Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
But, don’t let Ol’ Teddy or that compare and contrast essay get you down. Compare and contrast essays are a great way to expand your knowledge on two subjects. And, with a little guidance, they can be fun and easy to write.
Besides, what does Theodore Roosevelt know? All he ever did was invent the teddy bear.
Wait, what? He was president? We let the teddy bear inventor lead the free world? Never mind. Let’s forget I said that. It’s time to learn how to write a compare and contrast essay!
What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?
First, let’s make sure we all understand the basics of a compare and contrast essay. Rest assured, you will come across this type of paper at some point in your academic career, if you haven’t already. A compare and contrast essay asks you to look at the similarities (compare) and differences (contrast) between two or more items or concepts.
At first glance, this will not appear to be difficult. It may seem easy to look at Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un and notice the surface-level differences and similarities.
The compare and contrast essay often asks you to go beyond the surface, to perform a critical analysis of the two subjects, and to begin to understand the underlying tendencies and characteristics. By doing so, you not only better understand the two subjects, but you reveal the concepts and connections, and possibly what makes them the way they are.
How Can I Organize My Ideas?
Depending on the prompt assigned, you may find your mind is overwhelmed by the myriad similarities and differences related to your subjects. Instead of just shoving them all into an essay with the subtlety of a dictator with daddy issues throwing a tantrum, let’s see if we can organize them beforehand.
My favorite organization tool for a compare and contrast essay is the Venn diagram. This writing tool allows you to clearly organize the similarities and differences of two subjects with two simple, overlapping circles.
I suggest you draw a big Venn diagram on a piece of paper and write everything you can think of that fits in the three sections. Once it is packed full of aspects of each subject, you can then think about which ones are the most important to your paper. What do you want to focus on? What interests you about these two areas? Which similarities and differences best relate to the prompt, or the course in general? Which pieces of information support the argument that you are presenting?
For example, if you are comparing and contrasting two novels, you may want to take a look at how the two stories and the characters within them relate in terms of a certain theme. Do the two works support each other on a certain subject? If so, perhaps those aspects are the ones that should be presented in your paper.
Once you have narrowed your focus, you can then identify the points in your Venn diagram that you will include in your paper.
Remember that having fewer points to discuss is usually better. The more you have, the less space you will have for analysis.
On the other hand, if you are able to narrow your focus to a couple of similarities and differences that really highlight the point you are trying to prove, you leave more space for discussion of those points.
How Should I Structure a Compare and Contrast Essay?
I’m all for creativity. If you have a new and interesting angle you would like to approach the essay from, then do it.
In all of my time teaching English, I’ve never lowered the score of a paper because a student was thinking outside the box and intentionally trying something new and different.
Of course, the key word here is “intentionally.” If you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s going to come through in the paper. If you already know how to write a compare and contrast essay, however, then you can be free to let your creativity run wild.
So, what is the easiest way to do it? People may have varying opinions, but in this instance I think it is best to follow the K.I.S.S. acronym. K.I.S.S. stands for…uh…um. What is it again?
Kaleidoscopes Influence Scared Stoners?
No, that’s not it.
Kittens Inspire Sylvester Stallone?
True, but that’s not what I had in mind.
Kardashians Induce Sectarian Savagery?
Perhaps, but that’s another issue.
This is too complicated. I don’t remember. Let’s forget it. What I’m trying to say is, when you are structuring your essay, just keep it simple, you silly goose. I feel like I was so close. Oh, well.
It doesn’t get much simpler than the 5 paragraph essay, and in the case of the compare and contrast essay, it works perfectly. In fact, it lines up with our Venn diagram in an incredible fashion. The 5 paragraph essay includes an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The Venn diagram gives us 3 gorgeously clear sections to work with, which will fit nicely into that 3-paragraph-body format.
Will You Give Me an Example of How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?
Well, I have some good news for the bold typing friend who lives in my head, and anyone else who may be reading: I will, indeed, give you an example.
Our example compares and contrasts the Kibin.com editing service with the average online editing service. Although there are many similarities and differences, we will focus on just this one for the sake of giving an example.
So, the introduction paragraph of your five paragraph compare and contrast essay will, besides introducing your topic and hooking your reader like Ali in his prime, present a solid thesis that guides the rest of your paper.
A common problem in compare and contrast essays is a weak thesis statement. It seems logical to write something like, “This paper will compare and contrast Kibin.com with other online editing services” or “There are many similarities and differences between Kibin.com and the average online editing site.”
Although these statements may be true and describe what your paper is about, they are way too vague. It is like writing, “This is an essay that will use words in a structured way to bring attention to something you may or may not already be aware of.”
Okay. Well. That’s great, but your readers already know that, and now they are upset that you wasted the amount of time it took to read it. That’s 5 seconds of their lives that they can never get back, and, if they are as begrudging as I am, they may never forgive you for it (I will destroy you, BuzzFeed, if it is the last thing I do!!!).
So, instead, we want to present a thesis that is specific, proposes an argument, and gives a bit of insight into your analysis.
For example, “Although there are many editing services available online, Kibin.com’s commitment to providing high-quality editing that never overcharges sets it apart from the rest.”
See the difference?
In your Venn diagram, you will have several points and examples from the two subjects. Once you have narrowed them down to the ones that best fit the theme of your paper, you will be able to clearly organize them in the body of your paper. There are a few different ways that you can present these similarities and differences in your paper, but each fits really well into our essay structure.
One way of organizing the information is to
- First paragraph: present aspects unique to subject A
- Second paragraph: present aspects unique to subject B
- Third paragraph: show how aspects A and B are similar
In this example, we would start by discussing how Kibin.com has developed its own software for counting words, ensuring that the customer is never wrongly overcharged.
Then, in the next paragraph, we could address the point that most other editing services use Microsoft Word’s word counter, resulting in customers being wrongly charged for things like numbers and icons.
Then, the third paragraph would be dedicated to how the two subjects are alike.
Another idea is to dedicate a paragraph to each point. As long as you have narrowed your focus to a small number of points, you may find that your essay flows better if you dedicate the extra space for the analysis of each point.
Learn more about how to create a compare and contrast outline.
There are many ways you could accomplish writing your compare and contrast essay. This is a chance for you to be creative. Don’t be restricted by the idea that the body of your essay must have 3 paragraphs. As long as you address the similarities and differences, and how they relate to your thesis, the body of your essay will have served its purpose.
In the conclusion paragraph, you get a chance to restate your thesis and the conclusions that you have arrived at through your research and the writing of your paper.
Wrap up your ideas so that there aren’t any loose ends, and don’t add any new information at this point. If, while writing your conclusion, you think of an important piece of evidence that needs to be included, you’ll need to find a place for it in the body of your paper.
Don’t panic if you can’t find a place for it to seamlessly fit in. Remember, writing is a process that requires several steps.
Those steps usually (if not always) include writing multiple drafts of your paper. If you finish the first draft, but something doesn’t feel quite right, shoot it over to the great folks at Kibin.com. Not only will they correctly count your words, but they will help you take your writing to the next level.
Here’s a Quick Rundown
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.
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.