To write a compare/contrast essay, you’ll need to make NEW connections and/or express NEW differences between two things. The key word here…is NEW!
- Choose 2 things that could go in the same category, but are also quite different. Good choices might be:
- Basketball & Football (both sports)
- Horses & Cats (both animals, but different in many ways)
- Writing & Singing (both art forms, but different in many ways)
- Gather your ideas by writing down characteristics of each thing. Note the differences and similarities between them.
- Ask yourself these important questions before you begin writing your draft:
Does my instructor want me to compare AND contrast, or am I only being asked to do one of those things?
Some instructors prefer that you only write about the differences between two things, while others want you to focus on explaining the similarities as well. Either way, you'll need to make sure that your thesis statement reflects your instructor's expectations. For example, if I wanted to write about Social Networking sites, I'd need to write different thesis statements depending on my compare/contrast assignment.
Sample thesis statement for contrast paper: In terms of social networking sites, Facebook focuses on presenting your daily life to others, whereas MySpace allows you to focus more on demonstrating your personal style.
Sample thesis statement for compare/contrast paper: While both Facebook and MySpace allow you to meet other users who have similar interests, only MySpace allows you to demonstrate your personal style.
Are these 2 things similar and/or different, in at least one meaningful way?
If you want to write a successful compare/contrast essay, you'll need to avoid writing about really obvious differences and similarities. For example:
- We all know that horses are larger than cats.
- We also know that basketball teams contain less players than football teams.
Tell us something we don't know (or might not notice)!
It would be better to write about how sensitive both horses and cats are to human needs and emotions. You could also suggest that though both basketball and football require a lot of teamwork, basketball players are expected to be a lot more versatile than football players.
You don't have to be a genius to write an interesting compare/contrast essay--you just have to look at ordinary things in a new way!
Do I know enough about my topic to write an effective compare/contrast essay?
Unless you're being asked to do some research as part of your compare/contrast project, make sure that you choose 2 things that you feel comfortable discussing, at length.
Your instructor may ask for multiple similarities and differences--make sure you're prepared to write a well-developed, meaningful essay on a topic that you know well before you get started!
Organizing Your Compare and Contrast Paper
There are two primary ways to organize your compare and contrast paper.
Chunking: placing all of the information for each individual subject in one place (chunk), and then using similarities as transitions.
Here’s a sample outline:
- Jane is distinct because…
- Jane is similar to Alice in these ways
- Alice is distinct because…
Piecing: giving pieces of the information for each individual subject in each paragraph—arranging the information by topic rather than by subject.
Here’s a sample outline:
- Differences and Similarities in Jane and Alice’s appearances
- Differences and Similarities in Jane and Alice’s backgrounds
- Differences and Similarities in Jane and Alice’s interests
“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!