How to Write Compare And Contrast Essay

Compare and contrast essay is a common type in any school. This format of essay deals with comparison of two things, topics, items, topics etc. The objective of such essays is to compare between the two and then list the similarities and dissimilarities between the two, and discuss those in details. If the essay is meant to be only a comparison essay then only the similarities will be the point of discussion. And if the essay is meant to be only a contrasting essay, then only the differences will be discussed. And if the essay is a combination of both types, then both similarities and differences will be discussed equally or as applicable.

Clearing concept about a compare and contrast essay

How to start a contrasting essay or a comparison essay or a combined essay depends on the understanding of the thesis. Either you will be given a topic, or you will be deciding a topic. Whichever way it is, the topic will help you decide what the thesis of the essay will be. In the introduction you will be discussing this thesis, which later in the body of the essay you will be proving through establishment of the compare and contrast points. This is how a comparison or contrasting essay is started.

If you are asking how to write compare and contrast essay introduction, then you must understand that, introduction always gives a glimpse of what you will be concluding. The introduction is never vague, flowery or just to fill words. The introduction rather tells about the argument you would be establishing in the essay and prepares the reader to go through those points. And the same things are discussed and elaborated in the body.

Compare and contrast essay topics

In this way there can be thousands of compare and contrast topics for essays with low, medium, high and very high difficulty levels. The topic must be chosen such that the topic brings in enough important similarities and differences in the essay body, which in turn may bring lots of scope to show the skill of the writer. The student’s skills of comparing and contrasting, and thereby establishing a point is very much tested through such topics. And this in future helps in debating, choosing the right and wrong, and taking vital comparison based decisions in life.

If as the teacher or committee you are choosing a topic for the students, then you will have to choose one which will give the student the opportunity to prove his or her skills in debating comparing and contrasting through detailed case study, and yet must be an easy topic which demands comparison and not brain racking studies mainly. Too much time on studies and finding out too many points which are beyond the scope of the essay for detailing can also be a problem. Hence topics must be real life and good enough to get accommodated into the estimated essay word count or length.

Compare and contrast essay examples

Some of the common and interesting topics of compare and contrast essays are discussed here. Few topic examples for each age group are given here.

For the 6th grade these topics are apt:

  • Juice versus water
  • Tennis vs ping pong
  • Summer or winter

Middle school essay topics:

  • How to compare school bullies with the famous dictators of the world
  • Parents or celeb, who influence adolescents the most
  • Zeus or King Arthur

High school essay topics:

  • E-books or paper printed books
  • Concrete building versus wooden houses
  • How vision of beauty differs among American and Japanese people

College essay topics:

  • Living at home with family or living at the college campus with room mates
  • Part time jobs or seasonal jobs
  • Online and distance learning courses versus regular courses

Some of the easy essay topics are:

  • Macbeth versus Julius Caesar
  • Barcelona versus Real Madrid
  • Textbooks or tablets which is apt for school education
  • Rugby or football
  • Incarceration or rehabilitation

Structure of compare and contrast essays

Creating the essay outline is very important. The proper outline can be made with structuring the points of differences and similarities one by one. Based on your studies, you can write down the points one by one, and then elaborate them. It’s not necessary that you write equal number of points for both contrast and comparison. The points must be based on reality and truth, and not imagined. With proper point based outlining, the structuring parts gets simple and manageable.

The structure of compare and contrast essays can be as follows in an average:

  • Introduction: The introduction comes first, and introduces the two things or points, which will be contrasted or compared in the essay.
  • Thesis statement: Two things cannot be equal in similarity and differences. The scale will be heavier on one side, either differences or similarities. Now what you feel as per the research- more differences or more similarities must be discussed next.
  • Body: The body is to discuss the core topic. You may start with the similarities or differences whichever way you feel easy. Any pattern can be followed to establish the points.
  • Conclusion: this is the final losing part where you draw the thesis to an end with your final comments or verdict.

Writing the conclusion of a compare and contrast essay is also an art. In such essays the conclusion draws a verdict. The points of similarities and differences which you discussed so far in the body, can be closed with a final verdict towards the topic here. You put in your comments and close the discussion tactfully while telling what you finally feel about the comparison and contrast.

This average format is followed in every contrast and comparison essay. And you can use this same structure for any school or college essay.


A comparison and contrast essay may get too lengthy. However depending on the requirement or restrictions on word count or length, the points may need to be cropped while still retaining in the essay body.

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