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Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: Types & Examples

Creating a winning essay from scratch is a real challenge. But starting with a good outline helps a lot. In this article we will show you how to write a compare and contrast essay outline. Having a structured plan ensures that you build your arguments in an easy-to-follow manner. For that reason, this article is jam-packed with detailed writing tips followed by outline templates. Besides, you will find some examples you are sure to like. So let’s dive deep into the details!

What Is Compare and Contrast Essay Outline and Why Is It Important?

A compare and contrast outline is a scheme of your future paper on the basis of which you can contrast two or more objects. It’s a visual structure of your piece showing a clear plan for your work. Outlines are used to show connections between critical ideas within your text.

Writing a compare and contrast essay outline helps you in a number of ways:

  • Organizing your ideas
  • Shaping the pattern of descriptions
  • Listing all similarities & differences between objects
  • Review your paper’s structure
  • Correcting all mistakes at the early stage.

You can choose between two main types of compare and contrast essay outlines:

  • point-by-point method
  • block pattern.

Each of these methods depends on the way you want to arrange facts about 2 or more items. Both techniques have their advantages and disadvantages. We will describe them down below so you can choose the most suitable method.

Compare and Contrast Essay: Point-by-Point Outline

Compare and contrast essay point-by-point outline is used to analyse one aspect of 2 items within one paragraph. You can choose any similar or different characteristic. Then, you will explore each object in terms of this aspect. A point-by-point method is very helpful if you have multiple items for comparison. Let’s see how its structure should look:

  1. Introduction
    • Engaging hook
    • List of items to compare
    • Thesis statement: list of criteria or topics of comparison
  2. Body Paragraph 1
    1. Characteristic 1
      • Item 1
      • Item 2
      • Item 3
  3. Body Paragraph 2
    1. Characteristic 1
      • Item 1
      • Item 2
      • Item 3
  4. Body Paragraph 3
    1. Characteristic 1
      • Item 1
      • Item 2
      • Item 3
  5. Conclusion
    • Brief Summary

This structure helps to provide an organized review of the objects or situation you compare against the whole list of criteria you have selected. You can create as many paragraphs as you need to cover your topic in detail. The point-by-point method may be quite hard at first, but once you master it, you will be able to create an explicit overview of any objects.

Compare and Contrast Essay: Block Method Outline

A compare and contrast essay block method outline typically involves comparison of multiple items which are quite different from each other. Each item is described within its own block, where you put it against all criteria you have selected for analysis. This is how it should look like:

  1. Introduction
    • Captivating hook
    • List of items for comparison
    • Thesis statement: list of criteria or topics for contrast
  2. Body Paragraph 1:
    • Topic sentence presenting item 1
      • Aspect 1
      • Aspect 2
      • Aspect 3 etc
  3. Body Paragraph 2:
    • Topic sentence presenting item 2
      • Aspect 1
      • Aspect 2
      • Aspect 3 etc
  4. Body Paragraph 3:
    • Topic sentence presenting item 3
      • Aspect 1
      • Aspect 2
      • Aspect 3 etc
  5. Conclusion
    • Brief summary

The block method is way easier than the point-by-point one. So if you are a beginner or want to keep things simple, use this method without hesitation.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

When writing a compare and contrast essay outline, you should set a proper organization of your ideas in this plan from the start. First, you introduce your main topic. Then, you list the items or subjects you compare against each other. After that, provide your thesis statement with criteria for comparison. Finally, you will write one sentence per each paragraph, showing what is similar and what is different between the items. Let’s look at each section more in detail.

Introduction for Your Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Let us start with the compare and contrast essay introduction. Outline should be short so better give only 1 sentence per each element. Here are the key components your essay introduction should contain:

  1. Main topic of your essay: start with an interesting hook
  2. Items you will compare: this could be people, animals, concepts, academic areas, drinks – whatever you chose to write about
  3. Thesis statement with the list of aspects: size, color, usability, negative consequences of usage or consumption, etc – depending on the context.

Make sure your thesis statement is clear.

Body Paragraphs in Your Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

When it comes to body paragraph, outline for compare and contrast essay should follow an appropriate pattern – block or point-to-point one. It depends on the number of selected items as well as aspects they will be compared by.

If you analyze 2 items using 3 criteria, your block pattern outline will have two body paragraphs. At the same time, a point-to-point pattern may have 3 body paragraphs. This happens because you can choose 3 characteristics for comparison. It would be useful to conduct a preliminary research before writing the outline. This way, you will understand which pattern is better to use.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline – Conclusion

Last but not the least – an effective compare and contrast essay conclusion. It should briefly summarize the key ideas of your work. This boils down to:

  • Restatement of your thesis presented in introduction
  • Key findings discovered during the comparison
  • Significance of your comparison

Each part of the conclusion in your plan should be one sentence long. Remember to keep your outline brief as it will make it easier to review before writing an entire text.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template

We have prepared a simple compare and contrast essay outline template for your reference. Feel free to use the template below to make your own outline on the topic you have selected.

  • Introduction
    • Main topic mentioning the items for comparison
    • Thesis statement with the list of characteristics
  • Body paragraph 1
    • Compare the items by the first criterion
    • Or put the first item against all criteria
  • Body paragraph 2
    • Compare the items by the second criterion
    • Or put the second item against all criteria, etc
  • Conclusion
    • Re-evaluating your thesis
    • Summarizing comparison results

You can also find more templates for inspiration below.

Compare and Contrast Essay Point-by-Point Outline Template

Here is another compare and contrast essay point-by-point outline template for your in more detail.

  • Introduction
    • Main topic: comparison of Item A & Item B
    • Thesis statement: find out the relation between A and B using criteria
  • Paragraph 1
    • Inspect A using criterion 1
    • Examine B using criterion 1
  • Paragraph 2
    • Inspect A using criterion 2
    • Examine B using criterion 2
  • Paragraph 3
    • Inspect A using criterion 3
    • Examine B using criterion 3
  • Conclusion
    • Highlight the relation between A & B
    • Summarize the comparison results
    • Elaborate on the significance of findings.

Keep in mind that your own outline could differ a lot since you might have much more criteria to analyze your selected items.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template for Block Pattern

Here is another template: compare and contrast essay block method outline. Check it out and proceed with writing on your specific topic.

  • Introduction
    • Main topic: presenting the contrast between Item A & Item B
    • Thesis statement: list criteria 1, 2 and 3 for analysis of A & B
  • Paragraph 1
    • Summary of A
      • A's criterion 1
      • A's criterion 2
      • A's criterion 3
  • Paragraph 2
    • Summary of B
      • B's criterion 1
      • B's criterion 2
      • B's criterion 3
  • Conclusion
    • Highlight the contrast between A & B
    • Summarize your findings
    • Explain the importance of your analysis.

Remember that your outline doesn’t need to be perfect. Just make it informative. This way, it will turn out very helpful for you.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Example

Are you looking for some helpful compare and contrast essay outline examples? We’ve got some for you to analyze. Take it and use it to make your own essay.

Example of Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Have you found some new ideas of what to write about? Good luck to you and thanks for visiting this page.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: Final Thoughts

We have explored a compare and contrast essay outline in detail. Now it’s time to use all rules covered in this blog post to create your own plan. Use our templates to organize your thoughts when comparing items to each other. Make sure to review your plan before writing a full version of your essay. Remember that compare and contrast essay is a typical assignment that can influence your final results.

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FAQ About Compare and Contrast Essay Outlines

How do you write a college compare and contrast essay outline?

A typical college compare and contrast essay outline presents 1 specific subject in each paragraph. It either offers a comparison or contrast of some items. The goal of a college essay is to demonstrate how well you can describe similarities and differences between your different items. Still, you should keep your essay structure plain. Do not make any overcomplicated statements.

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

A 5-paragraph compare and contrast essay outline is a simple type of work. It consists of an introduction, 3 body paragraphs and a brief conclusion. Here is how you write your plan:

  • Pick your topic carefully.
  • Organize your ideas.
  • Develop your thesis statement.
  • Decide on the structuring method.
  • Assign key characteristics to each item.
  • Write, proofread & edit.
  • What is a compare and contrast essay outline with transition words?

    While writing a compare and contrast essay outline, you should use transition words to provide a smooth flow. It must look logical: each transition between sentences and paragraphs should be meaningful. The following transition words are expected to be used in your outline:

  • Such as
  • In the same way
  • In like manner
  • Likewise
  • Similarly
  • By the same token
  • On the contrary etc.
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