Compare and Contrast Essay

For the compare and contrast essay you should know...

A compare and contrast essay is one of the most familiar of all essay types. After all, to compare things, you simply show similarities; while to contrast things, you merely show their differences.

We use these essays to describe things, to define things, to analyze things, and to make arguments.

In fact, we use the elements of a compare/contrast essay in most other essay types as well.

Any compare/contrast essay can be constructed in one of several ways. Such essays are also known as balanced essays due to the manner in which the information is presented. For our purposes, I’ve shown the most common methods below.

First compare, and then contrast.


First contrast, and then compare.

When using a compare/contrast structure we need to first show how things are similar, and then how things are different.

I. introduction
II. how objects are similar.
III. how objects are different.
IV. how objects are similar and different
V. conclusion

It's possible to write an essay that treats only the similarities, or differences between ideas. Other adaptations of this structure would involve writing only the comparable elements of the object, or only the contrasting elements of the object.

Organizing Your Compare and Contrast Essay:

Your introduction should mention both subjects and end with a strong and clearly defined thesis statement. That is, you should state what you hope to accomplish with your comparison.

The following briefly outlines a typical compare and contrast essay structure.

Introduction – mention both subjects to be compared and contrasted and end with your thesis

1st Body Paragraph
Discuss and give supporting details for subject 1

2nd Body Paragraph
Discuss and give supporting details for subject 2

3rd Body Paragraph
Discuss and give further supporting details for subject 1
Discuss and give further supporting details for subject 2

Conclusion - include final correlations and restate your thesis.

Be sure as you write that you follow the organized structure for good essay writing. Give details and examples to support the similarities and differences you have chosen.

Compare and contrast essay