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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

September 26, 2017 Types of essays
How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

Contents

When hearing the words “Comparative Analysis”, students may feel uncomfortable. However, all it’s really asking you to do is compare and contrast two things, an action we perform every day! A good compare and contrast essay doesn’t only reveal/show how the subjects are similar or different (or even both!). It is needed to make a consequential argument about things that were compared and contrasted.

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Things to Compare And Contrast

These are common compare and contrast essay topics

  • 20th Century vs. 21st Century
  • Adolf Hitler vs. Joseph Stalin
  • Creationism vs. Science
  • High School vs. College
  • Apple vs. Microsoft
  • Female friend vs. Male Friend
  • Cats vs. Dogs

These are just some examples of common essay topics you might be asked to write about in your high school or college classrooms, but there are infinitely many others!

Scientific Compare & Contrast Topics

  • Grill vs. Microvawe
  • Math vs. Physics
  • Earthquake or Tsunami: what's worse?
  • Mars vs. Pluto
  • Albert Einstein vs. Nikola Tesla

Literature Compare & Contrast Topics

  • Comedy vs. Tragedy
  • Prose vs. Lyrics
  • Shakespeare vs. Hemingway
  • Modern Literature vs Postmodern Literature
  • Lord Of The Rings vs. Harry Potter

Movie and Music Compare & Contrast Topics

  • Rock vs. Rap
  • Batman vs. Superman
  • Sherlock Holmes vs Moriarty
  • Horror Movies vs. Comedy
  • Harry Potter vs. Draco Malfoy

Constructing an argument

Choose two things that can be compared and contrasted

The first thing you need to do to write an outstanding compare and contrast essay is to pick two topics, themes, ideas, etc. that are different enough to be compared. There are few things you should consider when choosing your subject.

  • You can pick topics that are in the same “category” but have differences that are notable. For example, make a choice between “Windows vs. MacOS” or “McDonalds vs. Subway.”
  • You can choose two subjects that might appear identical but are actually different. For example “fifty shades of gray book vs. film”

Make sure that your topic can be discussed in a meaningful way

You can’t just write “So here is subject A and subject B: they differ”. Make your compare and contrast essay interesting for your audience. Try to show them why it’s appropriate and engaging to put these two subjects together

  • If you felt like you have learned something new after comparing and contrasting, then you have spent your time efficiently.

Brainstorm your topic

Spend some time brainstorming about how your chosen subjects, topics, themes, etc. are same and different. It will probably help you see which points are dominant ones you want to focus on.

  • Use a “Venn Diagram”. It can be a valuable tool when brainstorming. In the middle area of the overlapping circles write similar things. In the outer edges of the circles, you write what is different. Venn Diagram

  • Likewise, you can just write out a list of all qualities or characteristics of each subject. As soon as you’ve done that, start searching through the list of similarities that both subjects share. Major points of difference are also good to take into account.

Hey guys, here we have TOP-30 compare and contrast essay topics. Do not hesitate, check it out Compare And Contrast Essay Top-30 topics

Look at your main points

Choose a few points that seem to be especially important. Don’t try to provide your audience with a list of everything in which topics of consideration are similar and/or different in your essay.

  • For example, if you are comparing Apple vs. Microsoft, you might notice that they are the two most competitive companies in the field of computing software tools. They have different prices for their products, use different Operating Systems, and theirs product lines are different as well. These are points of contrast (ways they are different).
  • One of the similarities between these companies is based on their founders; they are both founded on the ideas of genius self-motivated businessmen. Co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is a worldwide respected man for achieving his dream of putting computers on billions of desks, and also as a philanthropist. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, is also an insightful businessman and an open-minded genius Another sameness between the two is the production of media players, which are portable, and Smartphones. These are points of comparison (ways they are similar).

Build a thesis

Building a marvelous thesis is crucially important. In compare and contrast essay it should always make an argument that explains why it’s necessary to put these two subjects face to face. You can use this as a base for your thesis:

  • Show readers why one subject is more engaging than the other.

  • Help readers make a meaningful comparison between two subjects

  • Show readers how two subjects are similar and different.

Learn how to write a killing THESIS

How to Systemize your Essay

There are several methods to organize your essay. Choose one that works best with your ideas.

  • Subject by subject: Start with saying everything you have about the first subject your discussion, and as you have done this you can move on and make all the points you want to make about the second.
  • Point by point: In this method, you need to discuss how a certain point of comparison/contrast relates to all the items you are discussing. Then repeat it with another point.

Outline

Introduction. In this paragraph, present all basic information about the subjects to be compared and contrasted. Moreover, It should present your thesis statement and explanation of the subjects you will talk about (i.e. what you are going to discuss and why your audience should care).

Read more about how to write a great INTRODUCTION

Body Paragraphs. In this section, provide the details and evidence that support your claims. Each different section or body paragraph should provide and analyze evidence.

Conclusion. Summarize all presented evidence. Restate the thesis, but keep one thing in your mind: your readers don’t need you just to rewrite or reword your original thesis. Take it to another level!

Outline your body paragraphs based on subject by subject comparison:

  • Introduction
    • introduction of general topic
    • specific topic
    • areas to be covered in this essay
  • Topic 1
    • Aspect 1
    • Detail
    • Detail
    • Aspect 2
    • Detail
    • Detail
    • Aspect 3
    • Detail
    • detail
  • Topic 2
    • Aspect 1
    • Detail
    • Detail
    • Aspect 2
    • Detail
    • Detail
    • Aspect3
    • Detail
    • Detail
  • Conclusion
    • Summary of main points
    • Evaluation and/or possible future developments

Outline your body paragraphs based on point by point comparison:

  • Introduction
    • introduction of general topic
    • specific topic areas to be covered in this essay
  • Topic 1 - Aspect 1
    • Detail
    • Detail
  • Topic 2 - Aspect 1
    • Detail
    • Detail
  • Topic 1 - Aspect 2
    • Detail
    • Detail
  • Topic 2 - Aspect 2
    • Detail
    • Detail
  • Topic 1 - Aspect 3
    • Detail
    • Detail
  • Topic 2 - Aspect 3
    • Detail
    • Detail
  • Conclusion
    • Summary of main points
    • Evaluation and/or possible future developments

The format of the comparison and contrast essay is actually unique in the fact that it doesn’t have a linear path. Most 5 paragraph essays have to be written in the 1-3-1 format which obviously includes the intro, 3 bodies and the conclusion. The cool thing about the comparison essay is that you can actually write the essay in 4 or 5 paragraphs depending on how you format the outline of the essay. In this case, you can choose between having 2 or 3 body paragraphs with the outlines looking accordingly:

2 Body Paragraph Style

  • Similarities vs Differences
    • 1st body paragraph talks about the similarities between both subjects
    • 2nd body paragraph talks about the differences between both subjects
  • Point A > Point B
    • Body 1 picks Topic A then gives all information and analysis about A
    • Body 2 picks Topic B then gives all information and analysis about B

Generally, if you are interested in being very straightforward or just are purely trying to get the essay finished swiftly and efficiently, then this would be your go-to-method. However, if it’s not 3am the night before the due date, read on to learn about a more creative and exciting format: the 3 body style!

3 Body Paragraph Style

The 3 body paragraph style is the subject to subject style. It gives the reader a specific subject in each paragraph and either offers a comparison or a contrast of the subject between topics A + B. The outline would look something like this:

  • Subject 1: Comparison or Contrast about Topic A + B using subject 1
  • Subject 2: Comparison or Contrast about Topic A + B using subject 2
  • Subject 3: Comparison or Contrast about Topic A + B using subject 3

Make sure your essay has some diversity; don’t just compare A+B three different times, make sure to at least use 1 or 2 subjects for your contrast. It is a Compare AND Contrast essay after all.

Follow the link to learn more about How To Create A Winning Outline

Putting all pieces together

Come up with a title.

A good essay title should preview something about the paper’s content or theme you are going to discuss. Depending on your target audience, you may use a joke, play on words, ask a question, or provide a summary of your main point.

Take a break

Take a step back from your essay for a day or two. Then, come back to it with a fresh head. You’ll find it much easier to see gaps in your logic or organizational mistakes.

Review your essay

  • Make sure that ideas in your essay flow smoothly
  • Check out for any grammatical errors, repetitive ideas, unnecessary sentences, etc.

As soon as you have done all the preparations and checkings, you can start to write your masterpiece.

Connection words

Here we got some connectors to simplify your writing process

Connectors that show contrast (difference)
However; Even though; Unlike; On the contrary
In contrast; Conversely; On the other hand
Although; Meanwhile

Connectors that show comparison (similarities)
In addition; Similarly; Likewise; Correspondingly
Just as; Same as; Compared to
As well as; At the same time

Connection words

Hey guys

Here we have some really good examples of a compare and contrast essay

Compare and Contrast Essay Example

Compare and Contrast Essay Example

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

If you’ve ever written an AP or an IB exam, you know that knowing the compare and contrast essay structure is critical. As the article mentions, a Venn Diagram is an excellent way to get a hang of this structure and use it in your writing. If you are comparing two pieces of literature, then the easiest way to do it is to first talk about one book or poem, then discuss its similarities with another piece, and then discuss the other novel. My advice for you is to draft an actual Venn diagram before writing your compare and contrast essays. After you do a Venn diagram, create an outline with the middle of your Venn diagram in the middle of your essay. As the article states, make sure to group each idea as a paragraph and isolate them. In an essay like this, it is easy to repeat yourself. You can prevent that by prewriting and making your comparison very apparent.

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