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 the 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
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“World War II was more terrifying and tragic than World War I regarding the number of sacrifices and loss of resources.”
That is how a thesis statement or an opening sentence of the compare and contrast essay topics on history may look like. The article explores how to write a compare and contrast essay. Read it if your teacher asks to find differences and similarities between 2 or more objects.
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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?
Before we share some of the best ideas to include in your writing, we should discuss how to write a compare and contrast essay in several stages.
- Consider 2 or more objects/events/people to detect similarities & differences. The primary goal is to read the assignment’s prompt, analyze it, highlight the keywords, brainstorm, and prepare an action plan called outline. Take notes while reading the materials – it is a solid head-start!
- Prepare a list of the core things that the objects have in common, and then specify what makes them different from each other. Experts recommend developing separate columns to include the results there.
- Exclude the most significant ideas and create a thesis statement based on them. Cherry-pick the points that underline the differences & similarities between the target objects in the most persuasive way. Think about the major themes, characters, and the messages of every topic.
- Make a final draft of the outline to ground the paper. An outline breaks down the primary points to discuss. In case of this type of homework assignment, it is better to avoid developing papers larger than 6 paragraphs in length (approximately 2-3 pages).
- Add textual elements to come up with the final draft. After writing a plan, everything left to do is to involve a credible evidence to support the main points of the text. To collect such information, a detailed primary research is required.
- Proofread & edit once you are done. Even if you are sure in the quality of work, dedicate some time to re-reading and checking the final draft before turning it into the final paper and submitting. Remember: once the teacher receives the paper, a student cannot get it back to fix something. Do not miss the chance to scan the text for the common mistakes such as grammar, spelling, punctuation errors, and even small typos that can affect the final grade. Another great idea is to ask someone to read & analyze the paper.
Compare and Contrast Essay Example Proposed by Expert
In short, here are the parts a student should include in his work:
- Introduction. Lay out the overall idea behind the main point; it might sound something like, “I believe the way these works draw parallels and gaps between these elements are significant as…” The next thing to step in is the body.
- Body paragraphs. A student is encouraged to prepare 4 body paragraphs for a paper of this type: list and describe minimum 2 similarities & 2 differences when it comes to discussing the offered ideas. A student may choose one of the possible body structures.
Paragraph 1 – Issue 1 Compare
Paragraph 2 – Issue 2 Compare
Paragraph 3 – Issue 1 Contrast
Paragraph 4 – Issue 2 Contrast
Paragraph 1 – Issue 1 Compare
Paragraph 2 – Issue 1 Contrast
Paragraph 3 – Issue 2 Compare
Paragraph 4 – Issue 2 Contrast
Some students prefer standing out form the rest of their classmates by offering a hybrid model.
- Conclusion. In a concluding part, sum up the offered opinions and reword a thesis statement.
What about a good differences & similarities essay example? Professional online writing services like the one mentioned in the opening paragraph of this article provide thousands of free essay samples to enjoy. As for the in-text examples, the experts say the following:
“It is not necessary to have a lot of examples as a single killer example based on personal experience or real-life situation can prove the writer’s point. Depending on the depth of work, a student may bring in outside criticism to back up the arguments. The second set of eyes may help to review the work from a critical perspective. Parents or peers can decide whether the essay is easy and interesting to read.”
Linda Strong, a certified academic & business writer at EssayClick.
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What Are Some Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics to Consider?
Look for the best ideas shared by the top students in the lists below.
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for College Students
A freshman may start from one of these essay topics for college students. You may also relate some to the years spent on a college campus.
- Mineralogy & geography
- Several different theories of Albert Einstein
- Political regime in the United States today as to the one 50 years ago
- Volcano eruption or tsunami: Which natural disaster is more threatening?
- How has the fashion changed since the early 90s?
- Would you prefer to stay miserable in a mansion or happy in a shanty?
- The life on campus is better than life with family
- Netball versus basketball rules
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for High School
What about compare and contrast essay topics for high school? Youth today s technologically advanced – focus on this perspective.
- Samsung on Android or Apple iOS devices
- Linux or Windows operating system
- Flat & private houses
- Chemistry and Biology: Differences & Similarities
- Kennedy and Obama: Comparing 2 American presidents
- Money or gifts make people happier when it comes to holidays
- Which of the 2 date scenarios is better to implement?
- Do aliens exist or not?
Compare and Contrast Topics for Middle School
A list of the comparison topics for middle school is a bit less complicated than the one for high school & college students. Focus on the fun!
- Purchasing goods online against buying products in traditional shops
- Cinema or traditional theater
- Fiction plus non-fiction
- Holidays in Orthodox church versus those celebrated in Buddhism
- Which type of activity is more effective when it comes to losing weight: sports or diets?
- Wearing pants or dresses in the office
- Were mythological Gods real?
- Wearing uniform or having no school uniform at all
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for 6th Grade
We recommend choosing something fun to discuss in essay topics for 6th grade. Pick several heroes from comics or popular ways of online communication.
- E-mails versus traditional posting
- Various concepts of beauty in modern world
- Heavy metal & hip-hop music
- Fruits vs. Vegetables
- Superman versus Batman
- Summer or winter
- Sailor Moon or Pokemon
- Toys & cookies
AP World History Compare and Contrast Essay
Have you heard about the Advanced Placement exam? Here are some AP world history essay topics!
- Draw a parallel between 2 or more distinguished leaders in history
- What did World War I and WW II have in common?
- How is the development of Ancient Greece different from the development of Ancient Rome?
- What is the difference between Southern & Northern states?
- Cleopatra & Margaret Thatcher
- Christianity & Islam
- Sparta & Athens
- Mesopotamia differences
Things to Compare and Contrast
Observe the list of common things to analyze. Those are simple ideas for this type of paper.
- Playing video games against reading: more preferred pastime
- Messaging is killing live communication: Pros & cons
- A personal lifestyle versus the lifestyle of the target role model
- Hollywood & Bollywood
- Similar & different traits children share with their parents
- Several quotations of famous people
- SEO or traditional approaches to marketing
- Comedy or drama movies
Easy Compare & Contrast Topics
- Active or passive leisure
- Having a long hair versus having a short haircut
- Driving a car or a plane
- Pick 2 plays of William Shakespeare to discuss (more authors are listed here)
- Select any 2 books from the epoch of Romanticism
- Gothic and Baroque art in history of mankind
- MacDonald’s & Burger King
- US English & UK English comparison
Choose one of the offered topics or come up with your own unique idea! Teachers would appreciate the creative approach. After reading several valuable tips, a student may still have no idea how to start a paper or attract reader’s attention. It is a separate art. If you are not ready to master the art of academic writing alone, there is no need to – go the website of an official writing service for students and buy a cheap paper written from scratch to stand out from the rest of your peers!