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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay: Guide For College Students

Compare and contrast paper is probably one of the most common college assignments. While some of the students start trembling when hearing the magic words “compare and contrast essay,” we want to give you a brief yet full guide on writing those. After reading the article, the question “how to write a compare and contrast essay” will not even pop up in your head since we included many useful details and tips.

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What is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

The definition of a compare and contrast essay is hidden in its name. You get two things to compare, analyze their similarities and differences, and then put everything together point by point in a sophisticated way (read “academic writing”). There are multiple elements you want to include in your paper so the compare contrast essay outline looks logical and the compare-contrast words fit perfectly. So, the best way to write a compare and contrast essay is to imagine it as a Lego constructor and see the instructions.

What can I compare and contrast?

You can compare and contrast anything… but as long as it makes sense to your reader. Obviously, you have to write a comparison-contrast essay by emphasizing two core subjects, which should be from one semantic field. Let’s see some comparison and contrast essay examples that can be actually used for writing this paper:


Good Examples

Examples to Improve

Examples to Avoid


Apples & Pears

Apples & Seeds

Apples & Unicorns


Scrubs & F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Scrubs & Zach Braff

Scrubs & Napkins

Social Politics

Radical Feminism & Liberal Feminism

Radical Feminism & Women’s Day

Radical Feminism & Water Pollution


Java & C++

Java & Websites

Java & Chips


Socialism & Communism

Socialism & Self-Management

Socialism & Animal Shelters

Self-driving cars

Uber & Tesla

Uber & Tires

Uber & Blankets

This table perfectly illustrates the way you want to funny compare and contrast topics to examine. In the “Good Examples” column, you see two phenomena, which belong to one field. They might not be absolutely contrasting, which will for sure give you some more factors to analyze. “Example to Improve” implied two relevant subjects that, however, cannot be correlated due to their type. This means you cannot set up the criteria for your compare and contrast college essay but just go deep into one topic and its core element. “Examples to Avoid” is just for loosing up a bit.

Preparing the Compare and Contrast Essay

Coming up with the decent title and thesis is a regular ritual for any academic essay. Which check-points should you follow?

  • Your title mentions things to compare and contrast;
  • It doesn’t take more than 12 words (depending on your format);
  • It plays a role of the preview to your essay;
  • Your thesis is in the end of the first paragraph;
  • It is a one sentence to briefly describe the relation between the subjects you chose;
  • It doesn’t contradict your body and conclusion paragraphs.

Picking the compare and contrast essay format

The compare and contrast essay format usually depends on the educational institutions that hand out your assignment. There are multiple academic writing formats you can follow (APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard). All of the templates have the precise guides regarding the title page, table of content, citing, and reference page. You are able to download comparative essay format templates from academic web-resources; however, double-check the template with your professor before filling it out with your personal content.

How to Prepare a Compare and Contrast Essay Structure?

If a comparative essay is not your first academic paper, you might be already familiar with the typical compare and contrast outline. Let’s recall the core functions of every part that a good essay structure would have:

1 paragraph

2 paragraph

3 paragraph

4 paragraph (can be elaborated into more p.)

5 paragraph




Introduces the topic by stating a strong thesis

Describes the Subject #1 with all its features necessary for analysis

Describes the Subject #2 with all its features necessary for analysis

Analyzes all the mentioned details and compares those/

compare & contrast paragraph(s)

Sums up all the previous parts, states the verdict

What is the proper compare and contrast essay structure?

Compare and contrast essay introduction

In most of the cases, professional writers try to come up with the compare and contrast introduction after the core part of the text is written. The thing is, you want to demonstrate the core elements of your analysis and may be give a slight clue about your personal opinion on the matter. Introduction for compare and contrast essay should take not more a few lines, which will emphasize your comparing and contrasting methods. At some point, you want to include a couple of your references, but make sure that there should be no quotes in the first paragraph

Compare and contrast paragraphs

When googling “how to write a compare and contrast essay”, students are usually aimed at figuring out the exact order of the paragraphs (outline). The first task you have at this point is to come up with the grounds for comparison that will serve semantical milestones later. As it was mentioned, it’s vital to have accurate reasoning of your choice in the comparison and contrast paragraphs so that the text looks logical and readable.

It is unnecessary to provide equal space for similarities and differences since some of them will naturally prevail. Therefore, you might want to dedicate special attention to the type of relation between the concept. For example, the most typical options would be:

  • Subject #1 contradicts/debates/doubts Subject #2

  • Subject #2 serves an extension/correction/complication of Subject #1

In some cases, you can fit your analysis into one paragraph. However, in most of the cases, you intend to separate paragraphs to group the ideas and make your reader clear about the shades of your analysis.

  1. Compare paragraphs mainly draw the reader’s attention to the similar aspects the subjects have. “Likewise,” “both”, and “similar” transition words would be suitable in this paragraph.
  2. Contrast paragraphs underline the possible distinctions between the Subjects and justify your discoveries with the proper evidence. The best contrasting words of transition for this part are “on the other hand,” “whereas,” and “nonetheless.”

How to write a conclusion for an compare and contrast essay?

Again, you can write a compare and contrast essay conclusion right after you have the actual things to sum up. Since your reader is aware of the data you presented, don’t use any other facts or simply reformulate your thesis. The closing part usually looks a lot like the introduction, but you might want to use rather sophisticated language in the end.

Regardless of the discipline, you might receive a task to come up with the professionally written contrasting essay. Depending on the topic, you can either discover your hidden writing talent or fall into a desperate depression. Therefore, college admission essay writing service offer a wide range of assignments they are ready to proofread/edit/write for you.

For years, PapersOwl has been a market leader since its 24/7 customer support, affordable prices, and professional writers. These guys for sure know how to write a compare and contrast essay. If you are wondering how to write a conclusion in compare and contrast essay, trust the professionals who manage to impress the most skeptical professors. Buying the complete assignment certainly increases your chances for an excellent mark and reduces overall stress.

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