Compare and contrast

 Once the word compare and contrast are mentioned, the first idea that comes to mind is two or more objects with a number of similarities, and at the same time, they possess some different qualities. For example, when writing a compare and contrast essay, you can write about two cities that have similarities and differences, but it does not make sense to compare and contrast a city and a country. Compare refers to identifying similarities in a particular object or your research topic that makes them fit in the same category while contrasting means critically analyzing factors or elements that make the topics or the objects of your study different. In your academic career journey, you will be asked to write a compare and contrast essayon several occasions, and the tricky thing is, each essay will have its own requirements. To develop an interesting and compelling essay that will earn you high grades, you must bring out your "A" game and analytical skills by going beyond a mere description of the topics. To achieve this, you need to have a deep understanding of the topic at hand and ensure that the audience can draw an understanding of your essay.

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How to identify a compare and contrast essay

           Usually, when required to write a comparative essay, the instructions will guide you on what you are expected to do. In most cases, comparative essays will comprise terms like compare and contrast, or you may be asked to find similarities and differences. In this case, the instructions are clear and make the work much easier for you. However, in some instances, the instructions might only ask for similarities, which means you should not mention the difference and vice versa if required to write about the differences. One thing you should note while dealing with compare and contrast essays, sometimes the instructions may not be direct. There are instances when you may be asked to compare and contrast two or more topics and then create an argument from them. Therefore, this means carefully reading and comprehensively understanding the instructions is the key factor to writing an excellent compare and contrast essay.

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Compare and contrast essay structure. 

           Like in all other academic essays, the compare and contrast essay contain a thesis statement clearly stating the two topics or objects to be compared and contrasted and your discussion's aim. The thesis statement should be written as the last sentence in the introduction paragraph and indicates the stance you choose to take. You may choose to lean more on the contrasting side or the comparing side or balance the two, depending on the topic or the objects and the direction your essay will take. While writing the essay, always keep in mind that the main objective of writing the essay is to give the reader an informed profound knowledge of the topics or objects of your discussion. To achieve this, you need a well-organized compare and contrast essay, and it may take different forms. For example: 

  • You may choose to organize the essay according to the topics by discussing one first and the other one after.
  • Or you may decide to organize it by discussing points that relate to each topic either in contrast or comparison form. 

The form that you pick will depend on the topics and the result of your research. If the points you get on each topic are well balanced between the topics, the second form that requires comparing and contrasting through discussing points is the best. To help you develop the form that will be perfect for your essay, draft a prewrite that contains the points from the topics of your discussion. Below is an example of a draft that can be helpful while writing a compare and contrast essay: 




1.      Classified in Felidae family.

2.      Belong to the Felis Catus species

3.      Love their own space

4.      Don’t care about praises.

5.      Cannot be vegetarians

6.      They protect you if they love you.

7.      They are generally lazy.


1.      They are both pets

2.      From the same animal kingdom

3.      They both hunt

4.      Can both handle medication?

5.      Both have health issues.

1.      Classified in Canidae family

2.      Belong to the Canis lupus familiaris species

3.      Love praises

4.      Can go on hunger strikes.

5.      They can taste sweet food.

6.      They are friendly

7.      They pant

8.      Protect everybody.

9.      Learn their names fast and can easily be trained

The above draft will help you develop an excellent compare and comparison essay by determining which side you will base your arguments on and the form your essay will have. To create an impression for your audience, go beyond the list you have created by analyzing the identified characteristics in-depth. For example, you can dig deeper into your research to find out what makes dogs friendlier than cats? Or what makes a dog love praises, unlike cats? Make your essay as engaging as possible. 

Comparison phrases in a Compare and Contrast

Since the essay is specifically designed to compare and contrast the relationship between two or more subjects or objects, you should first draft or go through phrases that relate to the essay to avoid repetition and monotony. Below is an example of phrases that will come in handy in your essay:

v   Like 

v  Both

v  Likewise

v  Similarly

v  One similarity

v  Another similarity

v  In comparison

Contrast phrases

v  In contrast

v  Unlike

v  Whereas

v  One difference

v  Another difference

v  Compared to

v  Conversely

Writing the compare and contrast essay 

Introduction: compare and contrast    

         A compare and contrast essay, like any academic essay, must have an introduction, body, and conclusion. The first sentence should contain a hook or the topic statement that is interesting and inviting to draw the readers' attention. As mentioned earlier, the introductory paragraph contains the thesis statement, which gives the audience the stance you wish to take. Remember, the thesis statement is the last line of your introductory paragraph. The reader should understand your discussion topic right from your introduction; therefore, ensure that the introduction is short and precise.

Body of  compare and contrast   essay

           Conventionally, a standard essay is made up of three body paragraphs, and the same case applies to the compare and contrast essay. The first paragraph should bear your most vital points that will create a compelling argument. Give excellent examples and reasons to back up your claims, and remember every argument to make must relate to the thesis statement. Ensure that you give scholarly evidence to your reasons to show the credibility of your work. While writing the body part of your essay, remember this is the point you deliver all the points you noted down in your draft. Explain your position by defending your point of view. 

Do not sway away from the thesis statement. While writing a compare and contrast essay, your professor is not interested in whether your stance is right or wrong; what is imperative is how you present your argument. In other words, you have the power to make your position on the topic right or wrong. For instance, if the topic of discussion compares coffee and tea, it doesn't matter what other writers or people say about the two. At this point, you must let your audience understand why you prefer tea to coffee or vice versa by giving compelling arguments and evidence to back up your reasons.


"Tea and coffee have been recommended as healthy drinks since they do not pose a direct threat to a person's health. However, excessively intake of caffeine has been associated with various ailments such as nausea and migraines. On the other hand, tea is considered to have medicinal properties, making tea healthier than coffee." 


Note: Your paragraphs must follow a chronological order by ensuring that the arguments discussed in the previous paragraph are connected to the next.

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           Your compare and contrast essay's conclusion is as equally important as the introduction and the body part of the essay. In most cases, the conclusion is the mirror image of your introduction. While the introduction gave an overview of what the essay discusses, the conclusion provides an overview of the discussion's accomplishments. Restating the thesis statement in a new form rather than using the exact words used before is appropriate. Summarize the three most essential points from the discussion to prove their validity and how they managed to support the thesis statement. 

After you complete drafting the final copy of your essay, ensure to proofread it several times before submitting it to your professor or instruct. Ensure all the grammatical rules have been followed. You can also give it to your friend for proofreading because you wouldn’t want to lose points because of a simple grammatical error. Go through the instructions one more time to ensure you have not excluded anything. By keenly following the guidelines given in this post, you can be sure to attain better grades for your Compare and Contrast essay. 


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