As a student, you are used to the fact professors or teachers assign all sorts of tasks and essays. Compare and contrast essay is one of them. This type of essay requires an unbiased approach to the subject to show your ability to discuss similarities and differences without including your emotions and opinions into it. Throughout this guide, you’ll learn how to construct your compare and contrast and impress your teacher.
A compare and contrast essay analyzes two subjects or ideas by comparing or contrasting them. In many cases, an assignment requires both. The point of this essay is to demonstrate a deep understanding of the subject, the ability to research, and it also shows a student’s potential to analyze information from different angles.
Instead of listing similarities and differences one after another, compare and contrast essay looks into their relationship and tells the story that connects subjects that seemed incomparable.
Benefits of writing a compare and contrast essay
Contrary to the popular belief, professors and teachers don’t assign essays just to keep you busy and destroy your social life. These assignments help you enhance certain skills and allow lecturers to assess them. After all, the main goal of education is to prepare you for adulthood and it is structured to help you adopt certain skills you’ll use later on. Below, you can see the important skills you develop with compare and contrast essays:
- Strengthens memories – the essay requires focusing student thinking on analyzing pairs of ideas to compare or contrast them and it, thereby, strengthens your ability to remember key content
- Improves higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) – a concept popular in the American education system. The HOTS distinguishes critical thinking skills from low-order learning outcomes. These skills include analyzing, reasoning, synthesizing, application, comprehending, and evaluation. You develop all these skills with compare and contrast essays
- Writing skills – the paper strengthens your writing skills by providing a simple structure that helps you organize information and develop your ideas with greater precision and clarity
- Develops habits of mind – compare and contrast essay helps students develop habits of mind necessary for intelligent behavior and thought. These habits include thinking flexibly, metacognition (thinking about thinking), striving for accuracy, thinking and communicating with precision and clarity, and applying past knowledge to new situations
Areas of interest
The greatest advantage of compare and contrast essay is that you can write about anything you like. After all, we compare things on a regular basis without even realizing it. You compare food items while grocery shopping, movies, books, teachers or professors, and so much more. Below, you can see categories that you should consider for high-quality compare and contrast essay:
- IT and social media
- Historical figures and personalities
- Everyday life
- Social issues and changes
Compare and contrast essay outline
The beginning is always the hardest part and essays are not the exception. What to do first? Before you begin writing the compare and contrast essay, you need to be familiar with an outline to follow. Not only does the outline keep you on the right track, but it generates ideas that you can use for the essay. How? It shows what and where to mention. Below, you can see the outline for this type of paper:
- Introduction – the introductory paragraph provides a brief intro to the topic, it’s a hook that you use to get someone’s attention. The sentence can include a fun fact, general information, statistics, quotes, among other things. Then, you transition to a specific topic or ideas you will compare so the reader knows the matter that will be discussed. The introduction ends with a thesis statement that announces the main idea or point you will compare and contrast
- Body paragraphs – the central part of the compare and contrast essay, can be organized in two ways:
- Point-by-point pattern – used to compare subjects or items that are similar. Paragraphs start with a topic sentence and deal with subjects (similarities or differences) and explanations that provide a deeper insight into their relationship
- Block pattern (organization by item) – used to compare situations or items that are entirely different at a first glance. This approach is also useful when multiple criteria are involved. When using block pattern you can divide body paragraphs into categories such as similarities first, then contrasts, a combination etc.
- Conclusion – summary of main points, short analysis of discussion in the essay, demonstrates significance of the subject
The whole idea of writing an essay can be frightening, especially because you have many other projects to work on and it’s needless to mention you have a lot of studying to do for your exams. A lot of nervousness comes from lack of information about compare and contrast essay. Students rarely come across accurate tips and tricks and it only makes the writing process longer and more frustrating. Let’s put a stop to that with these tips:
- Stick to the assignment – sometimes the essay assignment is just to compare something, or you may be required to discuss differences. In other cases, you need to do both. Regardless of the scenario, you should always stick to the assignment. If your task is to compare something, then focus on similarities rather than spending too much time on differences
- Identify meaningful comparison points – look for connections that truly matter and don’t waste your precious time on superficial comparison points. Let’s say you need to compare two books; meaningful comparison points are similarities between characters, plot, and other factors. Trivial comparison points would include font selection, cover (unless it’s symbolic), and other factors that don’t contribute to the meaning or purpose of each of those books
- Choose an organizational strategy – as seen in the outline section the body of compare and contrast essay follows one of two organizational strategies: block or point-by-point structure. Based on the subject, choose the one that works for your paper
- Assume your reader knows nothing – sometimes we fail to mention important information because we assume our lecturer already knows it. Big mistake! Always consider a reader knows nothing about the subject and your job is to inform them. This will help you compile a high-quality paper
- Back it up – keep in mind that compare and contrast essay is just like any other form of academic writing – it requires the use of evidence. Whenever you discuss some important points of comparison or contrast you need to provide evidence that supports it. Otherwise, the argument loses its strength. Of course, this also means you should include sources you used in references section
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
Your teacher or professor assigned a compare and contrast essay and gave you the freedom to choose your subject? The last thing you want is to spend way too much time on topic selection because it would prevent you from focusing on the writing process. At the same time, you want your topic to be strong and impactful.
Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
These ideas will help you find a perfect topic and focus on the writing part:
- Renaissance vs. Baroque
- Anthropology vs. religion
- Nazism and fascism: are they different or same?
- Online vs. traditional commerce
- Greek vs. Roman mythology: similarities and differences
- How Othello compares to Hamlet
- Tesla vs. Edison
- Main philosophical ideas of Macbeth against the main ideas of Hamlet
- Lord of the Rings trilogy vs. Harry Potter: similarities and differences
- Similarities and differences between public and private schools
- Aztecs vs. Mayans
- Obama vs. Trump: do they have anything in common?
- Immigration and emigration: how they differ?
- Differences between inventions and discoveries
- Similarities and differences between WWI and WWII
- Veganism and vegetarianism: compare and contrast
Easy Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- Renaissance Art vs. Baroque Art
- Antebellum Era vs. Reconstruction Era in American History
- Similarities and differences between Star Wars and Star Trek
- Cats vs. dogs: which ones make better pets
- New England Colonies vs. Middle Colonies OR vs. Southern Colonies
- Communism vs. Capitalism
- Socialism vs. Capitalism
- Greek vs. Roman Mythology
- 1984 vs. Fahrenheit 451
- Roman Empire vs. British Empire
- Real Madrid vs. Barcelona – which club is more influential?
- Differences between Mediterranean diets and Western diet
- Poetry vs. Prose
- Fiction vs. Nonfiction
- City life compared to country lifestyles
- Books vs. movies – why a film adaptation will never match books
- How rap music has changed compared to the way it was two decades ago
- Tea vs. coffee – what’s better for your health?
- The similarities between religious practices and cultural ones that shows that they both stem from the same source
- A non-gluten diet compared to a gluten filled diet
- Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton – who’s a better politician?
- The Vietnam War compared to the Korean Conflict
- Compare Hobbes’ philosophies to Locke’s philosophies
- Compare and contrast emailing someone to writing them a letter
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In our daily life, we often compare things to make a right decision. However, most school children and college students feel puzzled when assigned to develop an essay. The stumbling block in an essay writing is a need to choose among compare and contrast essay topics. The more interesting topic you'll pick, the more chances you have to pass with flying colors. Writing a really good essay may be a piece of cake if you feel inspired.
In many spheres of human activity, there arises a need for an optimal choice. This compare and contrast essay method takes into account characteristics of the studied objects using the necessary criteria. The basic approach is quite simple: the definition and estimation of individual social, economic, political, or other phenomena with the aim of discovering distinctive features.
After that, a student is supposed to make a conclusion about a justified or supposed nature of the homogeneity of phenomena, the similarity of their content, the general orientation, etc. This makes it possible to use data from one object while studying the other. If, in the course of the research, some discrepancies were found, this allows one to point out the peculiarity, specificity, and uniqueness of one phenomenon or object in relation to another one.
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Compared to other types, this type of work is considered a difficult task as it is not just a narration. It usually takes much time since you cannot write a decent paper without any prior research. Moreover, put your thinking cap on when analyzing two objects from one category as sometimes distinctive aspects aren’t so obvious.
Recommendations to Follow when Choosing Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- When choosing an essay topic, learn more about the target audience beforehand. Look through actual topics which have a chance to hook your readers’ attention. After brainstorming ideas, find things for the effective comparison.
- Remember to choose objects belonging to one sphere. Use all pieces of advice you can find when choosing compare and contrast essay topics: first of all, analyze objects that look the same, but have at least one difference. For example, a homemade face mask and a mask produced somewhere, or foods cooked by mom and semi-finished ones found in a supermarket.
- The methods of the comparative approach lead to the fact that already established views on certain phenomena and facts can be reconsidered. Your essay should help discover features that are specific to a particular object or phenomenon. Thus, it promotes a deeper study of objects and phenomena. Also, remember to search for distinctive features at different levels of research.
- The leading principle of picking a good topic is finding some characteristic feature similar to both objects.
Have no ideas what to compare wondering “What are some good compare and contrast essay topics?” Get inspired by checking out compare and contrast essay topics below for different levels of education.
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for College Students
IT technologies and gadgets:
- iOS vs. Android.
- E-mail vs. usual post.
- Buying things online vs. shopping at malls.
- Skype vs. phone communication.
- Smart house vs. usual home.
- Samsung vs. Apple.
Easy as a Piece of Cake Topics:
- American vs. Chinese concepts of beauty.
- Rock vs. rap music.
- Flat vs. private house.
- School teacher and university professor: benefits/disadvantages.
Easy Compare and Contrast Essay Topics:
Topics for beginners:
- Fruit vs. vegetables.
- Linux vs. Windows.
- Tablet vs. paper textbooks.
- Classical vs. pop music.
- Movies vs. theatre.
Popular things to compare:
- Chemistry vs. physics.
- Oranges vs. tangerines.
- New Year vs. Christmas celebration.
- Summer vs. winter.
- Documentary vs. fiction.
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for High School
Topics about Influential People:
- Hitler and Stalin
- Obama vs Donald Trump
- Ryan Reynolds vs Donald Glover.
- Volcano eruption and earthquakes: what causes more damage?
- Geology and mineralogy.
- Einstein theories.
- Civil World War I and II.
- Two famous historical leaders.
- Politics in America now and twenty years ago.
Fresh essay topic ideas:
- Sports or diets: what is more effective for weight loss?
- Audio books or paper books.
- Fashion today and twenty years before.
- Silver and gold.
- Chocolate and marmalade candies.
- Autumn vs spring.
- Love vs. friendship.
- Cars vs. bikes.
Compare and Contrast Topics for Middle School
- Playing computer games and reading: which is the pastime you give preference to and why?
Facebook vs Twitter:
- Instagram vs printed photographs.
- Messaging vs real communication.
Easy as ABC topics:
- Black vs. white: best color for formal meetings.
- Apple vs. pear.
- Getting vs. presenting gifts: what is more pleasant?
- Sunbathing at the seaside vs go sightseeing.
- Short vs. long hair.
- Your lifestyle and your favorite celebrity.
- Coffee vs. tea.
- Cinnamon vs. sugar.
- Cats vs. dogs.
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for 6th Grade
Topics for beginners:
- Active vs. passive rest.
- Playing inside vs. outside.
- Is your character similar to your parents’?
- Doctor vs. teacher.
- Swimming vs. flying.
- Tennis vs. badminton.
- Football vs. basketball.
- American soccer vs. basketball.
- Ballet vs. break dance.
- Two plays of Shakespeare.
- Quotes of the well-known personalities.
- Two books of the classical writers.
Ap World History Compare and Contrast Essay
- European History and US history.
- Paleolithic and Neolithic periods.
- Two public people.
- Economic development of America and China.
- Two personalities who contributed to the history of England.
Brilliant Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- Watching horror films on TV vs. on the large cinema screen.
- New branded clothes vs. second-hand clothes.
- Diets vs. drugs for weight loss.
- Cooking video recipes vs. traditional cookery books.
- Money vs. gift for a birthday.
- Jeans or dresses for a party.
Great Compare and Contrast Essay Topics: Literature
- Two writers of prose.
- Prose vs. poetry.
- Russian vs English writers: choose two most famous in the same genre.
- Jane Austen vs. Charlotte Bronte.
- Two works of Oscar Wilde.
- Romeo and Juliet vs. Macbeth of Shakespeare.
- Tolkien vs Joan Rolling.
- Two characters from the Harry Potter books.
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Effective Tips How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay
Are you stuck in front of an empty word document and have no idea how to write a compare and contrast essay? First, go through the basics. This piece of writing is a genre aimed at setting objects, people, places, events, etc. side by side and defining similarities and differences.
After you have sorted out things, hit books searching for relevant information. Most themes will require some specific knowledge, which means that the search for facts and statistics and additional details will take much time. Brainstorm ideas and make notes. Make up a list of common features, characteristics, qualities. Don’t miss details that can play a significant role.
You shouldn’t necessarily talk about all features if there are too many. Just choose things that really matter and start writing following a certain structure format.
Your work will be well-organized if it consists of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. An effective structure should include five paragraphs. Each paragraph is written to perform its own function. A short introductory part familiarizes your reader with the topic and makes it clear what will be next.
Remember how important it is to use eye-catchy first sentences to attract the audience attention. Think that you are ready with the effective beginning? Then don’t waste time and proceed to the text body revealing major aspects with your findings concerning common things and different features. Finally, summarize and let your reader see the goal you wanted to achieve. Your audience shouldn’t doubt the usefulness of time spent on reading your paper.
Compare and Contrast Essay Example
Compare and contrast essay example: “Winter vs Summer”
Historic essay sample: Napoleon and Kutuzov
Interesting Things to Compare and Contrast
Check out fresh ideas about things to compare and contrast below.
- Virus vs. infection.
- Vitamins from foods vs. vitamins from complexes: which are better for health?
- People DNA vs. animals.
- Samsung vs. Apple computers.
- Hardware vs. software.
- iPhone 8 Plus vs. iPhone X.
- Women vs. men occupying managerial positions: who is more successful?
- Two most profitable goods and services markets.
- Cola and Pepsi: management techniques.
Advice from Expert
Don’t know how to write a compare and contrast essay? Consider successful samples first. If reading an example you have a wish to find out more about the objects’ comparison, then its author has done a proper job. To say that the theme must be interesting is like saying nothing. It should be inspiring. Moving forward think about the obvious similarities and differences. The crucial reason why many writers fail is that they don’t go further. However, it is a must to study objects thoroughly so that no hidden edges are left. Use critical thinking and look at the familiar thing at a completely new angle.
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