Throughout your academic career, you will meet a variety of writing assignments, each with its unique set of criteria. The comparison/contrast essay is one of the most prevalent, in which you focus on the ways in which specific things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (the comparison) and/or distinct from (the contrast).
Your instructors are encouraging you to connect texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis by assigning such essays. When you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you’re comparing, their relationship to one another, and what’s most important about them.
This guide will help you understand exactly what is required of you and provide you with the structure you’ll need to construct your own high-scoring essay.
What is a compare and contrast essay?
A compare and contrast essay is written to show how two theories or ideas are related. Comparing will look at what is similar between the two while contrasting will look at what is different. In a comparison and contrast essay, you must look for similarities and differences between the two themes. The key to creating a solid compare and contrast essay is to pick two or more topics that are meaningfully connected.
The majority of a compare and contrast essay is factual. As a result, it may become monotonous for the readers, and they may lose interest. It’s advisable to provide rarely known facts of commonalities between the two areas to attract your readers and arouse their curiosity. You might also opt to focus on the similarities or differences between the two themes.
What is the purpose of a compare and contrast essay?
In a compare and contrast essay, you can compare and contrast two subjects in the same document. Thesis statements, topic sentences, and descriptive details must all address both subjects. Critical thinking is also required in comparing and contrasting articles. You must go beyond simple descriptive writing to analyze and explain the relationship between your subjects in order to write one.
What are the types of compare and contrast essays?
Compare and contrast essays can be categorized into a few types based on the format in which the arguments are explored. Below is a list of them:
Point by Point Method:
In this type of format, the compare and contrast essay is to be written in points.
In this format of compare and contrast essay, you have to first uncover one piece of information that is used to create a contrast or create a similarity between the two subjects of interest.
Block Method or Subject by Subject Method:
In this format, you are required to discuss the point for the first subject and then all the points of the second subject and then vice versa.
Structure of a compare and contrast essay
The average layout of a compare and contrast essay is similar to other essay types. Here’s a basic structure for comparing and contrasting:
Introduce the two ideas you’re going to compare and contrast. Give a brief history of both to set the stage for the main body.
This will be your overall view of the two hypotheses. Are they closer than you expected, or do they differ more than the ordinary person realizes?
The main body will be divided into paragraphs that will each discuss a separate point. You can begin by either comparing or contrasting the theories. Simply ensure that each claim is supported by relevant research.
This will tie all of the major ideas together and emphasize how they contribute to your thesis.
How to write a compare and contrast essay?
A compare and contrast paper should have a clear organizational framework that provides your most essential topics in their own body paragraphs. You don’t just compare the two issues in an excellent compare and contrast essay. You also make a compelling case for them.
Here is how you can create an excellent compare and contrast essay:
Pick two interesting subjects:
Unsurprisingly, a compare and contrast assignment will ask you to compare and contrast two things. The assignment question may make this evident in some circumstances. You may have an option of what to compare at other times. In this scenario, you’ll want to choose two things that are sufficiently comparable to allow for a useful comparison.
An interesting topic makes the writing process more enjoyable, not to mention the readability of the finished product. Read the following suggestions for selecting a successful title-
- Avoid making comparisons between items that appear to be unrelated.
- Everyone understands the distinction between good and evil. This specifically relates to literary protagonists.
- Also, avoid juxtaposing objects that are intrinsically similar. It’s possible that you won’t be able to find enough information to create the main body.
- The greatest option is to compare objects that appear to be distinct but are actually similar, or vice versa.
- Choose a topic that inspires you and that you are familiar with.
- Will you be able to gather enough evidence to back up your thesis?
Brainstorm with a Venn diagram:
The greatest compare and contrast essays show that they have done a lot of research. This implies you’ll have to do some brainstorming before you start writing. For brainstorming compare and contrasting essay themes, a Venn diagram is a useful visual aid.
A Venn diagram is a series of circles that overlap. One circle depicts the first subject’s qualities, while the other depicts the second subject’s attributes; an overlapping region between the circles depicts features shared by both subjects.
Making a Venn diagram or a chart can help you compare and contrast two or more things or ideas quickly and efficiently. Simply draw some overlapping circles, one for each item you’re contemplating, to construct a Venn diagram. List the characteristics that the two things share in the core area where they overlap. Assign each area that does not overlap with the others; in those areas, you can list the trajectories.
To create a chart, decide which criteria you wish to use to compare the items. List each of the requirements on the left side of the page. List the names of the things across the top. Then, for each criterion, you should have a box for each item; you can fill in the boxes and then survey what you’ve uncovered.
Develop your thesis statement:
You’ll begin to understand the relationship between your themes once you’ve laid out the similarities and contrasts between your topics. You will be able to build your thesis statement and topic sentences during this prewriting process. Your thesis statement should serve as a map for the rest of your essay.
A thesis statement for a compare and contrast essay should be created depending on which of the similarities or differences is bigger. If you wish to concentrate on the comparison, the two subjects you choose must appear to be unconnected at first.
Choose an essay structure:
As with any essay, you should begin with writing a brief essay introduction that introduces your topic and the points you will make. Aside from that, most compare and contrast essays follow one of two formats. Before you start writing your essay outline, decide which strategy you want to take:
- Divide by subject- Cover each subject one at a time, focusing on the essential aspects you discovered in the previous stage. After that, you can include a concluding piece in which you discuss what the comparison of the subjects tells us.
- Divide the total by the number of points – Break your essay into sections by dividing it into discrete points. The similarities and contrasts between your chosen subjects will be explained in each segment, which will focus on one of the important traits you’ve discovered.
In either instance, you should conclude with a summary of what the comparison has revealed about the two issues.
Create an outline:
After you’ve spent some time with your data, you’ll move on to outline your prewriting process. The typical essay style is followed by a decent comparison and contrast essay outline: an opening paragraph, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. As you write, stay true to your outline. Tight, focused writings are distinguished from meandering ones by excellent planning.
Start with a good introduction:
A strong first paragraph establishes the tone for the rest of your essay. A hook, such as a rhetorical question or a forceful statement, is the greatest way to start an introduction. Introduce the topics you’ll be discussing in your essay after your hook. The conclusion of the introduction should include your thesis statement.
Develop your main argument:
It’s critical that you back up your claims with evidence. In certain circumstances, merely pointing to the features of each subject you’re discussing will suffice. A strong compare-and-contrast essay goes beyond a mere list of similarities and contrasts to make a point about a bigger issue.
What stands out to you when you look at the lists you’ve made? What do these parallels and variances reveal about the subject? That will be your main point of contention.
The body paragraph is where you will describe the similarities and differences between the two issues at hand. The portions should be moderately long. Transitions are the glue that holds a contrast and compares essays together. Make as many paragraphs as you need based on the amount of data you’ve gathered.
End with the conclusion:
A superb conclusion is required for a terrific compare and contrast essay. By this time, you should have demonstrated that your two subjects are both different and similar. Your ending paragraph is an opportunity to provide any final thoughts and to restate the overarching argument of your research. In your final paragraph, do not provide any new information; instead, use it to summarise the entire paper.
Proofread and revise your essay:
Your essay isn’t finished until you’ve gone over it with a fine-toothed comb. Make sure that each of your topics has an equal amount of space in the essay. Make sure you have a clear understanding of how the two subjects are similar and distinct. Check for spelling, punctuation, and overall clarity, of course.
Additional writing tips to help you write better essays
Make sure your transitions and topic sentences are especially strong to help your reader maintain track of where you are in the comparison/contrast. Although your thesis should have already provided the reader a sense of the arguments you’ll be making and the arrangement you’ll use, you can aid her/him with some more signals.
The following phrases may be useful in expressing the similarities or dissimilarities:
- Similar to
- In the same way
- Likewise, again,
- Compared to,
- In contrast,
- In like manner
- Contrasted with
- On the contrary
The key to writing a solid compare-and-contrast essay is to pick two or more topics that are related in some way. The goal of the comparison or contrast is to highlight minor differences or unexpected commonalities rather than to express the obvious.
We hope this guide helps you understand the concept and guidelines of compare and contrast essays thoroughly. Follow the steps mentioned in this article to improve your essay writing skills.