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Compare and Contrast Essay: Guide, Templates & Examples

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay
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A compare and contrast essay is a type of writing that examines the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. These subjects are typically under the same category, like 2 historical events, theories, books, or characters from a novel.

The main point of comparison essays is deciding how one item differs from another. It doesn't mean that one thing is necessarily better than another one. Both points for comparison will still have something in common or vice versa.

Let;s explore how to write a compare and contrast essay together. In this blog post, you will find valuable information on the structure, writing process and compare and contrast examples. Let's begin, shall we?

What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay: Definition

Compare and contrast essay is a type of writing where you will be contrasting one item, phenomena, or concept to another one. You might draw comparisons on their advantages or disadvantages. It is also possible to say that for any healthy diet, fruits are better than fries. You get our point, right? The only thing worth keeping in mind: write as if your audience knows nothing about your subject. Make a clear statement why A is different from B, and you'll do great.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

How to organize a compare and contrast essay — is an all-time question. But here are steps you can follow to structure your writing piece:

  1. Choose one of the best compare and contrast topics (something interesting for you, current or relevant for your subject).
  2. Write outline.
  3. Organize your ideas depending on their relevance.
  4. Start each new idea within a paragraph.
  5. All essays minimally consist of three paragraphs.
  6. Ensure a nice flow of your text.
  7. Don't forget to proofread your paper!

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How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay

Introduction for a compare and contrast essay is your first chance to impress your reader. So don't miss this epic opportunity! Just follow our already perfected game plan:  

  1. Review your assignment carefully Make sure everything is understood.
  2. Start with a hook Wonder how to make a hook for an essay? In formal writing, a solid or intriguing statement fits the best. But you can also use questions, metaphors, or statistics, depending on your chosen style.
  3. Get more specific Each new sentence of the introduction should narrow your topic. Basically, it's a pyramid. So start with something general and only later can you approach your thesis.
  4. Stay on point Your introduction should include enough basic information for your reader to start understanding your topic. Don't scare them!

Thesis Statement for Compare and Contrast Essay

The thesis for a compare and contrast essay is the core of your article. Some say that a thesis requires as much time as an actual essay… But maybe they just gossip.

We won’t listen to them. Here is what your thesis should definitely do:  

  • Summarize your main idea, argument, or point. “A differs from B because…”
  • Ensure that your subject is straightforward, plus, easy to understand.
  • Make sure this statement is the last sentence of your introductory paragraph.
  • Cover all significant points of your essay.

If you nail your thesis, there’s nothing you can’t do in this world!

How to Write a Body for a Compare and Contrast Essay

Body paragraphs of your compare and contrast essay are a meaty part of an article. It means that all the evidence that you so tirelessly collected will go there. Check out these characteristics of a body paragraph to make sure that you’ll follow all suggestions.

Your main body should:  

  • Contain research, evidence or proof of the differences you have found.
  • Leave only important information, but avoid fillers.
  • Answer the questions instead of leaving even more of them.
  • Include citations of credible data according to your chosen format.
  • Focus only on one difference at a time (so each paragraph is dedicated to one distinct difference).

How to Write a Conclusion for a Compare and Contrast Essay

You'll undoubtedly like the compare and contrast essay conclusion! It's not clickbait so you better get ready for a piece of cake. It's the last paragraph to be written. So you succeed in writing a solid conclusion if it:

  • Summarizes your article.
  • Underlines your main idea in the first statement.
  • Contains no new information about your topic.
  • Leaves some food for thought.
  • Ensures that your reader leaves with an impression or will think about your article after reading.
  • Leaves a tiny cliffhanger or something the audience will remember, just like we already covered.

That's about it! Other steps will include mostly editing or rewriting. Don’t forget to check your work for duplicate content with our plagiarism checker free

Compare and Contrast Essay Template

Compare and contrast essay outline template is one of the best ways to systematize and simplify paper writing. So you can use the following template below. But to make paper more fun, we’ll compare mango salads with classic Caesar one.  

Compare and contrast essay outline template

Compare and Contrast Essay Format

How to format a compare and contrast essay? Let’s imagine that you were the one to ask that question. We’re so glad that you asked! Well, you can follow these several rules:

  • Double spacing
  • 12 pt Times New Roman (Arial is sometimes possible too)
  • ½ inch indentation.

These rules are general for most formatting styles. Apart from the general points above, your comparing essays might be written in the following formats:

  • APA (can be recognized by its first title page and parentheses with authors and dates)
  • AMA citation format (uses superscripts for citations)
  • MLA (doesn’t have a separate title page and cites authors with page numbers).

P.S. It’s always a good idea to download a template to avoid mistakes.

Compare and Contrast Essay Format: Point-by-Point

Point by point compare and contrast essay method will help you with the organization of your ideas. It will contain a similar outline to what we have already done. Following previous examples, point by point essays might look like this:

Template of point by point compare and contrast essay method

As you see, we take one point for comparison and discuss both items. We also mention how they differ as shown in an example below.

Example of point by point compare and contrast essay method

Compare and Contrast Essay: Block Method

Block format in compare and contrast essay is slightly different from the point-by-point one. For this method, we write using subject-by-subject structure, followed by points. But enough talking, this scheme will clear the air:

  1. Introduction
    1. Catchy hook
    2. Background information
    3. Thesis statement listing your objects
  2. Body paragraph 1
    1. Subject 1 — Specify Point 1
    2. Subject 1 — Mention Point 2
    3. Subject 1 — Specify Point 3
  3. Body paragraph 2
    1. Subject 2 — List Point 1
    2. Subject 2 — Mention Point 2
    3. Subject 2 — Specify Point 3
  4. Conclusion
    1. Brief summary
    2. Significance of your writing
    3. Thoughts for further consideration

Here’s an example of a body paragraph written using the block method.

Compare and contrast essay block method body paragraph

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

We hope that you enjoyed our little compare and contrast essay example with salads. Although you might write about the same topic, you have everything to create a strong paper. But practice makes perfect, so continue your journey to perfection! Here’s another sample that you can use for reference.

Comparison of Soccer and Football
High School
Paper type:
Essay (Any Type)
1.36 MB

Compare and Contrast Essay: Key Takeaways

Writing a compare and contrast essay is easy with our guide. Now you know how to write point by point or using block method. It’s up to you to choose what suits you best. But the basic understanding is already there. Just simply don’t expect the audience to know everything or even something about your subject. Besides, you need to collect proper evidence. If you decide to differentiate something, you need proof that these items are indeed varied. And now, start writing!

Can't write a compare-and-contrast essay?

Remember that you can always rely on our academic writing service. We can help you do research, write a unique work or edit your essay to make it flawless.  

Students Also Ask About Compare and Contrast Essays

1. How do you write a 5 paragraph compare and contrast essay?

Most compare and contrast essays will have five paragraphs. So what a wonderful question! Here’s what you need to do to write one:

  1. Choose your topic carefully.
  2. Organize your ideas in a logical order.
  3. Build your thesis statement.
  4. Create a well-structured outline.
  5. Integrate supporting evidence.
  6. Write, proofread and edit.

But, honestly, the writing process will not differ much. Three paragraphs, five or more will be structured similarly.

2. What are three topics for a compare and contrast essay?

Compare and contrast essay topics will, of course, differ depending on your discipline.

But we offer you to consider these traditional topics:  

  1. High school vs. college.
  2. Public vs. private college.
  3. E-books or text-books.

3. What is the purpose of a compare and contrast essay?

Compare and contrast essays differentiate two objects. In other words, the main goal is to create a juxtaposition between chosen subjects. Your paper will focus on two distinct concepts and add details when proving that they’re opposite. This also means that the thesis of such articles will contain both terms. You cannot just focus on one item. Remember: we’re comparing (the name of the essay speaks for itself).

4. What is a good introduction for a compare and contrast essay?

A good compare and contrast essay introduction should start with a hook. In other words, it’s something that will intrigue the audience by making them read. You can use rhetorical questions, statistics, or a simple but solid statement. After hooking the reader, it’s an all-time perfect opportunity to introduce the main subject. Give the most general idea of what you’re writing about and only then lead to the thesis. Keep in mind that if your introduction is dull, the reader will quit. So make sure to keep it short, interesting, and vivid.

Article posted on:Apr 28, 2022
Article updated on:Mar 14, 2024


Leave your comment here:
6/22/2022 1:19 PM
The article is very engaging and helpful. Here you say that there should be a smooth flow of ideas. What words should I use in a compare and contrast essay to ensure a logical transition? Thanks a lot!
6/23/2022 11:40 AM
Hi Ryan,

There are two types of words you can use in a compare and contrast essay:

Comparison: alike, as well as, compared with, likewise, same as, similarly.
Contrast: although, in contrast, instead, as opposed to, on the contrary, on the other hand.

Use these words where necessary to ensure a smooth transition.
7/5/2022 4:35 PM
I have to write a compare and contrast essay on public and private schools. So do I have to use a point-by-point method or block method? Which one is more suitable or it doesn't really matter?
7/5/2022 5:08 PM
Hi David,

We suggest using the point-by-point comparison method. This way, you will be able to discuss each characteristic in detail, which is perfect for opposite things like private and public schools. However, a block method works better if you have multiple things to compare.