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How to Write Compare and Contrast Essay

Updated: Feb 2, 2017
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In the Compare and Contrast Essay, the student writing the essay generally illustrates the similarities and differences between two topics, objects, subjects, or terms, etc. This type of essay provides those in higher education the opportunity to utilize their critical-thinking skills in order to make connections between certain texts, ideas and terminologies, so that they can better understand them.


Through writing the Compare and Contrast Essay, the student compares and contrasts items based on their various qualities, functions, purposes and properties, etc. You should keep in mind that all the steps listed below require much time, effort and practice. Try our service to understand how easy your assignment can be.


Steps to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

1) Understand the Assignment and How it Applies to the Course


Once the student understands the purpose of the Compare and Contrast Essay, they can begin the brainstorming process needed to write a successful essay of this kind. Usually, the student must illustrate the characteristics of two similar yet different things that directly apply to the course in which the assignment is given.


Most times, this particular kind of essay assignment will be given in an English course or some kind of writing composition course.


(An example of an appropriate topic for a Compare and Contrast Essay that may be given in an English course: comparing and contrasting Fiction and Nonfiction based on their characteristics and definitions, etc.)


However, this is not always the case. If the assignment is given in a Political Science course, for example, a student may choose to write a Compare and Contrast Essay on two countries' views on Human Rights.

2) Select What the Essay Will Be About


There are several items, terms and topics that can be effectively compared and contrasted in an academic essay. The subject matter in the essay should ALWAYS pertain to the course, and the items being analyzed should be compared and contrasted based on their qualities, functions and purposes, properties, definitions, etc.


To better illustrate just how to write a successful Compare and Contrast Essay, the aforementioned example (comparing and contrasting Fiction and Nonfiction based on their functions and definitions, etc.) will be used in the next point.


3) Brainstorm, then Outline the Essay


To brainstorm, the student may want to simply write down the number of ways in which their items are different and similar.


How Fiction and Nonfiction Compare (one example): Both terms pertain to the nature of published and even non-published written works of literature.


How Fiction and Nonfiction Contrast (one example): Fiction is literature in the form of prose – short stories and novels that describe imaginary events and people; it is invention or fabrication as opposed to fact. Nonfiction is prose writing that is based on facts, real events, and real people, such as biography or history.


Like other academic essays, the Compare and Contrast Essay includes a Thesis (the paper’s premise that is to be argued or maintained in the essay) and follows the same format of a general five-paragraph essay: an introductory paragraph easing the reader into the topic at hand that also has a Thesis Statement – in this case, a sentence explaining that two items compare and contrast based on a set of shared characteristics; at least three body paragraphs that support, evidence, explain and illustrate how the items are similar and different; and then a conclusion paragraph tying the paper together, announcing its close.


In creating an outline for their essay, the student should note that the body paragraphs of the Compare and Contrast Essay can be written in at least two ways: one, by illustrating the number of ways the two items compare, in one or more paragraphs, then how they contrast in the following paragraph/s, or vice versa; or, two, by illustrating in each body paragraph how the items both compare and contrast.



4) Write the Essay According to the Outline


Using the outline as a guide, the student should write the paper the best they can, illustrating the similarities and differences between their two chosen items. It should be told in a confident, assertive tone, with enough evidence to support their Thesis.


5) Proofread, Revise (If Needed) and Submit for Evaluation


The essay should in the end be void of improper grammar, misspellings and careless punctuation mistakes. Before submitting it for evaluation, the student should proofread and reread (and revise if necessary) their essay to confirm it makes a solid, well-defended argument.


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I have written my assignment, but before I hand it in, would you be able to proof read and tell me if I have done it correctly.
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