How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay


A compare and contrast essay is a familiar task that high and middle school students are assigned. As the name implies, you should compare and contrast two subjects in this type of essay. That is to say you have to write about the similarities and differences of the subjects you investigate. 

Writing a compare and contrast essay might be more challenging than a descriptive or argumentative essay. While in other pieces of academic writing, the author has to describe something from one point of view, in this essay, it is essential to view the subjects from different perspectives. Here you can learn more about a compare and contrast essay and prepare for its writing. 

What Is Compare and Contrast Essay

When you get a task to write a compare and contrast essay for the first time, you might be overwhelmed with thoughts on how to approach the writing process. But first, you must understand that comparing two things is not the only task to do when writing your essay. The comparison should lead to a logical conclusion to the thesis statement you indicated in your introductory essay part.

In other words, you should view the subjects through critical thinking. Why would the subjects have different qualities? What is the reason for being different? What aspects unite these subjects? There might be multiple points for analyzing the two topics depending on the purpose of your study. It requires thorough investigation to cover several points of view, so you might need to spend some time researching that. 

How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay: Writing Preparation

Since compare and contrast essay writing includes analyzing two subjects from different angles, the writing preparation will take more time and investigation on the topic. Here, it is essential to analyze two points of view and identify similar and different qualities. Thus, you might wonder where and how to start writing your compare and contrast essay. The following steps will help you to organize the process properly and coherently.

Choose Your Topic

Before you come to a reader with a factual statement, you must decide on the topic of your compare and contrast essay. Of course, you already know that the topic should cover two subjects. But the important thing is that these subjects have to be related. You must compare apples of different varieties but not apples and pears. For example, you can choose two historical characters of a specific field, the overall picture of something through different periods, theories that oppose each other, similar definitions that everyone confuses, and so on. 

Generate the Ideas

Once you develop a precise topic for your compare and contrast essay, it is high time to brainstorm the ideas. First, you must consider the similarities and differences between the subjects you investigate. For that task, you can use the Venn diagram. The principle of creating lies in drawing two circles that overlap each other. In the area where the circles don’t overlap, you must write the different qualities of the two topics. On the overlapping area, state the subjects’ similarities. When looking at your Venn diagram, you will start making links between the written statements. Here is how your thesis statement will appear.

Create an Outline

You are ready to compose the outline as soon as you know what points of view you will discuss and analyze in the compare and contrast essay. There is nothing extraordinary about the structural parts of this type of essay. It has an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 

You should write a thesis statement in one or two paragraphs in the introduction. Then comes the most interesting – the body of the compare and contrast essay. It depicts the subjects from different angles. And in conclusion, you sum up the thesis statement from your introduction. While writing a compare and contrast essay sounds pretty straightforward, its structure might be more challenging to follow. Find below the essential information about structuring your essay.

Compare Contrast Essay Structuring

You already know the structural elements of a compare and contrast essay. But the pitfall falls in identifying the right way and order of describing two subjects. Which subject should you describe first? Do you have to write everything about one subject or keep analyzing them together? You are free to choose any way of laying down your thoughts. You can:

  • Describe the subjects writing about their similarities and then pointing out their differences. So you will write everything similar about two topics, and then everything is different.
  • By points. In this way, you will analyze the subjects from specific points. First, the description of one subject according to certain aspects will go, and then the description of another.
  • Subject by subject. The last way is to describe one subject in full and then another. This should be the most straightforward structure to follow. 

You can write your essay following any structure you wish. However, starting every paragraph of your compare and contrast essay is essential with a little introduction. Since you are describing two topics, the reader might be overwhelmed with the ideas, so be sure to clarify them.

Writing Compare and Contrast Essay

After completing all the steps mentioned above, you are ready to write a compare and contrast essay. Make sure you don’t miss any significant part of the writing process. Here is how what a writing routine should look like:

  • Choosing the relevant topic. Remember to compare two subjects or characters that are related. Compare them according to time frames or any other aspects.
  • Brainstorming. A perfect way to logically explain the topic is to write down all the similarities and differences between the subjects you investigate. In short, it will be your roadmap in compare and contrast essay writing. 
  • Creating a thesis statement. As you get yourself involved in discovering similarities and differences between the subjects, you come to understand their connection to each other. Thus, you can form a solid thesis statement for your essay.
  • Outlining. Once you know what you will write about, you must structure it properly. And outlining will help you in that. Depending on the type of structure you choose, your outline might differ. In any case, it will be your roadmap. 
  • Writing an introduction. As in any type of essay, you should catch the reader’s attention in your compare and contrast essay introduction. This can be a rhetorical question or an impressive statement that would force the readers to go on with your essay. At the end of the introduction, put your thesis statement.
  • Creating body paragraphs. Whether you choose a block method or a point-by-point method, you should write the primary investigation of the essay in the body part. There you will create several paragraphs to discover the theme you are researching. 
  • Concluding the essay. After you compare the two subjects of your topic, it is time to summarize your investigation. Be sure to link the concluding thoughts with your statement. 
  • Proofreading. When you finish writing your compare and contrast essay draft, you must proofread it. Please pay special attention to this step as it is crucial to submit your work with no mistakes.

How to Compare and Contrast in an Essay: Tips for Writing

Even though by this point, you will be getting a clear understanding of how to write a compare and contrast essay, these tips will help you make the writing process smooth and easy.

Select Your Topic Wisely

Although comparison can be applied to any two subjects, it is essential to choose the figures or states of affairs that would have a lot in common. Otherwise, what would be the purpose of making a whole essay only about the things that differ? So be one step forward and think as your reader might think.

Clarify the Purpose of Making Comparison

You could have gone through all the different things between the subjects you researched. But they would be meaningless for a reader if you don’t write a purpose of comparing two subjects. Imagine that the points of comparison are your arguments. So make them clear to understand. 

Final Words

Writing a compare and contrast essay can be easily accomplished using the tips above. In addition, we’ve provided an ultimate guide on creating an ideal compare-contrast essay, so everything you need is to follow the steps and write your unique paper for an A+ grade.


What should a compare and contrast essay identify?

In a compare and contrast essay, you should provide a comparison of two subjects. It should identify similarities and differences between the two characters of events you conduct your investigation. Also, there should be a clear explanation of the purpose of making a comparison.

How to conclude a compare and contrast essay?

In the conclusion of your compare and contrast essay, it is essential to support your thesis statement but in other words. So you have come to the final point of your work, and you need to make it a logical ending to the conducted analysis.

Which statement is the best thesis for a compare-and-contrast essay?

Your statement should represent a clear idea and purpose of your essay. It should answer the question about the purpose of a reader reading your work. 

How to write a compare and contrast essay outline?

To write a compare and contrast essay outline:

  • Decide on the topic for your essay;
  • Choose the structural model;
  • Write down the subjects’ similarities and differences;
  • Think of the number of paragraphs in your work.

Which is the most effective topic for a compare-and-contrast essay?

When choosing the topic for a compare and contrast essay, you should consider that the subjects you are to compare have a serial connection. 


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