Compare and Contrast Essay

Probably one of the most encountered assignments in college is the comparison/contrast essay, which requires students to distinguish the similarities and differences between subjects. Moreover, students are also required to create links between their subjects and to reach a final conclusion based on their theories.

Compare and contrast essays are important because “A Tesla is better than other cars because it is based on electric energy rather than gasoline, it has got amazing aerodynamics and the interior is big because the lack of an engine, transmission and fuel tank” is better than “Tesla is better than other cars because I like Tesla”

How to create a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Based on the author’s chosen strategy, a compare and contrast outline can be difficult or easy. You can either organize your paper point-by-point, which is a simpler way or subject by subject. Each one of these methods is approved and correct, but one may fit your subject better than the other one.

Subject-by-subject

The introduction for a subject-by-subject type of compare and contrast essay should explain every information about the first subject and then moving on to the second one. This is a great solution for lengthy papers because it allows users to talk more about the given subject rather than the point-by-point way.

The only downside of using the subject-by-subject method is the fact that it can turn into a list of points meaning that you will state facts about subject number one and then state the facts about subject number two without actually comparing them side by side. College professors usually prefer a more all-together approach to compare and contrasting. To fix this, you will want to add a strong link between the first subject and the second one.

If you are writing a lens compression, meaning that you are comparing the second subject solely based on the first one, you will want to use the subject-by-subject method because it makes writing easier. For example, you might have an assignment to compare a book you have read in class and a book you have personally read at home. It might be appropriate to talk in the beginning about the first book (the lens) and then compare it to the one you are already reading at home.

Point-by-point

Instead of contrasting and comparing one subject at the time, you can use this technique to compare them one point of compassion at a time. Depending on the amount of information you have about the subject, there are two ways to proceed with this method. You can shortly describe the difference between the two subjects using only a paragraph for both of them or if you have plenty of time and information, you can devote a paragraph for only one subject.

A good example of a structure would be:

  • A good introduction summarizing both subjects and what they represent and have to offer
  • Comparison criteria that are going to be used to compare the two subjects
Issue 1 - Aspect 1
  • Arugumentation A
  • Arugumentation B
Issue 2 - Aspect 1
  • Arugumentation A
  • Arugumentation B
Issue 1 - Aspect 2
  • Arugumentation A
  • Arugumentation B
Issue 2 - Aspect 2
  • Arugumentation A
  • Arugumentation B
Issue 1 - Aspect 3
  • Arugumentation A
  • Arugumentation B
Issue 2 - Aspect 3
  • Arugumentation A
  • Arugumentation B
  • Conclusion based on the thesis between the two subjects
  • Evaluate the ideas

While there are no given rules to respect when writing a comparison and contrast essay it is better to focus on the readability on your text, meaning that the easier it is to read the better your readers will understand it and react better to it. Keep your arguments clean and well organized. Moreover, if you feel like the similarities are more important than the differences, you will want to save them for later and vice versa.

Writing the introduction

Introductions are meant to explain the main point of your thesis and to share data about both subjects that are going to be compared in your essay. With the opening paragraph, you must explain why the comparison between the two would be beneficial to the reader and to everyday life. A strong introduction will help a lot with the grade and will catch even more attention than other essays.

The thesis

Another important content to write in your paper is the thesis. It not only offers you clarity when it comes to organizing your arguments better but, at the same time it optimizes the readability of the paper for a much better understanding. Before writing a thesis we must first remember what a thesis really is. The dictionary would refer to a thesis as “a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved.” Which is not far away from the truth. You must work towards making your thesis captivating and entertaining and of course, it should help you answer questions and provide stronger arguments in your essays.

With a strong and valid thesis, your essay will be strong and will offer an effective idea to the readers. A thesis can be of two kinds when it comes to a compare and contrast essay, evaluative or explanatory. Let’s take a look at both of them and see which one suits your needs better.

Explanatory Thesis

This type of thesis is great for when you want to compare two subjects but you do not want to take a stance on either one. This type of thesis is especially great when it comes to research papers and descriptive essays. The points of comparison should not be direct, and they should be surprising readers with information that they have not heard of before. We can take females and males as an example, while a lot of people know many differences between these two sexes, a lot of people would love to know the similarities.

Evaluative Thesis

On the other hand, evaluative thesis is made in a way in which they compare one subject which is considered to be the better to the other subject which is considered to be lesser than the previous one. While using the explanatory thesis, we can consider the subjects as equals, that is no longer the case when using the evaluative thesis.

It is very important to understand the cases in which you will want to use an explanatory thesis over an evaluative one because they can make a big difference both in the quality of the paper and in your final grade.

The body

In order to write the perfect body for your compare and contrast essay, you must first ask yourself a couple of questions that are going to make you figure out in which direction your essay is heading to. You may have found tons of similarities and discrepancies, but now you will have to sort them and select the very few that comes to the standards. You can write these questions down as they are very important for your further study.

  • How relevant is the information I have found for the essay?
  • Is the information I have chosen relevant to the course?
  • What are more important – the differences or the similarities?
  • Are the similarities and differences that I have found interesting and worth mentioning?

In addition, here are some questions that will help you determine the discrepancies between the subjects you have found.

When comparing theories or ideas

  • On what do these ideas put the biggest emphasis on?
  • Who are their creators? Who is using them and who is defending them?
  • Where have they appeared? In which year?
  • What other ideologies did they inspire?
  • Which one is more plausible? Why?

When comparing humans

  • What ideologies do they serve?
  • In what year they were born? What is the difference between their age? What gender, race and nationality are they?
  • In which area do they perform?
  • What is their most likeable quality?

When comparing art

  • What emotion do they transmit towards you?
  • Who created them? In which century?
  • In your opinion, which one do you think is better? Why?
  • How would you describe them?
  • What techniques have been used to create them?
  • If it’s a painting: in what style was it painted?

When comparing historical events/periods

  • What kind of emperors/kings ruled in those periods? How were they?
  • What were the events in those periods?
  • What kinds of events happened? What caused them?
  • When did the events happen, and how did they impact the current world?

By asking yourself these questions you are guaranteed to select only the top best connections between the two subjects, which will not guarantee a much higher grade but a cleaner and overall better essay.

In addition, you can make a Vie diagram or a chart that can dramatically impact your findings. You will have to simply draw some overlapping circles and list the things that they have in common and don’t have in common. This will help you find even more discrepancies between the two subjects and it’s a great way to organize them properly.

Writing the conclusion

Writing the conclusion is a whole lot like writing the introduction, meaning that you will want to leave a powerful statement when people will read your conclusion. Moreover, you will want to provide a short summary of your comparison/contrast and restate your thesis.

Interesting ideas for a Compare and Contrast Essay

We have grouped together some of the most interesting compare and contrast essay ideas that you can put into practice. They have been all grouped into 4 separate categories for easier reading and application. They are interesting, unique and fun to write about. Without further ado, here are all of them.

Great for 5h graders

  • Playing video games on the PS4 vs the Xbox One
  • Videogames vs Books
  • American Football vs European Football
  • Batman vs Superman

Great for middle-scholars

  • Trains vs Buses: Which ones are great for long trips?
  • Instagram vs Snapchat: Which one is better?
  • What is better: Homeschooling or Public schools?
  • Coke vs Pepsi

Great for high-schoolers

  • The Government of the U.S vs Other Government
  • Adolf Hitler vs Abraham Lincoln
  • Your favorite baseball team vs their nemesis
  • Private schools vs public schools

Great for college

  • Jordan Peterson vs Slavoj Zizek: Which one is right?
  • The beliefs of Donald Trump vs The beliefs of Hilary Clinton
  • Baroque vs Renaissance art
  • Country in war vs Country at peace

In order to have a great essay, you must remember to make use of carefully positioned transitions that will not only improve the readability for the text but will also make a smooth transition between your subjects.

We hope that by using our examples and tips you can achieve a paper worthy of an A. Remember that good contrast papers take a lot of time and information to be done correctly and we highly advise spending as much time as possible when writing one. Compare and Contrast essays are a great way of establishing already known information and proving professors that all the study was not in vain.

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