How to write a compare and contrast essay
One of the essential writing skills is to compare and contrast in an academic essay. Simply, it is a type of essay where you evaluate the differences and similarities between two subjects.
You’ll be asked to write a compare and contrast essay both in high school and university. Remember, comparing and contrasting are two different things, so you’ll need to decide if you’re going to compare or contrast.
In your assignment instructions, you’ll be likely to have such essay topics:
Compare and contrast essay topics
On the other hand, some instructions are not clear whether you should compare and contrast.
Step 1: Find a good topic
You need two different subjects for a compare and contrast essay. However, these two must eventually have similar grounds. We provided some examples below, let’s check them out.
Topic tipTopic If you want to write about two athletes, it would be better to choose two footballers or two basketball players. Choosing a footballer and tennis player would be a bad idea for comparison. They aren't likely to have common grounds after all.
Step 2: Prepare an outline
Upon listing all the differences and similarities between the two subjects, you need to define your main argument and prepare an outline.
Writing the thesis statement
When you look at your list of differences and similarities, you need to choose the most striking difference as your thesis statement. This will intrigue the reader.
About most striking differenceIf you compare and contrast Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the number of goals might be your main argument. You can base the whole essay on total scores and mention them in your thesis statement
Preparing the outline
In any academic essay, preparing an outline is very important. You can make use of a traditional essay outline, as shown below.
This example is based on a common 5 paragraph compare and contrast essay (introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion). If you’re planning a longer essay, you may add more contrasting and comparing paragraphs.
There are different structures of writing a compare and contrast essay. For example, you may write a detailed paragraph for the first subject and switch to other one in the next.
You can also construct your paragraphs to talk about both subjects. You can certainly present similarities and differences on the same paragraph.
5-Paragraph Compare and contrast essay outline
Traditional vs. Online Learning
- Hook sentence
- Background information
- Thesis statement
- Signposting (show reader what you'll cover)
- Classroom Learning
- Topic sentence for classroom learning
- Benefits of classroom learning
- Limitations of classroom learning
- Online Learning
- Topic sentence for online learning
- Benefits of online learning
- Comparison: Hook
- In Depth Comparison
- Wrap up the points made
- Rephrasing thesis statement
- Concluding sentence
Step 3: Introduction
Now that you’ve outlined your paper, it’s time to start writing your introduction. In your introduction, you:
- Capture the reader’s interest with a hook sentence
- Write some background information
- Present your thesis statement.
Compare and contrast essay introduction example
Are you an iPhone minimalist or an Android customizer? Hook sentence While both the iPhone and Android phones have many features and capabilities, the primary distinctions are in their design, operating system, and app availability. Background information Despite having similar features and capabilities, the choice between iPhone and Android smartphones ultimately comes down to a balance of simplicity and customization. Thesis statement
Step 4: Body paragraphs
Compare and contrast essay body paragraph example
Design: Common ground iPhones are renowned for their sleek, minimalist design and high-quality construction, with Apple's emphasis on simplicity and ease of usage. First subject In contrast, Transition phrase Android phones come in various styles and customization choices, allowing users to tailor their smartphones to their specific interests and preferences. Second subject
Step 5: Conclusion
Compare and contrast essay conclusion example
Ultimately, the decision between these two smartphone types comes down to personal tastes and requirements. Restatement While iPhones have a clean appearance and a user-friendly operating system, Android phones have more customization possibilities and a more extensive app selection. Summary Individuals may make an informed decision and purchase the finest smartphone for their requirements by evaluating criteria like design, operating system, and app selection. Concluding sentence
After writing your conclusion paragraph, proofread and double check your essay. We tend to make a lot of writing mistakes when we’re deep into something. So when you finish, proofread your paper for grammar and punctuation mistakes such as tense selection, capitalization, and passive voice.
Writing an essay is almost like telling a story. You either tell formally or informally. So, a story without good storytelling is boring. Transition phrases make your story progress smoothly.
Transition tipUse phrases like "Likewise, similarly, similar to" when comparing the subjects. Add "Nevertheless, whereas, on the other hand" when contrasting.
5-Paragraph Compare and Contrast Essay
5-Paragraph Compare and Contrast Essay Example
Classroom vs. Online Learning
The concept of education has evolved significantly over the years, with technology now playing a key role in learning. Hook sentence Traditional classroom learning and online learning are two methods of education that have emerged as popular options for learners. Background Although both approaches aim to educate students, there are notable differences between them, that depends a lot on individuals and settings. Thesis statement In this essay, I will compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks of traditional classroom learning and online learning. Signposting: Mention what you'll highlight in the essay
Traditional classroom learning provides students with an environment in which they can interact face-to-face with their peers and instructors. Topic sentence for classroom learning This approach allows students to ask questions and receive immediate feedback, which is essential for effective learning. Additionally, traditional learning creates a sense of community among students, which can enhance their learning experience. Description & Benefits of classroom learning However, the traditional classroom setting has its limitations. For instance, students may find it difficult to keep up with the pace of the lesson or may struggle to ask questions in a crowded classroom. Limitations of classroom learning
Online learning, on the other hand, provides students with the flexibility to study at their own pace, place, and time. Topic sentence for online learning With online learning, students can access learning materials and lectures from anywhere in the world, making it convenient for learners with busy schedules or those who live in remote areas. Additionally, online learning provides students with the opportunity to interact with instructors and classmates through discussion forums and chat rooms. Description & benefits However, the lack of face-to-face interaction may hinder some students' learning experience, and it may be difficult for students who lack self-discipline to stay on track with their studies. Limitations
Another notable difference between traditional classroom learning and online learning is the cost. Comparison: Hook sentence Traditional classroom learning requires students to pay for textbooks, transportation, and accommodation, among other expenses. Online learning, on the other hand, eliminates these costs, making it more affordable for many students. Additionally, online learning allows students to access learning materials from reputable institutions across the globe, which may not have been possible with traditional classroom learning. However, online learning may require students to purchase a computer or other technological devices, which may be expensive for some students. In Depth Comparison
Consequently, both traditional classroom learning and online learning have their benefits and drawbacks. Traditional learning provides students with face-to-face interaction and a sense of community, while online learning offers flexibility and affordability. Wrapping up the comparison However, it is essential to note that these two approaches to learning are not mutually exclusive, and students can benefit from using both approaches. Rephrasing thesis statement Ultimately, the choice between traditional classroom learning and online learning depends on the student's needs, preferences, and circumstances. Concluding sentence
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you write a 5 paragraph compare and contrast essay?
The classic five paragraph structure for this essay type can be achieved by writing an introduction, three compare and contrast body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
What is a good hook for a compare and contrast essay?
Highlighting the most striking contrast of the two subjects might be a great idea for a compare and contrast essay hook.
How do you write a compare and contrast essay outline?
First, you need to write down your thesis statement. After that, construct your introduction, each body paragraph in detail, and conclusion. Outlines make it easier for you to write the actual essay.
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