Throughout the course of your education and career (if you choose to become a writer), you’ll have the opportunity to work on different writing assignments and, of course, essays are inevitable. The essay is a piece of writing that methodically analyzes and evaluates a topic or issue. That’s why there are different types of essays, used to discuss, analyze, evaluate, or compare different situations or subjects e.g. argumentative essay, cause and effect essay, and compare and contrast essay. Your ability to create an excellent paper depends on structuring a perfect outline. Throughout this post, I’m going to show you how to compose an outline for compare and contrast essay to get good grades (or positive feedback from the client) every time.
Compare and contrast essay outline
The easiest definition of compare and contrast essay that explore both the similarities and differences between two subjects by comparing or contrasting them. It’s very easy to mistake this style of essay writing for a simple comparison between some topics or subjects, but that’s not entirely correct. Always bear in mind that your essay has to serve a larger purpose and include the following:
- Demonstrate that one thing is superior to another
- Identify and clarify common misunderstandings
- Provide a new way of doing or understanding something
- State, elaborate, discuss something unknown
- Support every claim with facts and accurate, reliable sources
When it comes to structuring the outline for this kind of essay, there are different methods you can follow depending on the organization.
Point-by-point pattern (organization by criteria)
This outline is primarily used to compare items or subjects that are almost similar or when you plan (or have to) evaluate only a few characteristics or criteria when comparing them. Use the diagram below to create the outline for the point-by-point pattern.
Block pattern (organization by item)
In instances when you have to compare items, situations, or topics that are entirely different or when there are multiple criteria to involve, the point-by-point pattern doesn’t function quite well. That’s why you should opt for block pattern or organization by item.
Why? The reason is simple; the same criteria don’t apply to different topics, people, objects, events, and so on. When the essay requires a multitude of approaches to explore, it’s important to learn how to organize it properly in a bid to ensure easy reading. Create the outline based on the diagram below.
Block pattern can be structured in a different manner as well. Instead of the separate paragraph for each point, you compare, you can set out one section to name their similarities and a second paragraph to analyze dissimilarities point by point.
Now that you know how to create a functional outline, you’re ready to move on to the essay writing process.
The intro for this kind of essay doesn’t differ much from other types. It’s the part where you introduce the overall subject of the piece and specific items, situations, or events you have to compare and/or contrast. As seen in diagrams, the introduction should feature:
- The mentioning of the main topic – begin with a hook sentence and detail specific to the topic itself. Your hook can be a quote, question, anecdote, anything you see fit for the particular subject you have to write about
- Specific subjects to compare and contrast – of course, you can’t start writing about similarities and differences between two items out of the blue. That’s why you should set out a sentence or two to mention specific topics you’ll compare under the central theme
- Thesis statement – it marks the tone of the essay and catches reader’s attention. Last sentence (or two) of your paper should account for a specific and concise thesis. There’s no need for wordiness in this part because thesis, as the entire introduction, shouldn’t be too long.
Once you’re done with the intro, you’re ready to move on to the body paragraphs.
A total number of paragraphs in the body section depends on a number of aspects or criteria you have to discuss. For example, if you have to make a comparison between two different events through two aspects, you’ll need two paragraphs. Three criteria require three paragraphs, and so on. Sometimes, you’ll get the amount of aspects to use for comparison/contrast from your professor or a client, while in other instances, you’ll just have to determine the number yourself during the research process.
When you get the title and aspects to compare but without a certain number of criteria to cover similarities and differences, you have to brainstorm. Take a blank piece of paper and write the first item in the left corner, the second item in the right corner. Make a Venn diagram and start analyzing.
REMEMBER: Typically, you don’t need more than three aspects to cover, unless otherwise noted.
When you start brainstorming and researching the topic, the chances are high you’ll find a wide array of differences and similarities. However, your essay has to be well-crafted, and you can’t include absolutely everything you find (that way you’d write forever). To determine what to compare or differentiate answer these questions:
- Is this relevant for my course?
- What matters to the argument I’m going to take (or I’m given)?
- What’s informative and interesting?
- What’s relevant to my assignment?
Each paragraph in the body should start with a topic sentence (point 1, criterion 1/item A, B) focused on the aspect you’re about to compare/contrast. Then, you proceed with details you find when conducting research. Remember, just like in other types of essays, thorough research is highly relevant here, too.
It’s not just about mentioning differences and similarities one by one and stating your opinion or argument about them. Every detail you find should be supported by substantial evidence, statistics, studies, official data, and so on.
To show comparisons and emphasize the overall effect, don’t forget to use some connectors such as:
- At the same time, as well as
- Compared to
- In addition
- In the same way
- Just as
- Same as
Of course, you can include connectors to express or heighten the contrasting effect. For example:
- Even though, although
- In contrast
- On the contrary
- On the other hand
For the best possible result and successful completion of the essay, the body paragraphs should be analyzed from the perspective of an independent analytic. Ideally, your paper shouldn’t be biased. You don’t want the reader of your paper to assume what item you prefer or despise automatically.
At this point, you have the introduction and body paragraphs, which indicates you’re ready to conclude the essay. Generally, this is the easiest part, but you should ensure it’s properly structured as well. Here’s what your conclusion should contain:
- Summary of main points – at the very beginning of this part, you should summarize the main points you’ve made throughout the essay. It’s important to synthesize your thesis with info in body paragraphs
- Evaluation – provide a short analysis of what you discussed in the paper or mention possible solutions. The approach depends on the nature of your subject
- Significance – not only do you have to clarify the importance of the main topic, but also mention the significance of comparisons or contrasts. How to do this? It’s not that difficult; answer the What was my goal in showing similarities/differences between these items? Your response indicates their significance.
You finished writing the paper, but your work isn’t over just yet. Before sending or submitting the essay, it’s necessary to proofread and edit the paper to eliminate all mistakes and unwanted parts.
Proofreading isn’t only necessary for correcting typos or grammar, these seemingly unimportant errors that “everyone makes” break the reader from the flow of the paper and undermine its power of persuasion. When you finish the essay, read your work from top to bottom without doing anything. You’ll probably spot some mistakes, but don’t rush correcting them immediately. Then, start reading again and correct typos, grammar errors, and sentence constructions. Don’t resist the urge to rewrite some sentences for better effect.
Nowadays, in the era of technology, you might feel tempted to download software (or find grammar/spelling checker online) and let it do the work for you. First of all, they aren’t always correct, and secondly, your critical thinking skills will improve only when you do it yourself. The software can be used as additional essay help. Another useful idea is to ask a family member or a friend to read the essay and see if they can spot some mistakes.
You’re almost ready to submit your essay, check whether you included references (if not, do so) and you’re done.
Compare, and contrast essay is concerned with evaluating differences and similarities between given items or topics. It’s not just a mere comparison; the essay requires thorough evaluation and analysis supported by reliable data. This post explained how to create the outline properly, and all you have to do is to write according to the structure provided. Remember, once you create the structure and choose the adequate pattern (point-by-point or block), you just have to fill in the missing detail with results of your search.
It is always a big question for beginner writers how to write a compare and contrast essay.
Briefly talking, you just need to learn that classic five-paragraph essay format and compare two subjects in the body section of your paper.
If you want to learn more, just proceed reading and get few interesting compare and contrast essay topics as a bonus.
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7 Tips on How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay
Compare and contrast essay is, as we said before, a simple and interesting paper format to deal with. The main idea lies right on the surface and its name talks for itself. You need to compare two subjects that sometimes are absolutely unrelated to each other. You need to analyze both things and come up with a conclusion. Your text may be a search for some solution of a broader problem or just describe a particular aspect. Compare and contrast essay writing can be divided into seven main stages:
- Stage 1: Get yourself a topic
- Stage 2: Create an outline
- Stage 3: Introduce the topic
- Stage 4: Start with the body paragraphs
- Stage 5: Identify the main contrast between subjects
- Stage 6: The conclusion
- Stage 7: Editing and revising
One of the most important stages of your writing would be the introduction where you should present your clear thesis statement. You should come with few thesis statements at once and then choose the best one you can handle. And just after that part is done you can start with the real comparison and composition.
If you would ever ask an experienced writer about successful writing tips, he will tell you that the deal is about your experience and knowledge. Our experts will tell you absolutely the same, but after teaching you how to write a compare and contrast essay. Let’s start with five paragraph paper.
How to Write Compare and Contrast Essay Outline
Any paper should have its outline. It is a must if you want your writing process to be easier and clear. It is great to be able to write from scratch the whole paper, but the working process will flow easier if you create an outline. Compare and contrast essay outline is nothing different from any other outlines people write for another type of articles.
If the topic you are working with is exciting for you, we are sure it is absolutely easy to work with it. But you should note that it is still important to be competent on the topic you are writing about. Or you are risking of getting blocked by bad knowledge of your topic and inability to develop the idea as it should be.
Here is how a typical outline should look for subject by subject comparison:
- Presentation of the general topic
- Your specific topic and clue
- Your main goals you’re trying to reach in this very essay
- Subject 1 – three or more aspects with detailed descriptions.
- Subject 2 – three or more aspects with detailed descriptions.
- A short list of main results.
- Possible future development, solution or evaluation.
And for the outline, try to feel free with your writing. Just get those marks you want to include into your paper with no doubt. There can be lots of those ideas and while writing and editing some of them may fall off. It is normal and even necessary if too many ideas you have. And remember that organization is a key to your comfortable working process. And the good organization is the key to your successful work.
A compare and contrast essay example:
How to Write Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction
Compare and contrast essay introduction is no different from any other introduction you may have already done or read before. The principles you used for your definition essay are absolutely the same for your compare and contrast paper. It should be just one paragraph long.
- Do it brief and striking.
- Identify the main idea behind your theme.
- Synchronize it with your outline.
- You may write this part the last one to get a good connection with a conclusion.
Any good introduction is just a perfect start. And it means you need to make it convincing and strong no matter how conflicting your topic is. It should be clear and understandable for any type of a reader. You can get some interesting info on the topic you are writing about. Some writers prefer asking questions that make their readers involved from the start. If you decide to ask a question, don’t forget to hint at the answer in the next part of your paper.
Writing of Compare and Contrast Essay Example of Body Paragraphs
The next part is the body. Those paragraphs are the main place for the comparison and the story you are going to tell. And with your starting draft, you need to list and describe all the ideas you have in your outline. Just use everything you can remember from the topic you are working with.
Each paragraph of the body gives the reader exact description and analysis of the subject. And then it offers a comparison of those two subjects based on those previously described features. Here is how the body section may look like if you use a classic three paragraphs in body section style:
Similar marks vs. Difference
- 1st paragraph in the body section is going to tell about similar marks of both your topic masters.
- 2nd paragraph of the body will talk about all those parts that are different.
- 3rd paragraph talks about the place both subjects get in the field covered by the topic.
A subject vs. B subject
- 1st describes the A subject and tells about its features
- 2nd paragraph of the body tells about the B subject of your paper and gives a strong analysis of its features.
- 3rd paragraph compares and analyzes both subjects.
Each paragraph and we have three of them in this part, should be researched separately and consciously. Don’t pay too much attention to the difference between the facts, but the topic you are writing about. And to make your paper absolutely high level, you need to get even deeper than you can and another writer usually so. Try to find something that is completely unknown and make discoveries if it is possible.
How to Write Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion
Some students make their writing mistakes just at the very end of their papers. Compare and contrast essay conclusion is the place where you may just get into a serious trouble, and it is great to keep it in mind before subscribing your work as the finished one. Some experts say that this final paragraph is even more important than the introduction. We must say that this is totally true.
In your introduction, you present the subject and make the first impression. And here you need to make the final strike and convince your reader that you are right. And it will be the last words you can write about the entire thing. Don’t make it sound just like a simple summary, but convincing and ripe position. Don’t forget to make few references to the body paragraphs of your text. Here are few basic tips you need to keep in mind:
- Answer the question "So What?"
- Synthesize, don't summarize
- Redirect your readers
- Create a new meaning
Winning Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
You need to understand that well-written compare and contrast essay example is just a half of your way to success. Correct and interesting compare and contrast essay topics are another part you need to reckon with. Here is the list of topics you can suggest for the start:
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for College Students
- Apple vs. Microsoft
- Christianity vs. Islam
- Trump vs. Obama
- North Korea vs. South Korea
- Analog vs. Digital
- Electricity vs. Petroleum
- Communism vs. Capitalism
- Hydropower stations vs. Solar power stations
- Nuclear Power vs. Solar Power
- Red wine vs. Beer
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for High School
- Contemporary art vs. Classic art
- Rome Empire vs. Nazi Germany
- Monarchy vs. Democracy
- Meat eater vs. Vegans
- Jesus vs. Buddha
- England Colonies vs. French or Spanish Colonies
- Game of Thrones vs. Lord of the rings
- Ancient China vs. Japan
- Saltwater life vs. Freshwater life
- Greek Mythology vs. Roman Mythology
- 1914 vs. 1939
- Godfather vs. The Sopranos
- Rock vs. Pop
Compare and Contrast Topics for Middle School
- Pacific ocean vs. Atlantic ocean
- Plastic vs. Wood
- School vs. College
- Mozart vs. Bach
- Comedy vs. Drama
- Chinese language vs. Korean language
- Rap vs. Metal
- English vs. German
- Daytona vs. F-1
- Theatre vs. Classical Music
- Children vs. Adults
- Math vs. Literature
- Physics vs. Chemistry
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for 6th Grade
- Fanta vs. Sprite
- Father vs. Mother
- Dogs vs. Cats
- Darth Vader vs. Sauron
- Medieval knights vs. Samurais
- Shark vs. Orca
- Mammals vs. Birds
- Lions vs. Tigers
- Watercolor vs. Oil
- Airplanes vs. Cars
- Subway vs. Railway
- Apples vs. Pears
- Batman vs. Shadow
- Football vs. Basketball
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How to Write a 5 Paragraph Compare and Contrast Essay
If you don’t know how to write a 5 paragraph compare and contrast essay, we should calm you down, it is simpler than it seems. The format of five paragraph paper considers 1 to 3 to 1 scheme where intro and conclusion have one paragraph and the body has three. But with this type of articles, you are free to experiment and to get something really unique.
Five paragraph format is a classic way to deal with most essays out there. No matter what topic do you have, this format will fit it perfectly. Writers often call it a subject to subject style. Its scheme would look like this:
- 1 paragraph – to present the topic
- 3 paragraphs – to identify and describe features of the subjects
- 1 paragraph – to make a summary
You can create an article with four or six paragraphs just using the proper scheme of mixing those paragraphs. It also depends on the outline you have created before starting writing. And we will tell you how to write a proper article with just two or three paragraphs in the body section.
Every good paper should start somewhere. And to start, you need to understand that this type of essays is about similarities and differences of two sometimes absolutely unrelated things. And don’t let the word comparison confuse you. It is not just about listing similar and different features of two subjects. It is more about discovering new aspects and revealing information that can be new to your reader.
And at the end of it all here are few great tips you should keep in your mind:
- Make your title encouraging
A successful paper always has a good title. It is sharp, brief, and to the core. It can be a question or complex type of a sentence, but it should strike and hit all the aspects of your topic and the problem you are going to define in your paper.
Don’t be afraid to stop and reload. It is important if you write a big paper and your thoughts are already messed around. It would give you a chance to see your work with a fresh eye even if you were resting for an hour.
Both of these things are crucial. A successful article can’t be completed without editing reviewing. Check every aspect of its grammar and structure. Make it flow smoothly. This makes the entire paper sound more diverse and interesting. But don’t just compare two subjects. Get few convincing contrasts between them. Yes, don’t forget that it is not just a compare essay but contrast also.
Students often get confused because of this type of papers. There are lots of other hard to deal with tasks, but this one makes you feel like it is simple from the start. But it may fool you around with that fake simplicity. Sometimes it gets very difficult to compare two unrelated subjects and find those not so obvious contrasts between them. Start writing and you see that ides don’t come easy. It is challenging, and you should be prepared for this. And if you still have any doubts about any aspects of this task, our professional team is here to help you 24/7. Just place an order or ask for help in any other comfortable way and we will be there with our skills, experience, and respect.