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The Comparative Essay

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What is a comparative essay?

A comparative essay asks that you compare at least two (possibly more) items. These items will differ depending on the assignment. You might be asked to compare

  • positions on an issue (e.g., responses to midwifery in Canada and the United States)
  • theories (e.g., capitalism and communism)
  • figures (e.g., GDP in the United States and Britain)
  • texts (e.g., Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth )
  • events (e.g., the Great Depression and the global financial crisis of 2008–9)

Although the assignment may say “compare,” the assumption is that you will consider both the similarities and differences; in other words, you will compare and contrast.

Make sure you know the basis for comparison

The assignment sheet may say exactly what you need to compare, or it may ask you to come up with a basis for comparison yourself.

  • Provided by the essay question: The essay question may ask that you consider the figure of the gentleman in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall . The basis for comparison will be the figure of the gentleman.
  • Developed by you: The question may simply ask that you compare the two novels. If so, you will need to develop a basis for comparison, that is, a theme, concern, or device common to both works from which you can draw similarities and differences.

Develop a list of similarities and differences

Once you know your basis for comparison, think critically about the similarities and differences between the items you are comparing, and compile a list of them.

For example, you might decide that in Great Expectations , being a true gentleman is not a matter of manners or position but morality, whereas in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall , being a true gentleman is not about luxury and self-indulgence but hard work and productivity.

The list you have generated is not yet your outline for the essay, but it should provide you with enough similarities and differences to construct an initial plan.

Develop a thesis based on the relative weight of similarities and differences

Once you have listed similarities and differences, decide whether the similarities on the whole outweigh the differences or vice versa. Create a thesis statement that reflects their relative weights. A more complex thesis will usually include both similarities and differences. Here are examples of the two main cases:

While Callaghan’s “All the Years of Her Life” and Mistry’s “Of White Hairs and Cricket” both follow the conventions of the coming-of-age narrative, Callaghan’s story adheres more closely to these conventions by allowing its central protagonist to mature. In Mistry’s story, by contrast, no real growth occurs.
Although Darwin and Lamarck came to different conclusions about whether acquired traits can be inherited, they shared the key distinction of recognizing that species evolve over time.

Come up with a structure for your essay

Note that the French and Russian revolutions (A and B) may be dissimilar rather than similar in the way they affected innovation in any of the three areas of technology, military strategy, and administration. To use the alternating method, you just need to have something noteworthy to say about both A and B in each area. Finally, you may certainly include more than three pairs of alternating points: allow the subject matter to determine the number of points you choose to develop in the body of your essay.

When do I use the block method? The block method is particularly useful in the following cases:

  • You are unable to find points about A and B that are closely related to each other.
  • Your ideas about B build upon or extend your ideas about A.
  • You are comparing three or more subjects as opposed to the traditional two.
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How to Write a Comparative Essay

Last Updated: May 19, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,678,757 times.

Perhaps you have been assigned a comparative essay in class, or need to write a comprehensive comparative report for work. In order to write a stellar comparative essay, you have to start off by picking two subjects that have enough similarities and differences to be compared in a meaningful way, such as two sports teams or two systems of government. Once you have that, then you have to find at least two or three points of comparison and use research, facts, and well-organized paragraphs to impress and captivate your readers. Writing the comparative essay is an important skill that you will use many times throughout your scholastic career.

Comparative Essay Outline and Example

how to write a comparative essay outline

How to Develop the Essay Content

Step 1 Analyze the question or essay prompt carefully.

  • Many comparative essay assignments will signal their purpose by using words such as "compare," "contrast," "similarities," and "differences" in the language of the prompt.
  • Also see whether there are any limits placed on your topic.

Step 2 Understand the type of comparison essay you are being asked to write.

  • The assignment will generally ask guiding questions if you are expected to incorporate comparison as part of a larger assignment. For example: "Choose a particular idea or theme, such as love, beauty, death, or time, and consider how two different Renaissance poets approach this idea." This sentence asks you to compare two poets, but it also asks how the poets approach the point of comparison. In other words, you will need to make an evaluative or analytical argument about those approaches.
  • If you're unclear on what the essay prompt is asking you to do, talk with your instructor. It's much better to clarify questions up front than discover you've written the entire essay incorrectly.

Step 3 List similarities and differences between the items you are comparing.

  • The best place to start is to write a list of things that the items you are comparing have in common as well as differences between them. [3] X Research source

Step 4 Evaluate your list to find your argument.

  • You may want to develop a system such as highlighting different types of similarities in different colors, or use different colours if you are using an electronic device.
  • For example, if you are comparing two novels, you may want to highlight similarities in characters in pink, settings in blue, and themes or messages in green.

Step 5 Establish the basis for your comparison.

  • The basis for your comparison may be assigned to you. Be sure to check your assignment or prompt.
  • A basis for comparison may have to do with a theme, characteristics, or details about two different things. [7] X Research source
  • A basis for comparison may also be known as the “grounds” for comparison or a frame of reference.
  • Keep in mind that comparing 2 things that are too similar makes it hard to write an effective paper. The goal of a comparison paper is to draw interesting parallels and help the reader realize something interesting about our world. This means your subjects must be different enough to make your argument interesting.

Step 6 Research your subjects of comparison.

  • Research may not be required or appropriate for your particular assignment. If your comparative essay is not meant to include research, you should avoid including it.
  • A comparative essay about historical events, social issues, or science-related topics are more likely to require research, while a comparison of two works of literature are less likely to require research.
  • Be sure to cite any research data properly according to the discipline in which you are writing (eg, MLA, APA, or Chicago format).

Step 7 Develop a thesis statement.

  • Your thesis needs to make a claim about your subjects that you will then defend in your essay. It's good for this claim to be a bit controversial or up for interpretation, as this allows you to build a good argument.

How to Organize the Content

Step 1 Outline your comparison.

  • Use a traditional outline form if you would like to, but even a simple list of bulleted points in the order that you plan to present them would help.
  • You can also write down your main points on sticky notes (or type them, print them, and then cut them out) so that you can arrange and rearrange them before deciding on a final order.

Step 2 Use a mixed paragraphs method.

  • The advantages of this structure are that it continually keeps the comparison in the mind of the reader and forces you, the writer, to pay equal attention to each side of the argument.
  • This method is especially recommended for lengthy essays or complicated subjects where both the writer and reader can easily become lost. For Example: Paragraph 1: Engine power of vehicle X / Engine power of vehicle Y Paragraph 2: Stylishness of vehicle X / Stylishness of vehicle Y Paragraph 3: Safety rating of vehicle X / Safety rating of vehicle Y

Step 3 Alternate the subjects in each paragraph.

  • The advantages of this structure are that it allows you to discuss points in greater detail and makes it less jarring to tackle two topics that radically different.
  • This method is especially recommended for essays where some depth and detail are required. For example: Paragraph 1: Engine power of vehicle X Paragraph 2: Engine power of vehicle Y Paragraph 3: Stylishness of vehicle X Paragraph 4: Stylishness of vehicle Y Paragraph 5: Safety rating of vehicle X Paragraph 6: Safety rating of vehicle Y

Step 4 Cover one subject at a time thoroughly.

  • This method is by far the most dangerous, as your comparison can become both one-sided and difficult for the reader to follow.
  • This method is only recommended for short essays with simplistic subjects that the reader can easily remember as (s)he goes along. For example: Paragraph 1: Engine power of vehicle X Paragraph 2: Stylishness of vehicle X Paragraph 3: Safety rating of vehicle X Paragraph 4: Engine power of vehicle Y Paragraph 5: Stylishness of vehicle Y Paragraph 6: Safety rating of vehicle Y

How to Write the Essay

Step 1 Write your essay out of order.

  • Body paragraphs first . Work through all that information you've been compiling and see what kind of story it tells you. Only when you've worked with your data will you know what the larger point of the paper is.
  • Conclusion second . Now that you've done all the heavy lifting, the point of your essay should be fresh in your mind. Strike while the iron’s hot. Start your conclusion with a restatement of your thesis.
  • Intro last . Open your introduction with a "hook" to grab the reader's attention. Since you've already written your essay, choose a hook that reflects what you will talk about, whether it's a quote, statistic, factoid, rhetorical question, or anecdote. Then, write 1-2 sentences about your topic, narrowing down to your thesis statement, which completes your introduction.

Step 2 Write the body paragraphs.

  • Organize your paragraphs using one of the approaches listed in the "Organizing the Content" part below. Once you have defined your points of comparison, choose the structure for the body paragraphs (where your comparisons go) that makes the most sense for your data. To work out all the organizational kinks, it’s recommended that you write an outline as a placeholder.
  • Be very careful not to address different aspects of each subject. Comparing the color of one thing to the size of another does nothing to help the reader understand how they stack up. [15] X Research source

Step 3 Write the conclusion...

  • Be aware that your various comparisons won’t necessarily lend themselves to an obvious conclusion, especially because people value things differently. If necessary, make the parameters of your argument more specific. (Ex. “Though X is more stylish and powerful, Y’s top safety ratings make it a more appropriate family vehicle .”)
  • When you have two radically different topics, it sometimes helps to point out one similarity they have before concluding. (i.e. "Although X and Y don't seem to have anything in common, in actuality, they both ....”)

Step 4 Write the introduction...

  • Even the best writers know editing is important to produce a good piece. Your essay will not be your best effort unless you revise it.
  • If possible, find a friend to look over the essay, as he or she may find problems that you missed.
  • It sometimes helps to increase or decrease the font size while editing to change the visual layout of the paper. Looking at the same thing for too long makes your brain fill in what it expects instead of what it sees, leaving you more likely to overlook errors.

Expert Q&A

Christopher Taylor, PhD

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

  • The title and introduction really catch the reader's attention and make them read the essay. Make sure you know how to write a catchy essay title . Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 1
  • Quotes should be used sparingly and must thoroughly complement the point they are being used to exemplify/justify. Thanks Helpful 5 Not Helpful 2
  • The key principle to remember in a comparative paragraph or essay is that you must clarify precisely what you are comparing and keep that comparison alive throughout the essay. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 2

how to write a comparative essay outline

  • Avoid vague language such as "people," "stuff," "things," etc. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0
  • Avoid, at all costs, the conclusion that the two subjects are "similar, yet different." This commonly found conclusion weakens any comparative essay, because it essentially says nothing about the comparison. Most things are "similar, yet different" in some way. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0
  • Some believe that an "unbalanced" comparison - that is, when the essay focuses predominantly on one of the two issues, and gives less importance to the other - is weaker, and that writers should strive for 50/50 treatment of the texts or issues being examined. Others, however, value emphasis in the essay that reflects the particular demands of the essay's purpose or thesis. One text may simply provide context, or historical/artistic/political reference for the main text, and therefore need not occupy half of the essay's discussion or analysis. A "weak" essay in this context would strive to treat unequal texts equally, rather than strive to appropriately apportion space to the relevant text. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
  • Beware of the "Frying Pan Conclusion" in which you simply recount everything that was said in the main body of the essay. While your conclusion should include a simple summary of your argument, it should also emphatically state the point in a new and convincing way, one which the reader will remember clearly. If you can see a way forward from a problem or dilemma, include that as well. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1

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  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/comparing-and-contrasting/
  • ↑ http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/comparative-essay
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/comparing-and-contrasting/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/how-write-comparative-analysis
  • ↑ https://www.butte.edu/departments/cas/tipsheets/style_purpose_strategy/compare_contrast.html
  • ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/writingforsuccess/chapter/10-7-comparison-and-contrast/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/steps_for_revising.html
  • How to Structure Paragraphs in an Essay

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write a comparative essay, start by writing an introduction that introduces the 2 subjects you'll be comparing. You should also include your thesis statement in the introduction, which should state what you've concluded based on your comparisons. Next, write the body of your essay so that each paragraph focuses on one point of comparison between your subjects. Finally, write a conclusion that summarizes your main points and draws a larger conclusion about the two things you compared. To learn how to do research for your essay, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to write comparative essay

How to write comparative essay

Introduction

A comparative analysis essay is a distinctive form of academic writing that invites you to explore and evaluate the relationships between two or more subjects, highlighting both their similarities and differences. Crafting such an essay can be both challenging and rewarding, as it demands critical thinking, analytical skills, and the ability to construct a well-structured argument. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the step-by-step process of composing an effective comparative analysis essay, focusing on answering the crucial question: "How to write a comparative analysis essay?"

Step 1: Understanding the Comparative Analysis Essay Question

Before you begin writing, it's essential to grasp the nuances of the comparative analysis essay question you are tasked with. This question serves as the guiding principle for your entire essay. It will typically ask you to compare and contrast specific aspects of the subjects under examination. Some common prompts might include:

  • "Compare and contrast the themes of two novels you have studied."
  • "Examine the differences and similarities in the historical contexts of two events."
  • "Compare the character development in two different Shakespearean plays."

Step 2: Determine the Basis for Comparison

The key to answering the comparative analysis essay question effectively is to identify the basis for comparison. This step involves selecting the specific aspects or criteria you will use to evaluate the subjects. For instance, if you are comparing two novels, your basis for comparison might include themes, characters, narrative structure, or symbolism.

Step 3: Become Familiar with the Source Materials

In-depth familiarity with the source materials is essential for writing a successful comparative analysis essay. Take the time to thoroughly read, watch, or research the subjects you are comparing. This will enable you to provide a comprehensive analysis and draw insightful conclusions.

Step 4: Choose an Appropriate Structure

The structure you choose for your comparative analysis essay plays a pivotal role in how you present your arguments. The three common structural approaches are:

a. Block Structure: Dedicate separate sections to each subject, discussing their similarities and differences separately.

b. Alternating Structure: Alternate between discussing the subjects' similarities and differences in each paragraph.

c. Woven Structure: Seamlessly weave together comparisons and contrasts throughout your essay.

Step 5: Prepare an Outline

Creating a well-organized outline is a crucial step in the writing process. An outline helps you structure your thoughts, ensuring a logical flow of ideas and a coherent argument that directly addresses the comparative analysis essay question.

Step 6: Write an Introduction with a Thesis Statement

Your introduction should provide context for your essay and include a clear thesis statement. The thesis statement should directly respond to the comparative analysis essay question and outline the key aspects you will explore.

Step 7: Develop the Body of Your Essay

The body of your essay is where you present your comparisons and contrasts based on the chosen structure. Utilize evidence from your source materials to support your arguments, keeping a balanced and fair evaluation.

Step 8: Write a Conclusion Summarizing Your Main Points

In your conclusion, reiterate the central similarities and differences discussed throughout the essay. Restate your thesis statement and offer a final insight or reflection related to the comparative analysis essay question. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion.

Conclusion:

Answering the question "how to write a comparative analysis essay" necessitates a methodical approach that involves understanding the essay question, determining the basis for comparison, immersing yourself in the source materials, selecting an appropriate structure, outlining your essay, crafting a well-structured introduction and body, and summarizing your key points in the conclusion. By adhering to these steps, you can confidently address the comparative analysis essay question and create an engaging essay that effectively communicates your analysis and insights, achieving a deeper understanding of the subjects under examination.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a comparative essay? Answer: A comparative essay is an academic writing form that requires comparing and contrasting two or more subjects or ideas.
  • How do I choose a topic for a comparative essay? Answer: The topic choice depends on your interests and objectives. You can select topics with similar or contrasting characteristics to explore.
  • What structure works best for a comparative essay? Answer: There are several structures, such as block, alternating, and woven. The choice depends on your topic and how you want to organize your argument.
  • How do I write an introduction for a comparative essay? Answer: The introduction should provide context and a clear thesis statement, indicating your main comparisons and contrasts.
  • How do I conclude a comparative essay? Answer: In the conclusion, recap the main points of comparison, restate your thesis, and offer final thoughts on your comparative analysis.

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Delving into comparative analysis essays in education challenges us to dissect and debate pivotal learning themes. Our carefully selected "Top 20 Topics, Prompts, Ideas, and Questions" aim to ignite critical thought, pushing you to evaluate and contrast varied educational frameworks and the efficacy of instructional approaches. In drafting your essay, strive for a cohesive argument that elevates your analysis beyond the obvious. These topics are springboards for broader discussion, offering a l

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How to write a comparative essay

A step-by-step guide with instructions, outlines, and samples

Writing a great comparative essay means highlighting the similarities and differences between two things in a systematic manner. Start by choosing the parameters (items) to compare, write an outline, and fill in the details for each section. Make sure to have an introduction and conclusion.

The comparative essay is one form of document that you will probably be expected to write at some point over the course of your college career. The purpose of this article is to provide you with a thorough overview of the comparative essay. Specific things that will be addressed include:

Purpose of the comparative essay

Explanation of comparative models, how to analyze subjects, elements of a good comparative essay, how to write a great comparative essay.

  • Samples/examples
  • Best practices and advice
  • Additional information

By the end of this article, you should feel more confident about your own knowledge of what a comparative essay is and the best ways to go about writing one (if you haven't decided to buy a comparative essay from Ultius ).

How to write a comparative essay

The fundamental purpose of a comparative essay is to elaborate the similarities and differences between two things in a systematic manner.

An effective comparative essay will leave the reader with much greater clarity about the natures and properties of the things that have been compared.

This could potentially serve as a basis for making a decision in favor of one or the other thing.

A comparative essay is different from, for example, an argumentative essay in that the comparative essay does not make a case for either of the two things under comparison. Rather, the point is to simply set up the comparison so that the reader will have as much information about the two things as possible.

Why are comparative essays important?

The comparative essay is an important form of document because when you have to make a decision or choose a side in an argument, you will want to know as much as possible about the two options under consideration—and a good comparative essay on the subject can bring out both the similarities and the differences between the options, thereby clarifying the stakes at play.

For example, a comparative essay could address the similarities and differences between any of the following pairs:

  • The Republican Party and the Democratic Party
  • Christianity and Marxism
  • The Big Bang and creationism
  • The Light or Dark side of the Force from Star Wars
  • The revolutionary and the reformist perspectives on social change

By developing a comparative essay on any of these pairs, you can not only understand each item of under comparison is a more thorough way, you can also get closer to figuring out which item you prefer.

For example, a solid comparative essay on revolution vs. reformism could not only help you understand what each of these items entails, it can also help you figure out whether you would rather be a revolutionary or a reformist. Likewise, if you only have time to binge watch one show, then a comparative essay could help you figure out whether you would prefer to go with Game of Thrones or Westworld .

When writing a comparative essay, there are several models you can use in order to ensure that you set up your comparison as effectively as possible.

Venn diagram

The Venn diagram is a classic, and surely, you're familiar with it. This is the model of two overlapping circles, where each circle belongs to one item of comparison: features shared by both items (similarities) go in the overlapping middle zone, whereas features that are not shared go in the outer areas. For example, here is a Venn diagram that compares humans against gorillas.

Venn diagram comparing humans and gorillas.

When using the Venn diagram model, it is important to note that the differences must be symmetrical. In other words, every difference you list on one side of the comparison must be matched by a difference on the other side.

For example, if you were comparing Apple and Amazon, then for the parameter of "founder," you can list "Steve Jobs" in one circle and "Jeff Bezos" in the other. But it wouldn't make sense if you just listed one or the other: you must list something for each of the items of comparisons under the selected parameter of comparison.

In the Venn diagram above, the first parameter is "language," so for humans it is listed that we have a capacity of language, whereas for gorillas it is listed that they do not.

You don't need to worry about this kind of symmetry when it comes to the similarities, since you will list the same thing for both items of comparison (which means you only have to list it once, in the overlapping zone). In the example, above, the fact that both humans and gorillas are mammals is thus listed just once in the middle.

The dialectical method

The dialectical method is important within the discipline of philosophy, and it has been used to great effect by thinkers such as Socrates and Hegel and Kierkegaard.

This involves holding two ideas or items in tension with each other, to better clarify not only the ideas themselves but also the dynamic relationship that exist between the ideas. The first idea is called the thesis , and the second idea is called the antithesis .

For example, Romanticism could be dialectically compared against the Enlightenment that came before it, because Romanticism was in some ways a rejection of the previous worldview.

Need help?  Essay writing services from Ultius can help you produce a great sample compare and contrast essay.

So, by setting up a comparison between Romanticism and the Enlightenment, it becomes possible to see both the continuities (or similarities) between the one and the other, as well as the contradictions (or differences) between them.

Berlin, Isaiah. The Roots of Romanticism . Princeton: Princeton U P, 2013. Print.

From the table above, it is clear that we are able to understand both Romanticism and the Enlightenment better if we set them up in terms of dialectical contrast.

Clearly, they are different in some important ways (logic vs. passion, for example), but we can also see that they are in continuity with each other (both happened in Western Europe and responded to previous developments). This comparison also leads one to wonder about whether it would be possible to make a synthesis that takes the best from both the thesis and the antithesis

A good comparative essay can lead one to ask such questions and pursue such lines of inquiry.

To analyze your subjects for a comparative essay, you need to identify clear parameters, or axes, in terms of which your two selected items can be compared. For example, in the table above, Romanticism and the Enlightenment were compared along the axis of " epistemology ". But that axis won't be relevant to all subjects.

Your job when preparing to write a comparative essay is to identify the specific axes that are relevant for the items that you are comparing. Why is the comparison interesting, and what insights are you trying produce? The answers to those questions will determine how you decide to frame your comparison.

For example, we could compare the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) against the Democratic Party in terms of the axis of membership. This would reveal that the DSA has far fewer registered members than does the Democratic Party.

We could also compare them on the axis of healthcare policy, where it may be found that the DSA and the Democratic Party agree about the importance of universal coverage. When we look at the axis of economics, though, we may find that the DSA is much more radical in its proposals than the Democratic Party.

The problem of identifying relevance

In principle, any one thing in the world could be compared with any other thing in the world. For example, you could compare your shoe with the moon, and conclude that one similarity is that they both exist within the Milky Way galaxy.

But this would be a meaningless point (even if it may make for some interesting poetry). It is important for you to figure out what exactly you are trying to determine through your comparative essay. What is your purpose for writing it?

This will help you choose two items where setting up a dialectical contrast between them will produce actual insight, and it will also help you to choose the proper parameters by which to compare those items.

For example, suppose that you are running a business, and there are two expansion options open in front of you. It would be logical for you to compare and contrast these options, since this will help ensure that you are making your decision with as much knowledge and insight as possible.

Business associates meeting around a laptop.

Likewise, one parameter that you are sure to consider is: which option will make your business the most money? If you pick parameters that are meaningless, then you will obtain no real insight that can help you make the important decision.

Using a rubric

Once you have identified both the two items of comparison and the axes along which they will be compared, you can proceed to analyze the items by applying the axes in the form of a table or rubric.

This is what has been done, for example, in the tables that have been developed above in this article. In the left-most column, list the parameters you have selected in order to compare your items. Then, in the top-most row, list the items.

Then go ahead and list the relevant details for each parameter for each of the two items. This will produce a table where you can see how each item measures up against the other for each parameter.

The important thing is to be systematic when you are making your comparison: it should not seem random or arbitrary. Thus, it is important to carefully select both the items and the parameters for comparison, and then to proceed to address each item/parameter combo in turn.

There are several elements that are a part of any good comparative essay.

Effective selection of items

A strong comparative essay has well-chosen items for comparison, with the comparison producing actual insights of value through the juxtaposition of the two items. If the items appear to be chosen for no apparent reason, or if the comparison does not in fact produce insight, then the comparative essay would be quite weak (or at any rate pointless).

The comparative essay is not meant to make an argument in favor of one thing or another, but it is meant to produce knowledge and insight about the two things under comparison. In order to compare and contrast items in an effective way, the two items must be different enough from each other, but they should also not be so different that it just feels absurd to even compare them at all.

Effective selection of parameters of comparison

A good comparative essay not only includes well-selected items of comparison, it also includes well-selected parameters of comparison. Between any two selected items, you could theoretically make an endless number of comparisons.

But a good comparative essay identifies parameters of comparative in terms of salience , or the reasons why anyone would be interested in the comparison in the first place. This can be difficult, because in principle, any comparison could be interesting, depending on the audience of the comparative essay and the intended purpose of the essay.

Twelve sided die displaying the zodiac

For example, one could use the parameter of zodiac sign to compare Romantic artists against Enlightenment artists.

This could be very interesting to people who are very serious about the zodiac, but it would probably seem ridiculous to just about everyone else.

But if you were writing for an audience of zodiac fanatics, then this comparison could actually be a success.

So, there is no parameter of comparison that is "inherently" bad. Rather, the point is to find parameters that highlight specific salient aspects of the selected items.

For example, when comparing Romanticism against the Enlightenment, core values would be a solid parameter of comparison, because that will surely help produce insights about how worldviews changed from the one paradigm to another.

Strong organizational structure

If you want your comparative essay to be a success, then it absolutely must have strong organizational structure . This is because an effective comparison must be easy for your reader to follow. It can't just jump all over the place at random, which not only be confusing but could also result in the reader forgetting what the point of the comparison was in the first place.

In general, there are two ways in which you can organize your comparative essay. In the first format, each of the parameters would be considered in the section for similarities and the section for differences.

In the first format the comparative essay is organized in terms of similarities and differences, whereas in the second format the essay is organized in terms of parameters of comparison.

One version of the comparative essay compares the similarities and differences between subjects

In the second format, both similarities and differences would be considered within each of the parameter sections.

The second version of the comparative essay compares the parameters of both the similarities and differences

Both these are formats are good, and a strong comparative essay could be built around either one.

The important thing is to have a clear system and to not make your comparisons random.

There needs to be an organizational structure that your reader can easily follow.

There are steps you can follow in order to ensure that your comparative essay has all the elements that will be required in order to make it great.

Ask yourself about your intention

If you have selected two items for your comparative essay, then you should start by asking yourself why you selected those two items. What is it about the two items that made you think it would be a good idea to compare them? (Or if you were assigned the two items, then why do you think those items were selected by your professor?)

The point here is that the items selected for a comparative essay are non-random. They are selected because that specific comparison should be able to yield interesting insights (unlike research papers ).

For example, if you are writing a comparative essay on the dogs vs. cats, then are you writing this from the perspective of evolutionary biology? Or are you perhaps writing it in order to inform potential pet owners who are debating whether they want a dog or a cat?

The purpose of your essay will determine what parameters you will select in order to compare your two items. This means that you should have an intended audience in mind, and you should also have specific questions you would like to know more about.

In short, in order to develop effective parameters for your comparative essay, you have to ask yourself why you are writing it and who would be interested in the insights produced by the essay. This can help ensure you select both appropriate items and appropriate parameters for comparison.

Develop a structural outline

It is very important that you do not just jump into your comparative essay and start writing it without a plan. That is a recipe for disaster, and the comparisons will almost certainly turn out random and confusing. Rather, you should begin with a solid outline .

A good outline will do three main things:

  • 1. Identify the selected items of comparison in the introduction/thesis
  • 2. Utilize one of the two organizational formats described above
  • 3. Provide a roadmap for how you intend to systematically follow through on the comparison

For example, here is how an outline could look for a comparative essay on Romanticism vs. the Enlightenment.

Sample outline of a comparative essay about Romanticism and the Enlightenment

In this sample outline, the format that is used dedicates a paragraph to each of three parameters of comparison, and both similarities and differences are addressed for each of those parameters.

This is the kind of logical flow that you will need to have in order for your comparative essay to turn out great.

Write in a systematic way

A comparative essay is not a place to get too creative with your writing, whether in terms of organization or in terms of style.

Rather, you should focus on simply carrying out your comparison, point-by-point and in a way that is easy for your reader to follow. This can get a little tedious, so if that is a problem for you, then you should make sure that you set aside enough time to work on your comparative essay little by little.

For example, if your essay has three parameters, then you could write a section on the first parameter today, the second parameter tomorrow, and the third parameter the next day.

The important thing is for you to ensure that you consider each of your two selected items in terms of each of your selected parameters. This needs to be done in a smooth and logical manner, such that your reader knows where you are in the comparison. There should be no jumping around, and there should be no departure from the basic format or structure.

Example comparative (compare/contrast) essay

Best practices/tips.

We have now arrived at the end of this guide, and you should have a much better idea of what makes a comparative essay successful and how you can go about writing one. It may be helpful to now summarize some of the main points that have been addressed here.

Let's address five main points.

1. Ensure that you select appropriate items for comparison

The two items that will be compared in your comparative essay should be carefully selected. The items should have some shared features and be in the same "class" of items, but they should also have substantial differences to which you are trying to call attention. If the items are too similar, then there would be no point in the comparison, but if they are too different, that can also make the comparison meaningless.

2. Select effective parameters of comparison

Your comparative essay shouldn't compare anything and everything between your two items; rather, the parameters should be specifically selected to highlight specific, salient similarities and differences. In order to determine what parameters would be effective, you have to ask yourself why you are writing your comparative essay and what sort of insights you intend to produce about the items being compared.

3. Use tools and models in an effective way

The Venn diagram is one tool that can be very helpful in conceptualizing your comparative essay, especially if you are a more visual kind of learner. Tables, rubrics, and outlines will also work to help ensure that you are developing a strong backbone of logic and systematic reasoning for your comparative essay. These and other tools may even help you reconsider your initial choices of items and parameters, if you realize that significant insights are not being produced.

4. Choose an organizational format, and stick with it

There are two main ways in which to structure an effective comparative essay, which have been described above. You can dedicate one section to similarities and one section to differences; or, you can dedicate a section to each of the parameters of comparison. This second option is usually more effective, especially if you are new to comparative essays. But either way, it is crucial that you stick to your chosen format and do not jump around and confuse the reader.

5. Seek assistance if you need it

If you are still uncertain about how to write a successful comparative essay, then Ultius is here to help. Our writer help section has many tools like this one available on various types of essays; we have a huge writer help section that contains all sorts of information on pretty much any writing-related questions you may have; and we also have elite professional writers who can produce a sample comparative essay for you on any subject of your choosing. We are here for you, and if you have any further questions about how to write a comparative essay, then you should feel free to reach out.

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Compare And Contrast Essay

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline

Nova A.

Learn How to Create a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline - With Examples & Tips

11 min read

Published on: Mar 23, 2018

Last updated on: Oct 31, 2023

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Compare and contrast essays are a common academic assignment that requires you to analyze the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. 

However, you need a strong outline as your foundation to craft a successful and compelling essay. Outlining organizes your points logically and makes your writing more coherent. 

So how do you start with making a good outline?

This blog will walk you through the steps of creating an effective compare and contrast essay outline. You’ll also get some helpful practical tips and examples along the way. 

Let’s get into it!

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What is a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline?

An outline for a compare and contrast essay aims to organize all the information in a readable manner. It's a roadmap that lays out how you organize and present your ideas.

Here are the main goals of an outline:

  • Clarity and Organization: An outline helps you organize your thoughts and ideas in a clear and structured manner. It ensures that all the ideas are presented in a systematic way.
  • Efficiency: Creating an outline streamlines the writing process. It saves you time by providing a clear direction. It keeps the writer focused on developing the main argument and supporting evidence.
  • Prevention of Overlooking Key Points: With a well-constructed outline, you're less likely to overlook essential points. It serves as a checklist for your essay, ensuring that it is comprehensive and balanced.

Two Types of Compare & Contrast Essay Structure

Before we dive into the outlining steps, you should know about the two main organizing strategies for this type of essay:

  • Point-by-Point Structure (or organization by criteria)
  • Block Method (or organization by item)

Each approach offers unique advantages and is suited to different writing situations. Let's explore these two structures in detail.

Point-by-Point Structure

The point-by-point structure involves comparing and contrasting specific aspects of your chosen subjects.

For instance, when comparing two car models point-by-point, you can first compare and discuss their fuel efficiency, then interior space, and finally compare and contrast their tech features.

This way, you proceed by covering each aspect at a time. Here is what this structure looks like:

Block Method

The block method, also known as organization by item, offers a different approach to structuring your compare and contrast essay. 

In this structure, you present all the information about one subject before moving on to the other, and finally compare and evaluate the subjects in the last paragraph before the conclusion. 

This straightforward approach is particularly useful when your subjects have few similarities and differences. Here’s an example of a block method compare and contrast:

Now that you know about the two types of compare and contrast outlines, let’s move on to how to craft them.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Compare & Contrast Outline 

Creating a compare and contrast essay outline may seem like a complex task, but fear not! Following these simple steps below will make outlining easier and smoother.

Step 1: Choose Your Subjects & Gather Information

Step 2: identify key points of comparison, step 3: develop a thesis statement.

  • Step 4: Organize Your Outline 

Let’s get into each of these steps:

The first and most crucial step is to select the subjects or topics you'll be comparing and contrasting. Make sure that your subjects are related and offer meaningful comparisons. 

Determine the purpose of your essay. Are you aiming to persuade, inform, or simply analyze? Understanding your purpose will help you gather relevant information about your subjects and shape your thesis statement.

Looking for topic ideas? Find 100+ compare and contrast essay topics to write about.

Consider the aspects or criteria you'll use to compare and contrast your subjects. These will become the basis for your body paragraphs. Common approaches include similarities and differences in structure, content, historical context, or impact of your chosen subjects.

Your thesis statement is the heart of your essay. It should concisely state the main point or argument of your essay and provide a roadmap for what your readers can expect. Make sure it reflects the essence of your comparison.

Step 4: Organize Your Outline

Now, it's time to create the actual outline structure. There are three components of an essay outline:

  • Introduction
  • The main body

Start with the basic framework:

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

An essay introduction aims to present your compare and contrast subjects and provide some context.  

In the introduction part of your outline, you should add the following:

  • Hook Statement - A hook is the opening sentence of your essay that aims to catch the readers’ attention. Depending on the topic, choose a catchy statement for your introduction to make it interesting for the readers. 
  • Points about Significance/Context - To make your essay introduction strong and engaging, add the points about the context or significance of the topic to your outline.
  • Thesis Statement - A thesis statement is the writer’s main argument about the topic. 

Compare and Contrast Essay Body Paragraphs

Before outlining your body paragraphs, choose one of the two structures described above. That is, choose whether you want to write your essay in a point-by-point structure or by the block method.

Here’s what to add to your body paragraph outline if it follows a point by point organization:

If you’re using the block method, here’s what your body paragraph outline should include:

Conclusion 

In your outline for the conclusion, you should include the following components:

  • Restate the Thesis: Reiterate your thesis statement, emphasizing the main argument of your essay. This reinforces the central message you want your readers to take away.
  • Summarized Points: Summarize the points you made in the body paragraphs.
  • Final Insight or Observation: Add a final insight, observation, or thought to end the conclusion. This could be a reflection on the significance of your comparisons, a call to action, or a broader perspective on the topic.

Starting with gathering information and ending with a complete outline, these 4 easy steps will let you have a great start.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Examples

Here are some outline examples that will make it easy for you to understand the process described above. Check them out to see what your final outlines should look like.

5 Paragraph Compare And Contrast Essay Outline Example

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline Middle School

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline 5th Grade

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline 6th Grade

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline High School

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline Point By Point

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline Block Method

Oedipus and Hamlet Compare And Contrast Essay Outline

Argumentative Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Want to read complete essays instead? Check out our blog on compare and contrast essay examples to read expertly written samples!

Tips for Making Better Compare and Contrast Outlines

Creating a compare and contrast essay outline is a crucial step in the essay-writing process. With the right tips, you can make your outlines more effective and efficient. 

Here are some valuable tips to help you craft better compare and contrast outlines:

  • Clarify Your Purpose: Before you start outlining, ensure you have a clear understanding of the purpose of your essay. Are you aiming to inform or analyze and evaluate? Your outline should align with your essay's objectives.
  • Choose the Right Structure: Select the structure (point-by-point or block method) that best suits your subjects and the nature of your comparison. Some topics may work better with one method over the other.
  • Be Consistent: Maintain consistency in your outline. Use the same format for each body paragraph, making it easier for you to stay organized and for your readers to follow your argument.
  • Prioritize Key Points: Not all comparisons and contrasts are of equal importance. Focus on the most significant aspects to avoid overwhelming your essay with minor details.
  • Balance Similarities and Differences: Ensure your outline includes a balanced mix of similarities and differences. This balance contributes to a well-rounded and persuasive essay.
  • Review and Revise: After creating your initial outline, take a step back and review it critically. Does it effectively convey your ideas? Are there any redundancies or gaps in your comparisons? Make revisions as needed.
  • Stay Focused: It's easy to get sidetracked when comparing and contrasting. Stick to your chosen criteria and avoid going off-topic in your outline.
  • Use Clear Language: Keep your outline concise and use clear, straightforward language. Avoid jargon or overly complex sentences that could confuse your readers.
  • Seek Feedback: If possible, share your outline with a peer or instructor for feedback. They can offer valuable insights and suggestions for improvement.

To Conclude,

Crafting a well-structured compare and contrast essay outline is a skill that can elevate your essays. We've explored the purpose, components, and step-by-step process for creating effective outlines. You’re now equipped to shape your ideas, organize your arguments, and guide your readers through compelling comparisons and contrasts. 

Remember, outlining isn't just a preliminary step; it's your blueprint for essay excellence. So utilize the steps and tips you learned above to craft excellent comparison essays!

Still, if you are looking for expert guidance and custom-written essays, MyPerfectWords.com is here for you. Just request us to “do my essay” and our professional writers will provide tailored essays within your deadline. 

So let our writing services ease your essay burden - Contact Now!

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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  • How to write an essay outline | Guidelines & examples

How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples

Published on August 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing. It involves writing quick summary sentences or phrases for every point you will cover in each paragraph , giving you a picture of how your argument will unfold.

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Table of contents

Organizing your material, presentation of the outline, examples of essay outlines, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about essay outlines.

At the stage where you’re writing an essay outline, your ideas are probably still not fully formed. You should know your topic  and have already done some preliminary research to find relevant sources , but now you need to shape your ideas into a structured argument.

Creating categories

Look over any information, quotes and ideas you’ve noted down from your research and consider the central point you want to make in the essay—this will be the basis of your thesis statement . Once you have an idea of your overall argument, you can begin to organize your material in a way that serves that argument.

Try to arrange your material into categories related to different aspects of your argument. If you’re writing about a literary text, you might group your ideas into themes; in a history essay, it might be several key trends or turning points from the period you’re discussing.

Three main themes or subjects is a common structure for essays. Depending on the length of the essay, you could split the themes into three body paragraphs, or three longer sections with several paragraphs covering each theme.

As you create the outline, look critically at your categories and points: Are any of them irrelevant or redundant? Make sure every topic you cover is clearly related to your thesis statement.

Order of information

When you have your material organized into several categories, consider what order they should appear in.

Your essay will always begin and end with an introduction and conclusion , but the organization of the body is up to you.

Consider these questions to order your material:

  • Is there an obvious starting point for your argument?
  • Is there one subject that provides an easy transition into another?
  • Do some points need to be set up by discussing other points first?

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Within each paragraph, you’ll discuss a single idea related to your overall topic or argument, using several points of evidence or analysis to do so.

In your outline, you present these points as a few short numbered sentences or phrases.They can be split into sub-points when more detail is needed.

The template below shows how you might structure an outline for a five-paragraph essay.

  • Thesis statement
  • First piece of evidence
  • Second piece of evidence
  • Summary/synthesis
  • Importance of topic
  • Strong closing statement

You can choose whether to write your outline in full sentences or short phrases. Be consistent in your choice; don’t randomly write some points as full sentences and others as short phrases.

Examples of outlines for different types of essays are presented below: an argumentative, expository, and literary analysis essay.

Argumentative essay outline

This outline is for a short argumentative essay evaluating the internet’s impact on education. It uses short phrases to summarize each point.

Its body is split into three paragraphs, each presenting arguments about a different aspect of the internet’s effects on education.

  • Importance of the internet
  • Concerns about internet use
  • Thesis statement: Internet use a net positive
  • Data exploring this effect
  • Analysis indicating it is overstated
  • Students’ reading levels over time
  • Why this data is questionable
  • Video media
  • Interactive media
  • Speed and simplicity of online research
  • Questions about reliability (transitioning into next topic)
  • Evidence indicating its ubiquity
  • Claims that it discourages engagement with academic writing
  • Evidence that Wikipedia warns students not to cite it
  • Argument that it introduces students to citation
  • Summary of key points
  • Value of digital education for students
  • Need for optimism to embrace advantages of the internet

Expository essay outline

This is the outline for an expository essay describing how the invention of the printing press affected life and politics in Europe.

The paragraphs are still summarized in short phrases here, but individual points are described with full sentences.

  • Claim that the printing press marks the end of the Middle Ages.
  • Provide background on the low levels of literacy before the printing press.
  • Present the thesis statement: The invention of the printing press increased circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.
  • Discuss the very high levels of illiteracy in medieval Europe.
  • Describe how literacy and thus knowledge and education were mainly the domain of religious and political elites.
  • Indicate how this discouraged political and religious change.
  • Describe the invention of the printing press in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg.
  • Show the implications of the new technology for book production.
  • Describe the rapid spread of the technology and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible.
  • Link to the Reformation.
  • Discuss the trend for translating the Bible into vernacular languages during the years following the printing press’s invention.
  • Describe Luther’s own translation of the Bible during the Reformation.
  • Sketch out the large-scale effects the Reformation would have on religion and politics.
  • Summarize the history described.
  • Stress the significance of the printing press to the events of this period.

Literary analysis essay outline

The literary analysis essay outlined below discusses the role of theater in Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield Park .

The body of the essay is divided into three different themes, each of which is explored through examples from the book.

  • Describe the theatricality of Austen’s works
  • Outline the role theater plays in Mansfield Park
  • Introduce the research question : How does Austen use theater to express the characters’ morality in Mansfield Park ?
  • Discuss Austen’s depiction of the performance at the end of the first volume
  • Discuss how Sir Bertram reacts to the acting scheme
  • Introduce Austen’s use of stage direction–like details during dialogue
  • Explore how these are deployed to show the characters’ self-absorption
  • Discuss Austen’s description of Maria and Julia’s relationship as polite but affectionless
  • Compare Mrs. Norris’s self-conceit as charitable despite her idleness
  • Summarize the three themes: The acting scheme, stage directions, and the performance of morals
  • Answer the research question
  • Indicate areas for further study

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You will sometimes be asked to hand in an essay outline before you start writing your essay . Your supervisor wants to see that you have a clear idea of your structure so that writing will go smoothly.

Even when you do not have to hand it in, writing an essay outline is an important part of the writing process . It’s a good idea to write one (as informally as you like) to clarify your structure for yourself whenever you are working on an essay.

If you have to hand in your essay outline , you may be given specific guidelines stating whether you have to use full sentences. If you’re not sure, ask your supervisor.

When writing an essay outline for yourself, the choice is yours. Some students find it helpful to write out their ideas in full sentences, while others prefer to summarize them in short phrases.

You should try to follow your outline as you write your essay . However, if your ideas change or it becomes clear that your structure could be better, it’s okay to depart from your essay outline . Just make sure you know why you’re doing so.

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  • A Research Guide
  • Writing Guide
  • Essay Writing

How to Write a Comparative Essay: Step-by-Step Guide

  • What is comparative essay
  • Structure and outline
  • Tips how to start
  • Step-by-step guide
  • Comparative essay format
  • Comparative essay topics
  • Comparative essay example

What is a Comparative Essay?

How to write a comparison essay: structure and outline.

  • The topic sentence should introduce the reader to what the paragraph handles.
  • A discussion of the aspect is done in the middle of a paragraph.
  • The last part of the paragraph should carry a low-level conclusion about the aspect discussed in the paragraph.
  • The paragraph should present enough information, as too much or too less may render it meaningless.
  • Every paragraph should handle a single aspect, e.g., it is quite unreasonable to compare the size of one object to the color of another .

Tips on How to Start a Comparative Essay

Step-by-step writing guide to write a comparative analysis, step 1: identify the basis of the comparison..

  • For example, a question may ask you to compare capitalism and communism and write the arguments. This question has a clear objective; hence you don’t have to go the extra mile.
  • Another case may be to compare any two political ideologies. It is a general question, and you have to figure out the various political ideologies and then identify any two that you can compare. Such instances require the author to develop the basis of comparison by themselves and write it down.

Step 2: Develop the content of the essay.

Step 3: come up with a thesis., step 4: develop the comparative essay structure., step 5: write your compare essay..

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Comparative Essay Format

Alternating method;.

  • Gives more details about the item in comparison, making it easy to handle two different points;
  • Produces a well-analyzed and integrated paper.
  • Cases where detailed comparison is needed;
  • When the points of comparison are not related.

Mixed paragraphs method;

  • gives the issues equal weights in terms of comparison;
  • the reader gets to identify the comparison factor easily.
  • When dealing with a long comparative essay;
  • When dealing with complex topics that need close attention.

Block Method;

  • When dealing with short essays;
  • When dealing with simple topics;
  • Cases where there is no clear relation between items of comparison of point one and point two;
  • When you want to build the ideas of question two from those highlighted for question one;
  • When dealing with many issues.

Comparative Essay Topics

  • Compare and contrast the GDP figures of the US and Australia.
  • A comparative essay on World War I and World War II events.
  • Comparison between political ideologies such as capitalism and communism.
  • Positions on issues, e.g., Healthcare in the US and Australia.
  • Comparison between various Sports teams.
  • Different Systems of Government.
  • Comparison between various influential people.
  • A comparative essay on religion, e.g., Christianity and Hinduism,
  • Comparison between various texts,
  • Comparison in technology, such as comparing different cars,

Comparative Essay Example (Clarified)

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Comparative Analysis Essay Writing Guide

This kind of academic assignment is quite widespread in colleges or universities. It aims to show students how to review different types of materials, divide them into separate parts, and analyze each element in turn. Every comparative analysis essay requires in-depth research on the subject, the author's ability for critical thinking, and support for the position indicated in the material analyzed. Preparing the academic paperwork, you should make it fascinating and intelligent for your readers. Any comparative analysis paper may be a complicated task, but if you follow all the steps mentioned in our guidelines, the writing process will become much easier!

What Is a Comparative Analysis Paper?

In order to know what you can expect from the task, fully understanding the comparative analysis concept is vital. A comparative analysis is one of the most popular types of assignments that are often given in colleges or universities. In such paperwork for college or university, you should compare and oppose two different things. Those can be two texts, historical figures, scientific processes, theories, etc. These papers are very popular as college assignments because they are pretty universal: no matter what subject you study or what field you are working in - there are always things that can be compared. A "classic" version of a comparative analysis essay is when you select two similar things with a few critical differences. Or, it can be vice versa: two entirely different things have some similarities which may not even be noticed. Comparative analysis essays help students gain useful expertise, develop analytical thinking, improve their writing skills, the ability to highlight essential information, and, in the end, compare things and support your opinion with relevant facts and actual examples.

Every student should have some skills to write a quality comparative analysis paper. It's challenging and requires a lot of additional elaboration of the materials, but the result you get in the end is worth it. With the help of the comparative analysis approach, you can see how different some similar things might be and vice versa. It takes much time and a lot of effort to prepare an excellent academic assignment, but following the guide below will assist you in achieving the best results!

How To Do a Comparative Analysis

As we mentioned earlier, the comparative analysis paper is a bit tricky when discussing its primary concept. If you have to convince your audience, you should find real similarities and differences based on a specific comparison type. Here comes the challenge - you should analyze both principles you compare. In order to highlight those main commonalities and differences, your task is to learn the subject. Therefore, our advice for everyone who faces creating a comparative analysis paper is to study, explore and read a lot. The best thing is to expand the expertise in the chosen topic. It will serve you to prepare the assignment without any difficulties because everything you need to do after the analysis follows the basic structure guideline and sums up everything you've found on your topic. Those who do everything haphazardly, without any preparation whatsoever, might face problems during the actual writing. Let's take a closer look at some structural aspects of such essays.

The Structure Outlines

Apart from general standard parts like an introduction, primary part, results, discussion and conclusions, which you should include in your paperwork, some other structural characteristics are specific for a comparative analysis assignment.

You can choose among the two ways to build the textual structure:

  • Point-by-point method. Choosing this type, you need to compare two subjects (let's name them A and B) using the ABABAB structure. Thus, after selecting the criteria for comparing these two concepts, you first discuss this criterion regarding subject A and then use the same approach for subject B. For example, if comparing the World War I and World War II, the essay's body structure might look like this:
  • A Paragraph 1 - military strategies used in World War I
  • B Paragraph 2 - military strategies used in World War II
  • A Paragraph 3 - weapons and new technologies in World War I
  • B Paragraph 4 - weapons and new technologies in World War II
  • A Paragraph 5 - scale and duration of World War I
  • B Paragraph 6 - scale and duration of World War II
  • Block method: Subject-by-subject pattern. Here, you should discuss all aspects of subject A and then move to subject B. This method has the following structure of the body part:
  • A Paragraphs 1-3 - The discussion of particular aspects of World War I
  • B Paragraphs 4-6 - Discussing the same categories but reviewing the World War II events

In addition to those methods, we recommend building a comparative analysis assignment outline as we did with the essay's body. Outlining the whole paperwork will assist you in organizing your views and opinions and planning out the paper's structure beforehand. Write down all paragraph headings, the key questions you have decided to review and provide all necessary details you want to mention in the academic task.

Good Examples for Comparative Analysis Paper Topics

Everything begins with a subject, so it's one of the most critical aspects of a comparative analysis assignment. Do not be hasty when considering different topics and choose the best one that will be fascinating for your audience. Let's look at some examples:

  • Fascism and Nazism: Different or the Same?
  • World War I and World War II: The Difference in Events
  • Coffee and Tea: The Effects of Both
  • Working in the Office or Being a Freelancer?
  • Education or Professional Career: What Is Easier and What Is More Difficult?
  • Online Dating vs. Real-Life Relations
  • Anorexia Nervosa and Obesity: What Is More Dangerous?
  • Life and Death: Philosophical Views

Choose a good topic, follow the guideline and try to enjoy the writing process as much as you wish! Great results won't keep you waiting if you like what you're doing. We hope that our guidelines will come in handy to build top-notch paper!

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8 Step-By-Step Guide On How To Write A Comparison Essay

Writing a comparison essay is a difficult task for many students because it requires a lot of effort and plan. Students have to write in-depth details about the topic they are comparing. 

A comparison essay is a type of academic writing in which students analyze the differences and similarities between two topics. The introduction is the first step in writing a comparison essay. 

Weather they are comparing historical events, literature, a well-written comparison essay will provide insights into the relationships between the topics or concepts they are analyzing. 

It should grab the reader’s attention, provide background information on the topic, and present a thesis statement that clearly states what you will be comparing and contrasting.

But many students are not able to write a comparison essay because they don’t know how to write. That’s why we have created this blog to provide best steps on how to write a comparison essay.

If you want to compare two topics effectively, then you have to follow the right steps. Here we have provide the best steps that will help you with this. So let’s get started. 

What Is Comparison Essay?

Table of Contents

A comparison essay (also known as a Compare and Contrast essay) is a typical writing assignment in high school and college classrooms ranging from art to science. You should critically study any two subjects in a comparison essay, locating and pointing out their parallels and differences.

Such essays might be comparative only (looking at similarities), contrasting only (calling out contrasts), or both comparative and contrasting, depending on your assignment.

What Makes A Good Comparison Essay Topic?

Many students don’t know how to write a comparison essay. What you exactly write in your paper can decide the success or failure of your essay. Like any other academic work, a good comparison and contrast essay will have a purpose that offers value. Consider subjects that are relevant to the field of study. Effective comparison and contrast subjects should expand the scope of knowledge or provide evidence for valid statements that have yet to be proven. The following are a few examples of possible topics:

  • Economics : Fiscal vs. Monetary Policy – An study of the Great Depression and the Stagflation Era
  • Political Science: Barack Obama vs. George W. Bush: Inspiring orator vs. modest disposition
  • Literature: Faulkner and Hemingway: A Prose Paradox
  • Philosophy: Utilitarianism and Existentialism
  • Law: When it comes to property, Common Law vs. Statute Law

When you start college, you may be assigned to create a decent application comparison essay in addition to these academic areas. These subjects could be lighter, such as comparing your youth to your adolescent years or contrasting two close friends.

Comparison Essay Structure

One of the most critical aspects of success is to think about the structure of your essay. The only way to properly outline and compose an essay, paragraph by paragraph, from beginning to end, without errors, is to follow a recommended essay structure.

There are 2 recommended patterns for a comparison essay: the point-by-point (“alternating”) pattern and the subject-by-subject (or “block”) pattern.

Alternating Pattern

“Point-by-point comparison” is another name for the alternating pattern. Your essay will have five paragraphs if you use this style of comparison. 

You’ll have to compare and contrast each of the similarities and differences in the following subjects to complete it:

  • Your thesis is stated in the introduction.
  • Then, for each point of comparison and contrast, you explain both of your topics together.
  • You repeat the thesis and briefly summarise your essay in conclusion.

Block Pattern

“Subject-by-subject comparison” is another name for the block pattern. The body of your compare and contrast essay will be divided into two parts according to this structure.

The first half of the body will be devoted to the first subject, while the second half will be focused on the second:

  • You start with the first topic.
  • Then you move on to the second topic.

How To Write a comparison essay and Compare Essay?

Here we will tell you how to write a comparison essay. A proper essay outline and organizational framework are required for comparing and contrasting essays.

When writing a decent compare and contrast essay, keep the following ideas in mind.

Selecting the Objects

The selection of the objects to compare is the first stage, and they should be distinct but belong to the same category. Instead of reaching an artist to a politician, a writer could compare two separate artists. This is the first step on how to write a comparison essay.

Identify the Differences and Similarities  

In the second phase, a writer must pinpoint the Differences and Similarities. This approach is generally aided by drawing a Venn diagram with two overlapping circles, and it helps with the organization of data. This is the second step on how to write a comparison essay.

Create a Thesis Statement

The goal of this essay is to use similarities and contrasts to create a thesis statement. The thesis statement aids in the development of a focused argument and the creation of a road map for the reader. Determine what your essay will say about the topics. This is the third step on how to write a comparison essay.

Select an Appropriate Organizational Structure

It’s critical to pick a framework that makes sense for your core point. Choose one of the appropriate structures from the list above and write your essay appropriately. By following a strict format, the entire essay will remain on track. This is the fourth step on how to write a comparison essay.

Craft an Outline

Create an outline for your essay based on your organizational structure. An article typically includes an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. If you have a lot of information to cover, you can always increase body paragraphs.

You can explore the similarities and contrasts in a single paragraph if you use a point-by-point structure. If you use the block structure format, each subject gets its paragraph. This is the fifth step on how to write a comparison essay.

Provide evidence to back up your thesis statement

Support your argument with extra evidence. Evidence can be gathered by extensive research, reading, or firsthand observation. When comparing two types of cats, for example, it is acceptable to utilize personal thoughts. In this approach, your argument will make a great impression on the reader’s mind. This is the sixth step on how to write a comparison essay.

Use Strong Transition Words

To ensure a smooth transition from one statement to the following, powerful transitional words should be used. When comparing, use words like both, likewise, and similarly.  This is the seventh step on how to write a comparison essay.

Proofread Carefully

Do not read your article right after you finish it. Proofread for at least an hour or a day. It helps in the detection of more grammatical and spelling errors.

You can also use an online spell-check tool to help you. Additionally, have someone else read your article and point out any flaws. This is the eighth step on how to write a comparison essay.

How to Begin a Comparison Essay

In a comparison essay, you should assess two subjects and bring out their similarities so that the reader may create an informed opinion about them.

The manner you begin a comparison essay has a significant impact on your readers. It is critical to remember that the nature of your introduction impacts whether or not your readers will become interested in your article or abandon it.

As a result, here’s a rundown of some of the techniques you might use to grab your audience’s interest.

  • Give your readers a brief history of your issue to assist them in grasping it.
  • Begin with a narrative to attract the reader to learn more about your topic.
  • Make a terrific remark, either happy or shocking.
  • Use statistics to show the scope of the problem.

Comparison Essay Outline Example

An outline is helpful for organizing your thoughts and ideas before you begin writing your comparison essay. Here is an example of an outline for a comparison essay:

Introduction

  • Background information on the topic
  • Brief overview of the items or concepts to be compared and contrasted
  • Thesis statement that clearly states what will be compared and contrasted

Body Paragraphs

  • Compare and contrast point 1
  • Evidence and examples for topic or concept 1
  • Evidence and examples for topic or concept 2
  • Analysis of how point 1 relates to the overall comparison and contrast
  • Compare and contrast point 2
  • Analysis of how point 2 relates to the overall comparison and contrast
  • Compare and contrast point 3
  • Analysis of how point 3 relates to the overall comparison and contrast
  • Summary of main points
  • Restatement of thesis
  • Final thoughts and insights on the comparison and contrast

This is a basic outline example and you can modify it according to your requirements and the specific demands of the essay. The important thing is to have a clear structure that allows you to present your comparison and contrast points in a logical and organized way.

In this blog, you have learned about how to write a comparison essay. I hope you have understood how to write a comparison essay easily. A comparison and contrast essay is critical for assisting readers in making educated selections when deciding between two objects or situations. To determine what to choose, a reader must first read the article, consider its various elements, and then settle in favor of one. Contact us for Top Quality Essay Writing Help if you don’t know how to write a comparison essay and contrast essay. how to write a comparison essay

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

In compare and contrast essays, what are the most regularly utilized transition words.

The following are the most typical compare and contrast essay transition words: In the same way In like manner Likewise Similarly By the same token

What does a compare and contrast essay serve?

The main goal of a compare and contrast essay is to show how two items are alike and dissimilar, and they also necessitate the application of critical thinking skills. A good comparison essay can teach readers about current events, political candidates, vacation places, and items.

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Compare And Contrast Essay

Compare And Contrast Essay Outline

Cathy A.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline - Step by Step Guide

12 min read

Published on: Mar 1, 2020

Last updated on: Nov 30, 2023

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Have you ever been assigned a compare and contrast essay and found yourself staring at a blank page, unsure of where to start?

It can be overwhelming to tackle this type of essay without a clear plan in place. With so many possible points of comparison and contrast, it's easy to get lost in a sea of ideas.

But fear not! 

With a solid outline, you can organize your thoughts and arguments, and create a well-structured essay that effectively compares and contrasts two or more subjects.

In this post, we'll guide you through the process of creating a compare-and-contrast essay outline, providing you with tips and examples along the way. 

Let's dive in!

On This Page On This Page -->

What is a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline?

This type of essay simply asks you to compare and contrast two things that belong to the same category. 

Think of it as comparing two apples or two oranges, not cats and dogs - we're talking about similarities and differences within a specific group.

When we say " compare ," we mean finding the similarities between the two subjects. And when we say " contrast ," we're looking at the differences. 

To successfully compare and contrast, the subjects must be in the same category. 

Choosing A Subject For Your Compare And Contrast Essay 

When it comes to choosing a subject for your compare and contrast essay, remember to keep these key factors in mind:

  • State, discuss, and elaborate on something that is not widely known.
  • Clarify any common misunderstandings about the subject.
  • Focus on a central point and analyze it thoroughly.
  • Make a meaningful comparison between the two subjects.
  • Back up your claims with solid facts and evidence from reliable sources.

To ensure that you cover all of these points in your essay, it's a smart idea to create an outline before you start writing.

There are two different structures you can use for a compare-and-contrast essay: the point-by-point method and the block method. 

You'll need to decide which method to use based on your specific topic and the points you want to make. With a well-planned outline, you'll be able to organize your thoughts and write a clear, effective essay that makes a compelling argument.

Point-by-Point Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

A point-by-point compare and contrast essay outline follows a specific structure to help you organize your thoughts and make clear, concise arguments.

Here's an example of what a point-by-point compare and contrast-essay outline might look like:

In a point-by-point compare and contrast essay outline, you'll examine each point of comparison or contrast between the two subjects. 

For each point, you'll discuss the similarities and differences between the two subjects, alternating between the two as you go. 

This format allows for a clear and logical progression of ideas and makes it easy for readers to follow your argument.

Here is a block diagram to help you understand the format more clearly.

Check out this video to learn more! 

Compare and Contrast Essay Block Method Outline

A compare-and-contrast essay using the block method outline is another way to organize your thoughts when writing this type of essay. Here's an example of what a block method outline might look like

In a block method outline, you'll discuss all the similarities and differences of one subject before moving on to the next. 

This format allows you to delve more deeply into each subject and make clear, comprehensive arguments about the similarities and differences. 

Make sure to connect your points back to the thesis statement, and use transitions to smoothly move from one point to the next.

Here is a block diagram to help you understand more!

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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline?  

To write a good compare and contrast essay , make sure that you have explored the similarities and differences in an orderly manner. You might use a Venn diagram or simple lists to do that.  

Once you have collected the raw data, the next step is to arrange it in the form of an essay. For this purpose, you need an outline. By creating an outline, you will ensure that you do not miss out on any important point. 

A compare and contrast essay outline has the following elements. 

1. Introduction 2. Body paragraphs 3. Conclusion 

These are the elements that are present in the outline for nearly all types of essays. The method of writing an introductory part of an essay is the same for all essay types. 

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

The introduction of a compare and contrast essay must be written to let the reader know about the overall theme of the essay. 

To convey all this information, the writer needs to write the introduction properly. A strong and appropriate introduction of a compare and contrast essay has the following parts:

1. A Hook Statement

It is a statement with which we start our compare and contrast essay. We can use a famous quotation, an interesting fact, or a question as a hook for our essay. 

A hook statement helps to seek the reader’s attention and convince the reader to read the complete essay.  

2. Background Information

Providing background information for a compare and contrast essay topic leaves a good impression on the reader. In the background information, you must mention the purpose of why you have chosen this particular topic for the essay.  

In the background information, also let your readers know what scope do you expect from this essay. 

3. Thesis Statement 

A thesis statement is the essence of an entire essay. It is a sentence or two that explains the whole theme and topic of your essay. 

The thesis statement is stated at the end of the introduction before the body paragraphs start. Ensure that the thesis statement you write is arguable, meaningful, and strong enough to support your essay. 

Make sure that you end the introduction with good transition words. It helps to show a logical connection with the rest of the essay’s body.

Compare And Contrast Essay Body 

Writing any type of essay is the same, but not for a compare and contrast essay. To write the body of a compare and contrast essay, there are two standard methods. 

It might use a 5 paragraph essay format, but the content in the body paragraphs is different. Though, the body paragraph, in any case, starts with a topic sentence. 

When you get the title and aspects to compare but without a certain number of criteria to cover similarities and differences, you have to brainstorm. 

Take a blank piece of paper and write the first item in the left corner, and the second item in the right corner. Make a Venn diagram and start analyzing.

ven diagram - compare and contrast essay outline - CollegeEssay.org

Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion 

Once you are done writing the introduction and body paragraphs in the outline, it's time to draw a conclusion. 

A good conclusion is neither too long nor too short. Usually, the conclusion comprises six sentences at maximum. In these sentences, you are supposed to provide a summary of all the main points of comparison you have discussed in your essay.

The conclusion includes a reiteration of the thesis statement in a more effective way. Make sure that the content you add in conclusion is directly referring to the rest of the essay. 

Add a small sentient to evaluate the significant points and give a good concluding statement at the end.

Here is a template for you to follow!

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Examples  

Examples can help you understand the concept of the essay outline in a better way. Here are some well-written examples and compare and contrast essay outline sample for your help. Use them as a guide to create a good outline.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template Middle School

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline - College

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline - High School

MLA Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Ap World History Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Oedipus And Hamlet Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

5 Paragraph Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

So there you have it!

Creating an outline provides a blueprint for your essay and helps you organize your thoughts effectively. 

In this blog, we not only taught you how to create an outline for your compare and contrast essay, but we also provided you with examples and topics to help you get started. 

However, if you need help with your compare-and-contrast essay, do not panic anymore! 

Our compare and contrast essay writing service is here to your rescue! We have a team of dedicated and skilled essay writers who will make sure to deliver top-quality and original essays. 

At CollegeEssay.org , we focus on providing you with the best essay writing service at the most reasonable prices. 

But, if you are on a tight deadline, you can try our essay writer AI to generate an essay in less than a minute. 

Get in touch with our customer support team and let us take away all your stress. 

Place your order now and see the results for yourself. 

How do you structure a compare and contrast essay?

Here are two ways that will help you to structure a compare and contrast essay. 

  • Point-by-point pattern 
  • Block pattern 

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Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: Types & Examples

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Creating a winning essay from scratch is a real challenge. But starting with a good outline helps a lot. In this article we will show you how to write a compare and contrast essay outline. Having a structured plan ensures that you build your arguments in an easy-to-follow manner. For that reason, this article is jam-packed with detailed writing tips followed by outline templates. Besides, you will find some examples you are sure to like. So let’s dive deep into the details!

What Is Compare and Contrast Essay Outline and Why Is It Important?

A compare and contrast outline is a scheme of your future paper on the basis of which you can contrast two or more objects. It’s a visual structure of your piece showing a clear plan for your work.  Outlines  are used to show connections between critical ideas within your text. Writing a compare and contrast essay outline helps you in a number of ways:  

  • Organizing your ideas
  • Shaping the pattern of descriptions
  • Listing all similarities & differences between objects
  • Review your paper’s structure
  • Correcting all mistakes at the early stage.

You can choose between two main types of compare and contrast essay outlines:

  • Point-by-point method
  • Block pattern.

Each of these methods depends on the way you want to arrange facts about 2 or more items. Both techniques have their advantages and disadvantages. We will describe them down below so you can choose the most suitable method.

Compare and Contrast Essay: Point-By-Point Outline

Compare and contrast essay point-by-point outline is used to analyse one aspect of 2 items within one paragraph. You can choose any similar or different characteristic. Then, you will explore each object in terms of this aspect. A point-by-point method is very helpful if you have multiple items for comparison. Let’s see how its structure should look:  

  • Engaging hook
  • List of items to compare
  • Thesis statement: list of criteria or topics of comparison
  • Brief Summary

This structure helps to provide an organized review of the objects or situation you compare against the whole list of criteria you have selected. You can create as many paragraphs as you need to cover your topic in detail. The point-by-point method may be quite hard at first, but once you master it, you will be able to create an explicit overview of any objects. We recommend using a good compare and contrast essay example .

Compare and Contrast Essay: Block Method Outline

A compare and contrast essay block method outline typically involves comparison of multiple items which are quite different from each other. Each item is described within its own block, where you put it against all criteria you have selected for analysis. This is how it should look like:

  • Captivating hook
  • List of items for comparison
  • Thesis statement: list of criteria or topics for contrast
  • Aspect 3, etc
  • Brief summary

The block method is way easier than the point-by-point one. So if you are a beginner or want to keep things simple, use this method without hesitation.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

When writing a compare and contrast essay outline, you should set a proper organization of your ideas in this plan from the start. First, choose one of the best compare and contrast essay topics and introduce it. Then, you list the items or subjects you compare against each other. After that, provide your thesis statement with criteria for comparison. Finally, you will write one sentence per each paragraph, showing what is similar and what is different between the items. Let’s look at each section more in detail.  

Introduction for Your Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Let us start with the compare and contrast essay introduction. Outline should be short so better give only 1 sentence per each element. Here are the key components your essay introduction should contain:  

  • Main topic of your essay Start with an interesting hook.
  • Items you will compare This could be people, animals, concepts, academic areas , drinks – whatever you chose to write about.
  • Thesis statement with the list of aspects Size, color, usability, negative consequences of usage or consumption, etc – depending on the context.

Make sure your thesis statement is clear. For better results, feel free to use  Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement Generator .  

Body Paragraphs in Your Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

When it comes to body paragraph, outline for compare and contrast essay should follow an appropriate pattern – block or point-to-point one. It depends on the number of selected items as well as aspects they will be compared by. If you analyze 2 items using 3 criteria, your block pattern outline will have two body paragraphs. At the same time, a point-to-point pattern may have 3 body paragraphs. This happens because you can choose 3 characteristics for comparison. It would be useful to conduct a preliminary research before writing the outline. This way, you will understand which pattern is better to use.  

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline – Conclusion

Last but not the least – an effective compare and contrast essay conclusion. It should briefly summarize the key ideas of your work. This boils down to:

  • Restatement of your thesis presented in introduction.
  • Key findings discovered during the comparison.
  • Significance of your comparison.

Each part of the conclusion in your plan should be one sentence long. Remember to keep your outline brief as it will make it easier to review before writing an entire text.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template

We have prepared a simple compare and contrast essay outline template for your reference. Feel free to use the template by StudyCrumb to make your own outline on the topic you have selected.

  • Main topic mentioning the items for comparison
  • Thesis statement with the list of characteristics
  • Compare the items by the first criterion
  • Or put the first item against all criteria
  • Compare the items by the second criterion
  • Or put the second item against all criteria, etc
  • Re-evaluating your thesis
  • Summarizing comparison results

You can also find more templates for inspiration below.

Compare and Contrast Essay Point-By-Point Outline Template

Here is another compare and contrast essay point-by-point outline template for your in more detail.

  • Main topic: comparison of Item A & Item B
  • Thesis statement: find out the relation between A and B using criteria
  • Inspect A using criterion 1
  • Examine B using criterion 1
  • Inspect A using criterion 2
  • Examine B using criterion 2
  • Inspect A using criterion 3
  • Examine B using criterion 3
  • Highlight the relation between A & B
  • Summarize the comparison results
  • Elaborate on the significance of findings.

Keep in mind that your own outline could differ a lot since you might have much more criteria to analyze your selected items.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template for Block Pattern

Here is another template: compare and contrast essay block method outline. Check it out and proceed with writing on your specific topic.

  • Main topic: presenting the contrast between Item A & Item B
  • Thesis statement: list criteria 1, 2 and 3 for analysis of A & B
  • A's criterion 1
  • A's criterion 2
  • A's criterion 3
  • B's criterion 1
  • B's criterion 2
  • B's criterion 3
  • Highlight the contrast between A & B
  • Summarize your findings
  • Explain the importance of your analysis.

Remember that your outline doesn’t need to be perfect. Just make it informative. This way, it will turn out very helpful for you.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Example

Are you looking for some helpful compare and contrast essay outline examples? We’ve got some for you to analyze. Take it and use it to make your own essay.

Example of Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Have you found some new ideas of what to write about? Good luck to you and thanks for visiting this page.

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: Final Thoughts

We have explored a compare and contrast essay outline in detail. Now it’s time to use all rules covered in this blog post to create your own plan. Use our templates to organize your thoughts when comparing items to each other. Make sure to review your plan before writing a full version of your essay. Remember that compare and contrast essay is a typical assignment that can influence your final results.

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Feel free to get in touch with our custom academic writing service at any time. Our academic experts will be happy to write a tailored paper from scratch or add professional touches to your draft.  

FAQ About Compare and Contrast Essay Outlines

1. how do you write a college compare and contrast essay outline.

A typical college compare and contrast essay outline presents 1 specific subject in each paragraph. It either offers a comparison or contrast of some items. The goal of a college essay is to demonstrate how well you can describe similarities and differences between your different items. Still, you should keep your essay structure plain. Do not make any overcomplicated statements.

2. How do you write a 5 paragraph compare and contrast essay outline?

A 5-paragraph compare and contrast essay outline is a simple type of work. It consists of an introduction, 3 body paragraphs and a brief conclusion. Here is how you write your plan:

  • Pick your topic carefully.
  • Organize your ideas.
  • Develop your thesis statement.
  • Decide on the structuring method.
  • Assign key characteristics to each item.
  • Write, proofread & edit.

3. What is a compare and contrast essay outline with transition words?

While writing a compare and contrast essay outline, you should use transition words to provide a smooth flow. It must look logical: each transition between sentences and paragraphs should be meaningful. The following transition words are expected to be used in your outline:

  • In the same way
  • In like manner
  • By the same token
  • On the contrary etc.

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Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.

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Compare and Contrast Essay

Are you struggling with writing a compare-and-contrast essay? When it comes to writing a compare and contrast essay , you might be wondering where to begin.

Composing a properly formatted and well-structured outline is a great starting point. Your ability to create a perfect compare and contrast paper depends on making a perfect outline. It allows you to organize the data and information into a standard structure.

Middle school and high school students have to write compare and contrast essays. It teaches students the analytical writing process that prepares them for more advanced types of academic writing. Writing a compare and contrast essay is relatively easy if you follow the proper procedure.

Throughout this article, we will show you how to compose an outline for a compare-and-contrast essay. You’ll also get compare and contrast essay outline templates to help you craft an outline for your essay.

So keep reading to know how to write a compare and contrast essay outline like a pro!

Compare and Contrast Essay

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What is a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Many students find it scary and stressful to write a good compare and contrast essay. This essay asks to compare and contrast two things that belong to the same category. For example, compare and contrast two apples or two oranges. But, you cannot compare or contrast cats with dogs because they belong to different groups.

To compare means finding the similarities, and contrasting means to look at the differences between the two subjects. To find the similarities and differences, the subjects must belong to the same category.

Check out this video on an in-depth view on writing compare and contrast essay:

Always bear that in mind while choosing the subject and incorporate the following things in your essay:

  • State, discuss and elaborate on something unknown.
  • Clarify common misunderstanding.
  • Focus on a central point and make an analysis
  • Make a meaningful comparison.
  • Support your claim with facts and evidence collected from reliable sources

To ensure everything will be added to the essay, a smart trick is to create an outline before writing an essay. Compare and contrast essay follows two different structures; the point-by-point method and the block method. When you start writing your essay, it is important to decide which method you need to follow.

1. Point by Point Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Point by point pattern (organization by criteria) compares and contrasts the more similar subjects in nature. It presents the similarities and differences one by one making notes of both subjects. Each point is evaluated against particular criteria, followed by another point evaluated against other criteria.

Here is a structure of compare and contrast point by point outline:

Here is a block diagram of the point-by-point structure to help you get a clear idea of this format.

point-by-point compare and contrast essay format

Check this sample for your help.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY OUTLINE POINT BY POINT

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The block pattern (organization by item) compares and contrasts extremely different subjects from each other. It discusses one subject and its evaluation criteria, facts, and any evidence at one time in one paragraph. The next paragraph discusses the second subject and its relevant facts.

Here is a structure of compare and contrast essay block outline:

Check out the block diagram given below. It will help you understand the block structure in a better way.

block method compare and contrast essay format

Here is a sample for your ease.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY OUTLINE BLOCK METHOD

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline?

Now that you have two organizational structures and patterns, what should be stated in each part of the essay? Then, depending on the structure selected, you can begin developing the outline for your essay.

A typical compare and contrast essay outline comprises the following components.

  • Introduction
  • Body Paragraph 1
  • Body Paragraph 2
  • Body Paragraph 3

When you begin writing an essay, the first thing you need is an interesting and eye-catching essay topic. As discussed above, compare and contrast essay topics should belong to the same category having some similarities and differences simultaneously. Also, choose interesting and unique subjects that are relatively new to the readers. After selecting the topic, you are ready to move on to the essay writing process.

A compare and contrast essay is strictly based on facts and evidence. So you need to make sure to provide sufficient information. According to a typical format, an essay has an introduction, three body paragraphs, and one conclusion paragraph. However, if you need to share more details, feel free to add more body paragraphs to cover all essential points.

Essay Outliner

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Let’s see the breakdown of each paragraph.

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

The introduction is the most important part of the whole essay, so it should be well-structured and properly formatted. Furthermore, it should grab the reader’s attention and make him read the complete essay.

Before you start writing the essay, thoroughly research your topic to collect facts and evidence from credible sources. The research will give you insight into the topic and help you support your argument. You need to clarify both concepts in the introduction paragraph to make the reader understand both subjects.

The introduction is the lead in part of the essay. So, you should give a glimpse of what you are going to evaluate.Then, catch the reader’s attention and mark the essay’s tone of the essay with a strong thesis statement.

Compare and Contrast Essay Body Paragraphs

The body section is used to discuss the similarities and differences in detail with facts and evidence. Typically, there are three body paragraphs, and each one discusses only one criterion or aspect of the subject. However, you can use as many paragraphs as the number of criteria or aspects you have to discuss.

Explore one aspect or criteria in one paragraph and the next aspect or criteria in the next paragraph. For example, if you have to compare two aspects, you’ll need two paragraphs. Three paragraphs will cover three criteria and so on. To make the comparison easier, draw a Venn diagram which will ease the whole comparison process.

Here is an example of a Venn diagram for your help.

Compare and Contrast Essay Venn Diagram

Once you list down all the similarities and differences in the Venn diagram, you can easily analyze them in the essay. Moreover, add special transitional words and phrases to make powerful transitions throughout the essay.

For comparison, you can use words like: both, also, similarly, likewise, or alike. While contrasting, you can use words like whereas, while, in comparison, in contrast, or on the other hand.

The body section should be analyzed from the reader’s perspective. Ideally, the reader and your paper both should not be biased.

Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion

Generally, the conclusion section is relatively simpler than the body and the introduction section. However, it holds the same significance as the introduction paragraph, making sure it is structured properly.

In the conclusion paragraph, summarize all the main points and analyze what you have discussed in the essay. Then, synthesize the thesis statement with the information presented in the body section. State the significance of comparison and contrast to clarify the importance of the main topic.

Here is a compare and contrast essay outline worksheet that you can use to organize your essay.

Proofreading

Once you are done with the writing, spend some time proofreading your essay and pay attention to grammar and punctuation. A minor mistake can ruin the essence of all points of comparison and contrast. Ask your friend, parents, or any family member to proofread your essay. There is a high chance that they notice the mistakes that you have missed.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY OUTLINE SAMPLE

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Examples

Now that you know everything about compare and contrast essay outline and structure let’s look at some examples for more help. The compare and contrast essay examples will help you get started with your paper.

MLA COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY OUTLINE

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY OUTLINE COLLEGE

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY OUTLINE HIGH SCHOOL

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY OUTLINE MIDDLE SCHOOL

AP WORLD HISTORY COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY OUTLINE

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY OUTLINE TEMPLATE

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY OUTLINE WORKSHEET

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY OUTLINE 5TH GRADE

Hopefully, the guidelines and examples given above will help you craft an impressive compare and contrast essay outline. However, if you are still not sure, you can get help from a professional essay writer. They will help you compose an outline according to the guidelines and also write a complete essay.

5StarEssays.com is a reliable essay writing service that you can trust with your academic essay writings. We are available round the clock so feel free to contact us anytime to place your order . Our writers can write all types of essays and papers, including a research paper, thesis, or dissertation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you start a compare and contrast essay.

Here are some steps that you should follow and start writing the essay.

  • Choose a good essay topic.
  • Do the research and gather meaningful information.
  • Write a good thesis statement.
  • Create the essay outline.
  • Write a compelling introduction.
  • After an introduction, write the main body paragraphs.
  • Conclude the essay with a strong conclusion.

What is a compare and contrast sentence?

A compare and contrast sentence analyzes or examines two or more things that share a common trait while contrasting seeks out the differences between them

How do you start a compare and contrast essay introduction?

A great way to start an introduction is, to begin with, a hook. A hook sentence or a hook statement is a starting sentence of an essay. For an interesting and powerful start, it could be a bold statement, a rhetorical question, or something that grabs the audience’s attention instantly.

Barbara P.

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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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How to Write a Comparison Essay: Tips and Outline

How to Write a Comparison Essay: Tips and Outline

So you need to write a comparison paper. That’s a rather common assignment to have in high school or college. Usually, such a task is given to test your analytical skills. You have to take at least two items and give them a thorough analysis while comparing them to each other. The variety of subjects can serve as a topic for this assignment. You can pick texts, scientific theories, similar historical events, political leaders, and much more. You have to contrast those subjects by finding similarities and differences.

Facing an assignment like this one, you have to ask yourself not how to write a comparison paper but how to approach the comparison. Unless you are given direct instructions, you’ll have to come up with themes , main concerns, and the basis for the analysis on your own. You will need to learn how to find the right parameters and how to write a conclusion for a comparative essay. It is not an easy job.

Fortunately, you can count on some help. So here are some tips on how to do a comparison essay and an outline in a few simple steps.

What Is a Comparison Essay

Whenever you think about how to write a comparative essay, you better learn about the nature of such assignments first. The purpose of this assignment is to contrast two or more subjects. To do so, a student needs to find the common ground of these subjects, learn about the specifics of both subjects, and offer an analysis of similarities and differences.

The most exciting thing is that you must focus on critical thinking and explain your point of view. But there are a few crucial points that you shouldn't forget:

  • choose your topic very carefully ;
  • do not deviate from key requirements;
  • match subjects only in the context of your research;
  • pay attention only to the most important factors.

Critical thinking is essential for students. This is why professors often assign such papers. You should not be afraid that you may not be able to cope with something. But let's not stay ashore too long.

What Should a Comparison Essay Identify?

Why do you need to do such a task? What is the main goal? Typically, you will focus on the crucial parameters or ideas. Let's say you need to take Windows and Mac laptops as a basis. These devices have a lot in common, the same tasks and a similar set of functions. But what if we dig deeper? How long can a rabbit hole be? If you concentrate on the differences and other options, it concerns the peculiarities of operating systems, the format of distribution and advertising, and the components. Based on this, you will have to form key aspects.

How to Write a Good Comparison Essay?

The funniest thing is that newbies don't know where to start. Nevertheless, such a task is quite simple. Here are some easy steps to help you get through your essay. All you need to do is follow the list.

Brainstorming Is a Must

Examine the two subjects and select all the distinguishing qualities. You need to focus on the characteristics and those factors that trigger emotions. For your assignment to be well written, you need to take care of the topic selection. The fact is that some professors allow students to determine their subjects independently. This means that you need to spend a little time on really interesting things.

Don’t rush to start comparison essay writing right away. Take a pause and really think about the topic and your options here. Remember that a topic only gives you an area to work in, but not any specifics on the assignment itself. Hence, you still have to develop a unique approach, come up with the theme and thesis statement.

Also, never confuse a topic and thesis statement. These are two very different things. A topic defines what your work is about . A thesis statement will define the goal of your work and what you are trying to discover.

Create a Strong Thesis

The next stage after checking two or more subjects is the creation of a thesis. This is a good springboard for you to analyze within your topic. Don't be in a hurry. Consider all your options. This strategy will help you watch out for important aspects.

Make a List

Before wondering how to write a good comparison essay, you have to develop a good understanding of both items of the discussion. In order to do so, you can make a list of similarities and differences between those two items. Often, you will be surprised how much you can discover about things you thought you knew after the closer inspections.

Overall, any comparison essay example will start with the list of similarities and differences between the two items in the discussion. By making a list, you can also see how much information you can find about each subject and how much of it you can use for your assignment. The findings you get from such a list will also serve you as grounds for your future work.

Find the Common Grounds

You need to have a clear basis for your work. To do so, you need to develop a clear understanding of your subjects. Knowing them well will help you come up with common grounds these subjects share. Those common grounds are the areas you will be addressing in your essay.

Give Equal Attention to Both Items

Whether you write about books, events, theories, or anything else, you have to give the two items relatively equal attention in your paper. It doesn't matter if you don’t like or don’t agree with one of the items on that list. You still have to include it in your work and stay unbiased in your paper. When it comes to how to write a conclusion for a comparison essay, you should also divide the attention between each subject equally, not prioritizing one item over the other.

Choose the Right Structure

You can have more than one comparative essay format. In fact, you should consider more than the format before you start your paper. See which structure and narrative can fit best to your topic and writing style.

One way you can do it is to structure your work around the similarities and differences of the given subjects. It is a rather common and simple way of how to write a comparative analysis essay. All you have to do is to draw a general comparison of the two items.

The other way of doing it is by picking several parameters of those subjects and analyzing them.

For instance, if you choose to write about historical events such as two world wars, you have to narrow down your topic anyway. You can pick several parameters, not too many, though, to make the comparison precise and on-point. You can compare the technological progress that happened during the peacetime between wars by analyzing weapons during World War 1 and World War 2. Thus, your parameters could be heavy machinery, infantry weapons, and navy. This is the stage where knowing how to write an outline can really come in handy.

Make an Outline

How to begin a comparative essay? No matter if it is comparison, reflective , Toulmin or position essay , you need to create a nice outline. Typically, these essays have a basic structure. This means that you will have no problem creating a "carcass" for a future paper quickly.

In addition, you can write several sentences for each part to make it easier for you to cope with the task. Then all your thoughts will be systematized, and you will not waste time looking for important data. It is critical to understand that an outline is an important stage of any writing work. It is the method to organize your future paper in a coherent and effective way.

  • Thesis Statement

The first thing that should go to your outline is the thesis statement. Your entire work must always center around the thesis statement that you normally put in the last part of the introduction. Once you have the thesis in, start the first paragraph.

The first paragraph and any following paragraphs of the main body must contain the core sentence. This is the sentence that carries the main idea of the paragraph. Next, you put down the supporting sentence. Its goal is either to elaborate on the main idea or to provide arguments in its defense. In case it is necessary, you can offer more than one supporting argument in the paragraph. End the outline with a brief conclusion of the paragraph’s main point. You should outline as many paragraphs in the main body as many major points you have to discuss.

Once you have finished with the main body, move on to the conclusion section. Now, you will never worry about how to conclude a comparative essay if you know how to outline it. After all, a good comparison essay conclusion must contain your key points throughout the text, which you should address and relate to the thesis statement. All of these elements must be present in the outline, which makes your job so much easier.

  • Structure and Formatting

You can also experiment with the structure in your outline. See which structure and methods fit best to the topic you have chosen. The goal of your paper is to reveal the essence of both items you are analyzing. So try to develop at least two versions of your future outline to see which one of them can do a better job.

Include citations in your outline if it helps visualize your future work better. Any compare and contrast essay APA format example can help you adjust your formatting and citation styles if you need it.

How to Introduce a Comparison Essay?

You need to take an example from the authors who gradually introduce the novel's characters, revealing their key features. Explain the key points of your assignment and your goals. In part, it will be easier for you to express the ideas of your task using a strong thesis. Take at least 20 minutes to articulate this key aspect.

Make Your Body Paragraphs

So, the first stage has been successfully completed. Now you know how to begin a comparison essay. You don't need to worry anymore. It’s simple. All you need is the correct sequence of thoughts. Typically, you need to stick to the block method. Get ready to present all subjects in turn. List all the important characteristics and key factors that are crucial to you. Use arguments to clarify your position and the relevance of your task.

Strong Conclusion

And here is the logical conclusion. This is exactly what plays the most important role. Describe what you learned. Be succinct, and don't try to retell everything. Your final proposals should be an indirect confirmation of your rightness. But there is no need to rewrite all the previous paragraphs. Be concise.

Extra Tips to Write Such an Essay Like a Pro

How to pick a topic.

Take a look at what interests you if your professor does not insist on choosing a specific topic. You may be interested in direct comparisons of certain subjects, studies, historical figures, or certain scientific methods. Do not hurry. Think about what might be of interest to you.

Which Method Is Better to Choose?

There is a classic block method that is typical for most types of essays. Just describe your items and make comparisons one by one. All info seems to be divided into blocks. This is quite convenient. The “point method” works a little differently. This option is more acceptable if you need to compare many parameters and differences. Divide your paper into several points, which you will tell about one by one. This will help you differentiate between certain features and options by a group.

How Can Signaling Transitions Help?

Don't forget about transition words, as they are the strongest glue for your text. The fact is that it is difficult for beginners to describe the many similarities and differences. Because of this, each paragraph can seem like a disjointed collection of facts. Here are some useful words to help you make a smooth transition from one aspect to another:

  • on the contrary;
  • in common with;
  • on the other hand.

Don't forget to edit and proofread your paper. You will most likely need at least 30-60 minutes to add all transition words or rewrite weak sentences. Then your task will look much better. Follow all the steps, and you won't have any problems.

How to Make a Perfect Social Science Research Paper Fast?

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: Template and Example

High school and college students often face challenges when crafting a compare-and-contrast essay. A well-written paper of this kind needs to be structured appropriately to earn you good grades. Knowing how to organize your ideas allows you to present your ideas in a coherent and logical manner

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The picture explains what a compare-and-contrast essay is and how it can be structured.

This article by our custom-writing team delves into all the fine details of structuring your compare-and-contrast paper. It also provides practical examples of the two main outlining methods you may use. Keep reading to up your writing game!

  • 👀 Comparison Essay Outline Types
  • 🔍 Before You Start
  • ✍️ How to Write an Outline
  • ✅ Outline Template
  • 📑 Outline Examples

🔗 References

👀 compare and contrast essay outline types.

A compare and contrast paper studies similarities and differences between two or more subjects. But how do you present the points of comparison? Well, in this kind of essay, there are two methods of structuring the text: point-by-point and block .

Before composing your essay, it’s crucial to choose the approach that suits your assignment best. Your choice will depend on how you want to approach and present your ideas.

Let’s examine these two methods in more detail.

Point-by-Point Comparison Essay

The point-by-point method implies discussing one point of comparison at a time. For example, if you’re comparing two cities, you may dedicate separate paragraphs to their size, population, and architecture.

The point-by-point arrangement has advantages and disadvantages. Keep them in mind before deciding whether to use it or not.

The picture describes the features of point-by-point and block comparison essay outline methods.

Block Method Compare and Contrast Essay

The block method, also known as subject-by-subject comparison, is a way of outlining your assignment that involves discussing each subject separately. For example, in an essay about different types of fruit, you will discuss the features of one fruit at a time.

This approach has shortcomings and strengths that may affect how you want to handle your essay.

🔍 Comparative Essay Outline: Before You Start

After you’ve chosen a topic (you’re welcome to consult our list of compare-and contrast essay topics for inspiration,) you enter the pre-writing stage. It involves brainstorming, researching, and determining which points are the most important. Here’s how to do it:

  • Brainstorming and in-depth research are vital when working on a compare-and-contrast essay. It helps you figure out the direction your paper will take and provides you with source materials. At this initial stage, your main goal is to identify various similarities and differences between the things you want to write about.
  • After determining the similarities and differences between your subjects of choice, decide which points are the most significant . They will assist you in developing your essay’s thesis statement and paragraphs.

It’s important to remember that you can leave some things out of your assignment. There may be so much material to cover that you will never finish the paper in the first place!

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So, how do you determine what’s worth including in your paper? Consider the following factors:

Useful Tip:

You can draw a Venn diagram and list the similarities and differences to make your comparison easier. Simply draw large intersecting circles and name each one to reflect the traits or subjects you are comparing. Write all the similarities inside the circles’ intersections and differences in the remaining space of each one.

Here’s an example of a Venn diagram comparing the US and Canada with crosses and checkmarks representing what’s different and similar between them, respectively:

The picture shows a Venn diagram comparing the US and Canada.

✍️ How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Do you need some more guidance in outlining your paper? Well, look no further! Here is a comprehensive coverage of how to write a perfect outline for your compare-and-contrast essay.

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

Your essay’s introduction is arguably its most important section. It gives readers a solid summary of your paper’s contents and helps them understand what to expect as your comparison essay progresses.

Here’s what a good introduction is made of:

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  • Background information about your topic that the readers need to know before proceeding.
  • A catchy hook that captures and retains your audience’s attention up to the end.
  • A thesis statement that provides a direction and ties up your whole assignment. All your arguments will focus on defending this statement.

Hook for Compare and Contrast Essay + Example

Ways of creating a hook can differ based on your essay’s purpose and overall tone:

Here is a hook example to inspire you. It uses statistics in the form of a question:

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Need more ideas on how to start your essay? Check out our article on hooks in writing !

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis

Formulating your paper’s thesis statement is critical to drafting the outline. In most cases, its purpose is to clarify what features make the subjects of comparison different or similar.

Note that your essay’s thesis may vary depending on its function. For instance, it might serve an informational or judgmental purpose:

  • If your thesis is informative , you only need to enumerate differences and similarities between your subjects of comparison.
  • But if your thesis is judgmental , you should state which similarities or differences are the most significant.

Check out these examples to understand the difference better:

Comparison Essay Outline: Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs in a contrast essay support your thesis about the subjects you are comparing.

Each body paragraph should start with a topic sentence that states the passage’s main idea. The rest depends on the type of outline you’re using: you either discuss the features of one subject of comparison or focus on one criterion and describe it in relation to each topic.

Let’s see it in more detail. Say, we’re comparing subjects A and B according to their features 1, 2, and 3:

📌 Point-by-Point Body Paragraphs Arrangement

📌 Block Method Body Paragraphs Arrangement

Compare and Contrast Essay Transition Words

A compare and contrast essay features a set of similar and distinct items. To make the comparison easier to understand, you can use words that create a smooth transition between your ideas and thoughts.

Transition words serve 4 essential purposes in a compare and contrast assignment:

  • They make transitioning and linking between thoughts easier.
  • They make your writing more dynamic.
  • They improve readability in your paper.
  • They set the stage for ideas that will be introduced next.

Here are transition words you can use to show similarities in your comparison essay:

Similarly, too, just as, also, both, comparatively, same as, like, in the same way.

For contrasting, use appropriate transition words to give your paper a more logical, coherent flow. These include:

However, in contrast to, conversely, while, more than/less than, rather than, unlike, although, compared with.

Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion

Finally, it’s time to wrap up your comparison essay. Your conclusion should contain 2 core elements:

  • Summarized key points. Sum up the main arguments you’ve presented throughout your essay. Make sure to refrain from introducing any new ideas at this point!
  • A restated thesis. Your essay’s conclusion should also restate your thesis and prove that you’ve effectively defended it in the body paragraphs.
  • A final thought. A good conclusion leaves the reader with something to think about. In a compare-and-contrast essay, it can be a statement that connects it to the broader context or underlines the topic’s significance.

✅ Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template

Now, let’s sum up everything you’ve learned about different ways to outline your compare-and-contrast essay using the block or point-by-point approaches. Here are the templates you can use for structuring your paper:

📌 Point-by-Point Method Outline Template

📌 Block Method Outline Template

📑 Compare and Contrast Outline Examples

Are you stuck with your paper and need an outline example to inspire you? You’ll find it below!

Here are 2 outline samples done using point-by-point and block methods.

📌 Point by Point Outline Example: Differences between Fresh and Canned Foods

📌 Block Method Outline Example: Differences between Backpacking and Staying in Hotels

We hope these insights and template examples will inspire you to master the structure of the compare-and-contrast essays. Use these ideas to excel in your studies and do your homework quickly!

Further reading:

  • Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Tips and Examples
  • Literature Review Outline: Examples, Approaches, & Templates
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline: Examples & Strategies
  • How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline: Template & Examples

❓ Compare and Contrast Essay Outline FAQs

You can use different approaches to hook your readers from the get-go. Start your paper using an anecdote, a relevant question, or an exciting fact about the subjects you compare. You may also use a related quote from a famous person.

The body paragraphs in a comparative essay provide a detailed and systematic analysis of the similarities and differences between the two or more. Each body paragraph should focus on a specific point of comparison and provide evidence to support the argument.

Subject-by-subject comparison is a method of organizing and presenting a comparison essay in which you first discuss all aspects of one subject, followed by a discussion of all aspects of the next subject. This approach is also sometimes called a point-by-point comparison.

A point-by-point comparison is a method of organizing a compare-and-contrast essay in which you discuss specific points of comparison between the subjects. You select the criteria and discuss each one in a separate paragraph or section.

To end a compare and contrast essay, restate the thesis statement, summarize the main points, and provide a final thought. This creates a clear and concise summary of the essay’s argument and proves its significance to the reader.

  • Comparison and Contrast: University of Minnesota  
  • Comparing and Contrasting: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  
  • How to Write a Compare-and-Contrast Essay: Grammarly  
  • Writing for Success: Compare/Contrast: Kellogg Community College  
  • Compare & Contrast Essay: Excelsior University Site  
  • Comparison and Contrast Essays: Saint Mary’s University  
  • Compare & Contrast Assignments: The University of Arizona Global Campus  
  • Organizational Patterns for the Comparison/Contrast Essay: San José State University  
  • Compare/Contrast Papers: University of Washington  
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    A comparative essay asks that you compare at least two (possibly more) items. These items will differ depending on the assignment. You might be asked to compare positions on an issue (e.g., responses to midwifery in Canada and the United States) theories (e.g., capitalism and communism) figures (e.g., GDP in the United States and Britain)

  3. Comparative essays

    You have a choice of two basic methods for organizing a comparative essay: the point-by-point method or the block method. The point-by-point method examines one aspect of comparison in each paragraph and usually alternates back and forth between the two objects, texts, or ideas being compared.

  4. PDF Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template

    Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template A. Introduction a. Introduction to the broad topic b. Specific topic c. Thesis statement B. Body Paragraphs a. Body paragraph #1—First aspect that's similar or different i. Subject #1 1. Detail #1 2. Detail #2 ii. Subject #2 1. Detail #1 2. Detail #2 b.

  5. How to Write a Comparative Essay (with Pictures)

    In order to write a stellar comparative essay, you have to start off by picking two subjects that have enough similarities and differences to be compared in a meaningful way, such as two sports teams or two systems of government.

  6. PDF Comparative Essays

    You have a choice of two basic methods for organizing a comparative essay: the point-by-point method or the block method. The point-by-point method examines one aspect of comparison in each paragraph and usually alternates back and forth between the two objects, texts, or ideas being compared. This method allows you to emphasize points of ...

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    b. Alternating Structure: Alternate between discussing the subjects' similarities and differences in each paragraph. c. Woven Structure: Seamlessly weave together comparisons and contrasts throughout your essay. Step 5: Prepare an Outline Creating a well-organized outline is a crucial step in the writing process.

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    Make a list of similarities and differences to prepare for outlining and composing your essays. Look at your source annotations and generate five to ten comparisons as you read your notes. Find ways your subjects are similar and different using annotated sources by focusing on thematic insights. 5. Outline your essay.

  10. How To Write A Comparative Essay

    Start by choosing the parameters (items) to compare, write an outline, and fill in the details for each section. Make sure to have an introduction and conclusion. The comparative essay is one form of document that you will probably be expected to write at some point over the course of your college career.

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    Determine the focus of your piece. Determine if you will focus on the similarities, the differences, or both. Be sure you treat each individual the same; each person deserves the same amount of focus-meaning, do not place most of the emphasis on you or the other person. Find a balance.

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    How to Write an Essay Outline | Guidelines & Examples Published on August 14, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023. An essay outline is a way of planning the structure of your essay before you start writing.

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    Choose a topic that interests you. Develop list of similarities and differences between chosen objects. Gather details, then pick sources that'll support views in comparative essay. Make sure they are relevant. Choose between two methods, alternating or block, then write an outline. It'll help you stay on track.

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    Step 5: Write your compare essay. After you have collected all the arguments, definitions, and materials for creating the paper, you are ready to write the college assignment. State the collected facts and details in your comparative essay. Write your point of view and dive into the details.

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    Bookmark Writing a good comparative essay requires that you learn to compare and contrast two or more things. In order to do this, you need a good understanding of each object being compared. Find out what similarities and differences there are between the objects being compared.

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    The body of your compare and contrast essay will be divided into two parts according to this structure. The first half of the body will be devoted to the first subject, while the second half will be focused on the second: Your thesis is stated in the introduction. You start with the first topic.

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    To write a good compare and contrast essay, make sure that you have explored the similarities and differences in an orderly manner. You might use a Venn diagram or simple lists to do that. Once you have collected the raw data, the next step is to arrange it in the form of an essay. For this purpose, you need an outline.

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    A 5-paragraph compare and contrast essay outline is a simple type of work. It consists of an introduction, 3 body paragraphs and a brief conclusion. Here is how you write your plan: Decide on the structuring method. Assign key characteristics to each item.

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    For comparison, you can use words like: both, also, similarly, likewise, or alike. While contrasting, you can use words like whereas, while, in comparison, in contrast, or on the other hand. The body section should be analyzed from the reader's perspective. Ideally, the reader and your paper both should not be biased.

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    End the outline with a brief conclusion of the paragraph's main point. You should outline as many paragraphs in the main body as many major points you have to discuss. Conclusion. Once you have finished with the main body, move on to the conclusion section.

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