Compare And Contrast Essay: How-To, Structure, Examples, Topics

Posted: June 02, 2017 - to Guide
Content how to write a compare and contrast essay

Compare and contrast essays are very common at university, and you may have come across them before. This guide will help you understand exactly what's expected of you, and give the structure you'll need to write a high grading essay of your own.

What is a compare and contrast essay?

A compare and contrast essay is designed to see the links between two different theories or ideas. Comparing will be looking at what's similar, and contrasting will be looking at what's different between the two.

Structure

Here's how an average compare and contrast essay could be laid out:

  • Introduction: Introduce the two ideas that you're going to compare. Give a brief background on both, to give context for the main body.
  • Thesis statement: This is going to be your impression of the two theories. Are they more similar than you thought, or do they differ more than is obvious to the average person?
  • Main body: Each paragraph in this section will detail a different point. You can start either with comparing the theories, or contrasting them. Just make sure that each point is backed up with relevant research.
  • Conclusion: This will draw all the main points together, and emphasise how they support your thesis.

Steps for writing

  • Research the two topics you have been given. Look for the similarities and differences, and make notes. How will this affect your essay? Think about whether you've been surprised by the information you've found.
  • Put together your thesis. Are your two topics similar, or more different than you thought? Are they similar in a surprising way? Use your research to come up with a good statement.
  • Write an essay outline. Use the structure above to write your own outline. Pencil in all the main points you need to include. This way you can't forget anything.
  • Write your essay. Use the structure you created to write your essay proper. Give yourself enough time to do this, or your writing will appear rushed.
  • Proofread and edit. Make sure you don't skip this step, as presentation of your essay is important, too.

Topics

As the name implies, your topics will be two ideas or theories that can be compared. This could be anything from two different books, people, ideas, or events. For example, you could be described to compare and contrast Tesla and Edison.

Examples of a compare and contrast essay

Here are some examples of compare and contrast essays that you can try writing:

  • American football and rugby
  • Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh
  • Rehabilitation and incarceration
  • Undergraduate and graduate studies

Give them a try, and hone your essay writing skills. When you get a real essay to write, you'll feel more comfortable in writing it.

Now you have the tools to write a great compare and contrast essay. Remember, make sure you do your research, and take your time writing. That way, you can get an excellent grade.

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