Compare and Contrast Essay: Step-by-Step Guide With Samples

compare and contrast essay

One of the most common types of essays, compare and contrast essays, highlight how two or more subjects are similar yet different.

It is one of the most important assignments instructors give in high school and college to know how well you understand both subjects.

This essay focuses on how specific ideas and things are similar or different.

In contrast to argumentative or persuasive essays, compare-and-contrast essays deal with multiple topics rather than focusing on just one.

This blog will explain what a compare and contrast essay is and how to write one correctly.

Compare and Contrast Essay Definition

A comparison and contrast essay compares the similarities and differences of two or more topics (for example, people, objects, or ideas). You can choose to concentrate solely on similarities, differences, or both.

Make sure two subjects should be distinct from each other. However, given the similarities between the two, they should be in the same ballpark.

It is important to remember the points of comparing and contrasting are more than just identifying differences between two subjects. It uses distinct viewpoints and attempts to construct a meaningful argument subject by subject.

Drawing similarities and differences can seem challenging, but it becomes much easier if you understand the fundamentals.

When the teacher assigns you to draft an essay, the first thing that comes to mind is how to begin an essay. The planning of an essay is very important to the overall success of the essay. It is also called a pre-writing phase of the writing process.

Similarly, how well you followed all required writing steps determines how well you write a good compare and contrast essay.

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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

Here are some easy steps to write a perfect compare and contrast essay:

1. Select a Topic

It's important to choose two subjects or objects in the same category to compare and contrast.

The key here is to make sure what you compare has similarities, so there aren’t any huge leaps between your chosen subjects.

2. Consider Similarities and Differences

Consider all of the possible distinctions and similarities. Brainstorming your ideas will help you develop a clear picture of what you want to accomplish.

Gather similarities and differences, and use this information from various sources. Create a list or make a Venn Diagram of the similarities and differences between the subjects. In the overlapping circles, write down the similarities, and in another part of the circle, mention differences.

It will provide a simple representation of all the characteristics of the chosen subjects. It will also make it easier for the writer to assess them later.

3. Construct an Argument on the Subject

The best compare and contrast essay is not just a point of comparisons and contrasts. It also includes the writer's stance, the main argument, or the thesis statement. To lay the groundwork for your essay, construct an argument analyzing the subject's similarities and differences.

4. Establish the Organizational Structure

There are countless ways to structure your essay. A block arrangement is a basic structure used to draft a compare and contrast essay.

But, in a point-by-point structure, each object's similarity or difference is followed by the similarities and differences of other objects.

The block structure is best represented by the table below:


Object 1 - Point 1

Object 1 - Point 2

Object 1 - Point 3

Transition paragraph/Words

Object 2 - Point 1

Object 2 - Point 2

Object 2 - Point 3


The best example of a point-by-point structure is provided below:


Object 1

Object 1 + Object 2

Object 2

Object 1 + Object 2

Object 3

Object 1 + Object 2


5. Create an Outline

A basic five-paragraph essay outline is used to write a compare and contrast essay.

This outline format categorizes all of the information as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. Body Paragraph 1
  3. Body Paragraph 2
  4. Body paragraph 3
  5. Conclusion

To form an essay, all of the information gathered is divided into five outline parts

6. Provide Supporting Materials

Writing a compare and contrast essay is usually based on the evidence to back up your viewpoints. Provide evidence, supporting information, real-life examples, and facts to support.

7. Use Transitional Words

Transitions are an important part of any piece of writing because they help the reader get from one point to another. To make your compare and contrast essay compelling, you should use these word choices:






To compare...

To be the same as...

just like

Not only...

But also...

In contrast




In comparison


On the other hand

8. Edit and Proofread

After you've finished writing your essay, go over it again to check for errors in format, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary. This step is also significant because it brings the essay to completion.

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Outline for a Compare and Contrast Essay

An essay outline is just as important as writing it. There will be no structure without an outline, and the essay will not be easy to read.

The following paragraphs should include in a compare and contrast essay outline:

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

A strong introductory paragraph is essential for any type of essay. Like other essays, an introduction to a compare and contrast essay should be attention-grabbing.

Take the following steps to make your essay introduction more engaging:

Start your first paragraph with a hook statement. It could be a fact, a quote, or a simple yet intriguing sentence to capture the reader's attention.

Give some background information on your subject. You cannot begin comparing two objects at random. So, set the stage or briefly discuss the issues you'll be comparing.

At the end of your introductory paragraph, include your thesis statement. The compare and contrast thesis should show two subjects that must be compared.

The introductory paragraph should paint a picture of the comparison essay as a whole.

An essay will be more impactful if it has a strong introduction.

Compare and Contrast Essay Body Paragraphs

Your essay's body paragraphs are where you lay everything out in front of the reader and explain things with facts.

In the first section, you will discuss the significance of your chosen subjects for comparisons and contrasts within the body paragraphs. In the final section of the body paragraph, you will discuss the final factors of both subjects to write a comparison.

The structure of your essay's body is heavily influenced by the alternative method you use to compare (block method or point-by-point).

To keep your essay informative, gather some factual information to impress the reader and teach them something new.

Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion

The following information is included in the conclusion of a compare and contrast essay:

The summary is a concise but thorough analysis of the key points raised in the content. It depends on the subject matter and method of analysis used.

The significance of your topic is to provide context for the comparison you made. Explain your reasoning for making comparisons and differences between two objects.

The example of a compare and contrast essay outline provided below will help you understand the concept better.

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Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Sample

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Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

The first step to writing a good essay is consulting examples.

It is to ensure that the writer understands the structure and pattern of the essay.

These compare and contrast essay examples will help you write an excellent paper.

Compare and Contrast Essay Sample

Block Method for Compare and Contrast Essay

Point-By-Point Method for Compare and Contrast Essay

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Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Like any other type of essay, the topic of compare and contrast should be interesting. It must grab readers’ attention right from the start.

So, when it comes to choosing a topic, you should always begin by brainstorming.

Brainstorming the best possible ideas or topics for your essay is key to ensuring that it will be engaging and interesting to read!

The following is a list of compare and contrast essay topics that you can use for your paper:

  • Baseball vs. basketball
  • Vaccines or medications
  • Love or friendship
  • Apple vs. Samsung
  • Marriage vs. live-in relationship
  • Suicide and Homicide
  • Smoking vs. Vaping
  • Traditional house Vs. Smart house
  • Fast food vs. healthy food

There are many topics and ideas in a compare and contrast essay. You can choose from whatever interests you most, or maybe try some new ones!

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Tips for Compare and Contrast Essay Writing

Every good essay motivates the reader to read it all the way through. This is why you must ensure that your work presents both interesting and accurate information.

Here are some expert tips you should follow:

  • Compare and contrast essays are always difficult to write from scratch. However, you can find some great ideas by looking at other peoples' work! So, it is always a good idea to read other examples before drafting your own.
  • It is important to consider your options carefully when choosing a subject. Brainstorm as many ideas and choose one that you believe contains enough information for the audience.
  • The most important thing to remember while writing an essay is proper formatting. Properly formatted papers make it easier for readers to read and help get better marks!

If you're not confident in writing and analyzing skills that come naturally to you. Then looking for help online can be a great way of boosting your confidence.

At, writers are professionals who know how to take care of your needs. They can get you an original paper on time that will meet all requirements for the essay.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a compare and contrast essay

The essay should consist of six paragraphs. Each paragraph compares and contrasts the two items under consideration, such as a city bus and an airplane.

What is the purpose of the topic sentence in a compare contrast paragraph?

The main idea of a paragraph is introduced by a topic sentence. This one states that X and Y are similar but also points out some differences.


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