How To Write A Compare And Contrast Essay

May 27, 2019

Put simply, a compare and contrast essay is a type of writing that analyses the similarities and differences between two items. Comparison refers to the similarities while contrast refers to the differences. The purpose of such an essay is not just to mention the resemblances and variations between the subjects but to draw meaningful arguments that help the reader make up their mind regarding the subjects.

For instance, a compare and contrast essay on two different products helps a consumer pick the one that is most suited for him/her. Compare and contrast essays may not be a fun part of your academic writing, but they’re far too popular and the only way out is to learn how to craft them well. Read on to discover easy steps to writing your compare and contrast essay perfectly.

Come Up with An Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Like any other essay, a compare and contrast essay should contain three main parts:

  • An introduction
  • A body
  • A conclusion

The introduction introduces the items that are being compared/contrasted, and it ought to incorporate a powerful thesis statement stating the objective of the essay.

In the body, place the main points that show resemblance/variation between the items you’re dealing with. And finally, in the conclusion, leave a verdict that clearly states whether one item is better than the other and in what circumstances.

Decide on A Compare and Contrast Essay Structure

There are three basic structures that you can employ when writing the essay:

  • Block

In this structure, you present all the facts, features or aspects and probably also, the pros and cons related to the first subject. When you’re done, you move onto the second subject and do the same. The benefit of this method is that it’s easy to write.

  • Compare then contrast

In this structure, you list all the similarities first, then you proceed to list all the differences. This is a better way of helping the reader understand the items you’re discussing about, and as the similarities are placed last, emphasis is put on them, thus helping the reader understand how the items are different.

  • Point by point

This fashion follows the route of picking each feature and discussing the items in question under that point. For instance, if you’re comparing/contrasting Samsung Galaxy s7 and iPhone 7, you might write down a point like ease of use or screen responsiveness and discuss the facts about each of the two phones under that point.

A point by point organization is the best in that it helps the reader understand your arguments clearly.


Read more: 101 Compare and Contrast Essay Topic Ideas


Research the Subjects

Before starting your essay, you want to first ensure that you have a perfect understanding of the subjects/items you’re writing on. Gather as much information as you can. You could search the items on the internet, read books, or even talk to an expert who understands the items excellently. When researching the products, consider writing down the main points on a piece of paper or on your computer or phone.

Make A List of The Similarities and Disparities

Once you’re confident that you know exactly what you’re talking about, it’s time to explore the resemblances and variations. Create two lists – one focusing on the similarities, and the other focusing on the disparities.

To make things easier, you might want to create a table or even make a Venn diagram. With a Venn diagram, you just need to draw two overlapping circles. The similarities will go to the common area created by the points of intersection, while the disparities will go to the circles’ unshared areas.

Creating a table or a Venn diagram might seem like a waste of time, but it’s quite the opposite. The table or Venn diagram will help you move faster because you won’t have to struggle to find things to talk about in your essay. One glance at the diagram and you know exactly what to talk about.

Write the Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

If it’s an academic essay, then the introduction should, ideally, be one paragraph. In this paragraph, you’re to provide basic information about the items you’re discussing. Here, you should include a thesis statement that plots the essay’s direction by indicates what will be covered in the body and why the reader should care.

Work on The Compare and Contrast Body

This is the juicy part of your essay, and it is here that you ought to give the details of the differences between the items as well as the arguments or evidences supporting these differences. Organize the body into paragraphs with each paragraph covering a different idea or point.

If you’re following the block fashion, then you want to write the first item as a header then write as sub-headers the features/aspects you’ll base your essay on. Each sub-header should cover a distinct feature or aspect. For instance, if you’re comparing/contrasting American culture and African culture, then, you can use sub-topics like “family setting”, “inheritance rules”, and “sexuality”. When you’re done with the first item, move onto the next item and use the same sub-headers you used for the first item to help the reader understand the contrast.

When using the compare then contrast model, then you first discuss the similarities then the differences. Don’t just introduce a point and say that the items are similar or different. Instead, dig deeper into the idea and help the reader visualize your point. Using practical examples and evidence can be incredibly helpful.

If outlining your essay in the point by point structure, introduce the main points and discuss the items you’re comparing/contrasting under each main point. For example, if you’re discussing about the American and Chinese cultures, you can write a main point like family setting, then under it, illustrate that traditionally, the American family setting is nuclear, while the African family setting is extended.

When writing the body, it is ideal to write at least three paragraphs, but you can write as many as it will take to convey your arguments in a comprehensive manner.

Wrap Up Your Work

Once you’re done writing the body, it is time to finish up with a nice conclusion. While restating the thesis statement, your conclusion should give more information than the introduction gave. Be sure to give a clear summary of what you covered in the body.

Also, let the reader know your take on the items you compared and contrasted. You should state which item is better and say why and whenever applicable, mention the situations in which one item is better or worse than the other.

Review Your Work

No, you’re not done yet, lest you want to turn in or post a paper that contains errors. The last stage in coming up with the best essay is reviewing the work. Scan your work for any grammatical mistakes, repetitive ideas, and unclear phrases.

Consider reading the essay at least twice and run it through a software like Grammarly to get those errors you might have missed during your physical scan.

Edit your essay again and again till you have a flawless write-up.

In addition to solving such errors, you need to ensure that the writing is original. Copyscape, Turnitin, and other premium plagiarism checkers will be extremely helpful in identifying the unoriginal parts of your writing. Rewrite these parts in a manner that makes them sound original.

Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion

Writing a compare and contrast essay might seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you prepare adequately by researching the subjects beforehand, and understanding them perfectly, you should be able to come up with a great essay.

As mentioned before, creating a table or Renn diagram and listing the main points, that is, the main similarities and variations, helps you know exactly what to include in your essay.

You might be feeling that you’re not in a position to write a good compare and contrast essay. Maybe your writing skills still aren’t good enough. Perhaps you don’t have enough time to do all that research, put the ideas together and get down to write the essay. In that case, you might want to get a professional essay writer to do it for you. Use our expert compare and contrast essay writing service right now.