Compare and Contrast Essay - An Ultimate Writing Guide
A compare and contrast essay is the most common academic writing type assigned to high school or college students. Writing this document aims to deeply analyze all aspects that make two objects similar and yet different at the same time.
This article is written to give information on what a compare and contrast essay is and how it is drafted correctly.
What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?
A compare and contrast essay is defined as:
“A type of writing type that features similarities and differences between two selected objects or subjects.”
The two subjects should be different from one another. However, they should be in the same ballpark to consider the similarities between the two.
You should always keep in mind that comparing and contrasting is not restricted to pinpointing the differences between two subjects alone. It makes use of distinctive points and tries to create a meaningful argument subject by subject.
Drawing similarities and differences might not sound complicated, but it can be challenging when drafting a structured piece of writing. For this purpose, it is essential to learn the basics of how a compare and contrast essay is drafted and structured.
How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?
How to start an essay is the first thing that pops into the writer’s mind when he is assigned to draft an essay. Pre-writing or the planning phase of an essay contributes a lot to the overall success of an essay. Similarly, writing a good compare and contrast essay depends on how well you take all the required writing steps (pre-writing and writing).
Following are the steps involved in the writing process of a compare and contrast essay:
1. Choose a Subject
Choose two subjects or objects to draft your compare and contrast essay on. Make sure that both the subjects you choose should belong to the same category. It means that they might be different, but they have a few similarities that make them belong to a particular category.
For example, two mammals or reptiles can be chosen to highlight the similarities and differences between them.
2. Brainstorm Similarities and Differences
Brainstorming your ideas will help you get a rich picture of what you want to do. Think of all the possible differences and similarities. You can take information from multiple sources to gather these similarities and differences.
Make a rough list or a Venn Diagram to write all the similarities and differences of the subjects. It will give an uncomplicated representation of all the traits of the chosen subjects. Also, it will become more comfortable for the writer to analyze and evaluate them later.
Traits of Object A
Traits of Object B
Either of the representations can be used to roughly note down all the similarities and differences of the selected objects.
3. Form an Argument about the Topic
A strong compare and contrast essay is more than just listing comparisons and contrasts of the subjects. It includes a stance of the writer as well which is the main argument or thesis statement. Form an argument analyzing the similarities and differences to lay a foundation for your essay.
4. Decide the Organizational Structure
There are endless possibilities for how you can structure your essay. The basic structure used to draft a compare and contrast essay is a block or point-by-point arrangement. Each object’s similarity or difference is followed by other object’s similarities and differences for the point-by-point structure.
On the other hand, for the block structure, all the information about one object is drafted first and then the information about the other object.
The following table is the best representation of the block structure:
Object 1 - Point 1
Object 1 - Point 2
Object 1 - Point 3
Object 2 - Point 1
Object 2 - Point 2
Object 2 - Point 3
The table provided below is the best example of a point-by-point structure:
Object 1 + Object 2
Object 1 + Object 2
Object 1 + Object 2
5. Draft an Outline
A compare and contrast essay can be written using a basic essay outline of 5 paragraphs. According to this outline style, all the information is divided into the following sections:
- Body Paragraph 1
- Body Paragraph 2
- Body paragraph 3
All the gathered information is divided into five parts of the outline to form an essay.
6. Provide Supporting Material
Compare and contrast essay writing is usually dependent on the evidence that you provide to back up your viewpoints. Real-life examples, as well as facts, can be used as evidence and supporting information.
7. Use Transitional Words
Transitional words are important as they will give a good flow to your essay and increase its readability. Following are the transitional words that make your compare and contrast essay compelling:
To be the same as…
Not only...but also...
On the other hand
8. Proofread and Edit
Once you have finished writing your essay, read your essay to check mistakes in format, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary. This step also carries importance as it brings perfection to the essay.
Compare and Contrast Essay Outline
Outlining an essay is as important as any part of the essay. Without an outline, there will be no structure making the essay lose its readability for the readers. Compare and contrast essay outline includes the following elements:
Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction
A strong opening paragraph is an integral part of any kind of essay. Like the main topic, the compare and contrast essay introduction also needs to be an attention grabber. To make your essay introduction compelling, take the following steps:
- Open your introductory paragraph with a hook statement. It can be a fact, quote, or a simple yet interesting sentence to grab the reader’s attention.
- Provide background information on your topic. You can not randomly start comparing two objects. Therefore, set a stage or briefly discuss the issues you are going to compare.
- Provide your thesis statement at the end of your introductory paragraph. The compare and contrast thesis should depict two subjects that are required to be compared.
The introduction paragraph should create an overall picture of the comparison essay. Writing a strong introduction will make an essay impactful.
Compare and Contrast Essay Body Paragraphs
The body paragraphs of your essay are where you lay everything out in front of the reader and explain things with the help of facts.
In the first section within the body paragraphs, you will discuss the significance of the subjects you have selected for comparisons and contrasts. In the last section of the body paragraph, you will be talking about the final factors of both the subjects to write a comparison.
The structure of the body of your essay strongly depends on the method you choose to compare (block method or point-by-point).
To keep your essay informative, you will have to source some factual information to impress the reader and teach them something new.
Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion
A compare and contrast essay conclusion is drafted by providing the following information:
- Summary of the major points of the content.
- A brief analysis of the points discussed and the possible solutions. It depends on the subject matter and what approach you choose to analyze.
- Provide the significance of your topic and the comparison made. Describe why you drew similarities and differences between two objects.
The example of a compare and contrast essay outline below will give you a better understanding of the concept.
Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Sample
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
Like every other type of essay, contrast and compare themed essay also needs an interesting and attention-grabbing subject. And to choose good subject areas, you should always start by brainstorming.
Below are some examples of compare and contrast essay topics, which will give you an idea of how to choose and construct a reasonable topic:
- College versus high schools.
- Teenage versus adulthood.
- Camping out or crashing at a motel.
- The comparisons and contrasts between cats and dogs.
- Apples and Oranges.
- Book vs Movie.
- Marvel’s Spiderman or Iron Man.
- Outdoor games or indoor games.
- Undergraduate and graduate studies.
- American football and rugby.
These examples of compare and contrast essay topics will help you understand that there are countless themes and ideas to choose from.
Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Writing a good essay requires a person to first consult a few examples. This is to make the writer understand the essay pattern and structure in which he is to write his essay. These compare and contrast essay examples will guide you to draft your essay effectively.
Compare and Contrast Essay Sample (PDF)
Block Method for Compare and Contrast Essay (PDF)
Point-By-Point Method for Compare and Contrast Essay (PDF)
If you want to get a great grade on your next assignment, look at how a compare and contrast essay essay example is written. You can use these essays for many different purposes such as analyzing writing steps or processes. With some helpful writing tips, they are easy enough that will provide good results every time.
Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Tips
Every good essay motivates the audience to continue reading it from the beginning to the end. It is the reason you should make sure that your essay is interesting and accurate. Follow the tips provided by expert writers at MyPerfectWords.com to make you essay impressive:
- For inspiration and help, check the other compare and contrast essays. If writing a compare and contrast essay from scratch, it can be very confusing. So it is suggested to first go through already written quality essays to help you draft yours effectively.
- When choosing a suitable essay topic, think critically. Brainstorm topic ideas and select a topic that you feel has enough information to share with your audience.
- Seek expert help or professional assistance from an essay writing service to write a strong essay.
- Proper formatting is the basic thing you need to take care of while drafting a compare and contrast essay for academics. Follow the instructions provided to format your essay perfectly.
- Make sure the correct citation is done within the content. Read and understand the guidelines provided to properly cite sources in your compare and contrast essay.
Undoubtedly, writing a compare and contrast essay can be a challenge if your writing skills are below average. If you think your writing and analyzing skills are not up to the mark, you can always get assistance for your academic papers and essays online.
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Frequently asked questions
How long is a compare and contrast essay?
The essay should be six paragraphs long. Each paragraph could compare and contrast the two items being discussed, such as a city bus to an airplane.
What is the purpose of the topic sentence in a compare contrast paragraph?
A topic sentence introduces the main idea of a paragraph. This one states that there is a similarity between X and Y, but also points out some differences too.