How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay: Pointers to Consider when Writing

Students from all over have come to look for the most effective ways on how to write a compare and contrast essay, in order to make this daunting task more bearable. Believe it or not, while comparing to different concepts are almost second nature to some people, most students grapple with the idea of writing this type of essay. Fortunately, there are certain tricks that you may do to make accomplishing this task easier for you. With these tips under your sleeve, you should be able to write the best compare and contrast essay that you have written in no time.

For one, make sure that you analyze your topic for compare contrast essay as thoroughly as possible. This tip will be especially helpful for the times when the topic that you would have to write about is out of your hands. If you are not familiar with the different issues that surround your topic of discussion, make sure that you do the appropriate amount of research that will familiarize you with it. After all, this is the only way that you will be able to various points that you may use in your essay.

Another good tip that you may use on your search for ways on how to write compare and contrast essay is to write down a list of the various similarities and differences between the two concepts that you are analyzing. Make sure that you point out every single point that you see, even the glaringly obvious ones. After all, this is the main point of this type of essay. Also ensure that you use a logical format in pointing out these points, so as not to confuse your readers.

Here’s another helpful hint that you may find useful on your search for means on how to write a compare and contrast essay: find a theme before you start writing and make sure that you focus on it. It will bear very little use to your readers if you point out the points without joining them through a unifying thread. To ensure that you maintain a logical flow all throughout your essay, make sure that you commit to a certain theme when making these points. Stick to this unifying factor from the beginning to the conclusion of your essay, to ensure that every single point that you make will be taken under the right and the most appropriate context.


Compare And Contrast Essay Topics For High School – How to Choose and Develop

Most of middle school and high school students will be assigned a range of compare and contrast essays, especially in Literature classes. Compare and contrast essay has several factors that need to be followed for it to become effective.

First of all, the topic chosen should be between two comparable entities. Forcing two issues that are simply incomparable would just make the essay flawed and pointless. One should identify the focus of the essay, why the writer chose the topics, and what he hopes to prove or disprove at the end of the essay.

It’s not difficult at all to choose  a topic for a compare and/or since everyone basically makes choices by comparing and contrasting the options available everyday. Take the case of choosing which mobile phone to buy. One surely takes the time to research the different models available in the market and then compare and contrast the various features and only after, does one make a decision. Similarly, compare and contrast essay topics for high school can be found everywhere.

Next, one should make use of a Venn diagram. A Venn diagram is a type of visual brainstorming wherein one draws two overlapping circles. One thinks and writes all the differences of the two entities on the part of the circles that are not overlapping. The similarities are then written on the overlapping portion. The Venn diagram enables the writer to choose and focus on those characteristics that are important and vital in supporting the writer’s purpose for the essay.

One should then choose the structure with which he wishes to develop his comparison and contrast essay. It can either be the point-by-point method or the topic-by-topic method. Whatever format or structure one chooses, it is always best to choose just three to four main points of contention; points or characteristics that best support the main theme or idea of the essay.

There are also certain transition words that one needs to be familiar with in order to make the compare contrast essay more effective and more coherent. They also make it easy to show the connections and the smooth flow of ideas. To compare, the common transition words are also, as well as, in the same manner, likewise, and similarly. To contrast, the common transition words are although, even though, however, nevertheless, on the contrary, unlike, and while.

In conclusion, one should just state the main points again and give one’s opinion.


Compare and Contrast Essay Format: Simple Formats that will Benefit the Writer and the Reader

Comparison essay formatThere are different compare and contrast essay format options that you may use to point out the main similarities and differences between the topics that you are dealing with. While it may seem simple enough to address these points without adhering to a format, using one will make your essay easier to read and to understand your essay. Here are the most commonly used formats that writers often use when they write compare contrast essay. Use them the next time you write an essay of your own to ensure maximum reader comfort and ease.

For one, it may be easier for you to tackle each task one at a time. This means that you should focus on comparing the two ideas first before comparing them, or vice versa. Point out the main similarities first, while addressing the various details involves in the main theme that you are using, before pointing out the differences. As a rule of thumb, focus on pointing out the similarities between the topics, because it makes the differences more glaring even without you pointing them out. Doing so does not only allow you to make the differences more obvious, but you also make them much easier to remember.

Another popular compare and contrast essay format involves tackling one idea first. Take one concept between the two concepts that are being dealt with and explain the main premises behind it. This includes details and information that will make the similarities and differences glaring to the readers. After explaining one idea, move on to the next one, exposing important details and information as well. After the two concepts being compared are explained, go on to pointing out the main similarities and differences between them.

If the two compare and contrast essay format options described above do not appeal to you, then, perhaps you should stick to focusing on one task for the whole of your essay. If you find that pointing out the similarities and differences between the ideas is too much for you, then simply focus on simply comparing and contrasting the two concepts. If you were to use this format, then make sure that you plan out your essay using a compare and contrast outline. With this tool, you would be able to zero in on the details that will serve your particular purpose and you should be able to include all important points in your essay.

Compare And Contrast Essay Topics For College

Comparing and contrasting is just another way of saying similarities and differences. These types of essays are the most common types of essays one would come across as a student as it is one way of measuring the student’s critical thinking. A comparison essay talks about the similarities while a contrast essay talks about the differences.

Finding the appropriate compare and contrast essay topics for college can be quite difficult given that one would surely have exhausted all familiar topics in high school alone. But experience being the better teacher, it is often always acceptable to pick a topic one had chosen in high school and then write it in a whole new perspective. Almost anything can be a compare and contrast essay topic but one can choose a topic that has some impact on one’s major or one’s chosen field of study. Some samples of compare and contrast essay topics for college are: for science majors – habitat conservation versus ecological regulations, creationism versus evolutionism; for psychology majors – group thinking versus mob mentality; how men and women cope with stress; love marriages versus arranged marriages; disparity versus discrimination; for business majors – World Bank versus World Trade Organization, Ford Motor Company versus Chevrolet; for health care majors – low fat diet versus low carb diet, high fiber diet versus high protein diet; and for theology majors – spirit worship versus idol worship, Buddha versus Jesus Christ.

In creating a compare and contrast essay for college, one can follow one of two types of arrangement or outline. The first is called block arrangement wherein the writer talks about the first topic’s characteristics in the first paragraph and proceeds to talk about the second topic’s characteristics in the next paragraph. This type of arrangement usually consists of four paragraphs: the introduction, the paragraph about the first topic, the paragraph about the second topic, and the conclusion. The second arrangement is called the point by point arrangement wherein the writer talks about one characteristic of both topics in one paragraph and then talks about another characteristic of the two topics in the next paragraph. This arrangement can typically consist of five or more paragraphs, depending on the number of characteristics or traits the writer wishes to talk about. However, a compare and contrast essay isn’t merely a listing down of similarities and dissimilarities. It is the point or the possible reasons behind these similarities and dissimilarities that one should try to analyze and give explanation to.

How to Choose Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Compare contrast essay topicsChoosing good compare and contrast essay topics is important to every author. In order to make the proper choice, you should focus on things that your are personally interested in and have enough knowledge to write about. It is also recommended to think about the subjects, persons, events and ideas you are going to contrast and compare in the abstract way.

To assist you in clarifying your thoughts and fortifying your commitment to the topic, here are several questions for you to think about before you begin writing your essay. Although the opinions may change when you start writing or they may become more elaborated, looking through your choice of the topic will definitely help you avoid many errors in future.

  • What two subjects will your paper consider?
  • In what ways are they similar or different?
  • Think over why are you interested in these particular subjects?
  • Did they play any significant role in your personal or professional life?
  • How much do you know about both subjects? Would you be able to give a balanced picture?
  • Put down several sentences describing your attitude toward them.
  • Decide whether you have a preference for one.
  • Explain why other people would find the topic of your choice interesting.
  • Would a certain group of people be more stirred by your topic than others?
  • What kind if difficulties might this topic present while writing a draft copy?

Here are some good compare and contrast essay topics to choose from. Before writing narrow your subject matter, state a thesis in which you make a clear point, and follow one of the two compare and contrast essay outlines.

  • Children’s interests today and yesterday;
  • Two places that are special for you in various ways;
  • Two teachers or tutors whose teaching styles are effective but different;
  • A book vs. its screen version;
  • Watching a film on TV vs. watching it in a theater;
  • Two well-known pieces of literature or art;
  • Two friends with different lifestyles;
  • Two contradictory theories you are studying in a different college course;
  • Reporting of the same news by two newspapers or magazines;
  • The look at the hero phenomenon today and yesterday;
  • Two pieces of technology or equipment that you tried;
  • Living ina detached house and living in a flat;
  • Two different appoaches to problem soving in some your professional field;
  • One of popular entertainments from nowadays vs. one from the past;
  • The physical and intellectual requirements of two jobs;
  • Parents and teachers as educators;
  • Some natural object and an artificial one.

Writing on one of compare and contrast essay topics is not really a difficult task. To prepare for it just make the list of all similarities that two or more subjects have. Then make another list with all their differences that you can remember. These first steps are as good as half over.

How to Choose the Proper Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Compare and contrast essay outlineAlmost every single day we exercise our intellectual process of comparison and contrast to arrive at a decision or make a judgment concerning 2 or more subjects, persons, opinions, or feelings. The important point to keep in mind when writing a compare and contrast essay is that in this piece of academic writing authors usually support their personal viewpoints.

In his paper one must always follow a certain compare and contrast essay outline. Your opinion about the two or more elements under consideration becomes the thesis statement. The body of your essay then explains why you came up to this opinion. There are two main formats in which you can write a compare and contrast essay: the block and point by point format. For the majority of short essays you should choose one of the formats and adhere to it. In case you are assigned a longer paper, you may prefer to mix the formats for a change like many professional authors do.

Block Format

One of the ways to arrange your material is to use the block format. This method of organization presents body paragraphs in which the author discusses the first subject on points one, two, three, etc., then writes about the second subject on the same points. For example, you may compare your trip to the Netherlands and Switzerland by taking such points as sightseeing, the overall cultural level and hotel service. If you consider these points in the Netherlands paragraph, you must consider the corresponding points in the Switzerland paragraph in the same order. Below is this compare and contrast essay outline:

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraph: Netherlands
    1. Sightseeing
    2. Culture
    3. Service
  • Body paragraph: Switzerland
    1. Sightseeng
    2. Culture
    3. Service
  • Conclusion

You must add to your discussion of the second subject certain references to the points you considered earlier while writing about the first subject since the readers may not remember accurately what you wrote previously. You should unobtrusively remind the audience with a certain reference to the earlier discussion. Because what should be one whole essay may look more like two separate mini-essays, making the audience do the job of comparing and/or contrasting for you.

Point by Point Format

The second format to arrange the same material is to discuss a particular point about your trip to the Netherlands and then in the same paragraph to consider the same point about the trip to Switzerland. This is called point by point or alternating essay organization. Here’s the model of this compare and contrast essay outline:

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraph 1: Sightseeng
    1. Netherlands
    2. Switzerland
  • Body Paragraph 2: Culture
    1. Netherlands
    2. Switzerland
  • Body Paragraph 3: Service
    1. Netherlands
    2. Switzerland
  • Conclusion

In case you choose this compare and contrast essay outline, you must make a fine transition from the first subject to the second in each body paragraph. Write your paper consistently presenting the same subject first in each discussion of the main point.

While you prepare to write your first draft, you may ask yourself whether to use the block or point by point essay format. For many authors, selecting this or that format of arrangement involves thinking time in the prewriting phase, before beginning a draft. Quite often your essay’s topic will suggest the most effective way of development. The block format may be the better option if a total picture of each subject is required (for example, in “then-and-now” comparative essay).

But your compare and contrast essay topic also may be developed by making a number of distinct points for the audience to consider one by one. Papers that evaluate or argue the superiority or advantage of some thing over another often presuppose the use of point by point format, since each of the author’s claims may be distinctly supported by the side-by-side points.

Every author must decide which format of essay arrangement works best in this or that particular case. In academic writing clearness is a very important objective, and using the proper compare and contrast essay outline always contributes to it.

Compare and Contrast Essay – Basic Structure and General Standards

Writing compare contrast essay No doubt, it’s human nature to express attitude, to compare and contrast. We use this type of thinking when choosing between two or more options, discussing their differences and similarities. In academic writing it is expressed in the form of a compare and contrast essay.

Generally, this essay type is characterized by points of comparison and analogies and usually arranged in the emphatic way. It is a great method to help a person progress in his critical thinking, as well as his writing skills. Basically, the structure of compare and contrast essay includes three components: the introduction, body and conclusion.

  1. Introduction. Here the author states what he’s comparing. This part may include the main differences and similarities, advantages and disadvantages, or an explanation of the two opposing sides.
  2. Body. The body paragraphs can be arranged in several ways. For example, one paragraph may discuss similarities and another differences, or the paragraphs may express different positions on an issue. The more complex structure is when there are passages about each aspect of the elements that are being compared.
  3. Conclusion. The conclusion is a generalization of the thesis stated in the introduction. It gives a brief summary of the most important similarities and differences, often putting the comparison and contrast into a larger context with a personal statement and/or some kind of prediction.

The simplest format for the compare and contrast passage devotes one body paragraph or section to each element. Two is the most popular (and natural) number, but the author may compare and contrast any number of elements. The essay may also divide according to qualities of the latter. Another possible structure devotes one body paragraph to differences and one to similarities discussed objects.

These are the general standards to succeed in writing a compare and contrast essay:

  • Your essay must be arranged in a logical way with an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion;
  • The essay must deal with each of the two or several selections;
  • It must relate one selection to the other, comparing and contrasting them in a consistent way;
  • The author must support his assertions with solid evidence (figures, quotations, references, etc.);
  • The essay must have good grammar and spelling and mature writing style.

Additionally, the author should always keeps his audience in mind and be sure the readers can relate to his reasoning. Therefore, when you are through with writing, it’s always useful to read your paper once again from the perspective of the audience.