A compare and contrast essay examines the topics for discussion from multiple points of view. Usually, high schoolers and college students have to submit these essays to their tutors for the evaluation of their analytical thinking skills. Also, these essays are the best way to prepare students for the advanced forms of academic writing.

Such papers become relatively easy to write when you follow a step-by-step approach and research your topic well enough. Wherever confused, you can get help from online essay writers, your tutor or peers. They can help you with crafting your homework and, hence, improve your grades.

This article explores in detail the tips for a compare and contrast essay structure and provides you with examples of successful papers. Let’s define this essay type first, and after that, we shall move towards the writing guidelines.

What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

As per the definition by Walden University, a compare and contrast essay highlight the differences and similarities between two or more perspectives. The essay consists of an introduction, a thesis statement, a main body where the contrast is made and then a conclusion. In such papers, students are expected to discuss both the similarities and differences of the topic under consideration.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

As this is a compare and contrast paper, it goes without saying that you will discuss both the similarities and dissimilarities of the topic. It requires you to analyse your title in detail and demonstrate your critical thinking skills. Here are the tips and structure guidelines for you to follow when writing a compare and contrast essay:

Let’s discuss these tips and guidelines in further detail now.

1. Start by Brainstorming the Topic

The best comparison essays demonstrate a high level of analysis to the readers and that means you will have to brainstorm your topic well before you start the writing process. Usually, students use a Venn diagram to brainstorm their ideas. They draw overlapping circles in a Venn diagram and mention the characteristics of each subject in each circle. The overlapping part of the circle shows the similarities of the subjects and the side parts show the differences of both.

Drawing a Venn diagram makes it easy for students to keep track of different points in their minds. Here is an image from Lib Guides which can help you understand the concept in further detail:

Image Source: Lib Guides

2. Craft a Thesis Statement

Once you have mapped out the differences and similarities between your topics, you will start to understand the relationship between the subjects you are comparing. This, in turn, helps you craft a strong thesis statement that functions as a road map for your essay. A compare and contrast essay thesis statement should be clear, i.e., it should not only tell the readers about what you will do but also address the importance and purpose of comparing and contrasting the material.

Your statement should clearly identify the topic that is being discussed and include the central points of your essay. When crafting this section, ensure that you keep your audience in mind.

3. Make an Outline

After you are done curating the data for your work, you will move from the prewriting stage to crafting the compare and contrast essay outline. A good outline follows the format of a standard essay and has the following three parts:

  • Introductory paragraphs
  • Body paragraphs
  • Conclusion

Keep in mind that you will have to follow the same format for the rest of your paper, so make a flexible outline. An outline is exactly what distinguishes a focused essay from a mediocre one. After that, you move towards writing the compare and contrast essay introduction. For success, you should work on making the topic sentence of your introduction interesting for the readers. It would be better to add a hook to it to engage the attention of readers.

4. Structure Your Paper

The structure of a compare and contrast essay measures its success. Consider how you will present the information in your papers. It will be best if you choose to present all the similarities first and then move towards discussing the differences between both subjects. Choose if you will go with the block method or the point-by-point method (we have discussed both of them in detail later in this article).

Here is a structure template for your work from the Helpful Professor, and you can use it to organise your essay:

Image Source: Helpful Professor

In the introduction section, you should introduce your topic in detail to the readers and include the research background. In the main body, you state the central similarities and main differences of both subjects. In the conclusion section, you provide the readers with a summary of your comparison and contrast. You should ensure that you have not added any new or vague information in the conclusion of your work. Just keep it simple for you to write and for the readers to understand.

5. Use Clear Transitions

When you write an essay on the comparison of two different topics, amply use the transition phrases and sentences to shift between the alternating methods of discussion. Transitions are really important for compare and contrast essays as they help you move between different perspectives and topics smoothly.

Some of the transitions that you can use in your papers for the comparison of two subjects are the following:

  • As well
  • Similar to
  • Likewise
  • Too
  • Consistent with, and more

Here is another bunch of transitions that you can use to show the contrast between different kinds of ideas in your essays:

  • Although
  • Differs
  • Conversely
  • On the other hand
  • However
  • Rather than, and more

However, you should ensure that you are not stuffing your papers with unnecessary or too many transitions because they make it exhausting for the readers to logically understand your papers. Just make sure that your ideas and arguments are expressed in a clear way and that they make complete sense to the readers.

6. Make the Comparisons

When making the contrasts between the two subjects, be sure that you are dealing with the similar qualities of each item. Check if the approaches you are comparing have something in common in them or not. Also, you should if they can be appropriately compared to each other. For instance, you can only compare the qualitative features of one subject with the qualitative traits of the other. And the same goes for the quantitative elements of both subjects.

If you are facing trouble with finding the right arguments for your work, feel free to acquire reliable essay writing services online to craft your paper. Their writers have a penchant for crafting excellent comparison essays to meet the needs of students.

7. Include the Analysis

When writing your compare and contrast essay, it may be very tempting for you to just provide the readers with the summary of your essay but not act on it. The analysis of your work focuses on the importance of contrasts and comparisons. For example, if you are writing an essay on the increasing shortage of nurses in the field of medicine and healthcare, you should help your readers understand the importance of your comparison and research work.

Also, highlight the results of your work i.e., tell the audience if there are some noticeable findings and discrepancies which need further investigation by the relevant authorities. It increases the worth and value of your research work.

8. Proofread Your Essay

When you are done writing the compare and contrast essay conclusion and the paper is finished, it is time for you to revise, edit and proofread it. Take your time to relax and you feel fresh mentally; you should come back to the papers for a final review. Your essay will not be complete until you have done a careful proofreading check. Ensure that each subject gets equal space in your document.

Of course, you will have to check for punctuation and spelling mistakes and look for overall clarity in your papers. You can also acquire the help of expert editors and proof-readers online to refine your work and improve its quality.

What Is the Structure of a Compare and Contrast Paragraph?

You can use two methods to structure the paragraphs of a compare and contrast essay. As per the EAP Foundation, you can either use a block structure or discuss the arguments point-by-point.

  • For the block method, you give all the information about one part of the essay first and then move towards providing the information about the second part.
  • In a point-by-point structure, you will discuss the main arguments in the form of tips and points.

What Are the Two Main Structures for Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay?

San Jose State University specifies a format for students to follow when working on the structure of their compare and contrast essay outline. The structures we have mentioned in the above section are to be followed when outlining your work, i.e., it will either be the block approach or the point-by-point approach.

Here is an example of how you can plan your argument in the block approach:

Image Source: San Jose State University

Now, here is an example of how you can follow the compare and contrast essay format when doing the point-by-point discussion:

Image Source: San Jose State University

What Are the Main Features of a Compare Contrast Essay?

By now, you must have an idea of how to craft a successful comparison and contrast homework in the best way. According to the instructions of Kellogg Community College, the main features of compare and contrast essays are listed below:

  • In such an essay, you focus on the characteristics of the objects being compared.
  • You will have to enlist the defining features of the objects you are comparing.
  • Such essays need the students to organise their ideas per the format specified by their teachers.
  • You will have to use multiple comparisons and phrases of contrast to let the readers know how the two objects are being analysed.

Here are some of the phrases of comparison and contrast that you can use to make your points more impactful for the readers of your work:

Image Source: Kellogg Community College

Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

At this point, it might be a good idea to research the top topics for such essays in 2024. Be sure to choose a topic that you can justify to both sides. Simply focusing on one side of comparison or contrast will not solve any of your problems. Some of the good compare and contrast essay ideas are listed here:

  • Whether the chemical drugs should be used or not?
  • What is the difference between allopathic and homoeopathic medications?
  • Should plastic surgery be done or not?
  • Which ones are better: iOS or Android phones?
  • Should economics be taken as a compulsory subject or not?
  • Is studying at home better than studying in school?
  • What is preferable: late night workout or early morning workout?
  • Provide a comparison of the life in college versus the life in high school.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

It is really beneficial for college students to review a couple of comparisons and contrasts essays before choosing the perfect one for them. We have chosen this example from Helpful Professor, which you can use as a perfect compare and contrast essay template:

Image Source: Helpful Professor

Bottom Line

In a nutshell, during the compare and contrast essay writing process, you must identify and explore at least 3 or more key points to discuss. Ensure that you show the differences and similarities between these points to your readers and develop a strong thesis. We have already discussed the best ways to organise your thoughts and write such essays in the above sections.

Before the submission, review your essays in great detail and make sure that you have communicated your ideas in a clear manner to your audience. Also, there must be no grammatical, structural, thematic or contextual mistakes in your papers. If you feel that you need personalised help with your papers, you can always buy essay online from professional service providers. With their years of experience, they are the best people to assist you in crafting remarkable essays.

By Chris Bates