Comparison Contrast Essay Subject By Subject

How to Write an A+ Comparison Essay on any Topic

Published 3/10/2013

What is a Comparison Essay?

A comparison essay (or a Compare and Contrast essay) is a commonly used type of writing assignment in various classes of high school and college, from art to science. In a comparison essay you should critically analyze any two subjects, finding and pointing out their similarities and/or differences.

Depending on your assignment, such essays can be comparative only (looking only at similarities), contrasting only (pointing out the differences) or both comparative and contrasting.

Choosing a Topic for Comparison Essay

In order to write a good essay, first you need to have a good topic for it, i.e. a topic that lets you easily demonstrate your writing skills and get a high grade easily.

What does that mean specifically regarding the comparison essay? Very simple: the subjects must be easy comparable, so you don’t need to work too hard to point out their similarities or differences. For example:

A big college campus and a small college campus
World War I and World War II
Two perspectives on the same place: morning and night
William Shakespeare with William Wordsworth
Windows vs. Linux

Using the following links, you can find a lot of good comparison topics for your essay:

100 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

50 Compare and Contrast Topics

List of Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Comparison Essay Structure

Considering the right structure for your essay is one of the key points of success. Sticking to a recommended essay structure is the only way to properly outline and write it, paragraph by paragraph from the introduction to conclusion, without mistakes.

There are two recommended patterns for a comparison essay: point-by-point (or "alternating") pattern and subject-by-subject (or "block") pattern.

Alternating pattern

Alternating pattern is also known as "point-by-point comparison". This mode of comparison will result in your essay having 5 paragraphs. Alternating pattern is also known as "point-by-point comparison". This mode of comparison will result in your essay having 5 paragraphs.

In it, you will need to consecutively compare and contrast each of the similarities and differences in the given subjects:

  • In the introduction you state your thesis.
  • Then you discuss both of your subjects together for each point of comparison and contrast.
  • In the conclusion you restate the thesis and shortly summarize your essay.

Block pattern

Block pattern is also known as "subject-by-subject comparison". According to this pattern, you will be required to separate the body of your compare and contrast essay in two parts.

The first part of the body will be dedicated to the first subject, while the other half will be centered around the second subject:

  • In the introduction you state your thesis.
  • First you discuss the first subject.
  • Then you discuss the second subject.
  • In the conclusion you restate the thesis and shortly summarize your essay.

Writing an A+ Comparison Essay

Introduction

The introduction of an essay is very important. It gives the reader his/her first impression of the comparison essay’s text. Remember: first impression counts!

Grab the reader’s attention

There are a lot of tips and techniques to help you in capturing a reader’s interest. You can find some pretty good information in the following articles:

How to Grab the Reader's Attention

A Proper Introduction

Essay Introductions

The most common five methods to grab your reader's attention, commonly used by professionals, are the following:

  • Give a brief historical review of your topic for help reader to better understand it
  • Start from a little story or an anecdote, which leads the reader into your topic
  • Try to use a surprising statement – something disgusting, joyful or even shocking
  • "Dropping" the name of a well-known person (celebrity) usually gets the reader's attention
  • State straight out what your essay is going to be about, simply and clearly

Start from a short background

High school students often find it difficult to view their teachers as anything but "the enemy." However, after the first few months of a school year, students learn to appreciate their teachers as individuals with different approaches. Some teachers are "cool," while others are "tough."

State the thesis

Although Sally Strict & Larry Lax are both respected teachers at our school, their teaching styles and expectations for students differ significantly. While Ms. Strict maintains a highly structured classroom atmosphere to keep her pupils disciplined and motivated, Mr. Lax downplays structure in order to allow his students to push themselves.

Point paragraph

State the point

Finally, Ms. Strict enforces high standards for her students' written work.

Provide supporting details

She collects homework every day at the beginning of class; to turn it in five minutes late is to turn it in a whole day late. Every piece of writing, whether it is a journal entry or a formal essay, must be typed and stapled. Last but not least, all homework must display a sophisticated level of thinking and writing.

Use appropriate transitions

Transitions are important in comparison / contrast writing to avoid confusion. Without transitions, the points you are comparing / contrasting may blur into one another. Also, a variety of transitions prevent monotony.

For comparison:

Like, compared to, similar to, similarly, by analogy, likewise, in the same way, as well, both, too

For contrast:

Unlike, conversely, on the other hand, however, nevertheless, still, although, while, but, even though, although, despite, yet, regardless, on the one hand … one the other hand

Conclusion

The conclusion of a comparison essay is just as important as the introduction. The conclusion seals the comparison essay and tries to close the issue. Conclusion is the last part of the essay that your reader will experience.

Summarize the similarities and / or difference of the subjects

Thus, Ms. Strict and Mr. Lax both accomplish their goals of motivating their students to do excellent work, though they do so in very different ways: while Ms. Strict emphasizes the high standards she expects everyone can meet, Mr. Lax uses a more personal approach.

Emphasize the thesis and say why this topic is important

Their success demonstrates the importance of diversity in a school community: different students respond to different teaching styles. So rather than viewing their instructors as a monolithic "enemy" intent on making them suffer, students should recognize how they benefit from the variety of ways their teachers inspire them.

Finalizing your Work

Pay attention that even though your essay is fully written, it still isn’t ready to submission.

There are some common and annoying mistakes which may significantly harm your grade. However, you can avoid those grade lowering mistakes by completing the following checklist:

  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Ensure that your essay is fully compliant with the required formatting standard
  • Properly organize all the citations and the References / Works Cited page
  • Ensure that your title page is done as required
  • Take a final look at your paper to be certain that everything is indeed fine

When hearing the words “Comparative Analysis,” students may feel uncomfortable. However, all it’s really asking you to do is compare and contrast two things, an action we perform every day! A good compare and contrast essay doesn’t only reveal/show how the subjects are similar or different (or even both!). It is needed to make a consequential argument about things that were compared and contrasted.


Table Of Contents


Things to Compare And Contrast

These are common compare and contrast essay topics.

  • 20th Century vs. 21st Century
  • Adolf Hitler vs. Joseph Stalin
  • Creationism vs. Science
  • High School vs. College
  • Apple vs. Microsoft
  • Female friend vs. Male Friend
  • Cats vs. Dogs

These are just some examples of good Compare And Contrast topics you might be asked to write about in your high school or college classrooms, but there are infinitely many others!

Scientific Compare & Contrast Topics

  • Grill vs. Microvawe
  • Math vs. Physics
  • Earthquake or Tsunami: what's worse?
  • Mars vs. Pluto
  • Albert Einstein vs. Nikola Tesla

Literature Compare & Contrast Topics

  • Comedy vs. Tragedy
  • Prose vs. Lyrics
  • Shakespeare vs. Hemingway
  • Modern Literature vs. Postmodern Literature
  • Lord Of The Rings vs. Harry Potter

Movie and Music Compare & Contrast Topics

  • Rock vs. Rap
  • Batman vs. Superman
  • Sherlock Holmes vs. Moriarty
  • Horror Movies vs. Comedy
  • Harry Potter vs. Draco Malfoy

Constructing an argument

Choose two things that can be compared and contrasted

The first thing you need to do to write an outstanding compare and contrast essay is to pick two topics, themes, ideas, etc. that are different enough to be compared. There are few things you should consider when choosing your subject.

  • You can pick fine topics that are in the same “category” but have differences that are notable. For example, between “Windows vs. MacOS” or “McDonald's vs. Subway.”
  • You can choose two subjects that might appear identical but are actually different. For example “fifty shades of gray book vs. film.”

Make sure that your topic can be discussed in a meaningful way

You can’t just write “So here is subject A and subject B: they differ”. Try to show them why it’s appropriate and engaging to put these two subjects together.

  • If you felt like you have learned something new after comparing and contrasting, then you have spent your time efficiently.

Brainstorm your topic

Spend some time brainstorming about how your chosen subjects, topics, themes, etc. are same and different. It will probably help you see which points are dominant ones you want to focus on.

  • It can be a valuable tool when brainstorming. In the middle area of the overlapping circles write similar things. In the outer edges of the circles, you write what is different.

  • Likewise, you can just write out a list of all qualities or characteristics of each subject. As soon as you’ve done that, that both subjects share. Major points of difference are also good to take into account.

Look at your main points

Choose a few points that seem to be especially important. Don’t try to provide your audience with a list of everything in which topics of consideration are similar and/or different in your essay.

  • For example, if you are comparing Apple vs. Microsoft, you might notice that they are the two most competitive companies in the field of computing software tools. They have different prices for their products, use different Operating Systems, and their product lines are different as well. These are points of contrast (ways they are different).

  • One of the similarities between these companies is based on their founders; they are both founded on the ideas of genius self-motivated businessmen. Co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is a worldwide respected man for achieving his dream of putting computers on billions of desks, and also as a philanthropist. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, is also an insightful businessman and an open-minded genius Another sameness between the two is the production of media players, which are portable, and Smartphones. These are points of comparison (ways they are similar).

Build a thesis

Building a good thesis is crucially important. In compare and contrast essay it should always make an argument that explains why it’s necessary to put these two subjects face to face. You can use this as a base for your thesis:

  • Show readers why one subject is more engaging than the other.
  • Help readers make a meaningful comparison between two subjects
  • Show readers how two subjects are similar and different.

How to Systemize your Essay

There are several methods to organize your essay. Choose one that works best with your ideas.

  • Subject by subject: Start with saying everything you have about the first subject your discussion, and as you have done this you can move on and make all the points you want to make about the second.
  • Point by point: In this method, you need to discuss how a certain point of comparison/contrast relates to all the items you are discussing. Then repeat it with another point.

Outline

Introduction. In a superior introduction you need to present all basic information about the subjects to be compared and contrasted. Moreover, you will talk about (i.e., what you are going to discuss and why your audience should care).

Body Paragraphs. In this section, provide the details and evidence that support your claims. Each different section or body paragraph should provide and analyze evidence.

Conclusion. Summarize all presented evidence. Restate the thesis, but keep one thing in your mind: your readers don’t need you just to rewrite or reword your original thesis. Take it to another level!

Outline your body paragraphs based on subject by subject comparison:

  • Introduction
  • introduction of general topic
  • specific topic
  • areas to be covered in this essay
  • Topic 1
  • Aspect 1
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Aspect 2
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Aspect 3
  • Detail
  • detail
  • Topic 2
  • Aspect 1
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Aspect 2
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Aspect3
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Conclusion
  • Summary of main points
  • Evaluation and/or possible future developments

Outline your body paragraphs based on point by point comparison:

  • Introduction
  • introduction of general topic
  • specific topic
    areas to be covered in this essay
  • Topic 1 - Aspect 1
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Topic 2 - Aspect 1
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Topic 1 - Aspect 2
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Topic 2 - Aspect 2
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Topic 1 - Aspect 3
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Topic 2 - Aspect 3
  • Detail
  • Detail
  • Conclusion
  • Summary of main points
  • Evaluation and/or possible future developments

The format of the comparison and contrast essay is actually unique in the fact that it doesn’t have a linear path. Most 5 paragraph essays have to be written in the 1-3-1 format which obviously includes the intro, 3 bodies and the conclusion. The cool thing about the comparison essay is that of the essay. In this case, you can choose between having 2 or 3 body paragraphs with the outlines looking accordingly:

2 Body Paragraph Style

  • Similarities vs. Differences
  • 1st body paragraph talks about the similarities between both subjects
  • 2nd body paragraph talks about the differences between both subjects
  • Point A > Point B
  • Body 1 picks Topic A then gives all information and analysis about A
  • Body 2 picks Topic B then gives all information and analysis about B

Generally, if you are interested in being very straightforward or just are purely trying to get the essay finished swiftly and efficiently, then this would be your go-to-method. However, if it’s not 3 am the night before the due date, read on to learn about a more creative and exciting format: the 3 body style!

3 Body Paragraph Style

The 3 body paragraph style is the subject to subject style. It gives the reader a specific subject in each paragraph and either offers a comparison or a contrast of the subject between topics A + B. The good outline would look something like this:

  • Subject 1: Comparison or Contrast about Topic A + B using subject 1
  • Subject 2: Comparison or Contrast about Topic A + B using subject 2
  • Subject 3: Comparison or Contrast about Topic A + B using subject 3

Make sure your essay has some diversity; make sure to at least use 1 or 2 subjects for your contrast. It is a Compare AND Contrast essay after all.

Putting all pieces together

Come up with a title.

A good essay title should preview something about the paper’s content or theme you are going to discuss. Depending on your target audience, of your main point.

Take a break

Take a step back from your essay for a day or two. Then, come back to it with a fresh head. You’ll find it much easier to see gaps in your logic or organizational mistakes.

Review your essay

  • Make sure that ideas in your essay flow smoothly
  • Check out for any grammatical errors, repetitive ideas, unnecessary sentences, etc.

As soon as you have done all the preparations and checkings, you can start to write your masterpiece.

Connection words

Here we got some connectors to simplify your writing process

  • Connectors that show contrast (difference)

  • Connectors that show comparison (similarities)

Hey guys

Here we have some really good examples of a compare and contrast essay

Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team

If you’ve ever written an AP or an IB exam, you know that knowing the compare and contrast essay structure is critical. As the article mentions, a Venn Diagram is an excellent way to get a hang of this structure and use it in your writing. If you are comparing two pieces of literature, then the easiest way to do it is to first talk about one book or poem, then discuss its similarities with another piece, and then discuss the other novel. My advice for you is to draft an actual Venn diagram before writing your compare and contrast essays. After you do a Venn diagram, create an outline with the middle of your Venn diagram in the middle of your essay. As the article states, make sure to group each idea as a paragraph and isolate them. In an essay like this, it is easy to repeat yourself. You can prevent that by prewriting and making your comparison very apparent.

Now Lets Put it to the Test!

Let us compare and contrast buying an essay to working on it yourself. They both leave you with a completed piece of writing. However, EssayPro's top-tier writers might just be able to outperform your work :) If we are going to contrast them, doing it yourself leaves you exhausted with no time to pursue other passions. Or, you can get essay writing help from EssayPro.com for a super low price and do with your time as you see fit. Seems to me like there is not much to compare.

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