Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay

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In a compare and contrast essay, students use their research and analysis skills to explore the similarities and differences between different subjects. This analysis can be done on physical objects, events, ideas, etc. By writing these essays, students build up their abilities in the areas of research, analysis, critical thinking, evaluation, and of course writing. It is undeniably important to put these skills to the test, and that is what makes compare and contrast essays so important.

By writing compare and contrast essays, students build up their abilities in the areas of research, analysis, critical thinking, evaluation, and of course writing.

In this guide, we will get into all of the steps of researching and writing a compare and contrast essay. We’ll help you learn to discern good compare and contrast essay topics. We’ll also explore the point by point method of compare and contrast essay writing. Keep reading to learn how to write a compare and contrast essay outline, to write a compare and contrast essay intro, and how to end a compare and contrast essay successfully. It’s all right here, thanks to the insights of our professional writing team.

What is a Compare And Contrast Essay?

A compare and contrast essay is an academic paper where the student is asked to research and analyze two subjects together. The purpose of comparing is to delve into the similarities between the two topics. Contrasting is looking into the differences. Depending on the details of your assignment, you may find yourself focusing on comparison only, focusing solely on contrasting, or both.

A successful paper will have a clear theme.

The student will also explain the importance of their choice in the subject matter. In other words, there should be some benefit to conducting the analysis. For example, giving the reader deeper insights into the subject. This will lead to a clear, and successful thesis.

Sample Compare and Contrast Essay

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The Best Compare And Contrast Essay Topics For College Students

Before you move forward, you have to make and narrow down a list of compare and contrast essay topics. Then, you must select the ideal one for your assignment. The best choice will be interesting, one that you are passionate about, and relevant to the class you are taking. To begin, consider Googling the term ‘compare and contrast essay examples’ along with your subject. Use the results to help build your topic list. You can also try brainstorming, or simply researching some interesting topics that have a relationship to one another. It may help to start with a category, then find topics within that category. You can then compare and contrast what comes up. Here are some examples:

  • Science Fiction Authors: Madeleine L’Engle and Frank Herbert
  • Diets: Keto and Low Fat
  • Wars: WWI and WWII
  • Political Ideologies: Socialism and Communism
  • Animated Television Shows: Rick And Morty and The Simpsons
  • Jazz Musicians: Chick Corea and Miles Davis
  • Charitable Work: Donating Money and Volunteering

You can also find some interesting subject matter by finding topics that many people don’t know are related, or that allow you to share some cool facts.

The best topic is the one that's interesting, that you are passionate about, and relevant to the class you are taking.

Creating an effective compare and contrast essay infographics

Compare And Contrast Essay Research

Once you find the perfect topic, you have to research it. Even if you know all there is to know, you still need reliable sources to backup your points. Who knows, research may even provide you with even more interesting information about your topic. You can then use that to share with your audience. Here are some steps to take.

  1. Select Your Sources
    Be choosy. Stick with relevant and up to date sources. The more interesting and accurate the better!
  2. Make a List of Similarities And Differences to Explore
    You will find plenty of items to compare and contrast. Write as many down as you can! Don’t censor yourself or overthink things. You can always pare things down later.
  3. Take Notes for Each
    Take organized and detailed notes for each area you plan to compare and contrast. Consider using a good note-taking app, or get creative with colors to keep things categorized for later.
  4. Narrow The List Down
    Chances are, you’ll have more points than you need. Pick the ones and ditch the rest. This will make your essay an interesting read for your audience.
  5. Prioritize The Points You’ve Chosen
    The order in which you present your points is important. Choose the right sequence, and your points can build on one another.

Finally, you should begin to form your thesis. This is where you will tell your audience what you are proving with your analysis. For example, if you compare rap music with country music, your thesis could be that the two styles reveal more similarities between the fans of each than differences.

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline

Think of your outline as a compare and contrast essay template. It lays out how you will structure your compare and contrast point by point. Your introduction will share the topic, and exactly which two subjects you will explore, and your thesis. The body paragraphs will be a point by point analysis. Finally, your conclusion will bring everything together, and validate your thesis.

Here’s a very brief example of a compare and contrast outline focusing on low fat and ketogenic diets.

  1. Intro: Keto and low-fat diets are very popular among people who want to lose weight.

    1. Statistics show similar success rates.

    2. There are many similarities and differences.

    3. One key similarity shows why these diets work for some people in spite of being so different.

  2. Body 1: Keto encourages high fat consumption, low fat minimizes fat consumption.

    1. Example of a low-fat meal plan for a day

    2. Example of a keto meal plan for a day

  3. Body 2: Low-fat diets tend to include more fruits and vegetables while keto has more animal products.

    1. Information on the role of animal products in a high-fat diet.

    2. Information on the role of plants in a low-fat diet.

  4. Body 3: Both diets result in a reduction of daily calories consumed in success cases

    1. Evidence that successful dieters from both categories tend to reduce calories.

  5. Conclusion: Both diets can work if dieters cut calories, and can stick to the diet plan they select.

Best Compare and Contrast Paper Topics

  • Diets: Keto and Low Fat
  • Political Ideologies: Socialism and Communism
  • Animated Television Shows: Rick And Morty and The Simpsons
  • Jazz Musicians: Chick Corea and Miles Davis
  • Charitable Work: Donating Money and Volunteering
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Compare And Contrast Rough Draft

Once you’ve written a great outline, it will be that much easier to write a great rough draft. Simply build on your outline as if it was the framework. Write out anecdotes. Use stats from your notes, and create your intro, body, and concluding paragraphs. Work on ensuring that your writing is interesting, and that it flows well. Check your transitions, phrasing, and other key elements that make your writing interesting.

Compare And Contrast Final Draft

The difference between your rough and final drafts is a matter of polishing and perfecting.

You’ve done all of the hard work. Now you just have to edit and proofread. This is a good time to check your work against your assignment paperwork. This will help you ensure that your completed paper meets all requirements.

Compare And Contrast Essay Tips

Let’s close with some great tips to keep your essay on point.

  • Use current events as a source for interesting topics.

  • Choose a maximum of five points to compare and contrast.

  • Don’t shy away from focusing only on similarities or only on differences.

  • Use examples. These will be key in demonstrating your points.


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