Free Printable Comparing and Contrasting Worksheets for 6th Grade
Comparing and Contrasting: Discover a collection of free printable Reading & Writing worksheets for Grade 6 students, curated by Quizizz to enhance their analytical and critical thinking skills.
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Comparing and contrasting worksheets for Grade 6 are essential tools for teachers to help students develop critical thinking skills in reading and writing. These worksheets provide a structured approach to teaching reading comprehension strategies, allowing students to analyze and evaluate texts by identifying similarities and differences between various subjects or themes. As students progress through Grade 6, they are expected to become more proficient in reading, understanding, and interpreting complex texts. Incorporating these worksheets into lesson plans can greatly enhance students' abilities to make connections, draw conclusions, and synthesize information from multiple sources. By consistently using comparing and contrasting worksheets for Grade 6, teachers can effectively support their students in mastering essential reading comprehension strategies and improving their overall reading skills.
Quizizz is an excellent platform that offers a wide range of resources, including comparing and contrasting worksheets for Grade 6, to help teachers create engaging and interactive learning experiences. In addition to reading and writing worksheets, Quizizz provides various tools and features that can be used to assess students' understanding of reading comprehension strategies. Teachers can create customized quizzes, polls, and games to reinforce key concepts and track students' progress over time. The platform also offers a vast library of pre-made content, allowing educators to easily find and adapt materials to suit their specific needs and objectives. By incorporating Quizizz into their teaching strategies, teachers can effectively support their Grade 6 students in developing strong reading and writing skills, while also fostering a fun and engaging learning environment.
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80 Intriguing Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Kids and Teens
Android vs. iPhone? Capitalism vs. communism? Hot dog vs. taco?
In compare and contrast essays , writers show the similarities and differences between two things. They combine descriptive writing with analysis, making connections and showing dissimilarities. Remind students that in this type of writing, they’re not necessarily trying to sway the reader to one opinion or another—they’re just presenting and analyzing facts. These compare and contrast essay topics will give them plenty of practice.
- School and Life Essay Topics
- Entertainment Essay Topics
- History and Politics Essay Topics
- Just for Fun Essay Topics
School and Life Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- Public and private schools
- Online school and in-person school
- Any two schools or colleges
- Going to college vs. starting work full-time
- Working your way through college as you go or taking out student loans
- Parents and grandparents
- Elementary school and high school
- Learning to read vs. learning to write
- The importance of any two school subjects
- Wearing glasses vs. having braces
- You and your best friend
- Friendship vs. romantic love
- Group work and individual work
- Only child vs. having siblings
- Nature vs. nurture
- Anxiety and depression
- Old friends and new friends
- Your teacher vs. your parent/guardian
- Car ownership and public transportation
- Learning to ride a bike vs. learning to drive a car
Entertainment Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- iPhone vs. Android
- Instagram vs. Twitter (or choose any other two social media platforms)
- Xbox vs. PlayStation
- Any two sports, like American football vs. soccer
- Cooking at home and dining out
- A movie based on a book and the book it was based on
- Reading and watching TV
- Opera music and pop music (or any two music genres)
- Vegetarian and vegan
- Giving and receiving gifts
- Going to a play vs. going to a movie
- Playing a video game and watching a movie
- Horse racing vs. NASCAR
- Laptop vs. tablet
- Sprint vs. marathon
- Poetry and rap music
- Ping-Pong vs. tennis
- DC vs. Marvel
- Netflix and YouTube
- Shopping online and shopping in person
History and Politics Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- Capitalism vs. communism
- Socialism vs. communism
- Monarchy/dictatorship and democracy
- Two political candidates in a current race
- Spanish flu pandemic vs. COVID-19 pandemic
- World War I and World War II
- American pioneers vs. first space explorers
- Gen X vs. Gen Z
- Abraham Lincoln vs. Barack Obama (or any other two presidents)
- Any two U.S. states
- Any two historic eras
- Queen Elizabeth I vs. Queen Elizabeth II
- Republicans and Democrats
- Hitler and Stalin
- The first airplane flight vs. the first manned spaceflight
- American president vs. U.K. prime minister
- Fox News vs. CNN
- Legislative branch and executive branch and/or judicial branch
- Equality and equity
- Elected politicians vs. lobbyists
Just for Fun Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
- Dogs vs. cats as pets
- Paper books or e-books
- Hot dogs vs. tacos
- Summer and winter
- Fall and spring
- Big Mac vs. Whopper
- Coke vs. Pepsi
- Chocolate shake vs. hot chocolate
- Any two superheroes or villains
- Mondays and Fridays
- Mornings vs. evenings
- First day of school vs. last day of school
- Christmas vs. birthdays
- Hurricane vs. tornado
- Birthday as a kid and birthday as an adult
- Going barefoot vs. wearing shoes
- Appetizers and desserts
- Phone calls and texting
- Pants vs. skirts
- Electric cars vs. gas-powered cars
What are some of your favorite compare and contrast essay topics? Come share your prompts on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .
Plus, check out the big list of essay topics for high school (100+ ideas).
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26 Compelling Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
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Scaffolding a Compare and Contrast Essay With Frames and Templates
Writing can be hard and frustrating for upper elementary students; writing a compare and contrast essay can be even harder and more frustrating.
Often, this skill gets pushed to the back burner. It is a lot easier to practice comparing and contrasting with things that take less time - like by using a Venn Diagram.
However, teaching 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students to compare and contrast topics within their writing is an important skill. Scaffolding student writing through sentence or paragraph frames and essay templates can minimize the frustration of students, save valuable time, and help your students become better writers. Providing structure helps focus yoru students.
Below, find ideas for scaffolding so that your 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students can be successful with comparing and contrasting in their writing - and eventually writing a compare and contrast essay!
Start Small - With Compare and Contrast Sentence Starters or Frames
Students don't have to write an entire essay every time you want them to practice comparing and contrasting within their writing - they can practice this skill by simply writing a sentence that compares or contrasts two things.
Providing students with sentence starters is a great way to ease them into using compare and contrast language in their writing. This is especially beneficial for your ELL and low language students, but ALL of your students will benefit from this strategy.
Example Sentence Starters
1. __________ and __________ are different because __________.
2. __________ and __________ are alike because __________.
3. The most important difference between __________ and __________ is __________.
4. An important similarity between __________ and __________ is __________.
5. While __________ and __________ are alike because __________, they have different __________.
Using a Paragraph Template or Frame
After students have been successful at writing sentences that compare and contrast, expand to short paragraphs. Provide scaffolding similar to the sentence frames to help your 3rd grade, 4th grade, or 5th grade students be successful.
Using scaffolding like this will not only help them with comparing and contrasting language, but will improve their overall writing as well.
(You might find some of these other writing tips and ideas helpful.)
Example Paragraph Frames
1. __________ and __________ have many differences. The most important difference is _________________________. Another difference is _________________________. Finally, _________________________.
2. __________ and __________ are similar in many ways. For example, ____________________. Furthermore, they both ____________________. A final similarity is ____________________.
3. __________ and __________ are similar in some ways, but different in others. For example, they both ____________________. Despite this similarity, they are different because ____________________. This difference is important because ____________________.
Compare and Contrast Essay Template / Structure / Outline
Writing an essay can be overwhelming. Teachers often try to support students by modeling good essay writing - which is an essential step. But having students go straight from having a compare and contrast essay modeled for them to writing their own independently can be a huge jump for some. They are going straight from "I do" to "You do."
A scaffolded essay outline makes a good "we do" for upper elementary students. Provide students with a scaffolded template that clearly lays out the structure of a good compare and contrast essay. This helps students stay on topic and reminds them what a good compare and contrast essay should look like.
Eventually, you will take this scaffolding away. Or, you can use the scaffolding to differentiate. Provide more scaffolding for students that needed, while students have a good grasp might only have topic students scaffolded for them - or maybe even no scaffolding at all.
If you know your students would benefit from this type of scaffolding, but don’t have the time to create it yourself, check out my Compare and Contrast Writing Resource.
It walks students through the writing process with scaffolding each step of the way. This resource also provides a model essay so that you can model expectations for your students. Plus, it can be used over and over again with different topics.
You might also like these other ideas for scaffolding your instruction, or these compare and contrast activities and ideas.
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101 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
Great Ideas for Essays
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- An Introduction to Teaching
- Tips & Strategies
- Policies & Discipline
- Community Involvement
- School Administration
- Technology in the Classroom
- Teaching Adult Learners
- Issues In Education
- Becoming A Teacher
- Assessments & Tests
- Elementary Education
- Secondary Education
- Special Education
- M.Ed., Curriculum and Instruction, University of Florida
- B.A., History, University of Florida
Compare and contrast essays are taught in school for many reasons. For one thing, they are relatively easy to teach, understand, and format. Students can typically understand the structure with just a short amount of instruction. In addition, these essays allow students develop critical thinking skills to approach a variety of topics.
One fun way to get students started brainstorming their compare and contrast essays is to create a Venn diagram , where the overlapping sections of the circle contain similarities and the non-overlapping areas contain the differing traits.
Following is a list of 101 topics for compare and contrast essays that you are welcome to use in your classroom. As you look through the list you will see that some items are academic in nature while others are included for interest-building and fun writing activities.
- Apple vs. Microsoft
- Coke vs. Pepsi
- Renaissance Art vs. Baroque Art
- Antebellum Era vs. Reconstruction Era in American History
- Childhood vs. Adulthood
- Star Wars vs. Star Trek
- Biology vs. Chemistry
- Astrology vs. Astronomy
- American Government vs. British Government (or any world government)
- Fruits vs. Vegetables
- Dogs vs. Cats
- Ego vs. Superego
- Christianity vs. Judaism (or any world religion )
- Republican vs. Democrat
- Monarchy vs. Presidency
- US President vs. UK Prime Minister
- Jazz vs. Classical Music
- Red vs. White (or any two colors)
- Soccer vs. Football
- North vs. South Before the Civil War
- New England Colonies vs. Middle Colonies OR vs. Southern Colonies
- Cash vs. Credit Cards
- Sam vs. Frodo Baggins
- Gandalf vs. Dumbledore
- Fred vs. Shaggy
- Rap vs. Pop
- Articles of Confederation vs. U.S. Constitution
- Henry VIII vs. King Louis XIV
- Stocks vs. Bonds
- Monopolies vs. Oligopolies
- Communism vs. Capitalism
- Socialism vs. Capitalism
- Diesel vs. Petroleum
- Nuclear Power vs. Solar Power
- Saltwater Fish vs. Freshwater Fish
- Squids vs. Octopus
- Mammals vs. Reptiles
- Baleen vs. Toothed Whales
- Seals vs. Sea Lions
- Crocodiles vs. Alligators
- Bats vs. Birds
- Oven vs. Microwave
- Greek vs. Roman Mythology
- Chinese vs. Japanese
- Comedy vs. Drama
- Renting vs. Owning
- Mozart vs. Beethoven
- Online vs. Traditional Education
- North vs. South Pole
- Watercolor vs. Oil
- 1984 vs. Fahrenheit 451
- Emily Dickinson vs. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
- W.E.B. DuBois vs. Booker T. Washington
- Strawberries vs. Apples
- Airplanes vs. Helicopters
- Hitler vs. Napoleon
- Roman Empire vs. British Empire
- Paper vs. Plastic
- Italy vs. Spain
- Baseball vs. Cricket
- Jefferson vs. Adams
- Thoroughbreds vs. Clydesdales
- Spiders vs. Scorpions
- Northern Hemisphere vs. Southern Hemisphere
- Hobbes vs. Locke
- Friends vs. Family
- Dried Fruit vs. Fresh
- Porcelain vs. Glass
- Modern Dance vs. Ballroom Dancing
- American Idol vs. The Voice
- Reality TV vs. Sitcoms
- Picard vs. Kirk
- Books vs. Movies
- Magazines vs. Comic Books
- Antique vs. New
- Public vs. Private Transportation
- Email vs. Letters
- Facebook vs. Twitter
- Coffee vs. an Energy Drink
- Toads vs. Frogs
- Profit vs. Non-Profit
- Boys vs. Girls
- Birds vs. Dinosaurs
- High School vs. College
- Chamberlain vs. Churchill
- Offense vs. Defense
- Jordan vs. Bryant
- Harry vs. Draco
- Roses vs. Carnations
- Poetry vs. Prose
- Fiction vs. Nonfiction
- Lions vs. Tigers
- Vampires vs. Werewolves
- Lollipops vs. popsicles
- Summer vs. Winter
- Recycling vs. Landfill
- Motorcycle vs. Bicycle
- Halogen vs. Incandescent
- Newton vs. Einstein
- . Go on vacation vs. Staycation
- Rock vs. Scissors
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Teaching the Compare and Contrast Essay through Modeling
- Resources & Preparation
- Instructional Plan
- Related Resources
Together, students and teacher use charts and Venn diagrams to brainstorm and organize similarities and differences between two objects. The teacher then models the beginning of the first draft, inviting students to help rephrase, clarify, and revise as the draft is written. Finally, students take what they have learned to complete the draft independently.
Comparison and Contrast Guide : This student-centered online guide provides a thorough introduction to the compare and contrast essay format, including definitions, transitions, graphic organizers, checklists, and examples.
Venn Diagram : Use this online tool during prewriting to organize ideas for a compare and contrast essay.
From Theory to Practice
Rick VanDeWeghe writes of modeling: "teachers show how they go about the processes of reading and writing-drawing students' attention to the ways readers and writers think and the real decisions they make, especially when they themselves are challenged." In her book Conversations , Regie Routman explains why this modeling process is so successful: "It has always been our job to teach directly and explicitly in response to students' needs-carefully demonstrating, specifically showing how, clearly explaining. Whatever we want our students to do well, we first have to show them how. Of all the changes I have made in my teaching, adding explicit demonstration to everything I teach has been the single most important factor in increasing students' literacy" (24).
Further, writing out loud with students gives me an opportunity to show my enjoyment for the writing process. Students see that revision and editing are part of the fun, and that even teachers don't get it correct the first time. As an added bonus, students are frequently more eager to share personal writings with me for feedback once they see this process modeled.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
Materials and Technology
- LCD Projector hooked to a computer with a word processor, or an overhead projector
- Word processor software
- General classroom supplies (pencils, paper, etc.)
- Compare and Contrast Chart Graphic Organizer (optional)
- Comparison and Contrast Rubric (optional)
- Set the projector up so that the teacher is facing the class and able to type the text (or write easily on the overhead) and the class is able to follow along.
- Familiarize yourself with the basic commands of the word processor on the computer that you're using.
- Test the Venn Diagram student interactive, Comparison and Contrast Guide , and Compare and Contrast Map on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.
- Prior to this lesson, students should have learned how to write introductions and conclusions. The ReadWriteThink lesson Leading to Great Places in the Elementary Classroom can be a useful resource for exploring introductory sentences.
- (optional) For background information on the compare and contrast essay format, see Literacy Education Online's Comparison/Contrast Essays .
- define the characteristics of a comparison/contrast essay.
- generate ideas for the group composition and their own essays as the process is modeled.
- develop a final copy of a comparison/contrast paper.
- Hold up or display two different objects for students to focus on as they explore the meaning of the terms compare and contrast. You might choose two different beverage options (juice versus milk), two candy bars (Milky Way versus Reese's Cups), or two different television programs ( SpongeBob SquarePants versus The Rugrats ). Be sure to choose items which students are familiar with so that the process of comparing the objects will be clearer to them.
- Make two columns on the board or chart paper and invite students to brainstorm characteristics of first one of the objects (e.g., juice) and then the other object (e.g., milk). Invite students to add and revise information as they work, moving between the two columns.
- If students need help building the lists of characteristics, ask leading questions such as "How do you decide which beverage you want to drink?" or "How do you decide which candy bar to buy?"
- Ask students to identify characteristics that are included in both of the columns. Either mark these similarities using a different colored pen, or create a new chart with the column headings of "Comparison" and "Contrast."
- Based on the information in the lists, lead a class discussion on the definitions of the words compare and contrast . Refer to examples on the charts to clarify the difference between the two terms.
- As a class, brainstorm other ways students compare and contrast in their daily lives (sports teams, restaurants, toys, books, etc.). You can do this by pairing students in groups or 2-4 having them compose a list as a group and then as a coming together as a class to share ideas.
- From there, you will brainstorm and generate a class definition of compare and contrast making sure they understand why comparing and contrasting is important by using examples as needed.
Sessions Two and Three
- Use the Comparison and Contrast Guide to review information from the first class session as needed.
- You can decide or allow the class to help you decide two things to compare and contrast for the class essay.
- Use the "Graphic Organizer" tab on the Comparison and Contrast Guide to introduce the Venn Diagram. Alternately, you can use the Compare and Contrast Chart Graphic Organizer if you prefer.
- Open the Venn Diagram Student Interactive . Alternately, you can draw a simple graphic organizer on the chalkboard of a Venn diagram (two overlapping circles).
- Label the circles and brainstorm as a class what is different about your topics and drag the ideas to the appropriate circle and what is the same about your topic and drag those ideas to the overlapping part of the circles.
- Print out the Venn Diagram, and make copies for students to use in later sessions.
- Use the "Organizing a Paper" tab on the Comparison and Contrast Guide and the Compare and Contrast Map to introduce the Similarities-to-Differences structure.
- Open a new word processor file, where you'll compose the first sections of the essay as a group.
- Brainstorm an interesting lead with the class. Have several people give ideas and model for the class how to rearrange ideas and thoughts to come up with the best and most interesting beginning and continue writing as a class from there.
- Demonstrate cut, copy, and paste commands for your word processor software.
- As you write with your class, feel free to delete ideas and change them as better ones come up and reread what has been written before asking for the next idea to be sure that the thoughts flow nicely. Refer back to the Venn Diagram as necessary.
- Use the "Transitions" tab on the Comparison and Contrast Guide to introduce the use of transitional words to increase coherence.
- Save your class draft of the introduction and the section on similarities. If possible, share the file with students, so that they can continue writing the text in their own copy of the file. Alternately, print the file and makes copies for students.
- Ask the students to continue the essay using the beginning that you've written together. They can add the section on differences and the conclusion in class or as homework.
- Use the Comparison and Contrast Guide to review information as needed. Use the "Checklist" tab to explain the requirements for the finished essay. If desired, share the Comparison and Contrast Rubric with students as well.
- Show students how to access the Comparison and Contrast Guide so that they can refer to the resource as they like while writing.
- If students work in class, circulate among students, giving ideas and help.
- Write another comparison and contrast essay, using the whole-to-whole or point-by-point organization explained in the "Organizing a Paper" tab on the Comparison and Contrast Guide .
History historical figures, maps of different time periods, states, time periods, books on the same historical subject Science scientists, weather patterns, plants in habitats Art paintings, artists' lives, different techniques Reading two different authors, two stories by the same author, books on the same topic by different authors, a book and the movie made from it
Student Assessment / Reflections
If possible, it is great to read the essay with the student individually and provide direct feedback. When this option is not available, constructive written comments are helpful. As you read the essays, keep notes on the aspects to review and share with the class later. For more structured feedback, use the Comparison and Contrast Rubric . After you have finished responding to the essays, review them with the class, adding advice as needed. You might go back and model an area where students needed more practice. Alternately, you can use the Compare and Contrast Guide to review the area.
This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.
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Compare and Contrast
The ability to compare and contrast is critical for comprehending literary and informational texts—and for writing them. Learners practice this skill via compare and contrast worksheets, graphic organizers and Venn diagrams, paired texts, reading response sheets, close reading activities, and report writing.
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Published on: Mar 19, 2018
Last updated on: Nov 1, 2023
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Have you ever found yourself staring at a blank screen, tasked with the challenge of writing a compare and contrast essay?
It's a common academic requirement, but it can be as tricky as comparing apples and oranges when you're not sure where to begin. The pressure to showcase your writing and analytical skills can feel like a heavy burden. After all, comparing and contrasting two subjects effectively isn't something you do every day.
Don't worry; we're here to lighten the load!
This blog will walk you through the art of crafting a compare and contrast essay, providing you with real-life examples and samples.
So, without further ado, let's dive in!
On This Page On This Page
Let’s go through examples and samples to analyze the compare and contrast essays . Below are some examples of different academic levels.
Compare And Contrast Essay Example for Middle School
Middle School Comparative Essay Example
Compare and Contrast Essay Example for 7th Grade
Compare and Contrast Essay Example for 4th Grade
Compare and Contrast Essay Example for 3rd Grade
Compare And Contrast Essay Example for High School
The high school essay is different from the college compare and contrast essay. It does not require an expert level of logical analysis from the students. Instead, it is just an opportunity for them to learn better.
High School Comparative Essay Example
Compare and Contrast Essay Example for College
The compare and contrast essay’s primary purpose is to enable the students to focus on logical comparison and contrasting aspects.
College Comparative Essay Example
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Sample Compare and Contrast Essay Outline
In this section, we'll provide you with a sample compare and contrast essay structure to serve as your roadmap for crafting a compelling essay. Each section of the compare and contrast essay outline will be accompanied by a relevant example to illustrate its application.
- Hook: Begin with an attention-grabbing statement or question.
- Thesis Statement: State the main purpose of your essay and your stance on the subjects.
- Point 1: The points of comparison start with the first similarity between the subjects.
- Supporting Evidence: Provide facts, statistics, or examples to reinforce the similarity.
- Point 2: Move on to the first difference between the subjects.
- Supporting Evidence: Back up your difference with relevant information.
C. Additional Similarities and Differences
- Point 3: Introduce the second similarity.
- Supporting Evidence: Elaborate on this similarity.
Make your writing effortlessly coherent by strategically placing transition words that guide readers from paragraph to paragraph.
- Restate Thesis: Recap your thesis statement and the main points covered in the essay.
- Closing Thoughts: Offer some final thoughts or insights related to the subjects.
Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion Example
Organization Methods Illustrated with Examples
In a compare and contrast essay, the way you structure your content can significantly impact the clarity and effectiveness of your argument. There are two main organizational methods to choose from: the point-by-point method and the block method .
Each method has its advantages and is suitable for different types of comparisons.
Let's explore both methods with samples:
I. Point-by-Point Method
- What is Point-by-Point?: This section explains the concept of the point-by-point method, where you compare and contrast specific points or aspects of the subjects in each paragraph.
- Advantages of Point-by-Point: Discuss the benefits of using this method, such as its ability to provide a balanced comparison.
Example: Let’s explore the point-by-point structure of a compare and contrast essay:
II. Block Method
What is the Block Method? Describe the block method, which involves discussing all the aspects of one subject in the first part of the essay and the other subject in the second part. Advantages of the Block Method: Explain the strengths of the block method, such as its simplicity and clarity.
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Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Students
Here are some compelling topics for this type of essay:
- United States vs. Canada: A Comparison of Healthcare Systems
- African American Civil Rights Movement vs. Native American Activism: A Historical Analysis
- Pros and Cons of Urban and Rural Living in the United States
- The Venn Diagram of Democracy: Comparing the United States and European Union
- Native American Reservations vs. African American Communities: Economic and Social Challenges
- The Pros and Cons of the United States' Immigration Policies
- African American Literature vs. Native American Literature: A Literary Exploration
- United States vs. Australia: A Comparison of Education Systems
- Pros and Cons of Native American Gaming Enterprises in the U.S.
- African American Music vs. Native American Music: Cultural Significance and Influence
Need more ideas? Check our blog for more compare and contrast essay topics !
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do you start a compare and contrast paragraph.
The opening sentence names the two subjects. The next sentences discuss how they are very similar, different, or have many important similarities and differences. Continue discussing these with compare-contrast cue words like "like," "similar to" and also."
What is the last step before writing a compare and contrast essay?
The last step before writing a compare and contrast paragraph is to compose a thesis. This is because the gathering of supporting details has already been done, which makes it easier when coming up with this type of paper.
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How to Write a Compare-and-Contrast Essay
A compare-and-contrast essay is a style of essay that points out the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. It’s ideal for showing what separates and unites related things or concepts, particularly if the subjects are often confused for each other or unjustly lumped together.
Compare-and-contrast essays have a lot in common with other essay types, but differ in many ways, too—and that’s the heart of comparing and contrasting! By seeing the differences and similarities, the reader better understands each of the subjects by using the other subject as a frame of reference.
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In this guide, we explain how to write a compare-and-contrast essay, including some advanced tips and examples. We discuss how to structure your essay and how to frame your thesis , but first, let’s take a broader look at why comparison essays are so useful.
Purpose of a compare-and-contrast essay
Let’s say you want to write an essay about how great renewable resources are, but you spend a lot of your time explaining how fossil fuels work. To truly understand why renewable resources are so amazing, your reader needs a little background on their alternative, fossil fuels—but the essay’s attention is divided so equally that it’s like there are two topics.
That’s when compare-and-contrast essays function at their best. If two topics relate to each other or define each other, you can better explain them both by showcasing their similarities and differences. That goes double for topics that are often conflated or confused for each other; it helps readers when someone points out exactly what’s the same about them and what’s different.
Unlike argumentative essays or persuasive essays , compare-and-contrast essays deal with multiple topics instead of focusing on one. The downside is that they don’t describe the individual subjects as much as single-topic essays. They’re also a common assignment for college essays since they show the instructor how well you grasp both subjects.
How to write a compare-and-contrast essay
When writing a compare-and-contrast essay, it helps to figure out two things: what your thesis is (the subject matter) and how you plan to structure it.
First things first: You need to choose which subjects you’re comparing. This isn’t always easy, especially if you have to pick the subjects on your own.
For inspiration, here are some compare-and-contrast essay example topics:
- fossil fuels and renewable resources
- Coca-Cola and Pepsi
- Mona Lisa and The Girl with a Pearl Earring
- ’80s punk rock music and ’90s grunge music
- Dorothea Lange and Diane Arbus
- London in the 1600s and London now
- the LGBTQIA+ community before and after Stonewall
- Roman Empire and Greek Empire
- loop quantum gravity and string theory
- evolution and creationism
- liberalism and conservatism
- fascism and despotism
Once you’ve settled on your subjects, you can begin generating ideas. It helps to first list all the similarities and differences between your subjects . When you see them all written down, you can start formulating connections and decide what structure to use for your compare-and-contrast essay.
If you’re stuck, try making a Venn diagram . This is a visual aid that helps you understand which characteristics your subjects share, and which ones are exclusive.
Looking at your lists, you can then decide on the thesis. To do so, ask yourself a few questions: What are you trying to show in your compare-and-contrast essay? What do you want your reader to take away? For example, do you want to emphasize that Dorothea Lange’s work influenced Diane Arbus, or that they are two very distinct artists?
Compare-and-contrast essays follow our own recommended essay structure . While the linked guide goes into more detail, in a nutshell, your compare-and-contrast essay should follow a simple format of beginning, middle, and end:
- Introduction: where you explain your thesis or what your essay will discuss
- Body: where you actually list the similarities and differences of your subjects; the largest section
- Conclusion: where you wrap up and summarize your points
The introduction, usually one or two paragraphs, should include a thesis statement to show the reader what to expect for the rest of your essay. You can write your introduction following the same guidelines as other essay types, though be sure to mention all your subjects. Likewise, you can write an essay conclusion with the standard rules and best practices.
It’s the body where compare-and-contrast essays get tricky. Do you write about both subjects at the same time, or switch back and forth? Let’s talk deeper on this below.
How to structure a compare-and-contrast essay
The hardest part of structuring a compare-and-contrast essay is knowing when to talk about which subject. Essentially, you have three options:
- block method (subject by subject): You discuss one subject in full and then move on to the next subject.
- alternating method (point by point): You discuss one subject’s take on a certain aspect and then another subject’s take immediately afterward, followed by a new aspect.
- similarities and differences: You discuss all the similarities between your subjects and then all the differences, or vice versa (differences first and then similarities).
No matter which option you choose, you have to pay particular attention to topic sentences . Paragraphs in compare-and-contrast essays can get complicated, so it’s crucial to have a good topic or introduction sentence for each paragraph to make the flow of ideas clear.
Block method (subject by subject)
The block method is usually divided into paragraphs: a paragraph about one subject and then a new paragraph about another subject. Take the compare-and-contrast essay example When Nothing Lies Beyond the Mask: Comparing Moby Dick and The Raven . In the first paragraph after the introduction, the author talks only about Ahab from Moby Dick , but in the next paragraph talks only about the narrator from The Raven . Each subject gets its own paragraph.
Using the block method, you can go back and forth like this for pages, covering as many topics as you need. This approach is best for giving each subject its own attention but tends to slightly weaken the connection between the two.
Alternating method (point by point)
As another option, you can break paragraphs up by a specific topic and issue, and in each paragraph discuss both or all subjects. Let’s look at another compare-and-contrast essay example, The Reality of Science Fiction: Comparing Clarke to Cruise . Here, both subjects are discussed in the same paragraph, one right after another.
This approach works best when you want to emphasize the connection between your subjects, or lack thereof. In our example above, the author wishes to highlight just how different the aliens of Arthur Clarke are from those of other authors, particularly H. G. Wells. To emphasize this, the essay author juxtaposes the two points right next to each other in the same paragraph.
Similarities and differences
The third option is quite similar to the alternating approach, with each subject being discussed side by side in the same paragraph. However, the paragraphs aren’t divided by different topics, but instead by what the subjects have in common and what they don’t.
Take a look at the compare-and-contrast essay example Government by the People, for the People has Perished from the Earth , which compares the dystopias of George Orwell’s 1984 and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We . The first paragraph after the introduction discusses what the governments in the two books have in common, but the next paragraph explains how they differ.
This method works best if you want to focus on a particular similarity or difference between your subjects, or if you want to build up to a powerful conclusion or reveal at the end.
The writing process for compare-and-contrast essays
Want to know how to write a compare-and-contrast essay step by step? The writing process is the same as all essay writing, although adapted specifically for drawing comparisons:
1 Brainstorming — As mentioned above, brainstorming should involve listing all the similarities and difficulties; creating a Venn diagram is a useful method.
2 Preparation — Looking at your brainstorming lists, decide which structuring method would best get your point across: block, alternating, or similarities/differences.
3 Drafting — Here you write your rough draft ; this is the longest and toughest phase.
4 Revising — Does the structure you’ve chosen work? With the first draft finished, you can more easily identify any areas that need to be fixed, revised, or rewritten from scratch.
5 Proofreading — Finally, you want to make sure you corrected all the spelling and grammatical mistakes in your draft. With a writing assistant like Grammarly, this phase is a breeze.
If you want to learn more about this process, read our comprehensive guide on essay writing , which better explains the details.
Tips for writing compare-and-contrast essays
Beyond knowing the full process for crafting a compare-and-contrast essay, it helps to learn a few tips to ensure it shines.
Choose topics that are related
In other words, choose topics that have plenty in common, otherwise, your essay will be all contrasting and no comparing. Typically, subjects in compare-and-contrast essays share a strong connection, such as two people in the same profession or two products in the same category.
Without this unifying thread, the reader is left wondering, “What’s the point of comparing these two things?” Not only will it confound your audience, but you’ll also struggle more to come up with points when writing. Solve these problems before they start by smartly choosing your subjects at the beginning.
Write for clarity
Essays with only one subject can be confusing enough—imagine how complicated it gets with two or more subjects. One of the biggest obstacles with compare-and-contrast essays is communicating clearly so your reader knows which points relate to which subject, and what conclusion the entire essay is building toward.
But when you’re in the heat of a writing session, it can be difficult—and distracting—to stop and evaluate your work for clarity. Luckily, Grammarly offers suggestions to rewrite entire sentences in order to improve the clarity of your writing.
If the writing in your compare-and-contrast essay starts getting messy, Grammarly’s writing suggestions recommend alternative phrasings to clear things up. Just one click and your writing gets the professional editor treatment. Try Grammarly now and see how your writing improves.
Module 4: Writing in College
Compare and contrast, learning objectives.
- Describe techniques for writing comparison essays
Compare & Contrast Essay
Figure 1 . Comparing and contrasting means looking for similarities and differences between two things, which you can see nicely in a Venn diagram.
Compare and contrast is a rhetorical style that discusses the similarities and differences of two or more things: ideas, concepts, items, places, etc. This rhetorical style is one that you’ll see often as a complete essay, but you may also use it quite a lot within paragraphs of any kind of essay in which you need to make some kind of comparison to help illustrate a point.
A compare and contrast essay does two things: It discusses the similarities and differences of at least two different things. First, you must find a basis of comparison to be sure that the two things have enough in common.
After that, you identify their differences. You may structure the compare and contrast essay using either the alternating method (stating one aspect of one thing and immediately discussing the same aspect of the other item and how they are similar or different) or the block method (discussing all of the aspects of one thing and then discussing all of the aspects of another).
Keep the following in mind when you write a comparison and contrast essay.
Basis of Comparison
In order for your essay to be a success, you need to have a basis of comparison about the things that you’re comparing. Do the things have enough in common for it to make sense to write about them in a compare and contrast essay? For example, it would make sense to compare in-person and online courses because the two have enough in common to justify discussing the similarities and differences of the two types of courses.
When you use the alternating method, you discuss one aspect of the first item and then immediately discuss the same aspect of the second item. You may discuss the amount of computer time required for an in-person course and an online course. You may state that while you need to work on the computer for both courses, you would need to spend twice as much time on the computer for the online course.
When you use the block method, you discuss one subject and then discuss the next subject. Usually, you would write one paragraph discussing all aspects of the first subject and then write a second paragraph discussing all aspects of the second subject and so on.
For example, if you begin with a discussion of the online course, you might discuss the amount of computer time required, the costs, the typical student success rate, and the usual instructional pedagogy. Next, you would turn to your discussion of an in-person course and discuss each of those aspects for the in-person course.
With the block method, you do not go back and forth in your discussion. First, you focus on the first subject (the online course) and then you focus on the second subject (the face-to-face course).
Finally, when you combine the two, you’re writing a compare and contrast essay that follows the combination method. You may spend a couple of body paragraphs using the alternating method and then decide to switch to the block method for a deeper analysis of each of the subjects.
As you can imagine, no one approach always works best, depending on the subjects, which is probably why the combination method evolved. In any case, each of these methods is not meant as a formula; use these approaches to guide you as you master this style of writing.
Click here to see a traditional or typical sample compare and contrast essay from a beginning writing class. In this assignment, the student was asked to write an essay comparing and contrasting two items or concepts and to follow MLA guidelines in the essay.
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50 Great Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
Compare and contrast refers to the process of demonstrating the differences between two concepts. It’s an essential higher-order skill required for getting higher grades in your essays!
The compare and contrast method is a way to demonstrate your depth of understanding about two or more topics.
It is considered a type of analysis , which is often a target verb in your assessment outlines. So, if you are told to “analyze” something, comparing and contrasting is a strategy to achieve this!
How to Compare and Contrast
One simplified way to compare and contrast is to consider ‘compare’ as identifying similarities and ‘contrast’ as identifying differences :
More complex strategies include the Venn Diagram method, criterion analysis, and rank ordering, as displayed below.
See Also: Best Transition Words for Essay Paragraphs
1. Venn Diagram Method
A Venn Diagram is a concept map that asks you to demonstrate similarities and differences between concepts. It involves two overlapping circles. In the overlapping part (red, below), write the similarities. In the side sections, write the unique aspects of each item:
In my seminars, I ask my students to complete Venn Diagrams of the topics they are comparing and contrasting in their essays. This simple procedure helps you to clarify what you want to say is unique about each item, as well as how you want to demonstrate differences between them.
Have a go at creating your own venn diagram for your compare and contrast topic before writing your essay – it will surely help you focus and get the information down on the essay in a clear and ordered way!
2. Criteria Analysis
Criteria analysis involves comparing and contrasting two or more items based upon a pre-determined criteria. For example, if comparing cats and dogs, you criteria might be ‘domestication history’, ‘social structure’, ‘grooming’, ‘training and obedience’, and exercise needs. We can then compare them as below:
I find that criteria analysis can help us to create a well-ordered and more objective structure for your essay.
Once you’ve selected your criteria and created a table like the one above, you can write one paragraph for each criterion, so the above table would be turned into five compare and contrast paragraphs in your essay .
3. Rank Ordering
Rank ordering involves comparing items or ideas by placing them on a scale or hierarchy. This goes a step beyond criteria analysis by comparing and contrasting based upon scales and analyses.
Take, for example, rank ordering London versus New York versus Paris on a range of rankable criteria:
Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
The following are 5-paragraph essay outlines that use my compare and contrast method, which is broken down into the following five paragraphs:
- The definition paragraph ( description level)
- The similarities paragraph ( analysis level)
- The differences paragraph ( analysis level)
- The evaluation paragraph ( evaluation level)
- The implications paragraph ( evaluation level)
City Living vs. Country Living
- Definitions of Terms: City living refers to residing in an urban area, while country living pertains to life in rural environments.
- Similarity 1: Both city-living and country-living provide opportunities for community engagement.
- Similarity 2: Both environments necessitate some form of transportation for commuting and access to essential services.
- Difference 1: City living often implies faster-paced life with more stressors, whereas country living is typically slower paced and quieter.
- Difference 2: Urban areas offer more amenities such as shopping centers, restaurants, and cultural venues, whereas rural areas have abundant natural spaces.
- Evaluation: Both lifestyles have their advantages and drawbacks, dependent largely upon individual preference .
- Implications: The choice between city and country living can significantly affect one’s quality of life, stress levels, and access to services.
Public Schools vs. Private Schools
- Definitions of Terms: Public schools are government-funded institutions open to all students, while private schools are funded by tuition fees and private donations and may have selective admissions.
- Similarity 1: Both public and private schools are committed to educating students and developing their skills and talents.
- Similarity 2: Both types of schools must adhere to general educational standards and employ qualified teachers.
- Difference 1: Public schools offer a diverse environment due to their open admission, whereas private schools often have a more homogeneous student body.
- Difference 2: Private schools often have more resources and smaller class sizes than public schools.
- Evaluation: Both school types strive to provide high-quality education but may do so via different methods and resources.
- Implications: The choice between public and private schooling can have implications for a student’s educational experience, social diversity exposure, and family finances.
Traditional Books vs. E-books
- Definitions of Terms: Traditional books refer to physical, bound print media, while e-books are electronic versions of printed books read on digital devices.
- Similarity 1: Both traditional books and e-books convey written information or literature to the reader.
- Similarity 2: Both formats allow the reader to enjoy a multitude of genres and titles.
- Difference 1: Traditional books provide a tactile reading experience, whereas e-books are read on a device.
- Difference 2: E-books are more portable and storage-friendly than traditional books.
- Evaluation: Choosing between traditional books and e-books largely falls to personal preference and convenience.
- Implications: The decision may influence the reading experience, accessibility, cost, and even eye health.
Movies vs. Theater Plays
- Definitions of Terms: Movies are recorded visual content typically played in cinemas or on TV, while theater plays are live performances staged in theatres.
- Similarity 1: Both movies and theater plays offer formatted storytelling mediums to entertain audiences.
- Similarity 2: Both mediums provide a broad spectrum of genres, from drama to comedy, romance to action.
- Difference 1: Movies leverage advanced technology to enhance storytelling, whereas theater plays rely more on human performances and minimal props.
- Difference 2: Theater plays introduce the unique element of live performance, while movies provide perfectly timed and edited scenes for a flawless viewing experience.
- Evaluation: Preference between movies and theater plays tends to hinge on one’s taste for technological enhancements or live performances.
- Implications: The choice affects one’s engagement in the storyline and can influence the level of immersion in the presented piece.
Working Part-time vs. Volunteering
- Definitions of Terms: Part-time work refers to paid employment with fewer hours per week compared to full-time jobs, while volunteering involves donating one’s time and skills for altruistic purposes without pay.
- Similarity 1: Both part-time work and volunteering provide opportunities to gain experience and build skills.
- Similarity 2: Both require commitment and dedication.
- Difference 1: Part-time jobs provide income, while volunteering does not.
- Difference 2: Volunteering often offers a wider range of roles, with more flexibility than part-time jobs.
- Evaluation: The preference for part-time work or volunteering is likely to depend on personal needs, priorities, and financial stability.
- Implications: Choosing between the two can shape an individual’s career path, financial situation, and personal growth.
Cats vs. Dogs
- Definitions of Terms: Pet ownership refers to being responsible for an animal’s wellbeing. Cats and dogs are two of the most popular domesticated animals in this context.
- Similarity 1: Both cats and dogs provide companionship for their owners.
- Similarity 2: Caring for either a cat or dog requires a significant time, effort, and financial commitment.
- Difference 1: Dogs typically demand more attention and exercise than cats.
- Difference 2: Cats, being more independent creatures, are often easier to care for in terms of day-to-day demands.
- Evaluation: The decision between a cat or dog depends on one’s lifestyle, commitment level, and personal preference.
- Implications: Adding a pet to your life can bring joy, companionship, and additional responsibilities, affecting an individual’s routine, expenditures, and emotional wellbeing.
Handwriting vs. Typing
- Definitions of Terms: Handwriting refers to writing by hand using instruments like pens or pencils, while typing involves entering text via a keyboard.
- Similarity 1: Both handwriting and typing serve to record information and thoughts.
- Similarity 2: Both methods can be used across a variety of platforms, like notebooks or digital devices.
- Difference 1: Handwriting tends to enhance memory retention more than typing due to its motor movements.
- Difference 2: Typing is often faster and enables easier edits than handwriting.
- Evaluation: The effectiveness of note-taking can depend on the individual preference between handwriting or typing.
- Implications: The preferred note-taking method may have an effect on productivity, learning efficiency, and workflow organization.
Renting Movies vs. Streaming Services
- Definitions of Terms: Renting movies involves obtaining a movie for a temporary period, usually through DVD rental shops, while streaming services provide access to broad libraries of movies via a subscription model.
- Similarity 1: Both renting movies and streaming provide access to a variety of films.
- Similarity 2: Both provide the comfort of watching movies at home.
- Difference 1: Renting movies usually involves a physical exchange, while streaming services utilize internet access.
- Difference 2: Streaming services offer an extensive library for a flat fee; renting movies usually incurs a cost per movie.
- Evaluation: The choice between renting and streaming comes down to factors such as cost, convenience, movie availability, and technological prowess.
- Implications: This choice can impact one’s entertainment experience, movie choices, and related spending.
Early Birds vs. Night Owls
- Definitions of Terms: Early birds are individuals who tend to wake up and function best in the morning, while night owls are people who stay up late and are productive at night.
- Similarity 1: Both early birds and night owls have specific periods of peak productivity.
- Similarity 2: Both can adjust their schedules to maximize productivity during their preferred time frames.
- Difference 1: Early birds may benefit more from the conventional 9-to-5 work or school schedules, while night owls may possibly struggle with early starts.
- Difference 2: Night owls might find peace and silence in the late evening hours for focused work, while early birds would experience similar conditions in the early morning.
- Evaluation: Being an early bird or a night owl generally aligns with an individual’s biological predisposition or lifestyle preferences.
- Implications: One’s designation may influence productivity levels, schedule preferences, and overall health.
Modern Pop Music vs. Classic Rock
- Definitions of Terms: Modern pop music is a genre characterized by its wide appeal and catchy style, often championed by younger demographics, while classic rock represents a genre of music that peaked in popularity in the late 20th century, characterized by strong rhythms and guitar-based sounds.
- Similarity 1: Both modern pop and classic rock aim to entertain, express, and connect with the audience.
- Similarity 2: Both genres have produced renowned artists and timeless music.
- Difference 1: Modern pop often incorporates electronic elements and is more influenced by contemporary trends, while classic rock heavily encompasses natural instrumentation and iconic guitar solos.
- Difference 2: The thematic contents and lyrical construction of the two genres vary significantly, with classic rock often embodying a more rebellious spirit compared to pop music.
- Evaluation: The choice between modern pop and classic rock usually comes down to personal taste, cultural exposure, and age.
- Implications: The music genre preference can reflect an individual’s personality, influence mood, and shape emotional experiences.
Sociology Compare & Contrast Essay Topic Ideas
- Eastern Family Traditions vs. Western Family Traditions
- Capitalism vs. Socialism
- Urban Living vs. Rural Living
- Individualistic Societies vs. Collectivist Societies
- Monogamy vs. Polygamy
- Nuclear Families vs. Extended Families
- Secular Societies vs. Religious Societies
- Traditional Education vs. Homeschooling
- Ageing Populations in Japan vs. Young Populations in Nigeria
- Ethnic Enclaves vs. Assimilated Communities
- Role of Women in Western Societies vs. Middle Eastern Societies
- Developed Countries vs. Developing Countries
- Single-child Policy in China vs. Expansive Families in India
- Arranged Marriages vs. Love Marriages
- Rural Migrations to Cities in Africa vs. Asia
- Gender Roles in Traditional Societies vs. Modern Societies
- Subcultures vs. Countercultures
- Social Impacts of the Internet Age vs. The Industrial Revolution
- Role of Community in Individualistic vs. Collectivist Cultures
- Social Effects of Unemployment in European vs. African Nations
Psychology Compare & Contrast Essay Topic Ideas
- Freudian vs. Jungian Psychoanalysis
- Nature vs. Nurture
- Behaviorism vs. Cognitive Psychology
- IQ Tests vs. EQ Tests
- Child vs. Adult Cognitive Development
- Classical Conditioning vs. Operant Conditioning
- Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs vs. Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory
- Short-term Memory vs. Long-term Memory
- Traditional Therapy vs. Online Therapy
- Anxiety vs. Depression
- Bipolar Disorder vs. Schizophrenia
- Stress in Adolescents vs. Stress in Adults
- Dream Analysis: Freudian vs. Jungian
- Social Psychology vs. Cultural Psychology
- Substance Addiction vs. Behavioral Addiction
- Humanistic Psychology vs. Evolutionary Psychology
- ADHD vs. Autism
- Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation
- Introverted vs. Extroverted Personalities
- Psychoanalytic Therapy vs. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
Compare and contrast is all about higher-order thinking . To conduct a compare and contrast, you’re engaging in analysis , which is a step required in order to achieve the next layer of higher-order thinking skills : evaluation. Whether you’re writing a direct compare and contrast essay or simply an argumentative essay , comparing and contrasting your ideas helps you to demonstrate your depth of knowledge to your teacher and build your grades!
Chris Drew (PhD)
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 102 Examples of Social Norms (List)
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 15 Social Environment Examples
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ 15 Selective Perception Examples
- Chris Drew (PhD) https://helpfulprofessor.com/author/admin/ Field Observation (Research Method): Definition and Examples
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- Comparing and contrasting in an essay | Tips & examples
Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay | Tips & Examples
Published on August 6, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
Comparing and contrasting is an important skill in academic writing . It involves taking two or more subjects and analyzing the differences and similarities between them.
Table of contents
When should i compare and contrast, making effective comparisons, comparing and contrasting as a brainstorming tool, structuring your comparisons, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about comparing and contrasting.
Many assignments will invite you to make comparisons quite explicitly, as in these prompts.
- Compare the treatment of the theme of beauty in the poetry of William Wordsworth and John Keats.
- Compare and contrast in-class and distance learning. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?
Some other prompts may not directly ask you to compare and contrast, but present you with a topic where comparing and contrasting could be a good approach.
One way to approach this essay might be to contrast the situation before the Great Depression with the situation during it, to highlight how large a difference it made.
Comparing and contrasting is also used in all kinds of academic contexts where it’s not explicitly prompted. For example, a literature review involves comparing and contrasting different studies on your topic, and an argumentative essay may involve weighing up the pros and cons of different arguments.
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As the name suggests, comparing and contrasting is about identifying both similarities and differences. You might focus on contrasting quite different subjects or comparing subjects with a lot in common—but there must be some grounds for comparison in the first place.
For example, you might contrast French society before and after the French Revolution; you’d likely find many differences, but there would be a valid basis for comparison. However, if you contrasted pre-revolutionary France with Han-dynasty China, your reader might wonder why you chose to compare these two societies.
This is why it’s important to clarify the point of your comparisons by writing a focused thesis statement . Every element of an essay should serve your central argument in some way. Consider what you’re trying to accomplish with any comparisons you make, and be sure to make this clear to the reader.
Comparing and contrasting can be a useful tool to help organize your thoughts before you begin writing any type of academic text. You might use it to compare different theories and approaches you’ve encountered in your preliminary research, for example.
Let’s say your research involves the competing psychological approaches of behaviorism and cognitive psychology. You might make a table to summarize the key differences between them.
Or say you’re writing about the major global conflicts of the twentieth century. You might visualize the key similarities and differences in a Venn diagram.
These visualizations wouldn’t make it into your actual writing, so they don’t have to be very formal in terms of phrasing or presentation. The point of comparing and contrasting at this stage is to help you organize and shape your ideas to aid you in structuring your arguments.
When comparing and contrasting in an essay, there are two main ways to structure your comparisons: the alternating method and the block method.
The alternating method
In the alternating method, you structure your text according to what aspect you’re comparing. You cover both your subjects side by side in terms of a specific point of comparison. Your text is structured like this:
Mouse over the example paragraph below to see how this approach works.
One challenge teachers face is identifying and assisting students who are struggling without disrupting the rest of the class. In a traditional classroom environment, the teacher can easily identify when a student is struggling based on their demeanor in class or simply by regularly checking on students during exercises. They can then offer assistance quietly during the exercise or discuss it further after class. Meanwhile, in a Zoom-based class, the lack of physical presence makes it more difficult to pay attention to individual students’ responses and notice frustrations, and there is less flexibility to speak with students privately to offer assistance. In this case, therefore, the traditional classroom environment holds the advantage, although it appears likely that aiding students in a virtual classroom environment will become easier as the technology, and teachers’ familiarity with it, improves.
The block method
In the block method, you cover each of the overall subjects you’re comparing in a block. You say everything you have to say about your first subject, then discuss your second subject, making comparisons and contrasts back to the things you’ve already said about the first. Your text is structured like this:
- Point of comparison A
- Point of comparison B
The most commonly cited advantage of distance learning is the flexibility and accessibility it offers. Rather than being required to travel to a specific location every week (and to live near enough to feasibly do so), students can participate from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows not only for a wider geographical spread of students but for the possibility of studying while travelling. However, distance learning presents its own accessibility challenges; not all students have a stable internet connection and a computer or other device with which to participate in online classes, and less technologically literate students and teachers may struggle with the technical aspects of class participation. Furthermore, discomfort and distractions can hinder an individual student’s ability to engage with the class from home, creating divergent learning experiences for different students. Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.
Note that these two methods can be combined; these two example paragraphs could both be part of the same essay, but it’s wise to use an essay outline to plan out which approach you’re taking in each paragraph.
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Some essay prompts include the keywords “compare” and/or “contrast.” In these cases, an essay structured around comparing and contrasting is the appropriate response.
Comparing and contrasting is also a useful approach in all kinds of academic writing : You might compare different studies in a literature review , weigh up different arguments in an argumentative essay , or consider different theoretical approaches in a theoretical framework .
Your subjects might be very different or quite similar, but it’s important that there be meaningful grounds for comparison . You can probably describe many differences between a cat and a bicycle, but there isn’t really any connection between them to justify the comparison.
You’ll have to write a thesis statement explaining the central point you want to make in your essay , so be sure to know in advance what connects your subjects and makes them worth comparing.
Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:
- The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
- The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.
It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.
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List Of Impressive Topics For A 6th Grade Compare And Contrast Essay
Middle school teachers face the challenge of encouraging their students to think. Being able to notice the difference and/or similarities between two activities or things is an important part of developing cognitive skills, and a compare and contrast essay is a homework exercise commonly used. The teacher has to remember the student is not a college sophomore. Those compare and contrast topics have to be at a level which the student can understand and expound on. Here are a few which can make excellent homework assignments for a young person in the sixth grade.
- Being a member of the marching band and being an athlete;
- The influence of family in comparison or contrast to your friends;
- Do you learn more by watching a television program or reading a book?;
- Compare and contrast being sent to school detention and going to prison;
- Compare and contrast your behavior to that of a younger sibling or another younger person;
- Snowstorms to thunderstorms;
- Vegetarians to meat eaters;
- Going to a destination by train or getting there by bus;
- Being angry to being afraid;
- Going to a movie theater to renting a video;
- Living in a small town to living in the big city;
- Playing baseball to play soccer.
- Having a smart phone to having a regular telephone.
While these are the topics the teacher has to expand on the instructions. Although support is going to help any young learner better respond to the prompt assigned, the teacher also needs to make a compare and contrast essay interesting to do. It is a temptation for young people to simply write what they think the teacher wants to read. Encouraging them to write what they think allows for better development of cognitive skills. The teacher must also be confident of the class. There is no need to necessarily give a writing assignment that is too simple. Sometimes the compare and contrast essay can be a challenge and as long as it is interesting that is fine.
One of the great rewards of being a teacher is watching how a young person goes from giving automatic answers to providing reasoned responses to a question. Compare and contrast writing assignments can be a great introduction to other ways of thinking through problems and making choices. This type of exercise cannot be underestimated as far as its value. The ability to compare and contrast is a cornerstone feature of an intelligent consumer and a thoughtful voter. Developing comparison and contrasting skills is consequently a benefit to society.
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Compare And Contrast Essay Guide
Compare And Contrast Essay Examples
Last updated on: Jun 2, 2023
Good Compare and Contrast Essay Examples For Your Help
By: Barbara P.
Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.
Published on: Mar 22, 2023
Are you ready to challenge your critical thinking skills and take your writing to the next level? Look no further than the exciting world of compare and contrast essays!
As a college student, you'll have the unique opportunity to delve into the details and differences of a variety of subjects. But don't let the pressure of writing the perfect compare-and-contrast essay weigh you down.
To help guide you on this journey, we've got some great compare-and-contrast essay examples. It will make the writing process not only manageable but also enjoyable. So grab a pen and paper, and let's get started on this exciting adventure!
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Good Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
A compare and contrast essay is all about comparing two subjects. Writing essays is not always easy, but it can be made easier with help from the examples before you write your own first. The examples will give you an idea of the perfect compare-and-contrast essay.
We have compiled a selection of free compare-and-contrast essay examples that can help you structure this type of essay.
SAMPLE COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY INTRODUCTION EXAMPLE
BOOK COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
CITY COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
CATS & DOGS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
SCIENCE & ART COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
E-BOOKS & HARDBACK BOOKS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
HOMESCHOOLING BOOKS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
PARENTING STYLES COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY
Don't know how to map out your compare and contrast essay? Visit this link to learn how to perfectly outline your essay!
Compare and Contrast Essay Examples University
Compare and contrast paper is a common assignments for university students. This type of essay tells the reader how two subjects are the same or different from each other. Also, show the points of comparison between the two subjects.
Look at the example that is mentioned below and create a well-written essay.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE UNIVERSITY
Compare and Contrast Essay Examples College
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE COLLEGE
Compare and Contrast Essay Examples High School
Compare and contrast essays are often assigned to high school students to help them improve their analytical skills .
In addition, some teachers assign this type of essay because it is a great way for students to improve their analytical and writing skills.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE HIGH SCHOOL
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE 9TH GRADE
Check out the video below to gain a quick and visual comprehension of what a compare and contrast essay entails.
Compare and Contrast Essay Examples Middle school
In middle school, students have the opportunity to write a compare-and-contrast essay. It does not require an expert level of skills, but it is still a way to improve writing skills.
Middle school students can easily write a compare-and-contrast essay with a little help from examples. We have gathered excellent examples of this essay that you can use to get started.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE MIDDLE SCHOOL
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLES 5TH GRADE
Literary Analysis Compare and Contrast Essay Examples
The perfect way to inform readers about the pros and cons of two subjects is with a comparison and contrast essay.
It starts by stating the thesis statement, and then you explain why these two subjects are being compared in this essay.
The following is an example that you can use for your help.
LITERARY ANALYSIS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE
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Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion Example
The conclusion of an essay is the last part, in which you wrap up everything. It should not include a story but rather summarize the whole document so readers have something meaningful they can take away from it.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY CONCLUSION EXAMPLE
Struggling to think of the perfect compare-and-contrast essay topic ? Visit this link for a multitude of inspiring ideas.
Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Tips
A compare and contrast essay presents the facts point by point, and mostly, the argumentative essay uses this compared-contrasted technique for its subjects.
If you are looking for some easy and simple tips to craft a perfectly researched and structured compare and contrast essay, we will not disappoint you.
Following are some quick tips that you can keep in mind while writing your essay:
- Choose the essay topic carefully.
- Research and brainstorm the points that make them similar and different.
- Create and add your main statement and claim.
- Create a Venn diagram and show the similarities and differences.
- Choose the design through which you will present your arguments and claims.
- Create compare and contrast essay outline. Use either the block method or the point-by-point structure.
- Research and add credible supporting evidence.
- Transitioning is also important. Use transitional words and phrases to engage your readers.
- Edit, proofread, and revise the essay before submission.
Create captivating essays effortlessly!
In conclusion, writing a compare and contrast essay can be an effective way to explore the similarities and differences between two topics. By using examples, it is possible to see the different approaches that can be taken when writing this type of essay.
Whether you are a student or a professional writer, these examples can provide valuable insight to enhance your writing skills. But you still don’t have to take on this challenge alone.
If you don’t feel confident in your writing skills, you can always hire our professional essay writer .
5StarEssays.com offer comprehensive essay writing service for students across the globe. Our experts are highly trained and qualified, making sure all of your essays will meet academic requirements while receiving top grades.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do i write a compare and contrast essay.
Here are some steps that you should follow and write a great essay.
- Begin by brainstorming with a Venn diagram.
- Create a thesis statement.
- Develop an outline.
- Write the introduction.
- Write the body paragraphs.
- Write the conclusion.
How do you start a compare and contrast essay introduction?
When writing a compare and contrast essay, it is important to have an engaging introduction that will grab the reader's attention. A good way to do this would be by starting with a question or fact related to the topic to catch their interest.
What are some good compare and contrast essay topics?
Here are some good topics for compare and contrast essay:
- E-books or textbooks.
- Anxiety vs. Depression.
- Vegetables and fruits.
- Cinnamon vs. sugar.
- Similarities between cultural and traditional fashion trends.
How long is a compare and contrast essay?
Usually, a compare and contrast essay would consist of five paragraphs but there are no hard and fast rules regarding it. Some essays could be longer than five paragraphs, based on the scope of the topic of the essay.
What are the two methods for arranging a comparison and contrast essay?
The two ways to organize and arrange your compare and contrast essay. The first one is the Point-by-Point method and the second one is the Block method.
Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.
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