Compare and Contrast Essay: Definition, Outline and Useful Examples

There are many types of essay and one of the most common is the compare and contrast essay which is used for a specific purpose. In this article, we are going to be looking at what a compare and contrast essay is as well as how to write one for yourself. We are also going to be looking at some topics on which you might write a compare and contrast essay and some samples of compare and contrast essays that have already been written.

Compare And Contrast Essay

What Is A Compare And Contrast Essay?

A compare and contrast essay is exactly what its name may suggest, an essay which is used to make comparisons and contrasts between two things. Some examples of things you might compare are animals kept as domestic pets or two movies in the same genre.

How To Write A Compare And Contrast Essay

In order to write a successful compare and contrast essay, there are certain steps that you should follow. These will ensure that you essay gets across the points you would like to make in a clear and concise manner. We are now going to take a look at some great tips for writing the perfect compare and contrast essay.

Choose A Subject

As we mentioned earlier, a compare and contrast essay is one which is used to do exactly that – compare and contrast two things from a similar category. When choosing your subject, you should select something which you either know a lot about or are easily able to research. One of the most important things to remember when writing an essay is that any data and facts you include should be backed up and correct. This means that choosing a topic should relate to that.

Let’s now take a look at some examples of compare and contrast essay topics you might consider using.

  • Picasso and Da Vinci
  • Beethoven and Bach
  • Meat eaters and vegans
  • Introvert and extrovert
  • Gen Y and gen Z
  • Christians and Catholics
  • Horror movies and thriller movies
  • The Bible and The Qu’ran
  • Male and female
  • War and peace
  • Love and hate
  • World war 1 and World war 2
  • American English and British English
  • Ph.D and Masters degree


The next part is to begin brainstorming your ideas, in the main you should be coming up with some similarities and differences between the two subjects that you have chosen. Once you have got enough of these, you can begin to put them into some sort of order of importance – beginning with the most important.

What Is Your Main Argument?

When writing a compare and contrast essay, the main point isn’t to simply compare the two things but to paint a larger picture. Take for example an essay about the two world wars, your argument might be that soldiers suffered more greatly in the First world war as opposed to the second. Your comparisons and contrasts should lead to a confirmation of your argument.

Organise Your Essay

You could structure your compare and contrast essay in a variety of ways, you might decide to write about the first subject in great detail before changing to the next. However, you might also decide to make one point on one subject then switch to the next and then back again and so forth.

Choosing how to structure your essay largely comes down to the type of argument you wish to make but you should also take your personal choice into consideration.

Outline Your Compare And Contrast Essay

Now that all the planning for your essay is done, it is time to create your essay outline. As with any essay, it is important to take your time and ensure that you have included all the points in your essay outline. This will help prevent problems further along the line.

Always remember that the traditional essay contains an introduction, a body which is made up of three paragraphs and a conclusion. There is some room for movement on the body, leaving you free to write more or less paragraphs as you wish.

Further Tips For Writing A Compare And Contrast Essay

Your essay outline is now complete and it is time to start writing your essay. It is important that you stick to the essay outline as this will serve as your guide for completing the final written piece. We are now going to take a look at some final tips for writing a convincing and easy to read compare and contrast essay.

  • Be sure to write in clear and concise language that the reader will easily understand. No matter what the topic, you should assume that it is completely new to the reader and so your information should be able to be understood by anyone who reads it.
  • When stating facts or statistics, it is vital that you have evidence to back these up. If you have researched data from a specific source, this should be cited. It is always crucial that you use reliable sources for any facts you include in your work.
  • Once you have finished writing the first draft of your essay, it is very important that you proofread it and make any necessary adjustments.
  • When writing a compare and contrast essay, you might decide to go more with one subject over another and this is OK, but you should clearly state why you are swaying a particular way and give reasons to back this up.

An Example Of A Compare And Contrast Essay

In order to get a better understanding on how a compare and contrast essay is written, we are going to take a look at a passage from an essay called ‘Parenting Styles’ written by Nicholas Klaczanzky.

As parents, we must be aware of the various types of parenting which exist. There isn’t a style which will fit the needs of every child and we really should adapt the way we parent to both our children and our personality. On top of this, there is nothing wrong in mixing parenting styles. To go further, there are 4 main types of parenting: permissive, authoritarian, uninvolved and authoritative. Let’s delve into each style to understand how we might become better parents, as well as learning how to understand mistakes in raising our children.

Compare And Contrast Essay Infographic

Compare And Contrast Essay

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