Tips For Writing A Compare/Contrast Essay

How to Write a Contrast Essay

Share this article:

Tweet

A contrast essay is not as complicated as you think. It is about comparing and contrasting two subjects, talking about how such things are alike and how they are different. It is a way of indicating both the similarity and dissimilarity that go along with two different things. This type of essay is said to be one of the most required forms of writing in college. However, most students fail to follow how this kind of essay should be written. So to help you out with this, here are the most helpful tips on how to write a contrast essay.

How To: Contrast Essay Writing

TIP 1: Brainstorm on a contrast essay topic

When you are brainstorming on a topic, it will be better to choose subjects that have basic similarities. In other words, you don’t have to think of two entirely unrelated things just because you are contrasting.

TIP 2: Choose an appropriate structure for a contrast paper

There are two types of structures which you can follow to effectively present your contrast essay to your readers.

The introduction should state your thesis statement. It should then be followed by the first paragraph of the body, discussing the first subject matter, while the next paragraph should cover the second subject alone, without touching subject #1. After discussing two different subjects independently, you can now analyze them together in a separate paragraph. The generalization of your thesis statement should then be discussed in the conclusion. This section should also comprise your own knowledge on both subjects, and should reaffirm that your thesis statement has been proven.

Your thesis statement should still be included in the introduction. The first section in the body of your essay should then tackle all the comparisons or similarities of two subjects, while the next section should only discuss their contrasts or differences. And in the conclusion, the thesis statement should be restated and the summary of your points must be presented.

TIP 3: Stick to the format of your contrast essay

In writing  a contrast essay, you have to pay close attention to the structure or format you are following to keep track of the flow. In this way, your readers will not be confused on what you are trying to point out.

TIP 4: Pay heed to intro and conclusion of your contrast paper

Remember that your introduction must set the track which your readers can follow. You can also use authorial quotations in the body of your essay to validate your arguments. And the conclusion must be the summarized section of the whole essay, which also includes your own findings.  

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Compare and Contrast Essay Writing

What Does it Mean to Compare and Contrast?

To compare something means to look for and identify similarities between two things. To contrast is to look for differences.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Paragraph?

A compare and contrast paragraph can be written in two ways:

  1. Block method where you explain the first subject area and then the other.
  2. Point-by-point method where you explain both subject areas together. For example, a square has four sides, all of which are equal in length. A rectangle also has four sides but only two sides are equal in length.

How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay?

A compare and contrast essay is written similarly to any other essay with an introduction, body and conclusion. You should start your compare and contrast essay with an explanation or definition of the topic and two subject areas. The rest of the essay will explain the subject areas in-depth.

How to Write a Conclusion for a Compare and Contrast Essay

The conclusion of a compare and contrast essay must be a summary of the following:

  1. The definition of two subject areas
  2. The main similarities between two subject areas
  3. The main differences between two subject areas

How to Compare and Contrast Poems?

You can compare and contrast poems by looking at their structure, theme, background or the tone of the author. When comparing and contrasting poems, you may choose either the block method, where you explain the first subject area and then the other, or point-by-point method, where you explain both subject areas together, to write your essay. When comparing and contrasting poems, follow these steps:

  • Start with a topic sentence explaining your main point and use examples to emphasize each.
  • End with a summary of the main points and your opinion on which is better.

How to Compare and Contrast Two Articles?

To compare and contrast two articles, you need to:

  • Explain what both articles are about
  • Identify the similarities
  • Identify the differences
  • Conclude with a summary of the main points and give your opinion on which is better and why.

How to Compare and Contrast Pictures?

To compare and contrast two pictures, you need to:

  • Explain what is happening in both pictures
  • Identify what is common between the two pictures
  • Identify what makes each picture different from the other
  • Summarize the main points and give your opinion on which you prefer, giving reasons why this is so.

How to Compare and Contrast Two Stories?

To compare and contrast two stories, you need to:

  • Explain the background of each story ensuring you mention of the structure, theme and tone of the author.
  • Identify what is similar about the two stories, making sure to state what is the common theme or tone of the two stories.
  • State what makes each story different from the other, making sure to highlight unique parts that set each other apart.

How to Compare and Contrast Two Characters?

When comparing and contrasting two characters from a story, you will need to consider the following:

  • Their physical traits
  • Dialogue and interaction with other characters
  • Their actions
  • Their thoughts

How to Compare and Contrast Art Paintings?

When comparing two pieces of art, you will need to look at several aspects of each piece. These include: the style, function or symbolism and the cultural context of each. As usual, you will state what is similar and different about these two art paintings to give your reader a good idea about them.

How to Compare and Contrast Using a Venn Diagram?

When comparing and contrasting using a Venn Diagram, employ the following method.

  1. Draw two overlapping circles.
  2. Label each circle with the name of the item to be compared and contrasted.
  3. In the overlapping section of the circles, write the similarities between the two items.

In the individual circles, write the differences between each item.        

CONTRAST ESSSAY OUTLINE EXAMPLE

Below is an example of a contrast essay outline which should look as follows:

I. Introduction

A. Opening statement:  On December 27, 2015, just after Christmas holidays, I found myself in a ditch flat out drunk. My family did not have the pleasure of celebrating the holidays because they were out looking for me. After arriving home and seeing their sad and disappointed faces, I knew it was time to quit drinking. On January 2016 I checked myself into a rehab and got the help I badly needed. Since then I have worked hard to configure my life. As a sober man, I have tried to make a difference in the society, get a job, be a responsible parent and observed my health.

B. Thesis statement: As a sober man, I have tried to make a difference in the society, get a job, be a responsible parent and observed my health.

II. Body

A. Make a difference in the society (is one thing I’ve learned to do better since I stopped drinking.) 

    1. Help others quit abusing alcohol    

        a. (Sober) …

        b. (Drinking) …

    2. Take part in community volunteer programs   

        a. (Sober) …

        b. (Drinking) …

    3.  Drinking under the influence       

        a. (Sober) …

        b. (Drinking) …

B. A responsible parent 

    1. Attending my children sports events     

        a. (Sober) …  

        b. (Drinking) …

C. Observed my health

    1. Eating Healthy    

        a. (Sober) …

        b. (Drinking) …

    2. Working Out   

        a. (Sober) …

        b. (Drinking) …

III. Conclusion

Ever since I stopped drinking not only has my life changed for the better but also I have been able to shape other people’s lives. My family is happy with my progress and they too are living a worry free life since am always available when they need me. 

It is always important to keep the structure of your essay in mind. And though it is more about contrasting two different yet related subjects, it is still necessary not to sound biased. When discussing, you have to give fair treatment to both subjects. By this means, your readers will trust your information and will also see them as relevant to take note. So, if you have difficulties on how to write a contrast essay, just follow the tips outlined above.

Place Order Now
Types of Papers: Compare/Contrast

To write a compare/contrast essay, you’ll need to make NEW connections and/or express NEW differences between two things.  The key word here…is NEW!

  1. Choose 2 things that could go in the same category, but are also quite different. Good choices might be:
    • Basketball & Football (both sports)
    • Horses & Cats (both animals, but different in many ways)
    • Writing & Singing (both art forms, but different in many ways)
  2. Gather your ideas by writing down characteristics of each thing.  Note the differences and similarities between them.
  3. Ask yourself these important questions before you begin writing your draft:

Does my instructor want me to compare AND contrast, or am I only being asked to do one of those things?

Some instructors prefer that you only write about the differences between two things, while others want you to focus on explaining the similarities as well.  Either way, you'll need to make sure that your thesis statement reflects your instructor's expectations. For example, if I wanted to write about Social Networking sites, I'd need to write different thesis statements depending on my compare/contrast assignment.  

Sample thesis statement for contrast paper:  In terms of social networking sites, Facebook focuses on presenting your daily life to others, whereas MySpace allows you to focus more on demonstrating your personal style.

Sample thesis statement for compare/contrast paper:  While both Facebook and MySpace allow you to meet other users who have similar interests, only MySpace allows you to demonstrate your personal style.       

Are these 2 things similar and/or different, in at least one meaningful way?

If you want to write a successful compare/contrast essay, you'll need to avoid writing about really obvious differences and similarities.  For example:

  • We all know that horses are larger than cats.
  • We also know that basketball teams contain less players than football teams.

Tell us something we don't know (or might not notice)!

It would be better to write about how sensitive both horses and cats are to human needs and emotions.  You could also suggest that though both basketball and football require a lot of teamwork, basketball players are expected to be a lot more versatile than football players.

You don't have to be a genius to write an interesting compare/contrast essay--you just have to look at ordinary things in a new way!

Do I know enough about my topic to write an effective compare/contrast essay?

Unless you're being asked to do some research as part of your compare/contrast project, make sure that you choose 2 things that you feel comfortable discussing, at length.

Your instructor may ask for multiple similarities and differences--make sure you're prepared to write a well-developed, meaningful essay on a topic that you know well before you get started!   


Organizing Your Compare and Contrast Paper

There are two primary ways to organize your compare and contrast paper.

Chunking: placing all of the information for each individual subject in one place (chunk), and then using similarities as transitions.

Here’s a sample outline:

  1. Jane is distinct because…
  2. Jane is similar to Alice in these ways
  3. Alice is distinct because…

Piecing: giving pieces of the information for each individual subject in each paragraph—arranging the information by topic rather than by subject.

Here’s a sample outline:   

  1. Differences and Similarities in Jane and Alice’s appearances
  2. Differences and Similarities in Jane and Alice’s backgrounds
  3. Differences and Similarities in Jane and Alice’s interests

Sample Papers

One thought on “Tips For Writing A Compare/Contrast Essay

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *