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Compare and Contrast Essay Examples, Outline & Structure

Feb 1, 2022

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Feb 1, 2022 | Blog

What are compare and contrast essays?

Compare and contrast essays (also known as comparison essays) compares two things that are alike in some ways but different in others. The basic idea is to show alike, and differences and then provide evidence to support your points. We have included some amazing compare and contrast essay examples to inspire you.

Compare and contrast essays usually have three basic parts: the introduction, the comparison section, and the conclusion. The introduction is where you pose a question or present an idea leading to your compare and contrast essay. In the comparison section, you examine both subjects, pointing out their similarities and differences. In this section, you also use evidence to support your claims. Finally, the conclusion summarises what you have said by rephrasing your thesis statement and circling back to your introduction.

You can make a great compare and contrast essay even better by using strategies such as metaphors, similes, anecdotes, quotes, expert opinions, interesting statistics, or any concrete evidence that supports or clarifies what you are saying. Or you can use strategies such as juxtaposition (placing things side by side so that their differences or similarities become clear) or emphasis (stressing certain facts by writing them in boldface or italics) to make your academic essay more effective for the reader.

The Purpose of Compare/Contrast in Writing

The purpose of the compare and contrast essay may be different. For example:

  1. To show the similarities and differences between two objects or ideas.
  2. To show your ability to think critically about two things that have many aspects in common and some that are different. It is necessary to explain how and why they are similar and why they are different.
  3. To give your reader information about two separate subjects. The easiest way to do this is by giving the reader specific details about each subject. It would help if you tried to choose details that are different from each other and similar enough to help your reader see how they are similar. These specifics help your readers understand and remember what you’re trying to say.
  4. Some teachers assign this essay type for students to analyze two subjects or different topics related to one another on a deeper level than just being similar or different. Sometimes such an assignment may be given as part of an English class where students need to analyze how two literary works discuss similar topics from opposing points of view or focus on opposite subjects to understand each work better. Finally, teachers may also use this essay type of assignment for students in social studies or history classes to see how two different people, places, periods in time, events, or other subjects are directly related to one another when trying to explain cause and effect relationships.

The Compare and Contrast Structure of an Essay

There are two main ways to structure a compare and contrast essay: using a block or a point-by-point structure. For the block structure, all information about one of the objects being compared/contrasted is given first, and all of the information about the other object is listed afterwards. For the point-by-point structure, each similarity (or difference) for one object is followed immediately by the other’s similarity (or difference).

Here are some hypothetical examples:

Block Structure

Introduction Point 1 (object A) Point 2 (object B) Point 3 (object A) Point 4 (object B) Conclusion

Point By Point Structure

Introduction Similarity 1 (between A and B) Similarity 2 (between A and B) … Difference 1 (between A and B) Difference 2 (between A and B) … Conclusion

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples, Outline & Structure 1

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Introduction

Introduce the two or more topics. Please indicate that you will be comparing and contrasting them. Add a compare and contrast essay thesis statement (one sentence at the end of your introduction paragraph)

Body Paragraphs

For each point of comparison, describe one subject and then describe the other. You will need to address each subject in the same order (for example, if you first discuss Topic A’s point 1, you must then talk about Topic B’s point 1).

Conclusion

Restate your thesis, summarizing the points of comparison you made in the body paragraphs.

A compare/contrast essay has two basic parts in its structure: the introduction and the body paragraphs.

The introduction is where you put your thesis and preview your points to give readers a sense of what’s coming. The body paragraphs are the heart of the essay, where you actually explain your meaningful arguments. Each body paragraph is devoted to one comparison or contrast between two things.

Taken together, these paragraphs make up the essential part of your essay. They’re your evidence for the claims you make in your thesis and your introduction. You can’t do without them. The rest of the essay is just there to support those paragraphs. You can get away without an introduction or conclusion or even a title, but if you don’t have four solid body paragraphs, you don’t have a good compare/contrast essay.

Essays vary greatly in how they turn their points of comparison into contrasts and vice versa, but that’s not something to worry about very much at first. Ask yourself only this: when my reader finishes this paragraph, will they be able to say clearly why it’s there? That’s all you need to aim for now.

Phrases of Comparison and Contrast

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples, Outline & Structure 2

Writing a Compare/Contrast Essay

The basic organization of any compare/contrast essay is similar. You’ll begin with some formulation of the differences between the two things you’re discussing. Then you’ll describe the similarities.

Telling the reader about the similarities and differences could easily become a simple list, and a list is not an essay. So you want to use your description of similarities and differences to tell an organized story, with a beginning, middle, and end.

Telling a story means having some conflict, so your essay will have two parts: first, you’ll talk about how one thing is better than the other in some way or is more typical or important; then you’ll talk about how this good thing actually causes problems.

The first part of your essay will argue that one thing is better than another. You’ll describe why one thing is interesting or important in some way. The second part will be your argument that this quality makes it difficult to deal with.

Compare and Contrast Sample Paper 

Compare and Contrast Sample Paper

 

Strong Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Harry Potter Vs. Draco Malfoy Essay Example

The Harry Potter book series, adapted into a popular movie series, includes several notable characters. Two of the most well-known are Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy. While it might seem like these two teens (Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy) are two sides of a coin, they actually have several similarities in addition to their differences. Use this fun compare and contrast example to highlight the similarities and differences between Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy by making a list of points in which they’re similar and which they differ.

Harry Potter Vs. Draco Malfoy

 

High school Vs. College Essay Example

Perhaps the first essay you have to write as a new college student is on the differences and similarities between high school and college. Given your own experience at both types of institutions, you are in a great position to write this essay. While it may be difficult to uncover the similarities, you can easily list the differences between these two institutions. That is the high school and college experiences:

compare-contrast-essay-college

 

Conclusion

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