Motorcycles are easy to learn and use.
  • Aspect 2 - Finances
    • Argument: You can buy a good motorcycle for under 100$.
    • Argument: Fewer parts, easier to fix.
  • Aspect 3 - City
    • Argument: Riding motorcycles in a big city is more dangerous than cars.
    • Argument: Motorcycles work great in a city like Rome, where all the streets are narrow.

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence: Cars are more expensive but more comfortable for a big city and travelling.
  • Aspect 1 - Lifestyle
    • Argument: Cars are a big deal - like a second home.
    • Argument: It takes time to learn to be a good driver.
  • Aspect 2 - Finances
    • Argument: Parts and service are expensive if something breaks.
    • Argument: Cars need more gas than motorcycles.
  • Aspect 3 - City
    • Argument: Big cities are easier and comfier to navigate by car.
    • Argument: With a car, travelling outside the city is much easier.

Body Paragraph 3
Use the last paragraph to evaluate the comparisons. Here you could take a real-life example of cars vs bikes and tell a story. It’s a good strategy because this paragraph will ease the tension of the previous two by not relying on much factual information.

Conclusion

There are other methods of writing a compare and contrast essay, but these two are the most widespread. They are easy to write, and they give a coherent structure to your essay.

Important Details That Will Get You The Top Grade

Now that you’ve got the outline you can put pen to paper and create a rough draft. After that, it’s all about polishing the rough edges. The devil is in the details. Points get deducted for incorrect use of the format, title, and bad grammar. Make sure you nail the following aspects of your essay not to lose points!

The Title

Titles can be self-explanatory, or they can be a question, a joke or a pun. They are the first thing your reader will see. Therefore it is essential to know your audience before coming up with a title. If you’re presenting your essay to a class, it could be a good idea to grab their attention with a joke. However, in a more serious setting, you might come off unprofessional doing so.

Good essay titles are an art, and we have an entire blog post dedicated to essay titles!

Format

Most academic assignments are formatted in MLA. There are plenty of formatting guides and citation generators on the internet. However, you could save your time and use our blog guide to MLA format. It was done by pro essay writers using reliable sources from on the internet.

Proofreading & Finalizing

Before proofreading, it is often suggested you leave your work for a while and distract yourself with something else. Come back to the essay with a fresh mind, and you’ll notice plot holes that you haven’t seen before. Also, it could be helpful to give your piece to a fellow student to proofread.

Helpful Final Tips

The biggest tip we could give you is to stay focused, and keep it interesting for the reader. It must be informative and fun to read. You want to engage the reader in the discussion actively. Compare and contrast essays are full of information and facts. Therefore it could quickly become dull and monotonous. Keep your audience intrigued using a predictable structure and an active voice throughout your essay!

Here are some compare and contrast essay tips that will help you polish yours up:

  • Compare and contrast essays make powerful use of transitions. Keep your developments clear so that the reader can stay on track.
  • Cue words such as ‘likewise, similarly, nevertheless, despite, on the other hand’, etc., can tell the reader if the following sentence will be a comparison or contrast. It is an essential structural element that gives your essay flow.
  • Always clarify the concepts you introduce in your essay. Keep in mind that the reader must get the whole picture. Therefore it is vital to explain lesser known information.

girl with laptop

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

You’ve learned what is a compare and contrast essay is. Now let’s take a look at some compare and contrast essay examples to solidify your knowledge. These have been written by our top essay writers and feature all of the structural requirements of a classic academic essay.

Compare and Contrast Essay Example

Compare and Contrast Essay Example

Need Urgent Help with Compare and Contrast Essay Writing?

EssayPro also features a premium essay writing service, where we hire top writers to take care of academic assignments for you. It’s super easy - place an order, find a writer covering similar topics to yours, and get your essay done! You may request unlimited revisions and pay the writer upon completion to guarantee top quality work. If you’re stuck behind schedule and need urgent essay writing help - EssayPro is the service for you.

Essay Writing Prices

Read more about the services supplied by our essay writers.


Writing $8 - $12/page

Rewriting $7 - $10/page

Editing $5 - $7/page

Essay Writing Guide

Types of Essays

Types of Academic Writing

Tips for Writing an Admission Essay

Essay Format

Custom Writing

Other Articles

Huge 33% Discount On All Services

The more pages you order - the bigger the discount you get

10% 15% 20% 25% 33%
2
pages
3
pages
4
pages
5
pages
6
from
pages