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Writing Essays in Art History

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Art History Analysis – Formal Analysis and Stylistic Analysis

Typically in an art history class the main essay students will need to write for a final paper or for an exam is a formal or stylistic analysis.

A formal analysis is just what it sounds like – you need to analyze the form of the artwork. This includes the individual design elements – composition, color, line, texture, scale, contrast, etc. Questions to consider in a formal analysis is how do all these elements come together to create this work of art? Think of formal analysis in relation to literature – authors give descriptions of characters or places through the written word. How does an artist convey this same information?

Organize your information and focus on each feature before moving onto the text – it is not ideal to discuss color and jump from line to then in the conclusion discuss color again. First summarize the overall appearance of the work of art – is this a painting? Does the artist use only dark colors? Why heavy brushstrokes? etc and then discuss details of the object – this specific animal is gray, the sky is missing a moon, etc. Again, it is best to be organized and focused in your writing – if you discuss the animals and then the individuals and go back to the animals you run the risk of making your writing unorganized and hard to read. It is also ideal to discuss the focal of the piece – what is in the center? What stands out the most in the piece or takes up most of the composition?

A stylistic approach can be described as an indicator of unique characteristics that analyzes and uses the formal elements (2-D: Line, color, value, shape and 3-D all of those and mass).The point of style is to see all the commonalities in a person’s works, such as the use of paint and brush strokes in Van Gogh’s work. Style can distinguish an artist’s work from others and within their own timeline, geographical regions, etc.

Methods & Theories To Consider:

Expressionism

Instructuralism

Postmodernism

Social Art History

Biographical Approach

Poststructuralism

Museum Studies

Visual Cultural Studies

Stylistic Analysis Example:

The following is a brief stylistic analysis of two Greek statues, an example of how style has changed because of the “essence of the age.” Over the years, sculptures of women started off as being plain and fully clothed with no distinct features, to the beautiful Venus/Aphrodite figures most people recognize today. In the mid-seventh century to the early fifth, life-sized standing marble statues of young women, often elaborately dress in gaily painted garments were created known as korai. The earliest korai is a Naxian women to Artemis. The statue wears a tight-fitted, belted peplos, giving the body a very plain look. The earliest korai wore the simpler Dorian peplos, which was a heavy woolen garment. From about 530, most wear a thinner, more elaborate, and brightly painted Ionic linen and himation. A largely contrasting Greek statue to the korai is the Venus de Milo. The Venus from head to toe is six feet seven inches tall. Her hips suggest that she has had several children. Though her body shows to be heavy, she still seems to almost be weightless. Viewing the Venus de Milo, she changes from side to side. From her right side she seems almost like a pillar and her leg bears most of the weight. She seems be firmly planted into the earth, and since she is looking at the left, her big features such as her waist define her. The Venus de Milo had a band around her right bicep. She had earrings that were brutally stolen, ripping her ears away. Venus was noted for loving necklaces, so it is very possibly she would have had one. It is also possible she had a tiara and bracelets. Venus was normally defined as “golden,” so her hair would have been painted. Two statues in the same region, have throughout history, changed in their style.

Compare and Contrast Essay

Most introductory art history classes will ask students to write a compare and contrast essay about two pieces – examples include comparing and contrasting a medieval to a renaissance painting. It is always best to start with smaller comparisons between the two works of art such as the medium of the piece. Then the comparison can include attention to detail so use of color, subject matter, or iconography. Do the same for contrasting the two pieces – start small. After the foundation is set move on to the analysis and what these comparisons or contrasting material mean – ‘what is the bigger picture here?’ Consider why one artist would wish to show the same subject matter in a different way, how, when, etc are all questions to ask in the compare and contrast essay. If during an exam it would be best to quickly outline the points to make before tackling writing the essay.

Compare and Contrast Example:

Stele of Hammurabi from Susa (modern Shush, Iran), ca. 1792 – 1750 BCE, Basalt, height of stele approx. 7’ height of relief 28’

Stele, relief sculpture, Art as propaganda – Hammurabi shows that his law code is approved by the gods, depiction of land in background, Hammurabi on the same place of importance as the god, etc.

Top of this stele shows the relief image of Hammurabi receiving the law code from Shamash, god of justice, Code of Babylonian social law, only two figures shown, different area and time period, etc.

Stele of Naram-sin , Sippar Found at Susa c. 2220 - 2184 bce. Limestone, height 6'6"

Stele, relief sculpture, Example of propaganda because the ruler (like the Stele of Hammurabi) shows his power through divine authority, Naramsin is the main character due to his large size, depiction of land in background, etc.

Akkadian art, made of limestone, the stele commemorates a victory of Naramsin, multiple figures are shown specifically soldiers, different area and time period, etc.

Iconography

Regardless of what essay approach you take in class it is absolutely necessary to understand how to analyze the iconography of a work of art and to incorporate into your paper. Iconography is defined as subject matter, what the image means. For example, why do things such as a small dog in a painting in early Northern Renaissance paintings represent sexuality? Additionally, how can an individual perhaps identify these motifs that keep coming up?

The following is a list of symbols and their meaning in Marriage a la Mode by William Hogarth (1743) that is a series of six paintings that show the story of marriage in Hogarth’s eyes.

  • Man has pockets turned out symbolizing he has lost money and was recently in a fight by the state of his clothes.
  • Lap dog shows loyalty but sniffs at woman’s hat in the husband’s pocket showing sexual exploits.
  • Black dot on husband’s neck believed to be symbol of syphilis.
  • Mantel full of ugly Chinese porcelain statues symbolizing that the couple has no class.
  • Butler had to go pay bills, you can tell this by the distasteful look on his face and that his pockets are stuffed with bills and papers.
  • Card game just finished up, women has directions to game under foot, shows her easily cheating nature.
  • Paintings of saints line a wall of the background room, isolated from the living, shows the couple’s complete disregard to faith and religion.
  • The dangers of sexual excess are underscored in the Hograth by placing Cupid among ruins, foreshadowing the inevitable ruin of the marriage.
  • Eventually the series (other five paintings) shows that the woman has an affair, the men duel and die, the woman hangs herself and the father takes her ring off her finger symbolizing the one thing he could salvage from the marriage.

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ARTS - Herzberg: Writing Essays About Art

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What is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

What is a compare / contrast essay.

In Art History and Appreciation, contrast / compare essays allow us to examine the features of two or more artworks.

  • Comparison -- points out similarities in the two artworks
  • Contrast -- points out the differences in the two artworks

Why would you want to write this type of essay?

  • To inform your reader about characteristics of each art piece.
  • To show a relationship between different works of art.
  • To give your reader an insight into the process of artistic invention.
  • Use your assignment sheet from your class to find specific characteristics that your professor wants you to compare.

How is Writing a Compare / Contrast Essay in Art History Different from Other Subjects?

You should use art vocabulary to describe your subjects..

  • Find art terms in your textbook or an art glossary or dictionary

You should have an image of the works you are writing about in front of you while you are writing your essay.

  • The images should be of  high enough quality that you can see the small details of the works. 
  • You will use them when describing visual details of each art work.

Works of art are highly influenced by the culture, historical time period and movement in which they were created.

  • You should gather information about these BEFORE you start writing your essay.

If you describe a characteristic of one piece of art, you must describe how the OTHER piece of art treats that characteristic.

Example:  You are comparing a Greek amphora with a sculpture from the Tang Dynasty in China.

Greek amphora

If you point out that the color palette of the amphora is limited to black, white and red, you must also write about the colors used in the horse sculpture.

Organizing Your Essay

Thesis statement.

The thesis for a comparison/contrast essay will present the subjects under consideration and indicate whether the focus will be on their similarities, on their differences, or both.

Thesis example using the amphora and horse sculpture -- Differences:

While they are both made from clay, the Greek amphora and the Tang Dynasty horse served completely different functions in their respective cultures.

Thesis example -- Similarities:

Ancient Greek and Tang Dynasty ceramics have more in common than most people realize.

Thesis example -- Both:

The Greek amphora and the Tang Dynasty horse were used in different ways in different parts of the world, but they have similarities that may  not be apparent to the casual viewer.

Visualizing a Compare & Contrast Essay: 

Introduction (1-2 paragraphs) .

  • Creates interest in your essay
  • Introduces the two art works that you will be comparing.
  • States your thesis, which mentions the art works you are considering and may indicate whether the focus will be on similarities, differences, or both. 

Body paragraphs 

  • Make and explain a point about the first subject and then about the second subject 
  • Example: While both superheroes fight crime, their motivation is vastly different. Superman is an idealist, who fights for justice …… while Batman is out for vengeance. 

Conclusion (1-2 paragraphs) 

  • Provides a satisfying finish 
  • Leaves your reader with a strong final impression. 

Downloadable Essay Guide

  • How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay in Art History Downloadable version of the description on this LibGuide.

Questions to Ask Yourself After You Have Finished Your Essay

  • Are all the important points of comparison or contrast included and explained in enough detail?
  • Have you addressed all points that your professor specified in your assignment?
  • Do you use transitions to connect your arguments so that your essay flows into a coherent whole, rather than just a random collection of statements?
  • Do your arguments support your thesis statement?

Art Terminology

  • British National Gallery: Art Glossary Includes entries on artists, art movements, techniques, etc.

Lee College Writing Center

Writing Center tutors can help you with any writing assignment for any class from the time you receive the assignment instructions until you turn it in, including:

  • Brainstorming ideas
  • MLA / APA formats
  • Grammar and paragraph unity
  • Thesis statements
  • Second set of eyes before turning in

Contact a tutor:

  • Phone: 281-425-6534
  • Email:  w [email protected]
  • Schedule a web appointment: https://lee.mywconline.com/

Other Compare / Contrast Writing Resources

  • Southwestern University Guide for Writing About Art This easy to follow guide explains the basic of writing an art history paper.
  • Purdue Online Writing Center: writing essays in art history Describes how to write an art history Compare and Contrast paper.
  • Stanford University: a brief guide to writing in art history See page 24 of this document for an explanation of how to write a compare and contrast essay in art history.
  • Duke University: writing about paintings Downloadable handout provides an overview of areas you should cover when you write about paintings, including a list of questions your essay should answer.
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  • Last Updated: Jun 26, 2024 1:51 PM
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How to Write an Art Comparison Essay

Jared lewis, 25 jun 2018.

How to Write an Art Comparison Essay

Writing an art comparison essay can be a difficult task for the novice art student. Students of art or art history often assume that any interpretation is as good as another, but in reality, to adequately interpret a work of art and then compare it to another, you will need to learn a little about the artist and the historical context of the composition.

Research the historical context of each piece of art. In order to adequately understand any work of art you must understand the circumstances under which it was produced. Artists are considered cultural innovators and often have an idea or truth they are trying to convey with any given composition or group of compositions. You have to first understand the artist as a person before you can adequately understand the meaning of his or her work. In order to understand the artist as a person you will also need to understand the time in which they lived. Picking up a good art history or humanities textbook will help you get started understanding the context.

Find the similarities and differences. Once you have placed each work within the proper context and before you actually begin to write your essay, sit down with a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil and write down the similarities and differences in each work. Questions to consider are the historical, political, philosophical, and religious differences of the time in which each work was composed. What do each of these works say about these issues? Do the works contain any symbolism? If so, how do the symbols differ and how are they similar? What do the symbols tell the observer about each composition?

Consider the medium through which the piece of art was created. Is it a painting or sculpture? Is the art representational or abstract? Is there a technique or style used that tells the observer something about the meaning of the composition? Who or what are the subjects of the work? The questions you can ask regarding any particular work of art are actually unlimited, but should always include some of these basic questions.

Compose your essay. Once you have analyzed each key piece of art you should develop some type of thesis statement related to that analysis. For instance, a comparison of any of Jackson Pollack's works with Van Gogh's "Starry Night" might yield a thesis statement indicating that both artists expressed themselves similarly by painting in a manner that revealed their inner emotions. Van Gogh was known to cake the paint onto the canvas and create a visible texture that was reminiscent of his inner torment while Pollack's abstract art was created by slopping paint onto large canvases, often in a drunken rage. You can then compare and contrast the elements of each composition to reveal how these artists methods were similar. The key to writing a good comparison and contrast essay is to be as clear and concise as possible, but also to be as detailed as possible regarding each element of the compositions.

Revise your work. If you are submitting your work for a grade you should take the time to reread and revise your essay before turning it in. Even the best writers rarely get their work exactly right on the first try. Have someone else proofread and offer suggestions for revision if possible. It is generally much easier for someone else to spot clarity issues and point them out than it is for you to do it yourself. Getting a little help from a friend, family member, or colleague is a great way to strengthen your writing and increase your chances of getting a positive response from the reader.

  • 1 Academy of Art University: Compare/Contrast Art History Essay

About the Author

Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.

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Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay | Tips & Examples

Published on August 6, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

Comparing and contrasting is an important skill in academic writing . It involves taking two or more subjects and analyzing the differences and similarities between them.

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Table of contents

When should i compare and contrast, making effective comparisons, comparing and contrasting as a brainstorming tool, structuring your comparisons, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about comparing and contrasting.

Many assignments will invite you to make comparisons quite explicitly, as in these prompts.

  • Compare the treatment of the theme of beauty in the poetry of William Wordsworth and John Keats.
  • Compare and contrast in-class and distance learning. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?

Some other prompts may not directly ask you to compare and contrast, but present you with a topic where comparing and contrasting could be a good approach.

One way to approach this essay might be to contrast the situation before the Great Depression with the situation during it, to highlight how large a difference it made.

Comparing and contrasting is also used in all kinds of academic contexts where it’s not explicitly prompted. For example, a literature review involves comparing and contrasting different studies on your topic, and an argumentative essay may involve weighing up the pros and cons of different arguments.

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See an example

compare and contrast art essay structure

As the name suggests, comparing and contrasting is about identifying both similarities and differences. You might focus on contrasting quite different subjects or comparing subjects with a lot in common—but there must be some grounds for comparison in the first place.

For example, you might contrast French society before and after the French Revolution; you’d likely find many differences, but there would be a valid basis for comparison. However, if you contrasted pre-revolutionary France with Han-dynasty China, your reader might wonder why you chose to compare these two societies.

This is why it’s important to clarify the point of your comparisons by writing a focused thesis statement . Every element of an essay should serve your central argument in some way. Consider what you’re trying to accomplish with any comparisons you make, and be sure to make this clear to the reader.

Comparing and contrasting can be a useful tool to help organize your thoughts before you begin writing any type of academic text. You might use it to compare different theories and approaches you’ve encountered in your preliminary research, for example.

Let’s say your research involves the competing psychological approaches of behaviorism and cognitive psychology. You might make a table to summarize the key differences between them.

Behaviorism Cognitive psychology
Dominant from the 1920s to the 1950s Rose to prominence in the 1960s
Mental processes cannot be empirically studied Mental processes as focus of study
Focuses on how thinking is affected by conditioning and environment Focuses on the cognitive processes themselves

Or say you’re writing about the major global conflicts of the twentieth century. You might visualize the key similarities and differences in a Venn diagram.

A Venn diagram showing the similarities and differences between World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.

These visualizations wouldn’t make it into your actual writing, so they don’t have to be very formal in terms of phrasing or presentation. The point of comparing and contrasting at this stage is to help you organize and shape your ideas to aid you in structuring your arguments.

When comparing and contrasting in an essay, there are two main ways to structure your comparisons: the alternating method and the block method.

The alternating method

In the alternating method, you structure your text according to what aspect you’re comparing. You cover both your subjects side by side in terms of a specific point of comparison. Your text is structured like this:

Mouse over the example paragraph below to see how this approach works.

One challenge teachers face is identifying and assisting students who are struggling without disrupting the rest of the class. In a traditional classroom environment, the teacher can easily identify when a student is struggling based on their demeanor in class or simply by regularly checking on students during exercises. They can then offer assistance quietly during the exercise or discuss it further after class. Meanwhile, in a Zoom-based class, the lack of physical presence makes it more difficult to pay attention to individual students’ responses and notice frustrations, and there is less flexibility to speak with students privately to offer assistance. In this case, therefore, the traditional classroom environment holds the advantage, although it appears likely that aiding students in a virtual classroom environment will become easier as the technology, and teachers’ familiarity with it, improves.

The block method

In the block method, you cover each of the overall subjects you’re comparing in a block. You say everything you have to say about your first subject, then discuss your second subject, making comparisons and contrasts back to the things you’ve already said about the first. Your text is structured like this:

  • Point of comparison A
  • Point of comparison B

The most commonly cited advantage of distance learning is the flexibility and accessibility it offers. Rather than being required to travel to a specific location every week (and to live near enough to feasibly do so), students can participate from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows not only for a wider geographical spread of students but for the possibility of studying while travelling. However, distance learning presents its own accessibility challenges; not all students have a stable internet connection and a computer or other device with which to participate in online classes, and less technologically literate students and teachers may struggle with the technical aspects of class participation. Furthermore, discomfort and distractions can hinder an individual student’s ability to engage with the class from home, creating divergent learning experiences for different students. Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.

Note that these two methods can be combined; these two example paragraphs could both be part of the same essay, but it’s wise to use an essay outline to plan out which approach you’re taking in each paragraph.

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Some essay prompts include the keywords “compare” and/or “contrast.” In these cases, an essay structured around comparing and contrasting is the appropriate response.

Comparing and contrasting is also a useful approach in all kinds of academic writing : You might compare different studies in a literature review , weigh up different arguments in an argumentative essay , or consider different theoretical approaches in a theoretical framework .

Your subjects might be very different or quite similar, but it’s important that there be meaningful grounds for comparison . You can probably describe many differences between a cat and a bicycle, but there isn’t really any connection between them to justify the comparison.

You’ll have to write a thesis statement explaining the central point you want to make in your essay , so be sure to know in advance what connects your subjects and makes them worth comparing.

Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:

  • The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
  • The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.

It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.

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Comparing and Contrasting: A Guide to Improve Your Essays

Walter Akolo

Walter Akolo

Comparing and contrasting in essays

Essays that require you to compare and contrast two or more subjects, ideas, places, or items are common.

They call for you to highlight the key similarities (compare) and differences (contrast) between them.

This guide contains all the information you need to become better at writing comparing and contrasting essays.

This includes: how to structure your essay, how to decide on the content, and some examples of essay questions.

Let’s dive in.

Compare and contrast definition

What Is Comparing and Contrasting?

Is compare and contrast the same as similarities and differences, what is the purpose of comparing and contrasting, can you compare and contrast any two items, how do you compare and contrast in writing, what are some comparing and contrasting techniques, how do you compare and contrast in college level writing, the four essentials of compare and contrast essays, what can you learn from a compare and contrast essay.

At their most basic, both comparing and contrasting base their evaluation on two or more subjects that share a connection.

The subjects could have similar characteristics, features, or foundations.

But while a comparison discusses the similarities of the two subjects, e.g. a banana and a watermelon are both fruit, contrasting highlights how the subjects or items differ from each other, e.g. a watermelon is around 10 times larger than a banana.

Any question that you are asked in education will have a variety of interesting comparisons and deductions that you can make.

Compare is the same as similarities.

Contrast is the same as differences.

This is because comparing identifies the likeness between two subjects, items, or categories, while contrasting recognizes disparities between them.

When you compare things, you represent them regarding their similarity, but when you contrast things, you define them in reference to their differences.

As a result, if you are asked to discuss the similarities and differences between two subjects, you can take an identical approach to if you are writing a compare and contrast essay.

In writing, the purpose of comparing and contrasting is to highlight subtle but important differences or similarities that might not be immediately obvious.

The purpose of comparing and contrasting

By illustrating the differences between elements in a similar category, you help heighten readers’ understanding of the subject or topic of discussion.

For instance, you might choose to compare and contrast red wine and white wine by pointing out the subtle differences. One of these differences is that red wine is best served at room temperature while white is best served chilled.

Also, comparing and contrasting helps to make abstract ideas more definite and minimizes the confusion that might exist between two related concepts.

Can Comparing and Contrasting Be Useful Outside of Academia?

Comparing enables you to see the pros and cons, allowing you to have a better understanding of the things under discussion. In an essay, this helps you demonstrate that you understand the nuances of your topic enough to draw meaningful conclusions from them.

Let's use a real-word example to see the benefits. Imagine you're contrasting two dresses you could buy. You might think:

  • Dress A is purple, my favorite color, but it has a difficult zip and is practically impossible to match a jacket to.
  • Dress B is more expensive but I already have a suitable pair of shoes and jacket and it is easier to move in.

You're linking the qualities of each dress to the context of the decision you're making. This is the same for your essay. Your comparison and contrast points will be in relation to the question you need to answer.

Comparing and contrasting is only a useful technique when applied to two related concepts.

To effectively compare two or more things, they must feature characteristics similar enough to warrant comparison.

In addition to this they must also feature a similarity that generates an interesting discussion. But what do I mean by “interesting” here?

Let’s look at two concepts, the Magna Carta and my third grade poetry competition entry.

They are both text, written on paper by a person so they fulfil the first requirement, they have a similarity. But this comparison clearly would not fulfil the second requirement, you would not be able to draw any interesting conclusions.

However, if we compare the Magna Carta to the Bill of Rights, you would be able to come to some very interesting conclusions concerning the history of world politics.

To write a good compare and contrast essay, it’s best to pick two or more topics that share a meaningful connection .

The aim of the essay would be to show the subtle differences or unforeseen similarities.

By highlighting the distinctions between elements in a similar category you can increase your readers’ understanding.

Alternatively, you could choose to focus on a comparison between two subjects that initially appear unrelated.

The more dissimilar they seem, the more interesting the comparison essay will turn out.

For instance, you could compare and contrast professional rugby players with marathon runners.

Can You Compare and Contrast in an Essay That Does Not Specifically Require It?

As a writer, you can employ comparing and contrasting techniques in your writing, particularly when looking for ideas you can later apply in your argument.

You can do this even when the comparison or contrast is not a requirement for the topic or argument you are presenting. Doing so could enable you to build your evaluation and develop a stronger argument.

Note that the similarities and differences you come up with might not even show up in the final draft.

While the use of compare and contrast can be neutral, you can also use it to highlight one option under discussion. When used this way, you can influence the perceived advantages of your preferred option.

As a writing style, comparing and contrasting can encompass an entire essay. However, it could also appear in some select paragraphs within the essay, where making some comparisons serves to better illustrate a point.

What Should You Do First?

Before you compare two things, always start by deciding on the reason for your comparison, then outline the criteria you will use to compare them.

Words and phrases commonly used for comparison include:

Comparison words and phrases

In writing, these words and phrases are called transitions . They help readers to understand or make the connection between sentences, paragraphs, and ideas.

Without transition words writing can feel clumsy and disjointed making it difficult to read. ProWritingAid’s transition report highlights all of a documents transitions and suggests that 25% of any sentences in a piece include a transition.

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So, how do you form all of this into a coherent essay? It's a good idea to plan first, then decide what your paragraph layout will look like.

Venn diagrams are useful tool to start generating ideas. The, for your essay, you need to choose between going idea by idea and going point by point.

Using a Venn Diagram

A Venn diagram helps you to clearly see the similarities and differences between multiple objects, things, or subjects.

The writing tool comprises two, or more, simple, overlapping circles in which you list down the things that are alike (within the overlapping area) and those that differ (outside the overlapping area).

It’s great for brainstorming ideas and for creating your essay’s outline. You could even use it in an exam setting because it is quick and simple.

Going Subject by Subject

Going subject by subject is a structural choice for your essay.

Start by saying all you have to say on the first subject, then proceed to do the same about the second subject.

Depending on the length of your essay, you can fit the points about each subject into one paragraph or have several sections per each subject, ending with a conclusion.

This method is best for short essays on simple topics. Most university-level essays will go point by point instead.

Going Point by Point

Going point by point, or alternating, is the opposite essay structure from going subject by subject. This is ideal when you want to do more direct comparing and contrasting. It entails discussing one comparison point at a time. It allows you to use a paragraph to talk about how a certain comparing/contrasting point relates to the subjects or items you are discussing.

Alternatively, if you have lots of details about the subject, you might decide to use a paragraph for each point.

Different ways to compare and contrast

An academic compare and contrast essay looks at two or more subjects, ideas, people, or objects, compares their likeness, and contrasts their differences.

It’s an informative essay that provides insights on what is similar and different between the two items.

Depending on the essay’s instructions, you can focus solely on comparing or contrasting, or a combination of the two.

Examples of College Level Compare and Contrast Essay Questions

Here are eleven examples of compare and contrast essay questions that you might encounter at university:

Compare and contrast examples

  • Archaeology: Compare and contrast the skulls of homo habilis, homo erectus, and homo sapiens.
  • Art: Compare and contrast the working styles of any two Neoclassic artists.
  • Astrophysics: Compare and contrast the chemical composition of Venus and Neptune.
  • Biology: Compare and contrast the theories of Lamarck and Darwin.
  • Business: Compare and contrast 2 or more business models within the agricultural industry.
  • Creative writing: Compare and contrast free indirect discourse with epistolary styles.
  • English Literature: Compare and contrast William Wordsworth with Robert Browning.
  • Geography: Compare and contrast the benefit of solar panels with the benefit of wind turbines.
  • History: Compare and contrast WWI to WWII with specific reference to the causes and outcomes.
  • Medicine: Compare and contrast England’s health service with America’s health service.
  • Psychology: Compare and contrast the behaviorist theory with the psychodynamic theory.

So, the key takeaways to keep in mind are:

Have a basis for comparison. The two things need to have enough in common to justify a discussion about their similarities and disparities.

Don’t go back and forth when using the block method. The best way to write your essay is to begin with a paragraph discussing all the facets of the first topic. Then, move on to another paragraph and talk through all the aspects of the second subject.

You can use both alternating and blocking techniques. Combining the two approaches is also an option. You can apply the alternating method in some paragraphs, then switch and use the block method. This method will help you offer a much deeper analysis of the subjects.

Have a reason for comparing the two things. Only select the points of comparison that resonate with your purpose.

Compare and contrast, key takeaways

Comparing and contrasting are essential analytical skills in academic writing. When your professor issues you with such an essay, their primary goal is to teach you how to:

  • Engage in critical thinking
  • See and make connections between words or ideas
  • Move beyond mere descriptions or summaries to developing interesting analysis
  • Get a deeper understanding of the subjects or items under comparison, their key features, and their interrelationships with each other.

The benefits of comparing and contrasting

Ultimately, your essay should enlighten readers by providing useful information.

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Essay Structure - Compare and Contrast (Critical Analysis)

This document breaks down what should be covered within a compare and contrast Visual Art essay into four sections. Each section provides some terminology, prompts and questions that should / may be answered in the paragraph. Usually, the structure is used for two or more unseen artworks. If it\\\'s a seen work of an artist you\\\'ve studied, switch the first section for their bibliography. This structure can be used for both Year 11 and 12 (even Year 10). Keep in mind, however, that I\\\'m a WA student and have based this on WA the WA requirements.

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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay: Everything You Need to Know

compare and contrast

Samuel Gorbold

Compare and contrast essays represent a unique style of writing that highlights both the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. This approach is ideal for elucidating what distinguishes and connects related concepts or things, especially when subjects are prone to confusion or unjust amalgamation.

While compare and contrast essays share commonalities with other essay types, they also possess distinctive features – that's where the essence of comparison lies! By discerning the differences and similarities, readers gain a deeper understanding of each subject, using the contrasted subject as a valuable frame of reference.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the art of writing a compare and contrast essay, offering advanced tips regarding the compare and contrast essay thesis and illustrative examples. We’ll explore essay structure and thesis framing and, before delving into specifics, illuminate the broader significance of why comparison essays are such powerful tools. In case you’re in a hurry, use our college essay writing service to achieve the desired result faster. 

Explanation of What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay

A compare and contrast essay is a distinctive form of academic writing that delves into the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. This genre offers a platform to explore the relationships and distinctions among various concepts, ideas, or objects. By presenting a balanced examination, it aims to highlight nuanced insights that might not be immediately apparent. Unlike other essay types, the essence of compare and contrast essays lies in juxtaposing elements to reveal a deeper understanding and to encourage critical thinking.

The primary objective of a compare and contrast essay is to dissect the chosen subjects, showcasing their unique characteristics and shared traits. This approach allows you as an author to present a comprehensive analysis, offering readers a more profound comprehension of each subject by virtue of their relation to one another. Whether comparing historical events, literary works, scientific theories, or any other topics, this essay form prompts a thoughtful examination that goes beyond mere surface observations.

When contemplating a compare and contrast essay format, the author not only explores the content but also navigates the terrain of structural nuances. This involves carefully framing a thesis statement that encapsulates the central theme and purpose of the essay. The subsequent paragraphs are dedicated to meticulously examining each point of comparison or contrast, often leading to insightful conclusions that contribute to a more holistic understanding of the subjects at hand. Through this process, the essay serves as a tool for fostering critical thinking skills and encouraging a deeper engagement with the subject matter.

compare and contrast art essay structure

How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay

As we’ve just learned what is compare and contrast essay, it’s time to learn how to engage your readers and set the stage for the exploration of similarities and differences between the chosen subjects. Begin with a compelling introduction that provides context and captures the audience's attention. Consider employing a thought-provoking quote, a relevant anecdote, or a striking statistic to pique interest. This initial section should introduce the subjects to be compared and contrasted, offering a glimpse of why the comparison is significant or intriguing.

Following the introduction, create a clear and concise thesis statement that outlines the main points of comparison or contrast. This statement serves as the essay's roadmap, guiding both you and the reader through the ensuing analysis. Experts from essay writers service know that a well-crafted thesis not only succinctly conveys the essence of the essay but also hints at the broader significance of the chosen subjects' similarities or differences. This can involve identifying patterns, revealing insights, or highlighting implications that will be explored in the subsequent paragraphs. Below, we will share an example of compare and contrast essay for your inspiration and practical guidance. 

As you transition to the body of the essay, set the stage for the comparison by providing necessary background information about the subjects. This ensures that your readers have a foundational understanding of the topics before delving into the detailed analysis. Establish the relevant context, highlight key characteristics, and address any critical aspects that will contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the subjects. As a compare and contrast essay writer, apply this smooth transition from introduction to body paragraphs to prepare your audience for the in-depth exploration of comparisons and contrasts that will follow. If at any moment you find the material too time-consuming or challenging, simply order an essay from seasoned academic penmen for quicker and more consistent outcomes. 

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

To learn how to write a compare and contrast essay, you can choose between two outline methods at your disposal – namely, the block method and the point-by-point method. In the block structure, all information pertaining to the first subject is presented, elucidating its characteristics and specific details in one block. The second block then adopts the same approach for the second subject. 

compare contrast essay structure

On the other hand, the point-by-point structure of a compare and contrast essay entails listing each similarity and difference concurrently, providing notes on both subjects. For instance, you can highlight a characteristic specific to one subject, followed by its similarity or difference to the other subject.

Each format, whether block or point-by-point, comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. The block method is notably simpler for the essay writer, as it involves presenting all information about the two subjects and leaving the comparison to the reader. On the other hand, the point-by-point format necessitates a more in-depth analysis by the writer, making similarities and differences explicit for easier comprehension by the reader. How do you structure this compare and contrast paper? A detailed structure for each type is provided below.

The point-by-point method is a popular approach used in writing compare and contrast essays. In this method, the writer systematically addresses points of comparison and contrast between two or more subjects. Unlike the block method, where information about one subject is presented in a block followed by information about the second subject in another block, the point-by-point method integrates the discussion of similarities and differences throughout the essay.

Point-by-Point Structure

Here's how the point-by-point structure of a compare and contrast essay typically works:

Introduction

  • Introduce the subjects you will be comparing and contrasting.
  • Provide a brief overview of the main points of comparison.

Body Paragraphs

  • Each body paragraph focuses on a specific point of comparison or contrast.
  • Discuss one aspect of the first subject and immediately follow it with the corresponding aspect of the second subject.
  • For example, if you're comparing two cities, a body paragraph might address the climate of City A and then immediately discuss the climate of City B.

Transition Sentences

  • Use clear transition sentences to guide the reader from one point to the next.
  • These sentences help maintain the flow and coherence of the essay.

Repeat for Each Point

  • Continue addressing points of comparison and contrast, dedicating a separate paragraph to each aspect.
  • Ensure a balanced discussion of both subjects, presenting an equitable number of points for each.
  • Summarize the main points of comparison and contrast.
  • Reiterate the significance of the similarities or differences discussed.
  • Conclude with a statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

The point-by-point method allows for a more detailed and intertwined analysis of the subjects, making it easier for the reader to follow the comparison throughout the essay.

Block Structure

The block structure is one of the common methods used in writing compare and contrast essays. In this approach, the writer organizes the information about one subject in a block or chunk and then presents the information about the second subject in another block. Each block addresses all the aspects, characteristics, or details related to the respective subject. Here's a breakdown of the block structure:

  • Introduce the subjects to be compared and contrasted.
  • Each body paragraph focuses on a specific aspect or characteristic of one subject.
  • Present all the information related to the first subject in the first block.
  • Address various aspects, supporting details, or examples within this block.

Transition to Second Subject

  • Use a clear transition sentence or paragraph to move from the discussion of the first subject to the second subject.

Body Paragraphs (Second Block)

  • Similar to the first block, each body paragraph in this section concentrates on a specific aspect or characteristic of the second subject.
  • Provide comprehensive details, examples, or evidence for the second subject within this block.
  • Reinforce the significance of the similarities or differences discussed.
  • Conclude with a final statement that leaves an impression on the reader.

The block structure is straightforward and easy to follow. It allows for a thorough examination of each subject independently, making it clear for the reader to understand the characteristics of both subjects. However, it may lack the interconnected analysis provided by other methods, such as the point-by-point method.

Present Your Supporting Evidence

In compare and contrast essays, it's crucial to substantiate your arguments with ample evidence. Draw upon various sources such as personal experiences, books, scholarly articles, magazine and newspaper features, movies, or any relevant material that lends credibility to your argument. For instance, if your essay compares attending college on campus versus distance-based learning, incorporate personal experiences as a student, discussing the daily attendance patterns on campus. Additionally, share insights from your online learning experiences, bolstering the credibility of your argument concerning online classes.

Valuable Compare and Contrast Essay Tips

One of the key pieces of advice from dissertation writing services is to approach writing a compare and contrast essay with the right attitude, actively involving the reader in the discussion. If you find the topic intriguing, chances are your reader will too! Here are additional tips to refine your compare and contrast essay:

  • Learn about crafting effective transition sentences using the words provided in the 'Compare and Contrast Essay Outline' section.
  • Always provide clear explanations for the concepts introduced in your essay. Assume your reader may not be familiar with lesser-known information.
  • Small errors, when numerous, can impact your grade. Pay meticulous attention to grammar and punctuation during the proofreading process.
  • Have a friend or family member review your essay; they may identify elements you might have overlooked. Their fresh perspective can contribute to enhancing the overall quality of your work.

How to Brainstorm Compelling Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

As you learned about the compare and contrast essay structure, we should move on to brainstorming compare and contrast essay topics that engage readers. It is a creative process that involves exploring connections between different ideas or subjects. To begin, consider your areas of interest or the themes covered in your course. Think about topics that not only capture your attention but also present rich material for meaningful comparisons. For instance, you might explore the contrast between traditional education and online learning, the similarities and differences in cultural practices, or the evolution of technology in different decades. By tapping into your personal interests, you can identify subjects that will engage both you and your readers.

compare contrast topics

Another effective strategy for generating compare and contrast essay topics is to consider current events, societal issues, or trends. Reflect on contemporary debates or contrasting perspectives on relevant topics. This could involve comparing different approaches to environmental conservation, contrasting political ideologies, or examining the impact of social media on interpersonal relationships. Choosing topics rooted in current affairs not only ensures relevance but also provides an opportunity to contribute to ongoing discussions and showcase the significance of your analysis.

Furthermore, exploring literature, history, or scientific domains can inspire unique and thought-provoking topics for your essay. Delve into literary works, historical events, or scientific theories and identify aspects that lend themselves to comparison. For example, you might compare the portrayal of gender roles in two novels, analyze the impact of two historical movements, or contrast the methodologies of two scientific experiments. Drawing from diverse fields allows you to explore a wide range of topics and demonstrate the versatility of the compare and contrast essay format.

How to Choose Compare and Contrast Topics That Resonate with Readers

Selecting a topic for your compare and contrast essay writing process is a critical step in ensuring the success of your essay. Begin by considering your interests and expertise. Choose a topic that genuinely intrigues you and aligns with your knowledge base. When you are passionate about the subject matter, your enthusiasm will naturally reflect in your writing, making the essay more engaging for both you and your readers. Another approach is to think about the relevance of the topic to your audience. 

  • Consider your audience's interests, educational background, and the context in which they'll be reading your essay. 
  • Opt for a topic that not only captivates you but also has the potential to captivate and resonate with your readers. 
  • Whether your audience is academic peers, instructors, or a general readership, relevance is key to maintaining interest.
  • Look for topics that offer room for meaningful comparison and contrast. 

A great topic should have distinct elements or characteristics that can be thoroughly analyzed. Avoid overly broad or simplistic topics and, instead, focus on those that allow for a nuanced exploration of similarities and differences. For example, comparing two different genres of literature, contrasting historical events with similar repercussions, or examining the cultural impact of two art movements can provide rich material for a comprehensive analysis.

110 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Selecting a suitable topic can pose a challenge, but fear not, as there's a plethora of options available. In the subsequent sections, we've curated a list of 110 compare and contrast essay ideas to assist you in initiating your exploration. Encompassing diverse subjects, from education and technology to history and politics, these topics cater to a broad spectrum of interests. Regardless of whether you're a high school or college student, you're bound to encounter a topic that piques your curiosity. Dive into the following sections to uncover a myriad of awesome ideas.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for College Students

While enrolled in college, your professor may assign you the responsibility of crafting this type of essay at any given moment. Explore the following topics curated by our team, designed specifically for college students, to ensure you attain the grades you rightfully deserve.

  • Traditional learning and online education.
  • Classic literature and modern literature.
  • Environmental conservation and industrial development.
  • Democratic and authoritarian governance.
  • Traditional art and digital art.
  • Urban living and rural living.
  • World War I and World War II.
  • Nature and nurture in human development.
  • Traditional medicine and alternative medicine.
  • Individualism and collectivism.

Interesting Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

From thought-provoking societal debates to fascinating examinations of cultural nuances, this collection offers a rich array of subjects to spark engaging discussions. 

  • The influence of science fiction literature on film: A comparative analysis.
  • The evolution of traditional photography vs. digital photography in the modern era.
  • The impact of traditional classroom learning and virtual reality learning environments on student engagement.
  • A comparative exploration of Eastern and Western philosophy on the concept of happiness.
  • The portrayal of heroes in ancient mythology vs. contemporary superhero movies.
  • The influence of Shakespearean tragedies on contemporary television drama.
  • A comparative study of traditional family structures and non-traditional family arrangements.
  • The impact of traditional and e-learning approaches in language education.
  • The representation of gender roles in classic literature vs. modern graphic novels.
  • A comparative analysis of sustainable agriculture practices and conventional farming methods.

Movie Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Explore the nuances of various films, from timeless classics to contemporary masterpieces, as we delve into the unique themes, characters, and cinematic techniques that define each cinematic journey. 

  • The cinematic styles of Alfred Hitchcock and Quentin Tarantino: A comparative analysis.
  • Classic novels vs. their film adaptations: Examining narrative choices.
  • The impact of special effects in vintage sci-fi films vs. modern blockbusters.
  • Animated Disney classics vs. Pixar animated films: A journey through animation styles.
  • The evolution of superhero movies: Marvel Cinematic Universe vs. DC Extended Universe.
  • The portrayal of historical events in Hollywood vs. independent films.
  • The representation of gender roles in Golden Age Hollywood films vs. contemporary cinema.
  • Original films vs. remakes: A critical analysis of storytelling and artistic choices.
  • Classic black and white films vs. contemporary color cinema: examining visual aesthetics.
  • The influence of literature on film: A comparative study of book-to-movie adaptations.

Funny Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

From quirky everyday situations to amusing cultural phenomena, these topics offer a delightful twist to the traditional essay format. Make your readers smile!

  • The daily struggles of owning a cat vs. a dog: A humorous examination.
  • Living with roommates vs. living with ghosts: Unexpected challenges.
  • Dating in high school vs. dating in senior citizenship: A humorous perspective.
  • The humor in failed cooking experiments vs. successful culinary ventures.
  • The quirks of traditional superheroes vs. unconventional, everyday heroes.
  • The hilarity of family holiday gatherings vs. solo Netflix marathons.
  • The comedy of traditional love letters vs. modern emoji-infused texts.
  • The absurdity of morning people vs. night owls: A sleep-deprived comedy.
  • The humorous adventures of traveling solo vs. traveling with a stuffed animal companion.
  • The comedy in embracing procrastination vs. attempting productivity: A satirical exploration.

Informative Essay Topics for 6th Graders

Ignite the curiosity of young minds with our thoughtfully curated collection of topics for 6th graders. Designed to inspire learning and exploration, these topics cover a wide spectrum of subjects, allowing students to delve into new realms of knowledge.

  • The life cycle of butterflies: A comprehensive exploration.
  • Renewable energy sources: Understanding solar and wind power.
  • The ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and their contributions.
  • The water cycle: Unraveling the mysteries of Earth's hydrological system.
  • Volcanoes and earthquakes: Forces of nature and their impact.
  • The importance of healthy eating habits and nutrition for kids.
  • Exploring the solar system: Planets, moons, and beyond.
  • The history and significance of ancient Egyptian pyramids.
  • Endangered species: Understanding the threats and conservation efforts.
  • The scientific method: A step-by-step guide to conducting experiments.

Compare and Contrast History Essay Topics

This list of topics invites you to explore pivotal moments, historical figures, and societal transformations, providing a nuanced lens to analyze the intricate tapestry of human history. 

  • The French Revolution vs. the American Revolution: A comparative analysis of revolutionary ideals and outcomes.
  • The Roman Empire vs. the British Empire: Exploring imperial expansions and legacies.
  • The Renaissance vs. the Enlightenment: Contrasting movements in European intellectual history.
  • Feudalism vs. Manorialism: Examining medieval social and economic structures.
  • World War I vs. World War II: A comparative study of causes, impact, and global changes.
  • The Byzantine Empire vs. the Ottoman Empire: Examining Eastern Mediterranean powers.
  • The Industrial Revolution in Britain vs. the industrialization of the United States: Economic transformations.
  • The Civil Rights Movement vs. the Women's Suffrage Movement: Struggles for equality.
  • The Chinese dynasties vs. the Japanese shogunates: Comparing East Asian historical developments.
  • The Cold War vs. the Space Race: Analyzing political tensions and scientific advancements.

Best Topics for Compare and Contrast Essays

Whether you're a student delving into academic pursuits or an avid writer seeking creative inspiration, this topic list offers a wealth of engaging topics to elevate your essay-writing experience.

  • The impact of traditional learning vs. online education on student success.
  • The representation of gender roles in classic literature vs. modern media.
  • The evolution of communication: From letters to emails and instant messaging.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of living in a city vs. living in the countryside.
  • The portrayal of superheroes in Marvel vs. DC Comics: A comparative analysis.
  • The influence of nature vs. nurture on human personality and behavior.
  • The effects of traditional medicine vs. alternative medicine on health.
  • The rise of social media vs. traditional forms of communication in society.
  • The impact of traditional art vs. digital art on visual expression.
  • The consequences of environmental conservation vs. industrial development.

Easy Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Designed to simplify the essay writing process, these topics offer a user-friendly penmanship start for students and aspiring writers alike. 

  • Dogs and cats: Comparing two popular pets.
  • Summer versus winter: Exploring seasonal differences.
  • City life or rural life: Contrasting lifestyles.
  • Books or movies: Analyzing different storytelling formats.
  • High school versus college: Comparing educational environments.
  • Pizza or burgers: Contrasting fast food preferences.
  • Biking or walking: Comparing exercise options.
  • Facebook or Instagram: A look at social media platforms.
  • Sunrise or sunset: Comparing daily phenomena.
  • Apple or Android: Exploring smartphone preferences.

Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Each topic is meticulously chosen to inspire insightful discussions and analytical explorations. Join us as we present a diverse array of subjects that invite you to explore the intricacies of thought-provoking juxtapositions.

  • Traditional classroom learning and online education reveal a spectrum of similarities and differences in educational approaches.
  • The impact of city living versus suburban lifestyles prompts reflections on individual preferences and lifestyle implications.
  • Owning a small business versus working for a large corporation involves contrasting advantages and disadvantages in the professional realm.
  • Parenting styles across different cultures exhibit intriguing similarities and differences, influencing child development.
  • The effects of a healthy diet versus regular exercise on overall well-being raise questions about lifestyle priorities and choices.
  • Experiences of traveling by plane versus train vary, presenting contrasting perspectives on efficiency and comfort.
  • Classical music and modern pop music offer a rich canvas for exploring the evolving landscape of musical expression.
  • Freelancing versus a traditional 9-to-5 job entails comparing the diverse challenges and rewards within the professional sphere.
  • Environmental impacts of electric cars versus traditional gas-powered vehicles underscore the trade-offs in sustainable transportation.
  • The portrayal of female and male characters in literature and film unveils nuanced similarities and differences, reflecting societal norms and evolving perspectives.

Psychology Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

This compilation offers a captivating exploration of psychological theories, perspectives, and phenomena, providing an enriching platform for analytical discussions. 

  • Behavioral and cognitive approaches in psychology present distinct perspectives, influencing our understanding of human behavior.
  • The nature versus nurture debate in personality development contrasts inherent factors with environmental influences.
  • Freudian and Jungian psychoanalytic theories offer unique insights, yet their similarities and differences provoke ongoing discussions.
  • Classical and operant conditioning's impact on learning and behavior varies, shedding light on effective teaching methods.
  • The theories of emotional intelligence versus traditional intelligence prompt reflections on diverse measures of human cognitive abilities.
  • Cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy differ in their approaches but also share commonalities in addressing psychological issues.
  • Nature and nurture's effects on mental disorder development prompt inquiries into the interplay of genetics and environment.
  • Positive psychology and traditional clinical psychology represent contrasting approaches to mental health, emphasizing strengths versus pathology.
  • Similarities and differences between social cognitive theory and social identity theory unveil complex insights into human social cognition.
  • The neurological foundations of psychological disorders vary, emphasizing the diverse factors contributing to mental health challenges.

Controversial Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

From ethical dilemmas to societal taboos, each topic offers a platform to delve into the heart of contentious discussions, allowing for a nuanced examination of contrasting viewpoints. 

  • The ethical implications of animal testing versus the benefits of scientific research prompt debates on morality and progress.
  • Capital punishment sparks controversy as legal systems worldwide grapple with its pros and cons.
  • The impact of censorship on freedom of speech raises questions about the balance between protection and restriction.
  • Recreational drug legalization discussions reveal diverse perspectives on public health and personal freedom.
  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in agriculture stir debates over their benefits and potential risks.
  • Abstinence-only education and comprehensive sex education present varied approaches to promoting sexual health.
  • Ethical considerations surrounding physician-assisted suicide and palliative care highlight complex end-of-life decisions.
  • Affirmative action in college admissions elicits arguments on fairness, diversity, and meritocracy.
  • The regulation of social media sparks debates over its societal benefits and potential drawbacks.
  • Perspectives on gun control and the right to bear arms vary, reflecting societal attitudes towards safety and individual freedoms.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Having gained comprehensive insights into compare and contrast essays, let's delve into practical examples to kickstart your writing journey or seek assistance from our dedicated essay helper. With a solid understanding of the principles, examining real-life examples can provide valuable inspiration and guidance for creating your own compelling paper.

compare and contrast art essay structure

What Is the Example of Compare and Contrast Essay?

How do you compare and contrast in an essay, how do you compare and contrast essay topic sentences, how to write a compare and contrast essay introduction.

Samuel Gorbold , a seasoned professor with over 30 years of experience, guides students across disciplines such as English, psychology, political science, and many more. Together with EssayHub, he is dedicated to enhancing student understanding and success through comprehensive academic support.

compare and contrast art essay structure

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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

09 November, 2020

17 minutes read

Author:  Elizabeth Brown

You have been assigned a compare and contrast essay but what is it and where do you even begin? The purpose of this type of essay is to focus on two or more topics examining them for subtle differences and unexpected similarities. These topics can be closely related, say a zebra and a horse, or they can be vastly different, like a pizza and salad. The focus of a compare and contrast essay is to bring to light something unknown, show whether one is superior to another, argue a point with supported facts, or clear up a misunderstanding.  

Compare and Contrast Essay

WWI and WWII. London and Paris. “Gone with the Wind” and “The Thorn Birds.” What do these things have in common? Or how do they differ?

This is a compare and contrast essay in a nutshell. Its main focus is on spotting the similarities or differences in terms of this or that object, phenomenon, or event. But there’s more to it. So, let’s look into all the details more profoundly.

Compare vs contrast

What is a compare and contrast essay?

A compare and contrast essay is a piece of academic writing focused on finding similarities or differences between several objects.

“Well,” you might think, “it’s the easiest paper ever. Why even bother looking for samples and examples?” Is that what you’re thinking? Then we’ve got a surprise for you.

Even though it all seems pretty self-explanatory, a compare and contrast essay can be a real challenge to compose. Especially if you don’t know all the pitfalls to pay attention to.

Evidently, you can always choose to seek the assistance of a good essay writing service like HandMadeWriting. With us, you don’t have to spend long nights working on a piece like this. However, we guarantee that we’ll cover all the bases in this guide and you’ll be able to craft a decent compare and contrast essay in the end.

Of course, the essence of this type of writing lies in finding common or different characteristics of two objects, places, events, or people. However, the piece can look differently depending on the approach a student considers to use when working on it.

While still on the subject, let’s look into different approaches to writing a compare and contrast essay.

How to write a Compare and contrast essay outline

how to write a compare and contrast essay outline

An outline will serve as a roadmap for your project. It will be the lighthouse you will keep your eyes on amidst all the arguments and ideas you want to mention in a piece.

Related Post: How to Write an Argumentative essay

Besides, it will help you keep your thoughts organized and well-structured. So, what should an outline for this type of essay look like?

Compare and Contrast essay outline example

Now use this scheme and adjust it to your own essay. Remember that an outline is only a blueprint: no need to go into numerous details at each section. Simply mention what you will talk about in each section and mark what sources you will use to back up your ideas.

Related Posts: Essay Outline | Research Paper Outline

Once you crafted an outline, you’re all set to start your essay.

The structure of a compare and contrast essay

There are three approaches to writing this type of essay:

  • Point by point method

Venn diagram

Block structure.

Approaches to writing a compare and contrast essay

Point-by-point method

This method focuses on comparing or contrasting various points of the same object. This being said, we find it essential to add that you can only choose two objects which you can really compare.

Thus, it is a great idea to compare two books of the same genre, but it makes no sense to compare a basketball and a soccer team: they’re completely different.

To demonstrate what this method is about, let’s try to compare public and private education in the USA. We will focus on three main aspects: the cost of such education, quality of education (based on the results and achievements of graduates), and the workload.

The author should mention these aspects in the introduction saying that he will compare or contrast two different options of obtaining a degree based on these points.

Next, come the main body paragraphs. Each of them is dedicated to only one point.

Topic: Public and private education comparison

Introduction.

Main body paragraphs #1:   The cost of education

  • Higher at privately help institutions (e.g. provide a range of tuition fees across one specialization)
  • Lower (yet not completely free) at public educational establishments (e.g. offer a list of things an average student pays for at a public institution)

Main body paragraph #2:   Quality of the education

  • Typically higher at private institutions (e.g. smaller classes, a more dedicated teacher-student approach, access to necessary materials, etc.)
  • Typically lower with exceptions (e.g. offer examples of statistical data which proves that public education can be just as effective)

Main body paragraph #3:   The workload

  • Heavier at private colleges where tutors get more one-on-one time with each student. As a result, students have less time for extracurricular activities.
  • Might be lighter than at a private institution.

Conclusion.

This is what a point-by-point approach looks like. Now, let’s check out the other two.

Venn diagram is “a diagram that shows all possible logical relations between a finite collection of different sets.” It is an excellent tool to visualize the content and brainstorm ideas.

Specifically, if you ever decide to use this tool for one of the compare and contrast essay topics, here is what it would look like:

Firstly, simply draw two or more circles (depending on the number of objects you’re comparing). Secondly, write down things they have in common inside the intersection of these circles leaving the differences on the outside.

Let’s see how students can use this approach to crafting a compare and contrast essay outline.

Topic: Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy

Main body paragraph #1: They were both presidents.

  • Lincoln was the 16th, while Kennedy – the 35th.
  • Lincoln served for five years, and Kennedy for three years.

Paragraph #2: They were both assassinated on Friday (share the story and background of each of these cases).

  • Kennedy was killed on the 23rd of November, 1963, by Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • Lincoln was shot dead on April 15th, 1865, by John Wilkes Booth.

Paragraph #3: They were commemorated by being posted on the US money.

  • Tell about Kennedy’s half-dollar.
  • A five-dollar bill with Abraham Lincoln.

Paragraph #4: Differences.

  • Kennedy was a Democrat, while Lincoln was a Republican.
  • Lincoln fought in the Civil War and signed the Emancipation Proclamation, while Kennedy focused on civil rights, foreign policies, and a space mission.

Finally, let’s see what a block structure approach will look like in practice.

This approach allows the students to compare different objects based on a particular writing pattern. A benefit of using this method lies in the structure and the level of organization of your piece.

Firstly, the author takes the first object and describes it in the first paragraph. Then, he proceeds to describe the second object in the second paragraph. Throughout the process, features or qualities are looked into step by step.

Let’s see what it would look like on the example.

Topic: Cats and dogs: Who makes a better pet?

An introduction.

Paragraph #1: Cats

  • Don’t need their master to walk with them.
  • Take care of their own hygiene.
  • Require minimum training.

Paragraph #2: Dogs

  • Need regular walks with their masters to exercise.
  • Can’t wash themselves.
  • Need the training to maintain proper behavior.

These are the three main methods used to craft a compare and contrast essay. Just choose the one that you feel most comfortable using and move on to the actual writing part.

Alternatively, you can look for help from a professional custom writing service like  HandMade Writing . It’s your chance to shave hours off your week and end up having an A+ in no time!

How to write a compare and contrast essay

Knowing all the approaches is one thing. Nevertheless, there is much more you need to know about this type of writing if you want to succeed.

As a rule, a compare and contrast essay writing is based on an in-depth analysis of two or more objects and practical findings of them (don’t confuse it with a reflective essay which allows you to focus on your own reflections rather than solid facts). That is why every student must start with finding proper credible sources and reading them carefully. As you read, don’t forget to take notes: your goal is to find whether similarities between the objects outweigh the differences or vice versa. But, of course, this is only true if you were given a choice to either contrast or compare the notions.

Next, take your time to craft a decent outline. Yes, you heard it right: you need it way before you dive into the first draft creation. Wondering how to write an outline? Here are several useful tips.

How to start a compare and contrast essay

The first thing a reader should see in your essay is an attention grabber. What can serve as one?

  • A quote by a famous person.
  • A literary quote.
  • An anecdote.
  • An interesting definition.
  • A little-known fact.
  • An open-end question.
  • A beautifully painted scene.

These are the basic ideas on how to make your audience sit up and listen from the very first moment. Later on, develop this hook into a thesis statement.

Related post: H ow to write an Essay introduction?  | Essay format guide 

Thesis statement

Usually, thesis statement presents your argument to the readers. It invites the audience to dispute your position and encourages a discussion around the topic of your choice.

The Writing Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill states that  a thesis statement “tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion. It’s also a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.”

The secret of  a good thesis statement is in its length. It shouldn’t be longer than one sentence. Here is a good example:

“If it weren’t for Abraham Lincoln’s wisdom, excellent diplomatic skills, and patriotism, he could have been the last President of the existing and prospering United States of America.”

How to organize the main body paragraphs

We’ve already mentioned briefly what the main body paragraph should really look like. Now, let’s take a step forward and look into each nuance in more detail.

  • An argument. The first sentence of every paragraph of your comparative essay should present the argument that supports the thesis statement. Keep it short and up to the point. And only use the arguments you can actually back up with sufficient evidence.
  • Evidence. Next, provide at least one (but better two or three) pieces of evidence that support your argument. We encourage college students to use only credible sources at this point. Eventually, this will add credibility to your writing and definitely get you a better grade.
  • A conclusion. Finally, summarize the argument and the evidence for it in one sentence. Keep it short and to the point, but don’t underestimate the importance of this part of your paragraph. Obviously, it’s often the only part your audience will remember from the whole piece.

Generally, college students get to choose how many main body paragraphs they want to have in their piece. Besides, the word count plays an important role here: you can’t have six main body paragraphs if you only have 500 words. For the most part, there won’t be enough space for all the essential parts of the paragraph. And you’ll end up crafting an incomprehensive and poorly-structured essay. We’re begging you to be wise not to lose good grades to not thought-through writing process.

In addition, if you aren’t a college student yet, but are going to enter a college or university soon, don’t forget to check out our complete guide to writing a scholarship essay . It’s your chance to stretch a buck by getting the financial help from college!

How to end a compare and contrast essay

Finally, get ready to compose a top-notch closure for the piece. Even though it comes last in your essay, it must be nothing short of perfect.

Studies show that conclusions are your last chance to impress a reader. Overall, the structure of this last section is quite standard.

  • Restate that thesis statement to remind your audience of what your whole article centered around.
  • Go over the pieces of evidence you used along the way.
  • Finish with an open question, a call-to-action, or a challenge for the audience.

See? It’s not as difficult as you might have thought it will be. Still, you have to take your time to polish it and make it count.

Compare&Contrast essay example

Good compare and contrast essay topics.

Well, now that you know everything you need about the process of writing such papers, it seems like you’re simply destined to grab readers’ attention and keep them interested from the start.

And though we would really want to tell you it is really so, it won’t necessarily be true.

Likewise, there is one more secret you can’t miss: a good essay requires an engaging topic.

Certainly, we know that finding excellent good topics sentence might be difficult. Thus, we’ve gathered a short list of thing we think you might find exciting to write about.

However, you can find 127 great compare and contrast essay topics in our recent guide. They’re all unique and interesting. So, don’t hesitate to take a look and pick something to write about.

  • Greek vs. Roman mythology: Differences and similarities.
  • Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: Compare the techniques, history, and professionalism of the players in these two football clubs.
  • Veganism vs. Vegetarianism: Differences in the dieting styles.
  • American English vs. British English.
  • Public vs. private education: The good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • Being a freelancer vs. being self-employed.
  • Christianity in Europe vs. Christianity in Asia in the 21st century.
  • Traditional vs. Unconventional cancer treatments around the globe.
  • Breastfeeding vs. infant formula: Which is a better choice both for the mother and the baby?
  • Car-sharing vs. Hitchhiking: Which would you choose to travel the world?
Related post: Top argumentative essay topics

Transition words

Transition words are your key to the smooth reading experience. Here are two lists of transition words students should use when crafting this type of paper.

Transitions words

Transitions in a comparison essay:

  • In the same way
  • By the same token
  • Coupled with
  • In addition
  • Identically
  • Correspondingly
  • Together with
  • Comparatively

Contrast transitions:

  • Nonetheless
  • In contrast
  • Notwithstanding
  • On the contrary
  • On the other hand
  • At the same time

We tried to cover all the information a student might need when working on a compare and contrast essay. Use this guide step by step for the best results. Don’t fall victim to the idea that you need no assistance in composing this type of academic writing. Of course, it might be tricky. So, it’s in your best interest to use professional assistance.

Problems with writing Your Compare and Contrast Essay? Try our Essay Writer Service!

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Comparing and Contrasting

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective. It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond “Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others.”

Introduction

In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements. One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another. By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them.

Recognizing comparison/contrast in assignments

Some assignments use words—like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences—that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast. Here are a few hypothetical examples:

  • Compare and contrast Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression.
  • Compare WWI to WWII, identifying similarities in the causes, development, and outcomes of the wars.
  • Contrast Wordsworth and Coleridge; what are the major differences in their poetry?

Notice that some topics ask only for comparison, others only for contrast, and others for both.

But it’s not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast. And in some cases, comparison/contrast is only part of the essay—you begin by comparing and/or contrasting two or more things and then use what you’ve learned to construct an argument or evaluation. Consider these examples, noticing the language that is used to ask for the comparison/contrast and whether the comparison/contrast is only one part of a larger assignment:

  • Choose a particular idea or theme, such as romantic love, death, or nature, and consider how it is treated in two Romantic poems.
  • How do the different authors we have studied so far define and describe oppression?
  • Compare Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression. What does each imply about women’s collusion in their own oppression? Which is more accurate?
  • In the texts we’ve studied, soldiers who served in different wars offer differing accounts of their experiences and feelings both during and after the fighting. What commonalities are there in these accounts? What factors do you think are responsible for their differences?

You may want to check out our handout on understanding assignments for additional tips.

Using comparison/contrast for all kinds of writing projects

Sometimes you may want to use comparison/contrast techniques in your own pre-writing work to get ideas that you can later use for an argument, even if comparison/contrast isn’t an official requirement for the paper you’re writing. For example, if you wanted to argue that Frye’s account of oppression is better than both de Beauvoir’s and Bartky’s, comparing and contrasting the main arguments of those three authors might help you construct your evaluation—even though the topic may not have asked for comparison/contrast and the lists of similarities and differences you generate may not appear anywhere in the final draft of your paper.

Discovering similarities and differences

Making a Venn diagram or a chart can help you quickly and efficiently compare and contrast two or more things or ideas. To make a Venn diagram, simply draw some overlapping circles, one circle for each item you’re considering. In the central area where they overlap, list the traits the two items have in common. Assign each one of the areas that doesn’t overlap; in those areas, you can list the traits that make the things different. Here’s a very simple example, using two pizza places:

Venn diagram indicating that both Pepper's and Amante serve pizza with unusual ingredients at moderate prices, despite differences in location, wait times, and delivery options

To make a chart, figure out what criteria you want to focus on in comparing the items. Along the left side of the page, list each of the criteria. Across the top, list the names of the items. You should then have a box per item for each criterion; you can fill the boxes in and then survey what you’ve discovered.

Here’s an example, this time using three pizza places:

Pepper’s Amante Papa John’s
Location
Price
Delivery
Ingredients
Service
Seating/eating in
Coupons

As you generate points of comparison, consider the purpose and content of the assignment and the focus of the class. What do you think the professor wants you to learn by doing this comparison/contrast? How does it fit with what you have been studying so far and with the other assignments in the course? Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself?

Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. These are by no means complete or definitive lists; they’re just here to give you some ideas—you can generate your own questions for these and other types of comparison. You may want to begin by using the questions reporters traditionally ask: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? If you’re talking about objects, you might also consider general properties like size, shape, color, sound, weight, taste, texture, smell, number, duration, and location.

Two historical periods or events

  • When did they occur—do you know the date(s) and duration? What happened or changed during each? Why are they significant?
  • What kinds of work did people do? What kinds of relationships did they have? What did they value?
  • What kinds of governments were there? Who were important people involved?
  • What caused events in these periods, and what consequences did they have later on?

Two ideas or theories

  • What are they about?
  • Did they originate at some particular time?
  • Who created them? Who uses or defends them?
  • What is the central focus, claim, or goal of each? What conclusions do they offer?
  • How are they applied to situations/people/things/etc.?
  • Which seems more plausible to you, and why? How broad is their scope?
  • What kind of evidence is usually offered for them?

Two pieces of writing or art

  • What are their titles? What do they describe or depict?
  • What is their tone or mood? What is their form?
  • Who created them? When were they created? Why do you think they were created as they were? What themes do they address?
  • Do you think one is of higher quality or greater merit than the other(s)—and if so, why?
  • For writing: what plot, characterization, setting, theme, tone, and type of narration are used?
  • Where are they from? How old are they? What is the gender, race, class, etc. of each?
  • What, if anything, are they known for? Do they have any relationship to each other?
  • What are they like? What did/do they do? What do they believe? Why are they interesting?
  • What stands out most about each of them?

Deciding what to focus on

By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations! Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s relevant to the assignment?
  • What’s relevant to the course?
  • What’s interesting and informative?
  • What matters to the argument you are going to make?
  • What’s basic or central (and needs to be mentioned even if obvious)?
  • Overall, what’s more important—the similarities or the differences?

Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels. For most literature classes, the fact that they both use Caslon type (a kind of typeface, like the fonts you may use in your writing) is not going to be relevant, nor is the fact that one of them has a few illustrations and the other has none; literature classes are more likely to focus on subjects like characterization, plot, setting, the writer’s style and intentions, language, central themes, and so forth. However, if you were writing a paper for a class on typesetting or on how illustrations are used to enhance novels, the typeface and presence or absence of illustrations might be absolutely critical to include in your final paper.

Sometimes a particular point of comparison or contrast might be relevant but not terribly revealing or interesting. For example, if you are writing a paper about Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” and Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight,” pointing out that they both have nature as a central theme is relevant (comparisons of poetry often talk about themes) but not terribly interesting; your class has probably already had many discussions about the Romantic poets’ fondness for nature. Talking about the different ways nature is depicted or the different aspects of nature that are emphasized might be more interesting and show a more sophisticated understanding of the poems.

Your thesis

The thesis of your comparison/contrast paper is very important: it can help you create a focused argument and give your reader a road map so they don’t get lost in the sea of points you are about to make. As in any paper, you will want to replace vague reports of your general topic (for example, “This paper will compare and contrast two pizza places,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in some ways and different in others,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in many ways, but they have one major difference”) with something more detailed and specific. For example, you might say, “Pepper’s and Amante have similar prices and ingredients, but their atmospheres and willingness to deliver set them apart.”

Be careful, though—although this thesis is fairly specific and does propose a simple argument (that atmosphere and delivery make the two pizza places different), your instructor will often be looking for a bit more analysis. In this case, the obvious question is “So what? Why should anyone care that Pepper’s and Amante are different in this way?” One might also wonder why the writer chose those two particular pizza places to compare—why not Papa John’s, Dominos, or Pizza Hut? Again, thinking about the context the class provides may help you answer such questions and make a stronger argument. Here’s a revision of the thesis mentioned earlier:

Pepper’s and Amante both offer a greater variety of ingredients than other Chapel Hill/Carrboro pizza places (and than any of the national chains), but the funky, lively atmosphere at Pepper’s makes it a better place to give visiting friends and family a taste of local culture.

You may find our handout on constructing thesis statements useful at this stage.

Organizing your paper

There are many different ways to organize a comparison/contrast essay. Here are two:

Subject-by-subject

Begin by saying everything you have to say about the first subject you are discussing, then move on and make all the points you want to make about the second subject (and after that, the third, and so on, if you’re comparing/contrasting more than two things). If the paper is short, you might be able to fit all of your points about each item into a single paragraph, but it’s more likely that you’d have several paragraphs per item. Using our pizza place comparison/contrast as an example, after the introduction, you might have a paragraph about the ingredients available at Pepper’s, a paragraph about its location, and a paragraph about its ambience. Then you’d have three similar paragraphs about Amante, followed by your conclusion.

The danger of this subject-by-subject organization is that your paper will simply be a list of points: a certain number of points (in my example, three) about one subject, then a certain number of points about another. This is usually not what college instructors are looking for in a paper—generally they want you to compare or contrast two or more things very directly, rather than just listing the traits the things have and leaving it up to the reader to reflect on how those traits are similar or different and why those similarities or differences matter. Thus, if you use the subject-by-subject form, you will probably want to have a very strong, analytical thesis and at least one body paragraph that ties all of your different points together.

A subject-by-subject structure can be a logical choice if you are writing what is sometimes called a “lens” comparison, in which you use one subject or item (which isn’t really your main topic) to better understand another item (which is). For example, you might be asked to compare a poem you’ve already covered thoroughly in class with one you are reading on your own. It might make sense to give a brief summary of your main ideas about the first poem (this would be your first subject, the “lens”), and then spend most of your paper discussing how those points are similar to or different from your ideas about the second.

Point-by-point

Rather than addressing things one subject at a time, you may wish to talk about one point of comparison at a time. There are two main ways this might play out, depending on how much you have to say about each of the things you are comparing. If you have just a little, you might, in a single paragraph, discuss how a certain point of comparison/contrast relates to all the items you are discussing. For example, I might describe, in one paragraph, what the prices are like at both Pepper’s and Amante; in the next paragraph, I might compare the ingredients available; in a third, I might contrast the atmospheres of the two restaurants.

If I had a bit more to say about the items I was comparing/contrasting, I might devote a whole paragraph to how each point relates to each item. For example, I might have a whole paragraph about the clientele at Pepper’s, followed by a whole paragraph about the clientele at Amante; then I would move on and do two more paragraphs discussing my next point of comparison/contrast—like the ingredients available at each restaurant.

There are no hard and fast rules about organizing a comparison/contrast paper, of course. Just be sure that your reader can easily tell what’s going on! Be aware, too, of the placement of your different points. If you are writing a comparison/contrast in service of an argument, keep in mind that the last point you make is the one you are leaving your reader with. For example, if I am trying to argue that Amante is better than Pepper’s, I should end with a contrast that leaves Amante sounding good, rather than with a point of comparison that I have to admit makes Pepper’s look better. If you’ve decided that the differences between the items you’re comparing/contrasting are most important, you’ll want to end with the differences—and vice versa, if the similarities seem most important to you.

Our handout on organization can help you write good topic sentences and transitions and make sure that you have a good overall structure in place for your paper.

Cue words and other tips

To help your reader keep track of where you are in the comparison/contrast, you’ll want to be sure that your transitions and topic sentences are especially strong. Your thesis should already have given the reader an idea of the points you’ll be making and the organization you’ll be using, but you can help them out with some extra cues. The following words may be helpful to you in signaling your intentions:

  • like, similar to, also, unlike, similarly, in the same way, likewise, again, compared to, in contrast, in like manner, contrasted with, on the contrary, however, although, yet, even though, still, but, nevertheless, conversely, at the same time, regardless, despite, while, on the one hand … on the other hand.

For example, you might have a topic sentence like one of these:

  • Compared to Pepper’s, Amante is quiet.
  • Like Amante, Pepper’s offers fresh garlic as a topping.
  • Despite their different locations (downtown Chapel Hill and downtown Carrboro), Pepper’s and Amante are both fairly easy to get to.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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A comprehensive guide to crafting a successful comparison essay.

How to write comparison essay

Comparison essays are a common assignment in academic settings, requiring students to analyze and contrast two or more subjects, concepts, or ideas. Writing a comparison essay can be challenging, but with the right approach and guidance, you can craft a compelling and informative piece of writing.

In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with valuable tips and examples to help you master the art of comparison essay writing. Whether you’re comparing two literary works, historical events, scientific theories, or any other topics, this guide will equip you with the tools and strategies needed to create a well-structured and persuasive essay.

From choosing a suitable topic and developing a strong thesis statement to organizing your arguments and incorporating effective evidence, this guide will walk you through each step of the writing process. By following the advice and examples provided here, you’ll be able to produce a top-notch comparison essay that showcases your analytical skills and critical thinking abilities.

Understanding the Basics

Before diving into writing a comparison essay, it’s essential to understand the basics of comparison writing. A comparison essay, also known as a comparative essay, requires you to analyze two or more subjects by highlighting their similarities and differences. This type of essay aims to show how these subjects are similar or different in various aspects.

When writing a comparison essay, you should have a clear thesis statement that identifies the subjects you are comparing and the main points of comparison. It’s essential to structure your essay effectively by organizing your ideas logically. You can use different methods of organization, such as the block method or point-by-point method, to present your comparisons.

Additionally, make sure to include evidence and examples to support your comparisons. Use specific details and examples to strengthen your arguments and clarify the similarities and differences between the subjects. Lastly, remember to provide a strong conclusion that summarizes your main points and reinforces the significance of your comparison.

Choosing a Topic for Comparison Essay

When selecting a topic for your comparison essay, it’s essential to choose two subjects that have some similarities and differences to explore. You can compare two books, two movies, two historical figures, two theories, or any other pair of related subjects.

Consider selecting topics that interest you or that you are familiar with to make the writing process more engaging and manageable. Additionally, ensure that the subjects you choose are suitable for comparison and have enough material for analysis.

It’s also helpful to brainstorm ideas and create a list of potential topics before making a final decision. Once you have a few options in mind, evaluate them based on the relevance of the comparison, the availability of credible sources, and your own interest in the subjects.

Remember that a well-chosen topic is one of the keys to writing a successful comparison essay, so take your time to select subjects that will allow you to explore meaningful connections and differences in a compelling way.

Finding the Right Pairing

When writing a comparison essay, it’s crucial to find the right pairing of subjects to compare. Choose subjects that have enough similarities and differences to make a meaningful comparison. Consider the audience and purpose of your essay to determine what pairing will be most effective.

Look for subjects that you are passionate about or have a deep understanding of. This will make the writing process easier and more engaging. Additionally, consider choosing subjects that are relevant and timely, as this will make your essay more interesting to readers.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when finding the right pairing. Sometimes unexpected combinations can lead to the most compelling comparisons. Conduct thorough research on both subjects to ensure you have enough material to work with and present a balanced comparison.

Structuring Your Comparison Essay

When writing a comparison essay, it is essential to organize your ideas in a clear and logical manner. One effective way to structure your essay is to use a point-by-point comparison or a block comparison format.

Point-by-Point Comparison Block Comparison
In this format, you will discuss one point of comparison between the two subjects before moving on to the next point. In this format, you will discuss all the points related to one subject before moving on to the next subject.
Allows for a more detailed analysis of each point of comparison. Provides a clear and structured comparison of the two subjects.
Can be helpful when the subjects have multiple similarities and differences to explore. May be easier to follow for readers who prefer a side-by-side comparison of the subjects.

Whichever format you choose, make sure to introduce your subjects, present your points of comparison, provide evidence or examples to support your comparisons, and conclude by summarizing the main points and highlighting the significance of your comparison.

Creating a Clear Outline

Before you start writing your comparison essay, it’s essential to create a clear outline. An outline serves as a roadmap that helps you stay organized and focused throughout the writing process. Here are some steps to create an effective outline:

1. Identify the subjects of comparison: Start by determining the two subjects you will be comparing in your essay. Make sure they have enough similarities and differences to make a meaningful comparison.

2. Brainstorm key points: Once you have chosen the subjects, brainstorm the key points you want to compare and contrast. These could include characteristics, features, themes, or arguments related to each subject.

3. Organize your points: Arrange your key points in a logical order. You can choose to compare similar points side by side or alternate between the two subjects to highlight differences.

4. Develop a thesis statement: Based on your key points, develop a clear thesis statement that states the main purpose of your comparison essay. This statement should guide the rest of your writing and provide a clear direction for your argument.

5. Create a structure: Divide your essay into introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Each section should serve a specific purpose and contribute to the overall coherence of your essay.

By creating a clear outline, you can ensure that your comparison essay flows smoothly and effectively communicates your ideas to the reader.

Engaging the Reader

When writing a comparison essay, it is crucial to engage the reader right from the beginning. You want to hook their attention and make them want to keep reading. Here are some tips to engage your reader:

  • Start with a strong opening statement or question that entices the reader to continue reading.
  • Use vivid language and descriptive imagery to paint a clear picture in the reader’s mind.
  • Provide interesting facts or statistics that pique the reader’s curiosity.
  • Create a compelling thesis statement that outlines the purpose of your comparison essay.

By engaging the reader from the start, you set the stage for a successful and impactful comparison essay that keeps the reader engaged until the very end.

Point-by-Point vs Block Method

Point-by-Point vs Block Method

When writing a comparison essay, you have two main options for structuring your content: the point-by-point method and the block method. Each method has its own advantages and may be more suitable depending on the type of comparison you are making.

  • Point-by-Point Method: This method involves discussing one point of comparison at a time between the two subjects. You will go back and forth between the subjects, highlighting similarities and differences for each point. This method allows for a more detailed and nuanced analysis of the subjects.
  • Block Method: In contrast, the block method involves discussing all the points related to one subject first, followed by all the points related to the second subject. This method provides a more straightforward and organized comparison but may not delve as deeply into the individual points of comparison.

Ultimately, the choice between the point-by-point and block methods depends on the complexity of your comparison and the level of detail you want to explore. Experiment with both methods to see which one best suits your writing style and the specific requirements of your comparison essay.

Selecting the Best Approach

When it comes to writing a comparison essay, selecting the best approach is crucial to ensure a successful and effective comparison. There are several approaches you can take when comparing two subjects, including the block method and the point-by-point method.

The block method: This approach involves discussing all the similarities and differences of one subject first, followed by a thorough discussion of the second subject. This method is useful when the two subjects being compared are quite different or when the reader may not be familiar with one of the subjects.

The point-by-point method: This approach involves alternating between discussing the similarities and differences of the two subjects in each paragraph. This method allows for a more in-depth comparison of specific points and is often preferred when the two subjects have many similarities and differences.

Before selecting an approach, consider the nature of the subjects being compared and the purpose of your comparison essay. Choose the approach that will best serve your purpose and allow for a clear, organized, and engaging comparison.

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10.7 Comparison and Contrast

Learning objectives.

  • Determine the purpose and structure of comparison and contrast in writing.
  • Explain organizational methods used when comparing and contrasting.
  • Understand how to write a compare-and-contrast essay.

The Purpose of Comparison and Contrast in Writing

Comparison in writing discusses elements that are similar, while contrast in writing discusses elements that are different. A compare-and-contrast essay , then, analyzes two subjects by comparing them, contrasting them, or both.

The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities. For example, if you wanted to focus on contrasting two subjects you would not pick apples and oranges; rather, you might choose to compare and contrast two types of oranges or two types of apples to highlight subtle differences. For example, Red Delicious apples are sweet, while Granny Smiths are tart and acidic. Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience’s understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay.

Similarly, to focus on comparison, choose two subjects that seem at first to be unrelated. For a comparison essay, you likely would not choose two apples or two oranges because they share so many of the same properties already. Rather, you might try to compare how apples and oranges are quite similar. The more divergent the two subjects initially seem, the more interesting a comparison essay will be.

Writing at Work

Comparing and contrasting is also an evaluative tool. In order to make accurate evaluations about a given topic, you must first know the critical points of similarity and difference. Comparing and contrasting is a primary tool for many workplace assessments. You have likely compared and contrasted yourself to other colleagues. Employee advancements, pay raises, hiring, and firing are typically conducted using comparison and contrast. Comparison and contrast could be used to evaluate companies, departments, or individuals.

Brainstorm an essay that leans toward contrast. Choose one of the following three categories. Pick two examples from each. Then come up with one similarity and three differences between the examples.

  • Romantic comedies
  • Internet search engines
  • Cell phones

Brainstorm an essay that leans toward comparison. Choose one of the following three items. Then come up with one difference and three similarities.

  • Department stores and discount retail stores
  • Fast food chains and fine dining restaurants
  • Dogs and cats

The Structure of a Comparison and Contrast Essay

The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both and the reason for doing so. The thesis could lean more toward comparing, contrasting, or both. Remember, the point of comparing and contrasting is to provide useful knowledge to the reader. Take the following thesis as an example that leans more toward contrasting.

Thesis statement: Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.

Here the thesis sets up the two subjects to be compared and contrasted (organic versus conventional vegetables), and it makes a claim about the results that might prove useful to the reader.

You may organize compare-and-contrast essays in one of the following two ways:

  • According to the subjects themselves, discussing one then the other
  • According to individual points, discussing each subject in relation to each point

See Figure 10.1 “Comparison and Contrast Diagram” , which diagrams the ways to organize our organic versus conventional vegetables thesis.

Figure 10.1 Comparison and Contrast Diagram

Comparison and Contrast Diagram

The organizational structure you choose depends on the nature of the topic, your purpose, and your audience.

Given that compare-and-contrast essays analyze the relationship between two subjects, it is helpful to have some phrases on hand that will cue the reader to such analysis. See Table 10.3 “Phrases of Comparison and Contrast” for examples.

Table 10.3 Phrases of Comparison and Contrast

Comparison Contrast
one similarity one difference
another similarity another difference
both conversely
like in contrast
likewise unlike
similarly while
in a similar fashion whereas

Create an outline for each of the items you chose in Note 10.72 “Exercise 1” and Note 10.73 “Exercise 2” . Use the point-by-point organizing strategy for one of them, and use the subject organizing strategy for the other.

Writing a Comparison and Contrast Essay

First choose whether you want to compare seemingly disparate subjects, contrast seemingly similar subjects, or compare and contrast subjects. Once you have decided on a topic, introduce it with an engaging opening paragraph. Your thesis should come at the end of the introduction, and it should establish the subjects you will compare, contrast, or both as well as state what can be learned from doing so.

The body of the essay can be organized in one of two ways: by subject or by individual points. The organizing strategy that you choose will depend on, as always, your audience and your purpose. You may also consider your particular approach to the subjects as well as the nature of the subjects themselves; some subjects might better lend themselves to one structure or the other. Make sure to use comparison and contrast phrases to cue the reader to the ways in which you are analyzing the relationship between the subjects.

After you finish analyzing the subjects, write a conclusion that summarizes the main points of the essay and reinforces your thesis. See Chapter 15 “Readings: Examples of Essays” to read a sample compare-and-contrast essay.

Many business presentations are conducted using comparison and contrast. The organizing strategies—by subject or individual points—could also be used for organizing a presentation. Keep this in mind as a way of organizing your content the next time you or a colleague have to present something at work.

Choose one of the outlines you created in Note 10.75 “Exercise 3” , and write a full compare-and-contrast essay. Be sure to include an engaging introduction, a clear thesis, well-defined and detailed paragraphs, and a fitting conclusion that ties everything together.

Key Takeaways

  • A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
  • The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
  • The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.

There are two main organizing strategies for compare-and-contrast essays.

  • Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
  • Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
  • Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.

Writing for Success Copyright © 2015 by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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Compare & Contrast Essays How things are similar or different

Compare and contrast is a common form of academic writing, either as an essay type on its own, or as part of a larger essay which includes one or more paragraphs which compare or contrast. This page gives information on what a compare and contrast essay is , how to structure this type of essay, how to use compare and contrast structure words , and how to make sure you use appropriate criteria for comparison/contrast . There is also an example compare and contrast essay on the topic of communication technology, as well as some exercises to help you practice this area.

What are compare & contrast essays?

compare

For another look at the same content, check out YouTube » or Youku » , or this infographic » .

compare and contrast art essay structure

To compare is to examine how things are similar, while to contrast is to see how they differ. A compare and contrast essay therefore looks at the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences. This essay type is common at university, where lecturers frequently test your understanding by asking you to compare and contrast two theories, two methods, two historical periods, two characters in a novel, etc. Sometimes the whole essay will compare and contrast, though sometimes the comparison or contrast may be only part of the essay. It is also possible, especially for short exam essays, that only the similarities or the differences, not both, will be discussed. See the examples below.

  • Compare and contrast Newton's ideas of gravity with those proposed by Einstein ['compare and contrast' essay]
  • Examine how the economies of Spain and China are similar ['compare' only essay]
  • Explain the differences between Achaemenid Empire and Parthian Empire ['contrast' only essay]

There are two main ways to structure a compare and contrast essay, namely using a block or a point-by-point structure. For the block structure, all of the information about one of the objects being compared/contrasted is given first, and all of the information about the other object is listed afterwards. This type of structure is similar to the block structure used for cause and effect and problem-solution essays. For the point-by-point structure, each similarity (or difference) for one object is followed immediately by the similarity (or difference) for the other. Both types of structure have their merits. The former is easier to write, while the latter is generally clearer as it ensures that the similarities/differences are more explicit.

The two types of structure, block and point-by-point , are shown in the diagram below.





Compare and Contrast Structure Words

Compare and contrast structure words are transition signals which show the similarities or differences. Below are some common examples.

  • both... and...
  • not only... but also...
  • neither... nor...
  • just like (+ noun)
  • similar to (+ noun)
  • to be similar (to)
  • to be the same as
  • to be alike
  • to compare (to/with)
  • Computers can be used to communicate easily, for example via email. Similarly/Likewise , the mobile phone is a convenient tool for communication.
  • Both computers and mobile phones can be used to communicate easily with other people.
  • Just like the computer, the mobile phone can be used to communicate easily with other people.
  • The computer is similar to the mobile phone in the way it can be used for easy communication.
  • In contrast
  • In comparison
  • By comparison
  • On the other hand
  • to differ from
  • to be different (from)
  • to be dissimilar to
  • to be unlike
  • Computers, although increasingly small, are not always easy to carry from one place to another. However , the mobile phone can be carried with ease.
  • Computers are generally not very portable, whereas the mobile phone is.
  • Computers differ from mobile phones in their lack of portability.
  • Computers are unlike mobile phones in their lack of portability.

Criteria for comparison/contrast

When making comparisons or contrasts, it is important to be clear what criteria you are using. Study the following example, which contrasts two people. Here the criteria are unclear.

  • Aaron is tall and strong. In contrast , Bruce is handsome and very intelligent.

Although this sentence has a contrast transition , the criteria for contrasting are not the same. The criteria used for Aaron are height (tall) and strength (strong). We would expect similar criteria to be used for Bruce (maybe he is short and weak), but instead we have new criteria, namely appearance (handsome) and intelligence (intelligent). This is a common mistake for students when writing this type of paragraph or essay. Compare the following, which has much clearer criteria (contrast structure words shown in bold).

  • Aaron and Bruce differ in four ways. The first difference is height. Aaron is tall, while Bruce is short. A second difference is strength. Aaron is strong. In contrast , Bruce is weak. A third difference is appearance. Aaron, who is average looking, differs from Bruce, who is handsome. The final difference is intelligence. Aaron is of average intelligence. Bruce, on the other hand , is very intelligent.

Example essay

Below is a compare and contrast essay. This essay uses the point-by-point structure . Click on the different areas (in the shaded boxes to the right) to highlight the different structural aspects in this essay, i.e. similarities, differences, and structure words. This will highlight not simply the paragraphs, but also the thesis statement and summary , as these repeat the comparisons and contrasts contained in the main body.

Title: There have been many advances in technology over the past fifty years. These have revolutionised the way we communicate with people who are far away. Compare and contrast methods of communication used today with those which were used in the past.

 
         
 
 

Before the advent of computers and modern technology, people communicating over long distances used traditional means such as letters and the telephone. Nowadays we have a vast array of communication tools which can complete this task, ranging from email to instant messaging and video calls. While the present and previous means of communication are similar in their general form , they differ in regard to their speed and the range of tools available . One similarity between current and previous methods of communication relates to the form of communication. In the past, both written forms such as letters were frequently used, in addition to oral forms such as telephone calls. Similarly , people nowadays use both of these forms. Just as in the past, written forms of communication are prevalent, for example via email and text messaging. In addition, oral forms are still used, including the telephone, mobile phone, and voice messages via instant messaging services. However , there are clearly many differences in the way we communicate over long distances, the most notable of which is speed. This is most evident in relation to written forms of communication. In the past, letters would take days to arrive at their destination. In contrast , an email arrives almost instantaneously and can be read seconds after it was sent. In the past, if it was necessary to send a short message, for example at work, a memo could be passed around the office, which would take some time to circulate. This is different from the current situation, in which a text message can be sent immediately. Another significant difference is the range of communication methods. Fifty years ago, the tools available for communicating over long distances were primarily the telephone and the letter. By comparison , there are a vast array of communication methods available today. These include not only the telephone, letter, email and text messages already mentioned, but also video conferences via software such as Skype or mobile phone apps such as WeChat, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter. In conclusion, methods of communication have greatly advanced over the past fifty years. While there are some similarities, such as the forms of communication , there are significant differences, chiefly in relation to the speed of communication and the range of communication tools available . There is no doubt that technology will continue to progress in future, and the advanced tools which we use today may one day also become outdated.

 
     
 
 

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Below is a checklist for compare and contrast essays. Use it to check your own writing, or get a peer (another student) to help you.

The essay is a essay
An appropriate is used, either or
Compare and contrast are used accurately
The for comparison/contrast are clear
The essay has clear
Each paragraph has a clear
The essay has strong support (facts, reasons, examples, etc.)
The conclusion includes a of the main points

There is a downloadable graphic organiser for brainstorming ideas for compare and contrast essays in the writing resources section.

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Author: Sheldon Smith    ‖    Last modified: 08 January 2022.

Sheldon Smith is the founder and editor of EAPFoundation.com. He has been teaching English for Academic Purposes since 2004. Find out more about him in the about section and connect with him on Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn .

Compare & contrast essays examine the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences.

Cause & effect essays consider the reasons (or causes) for something, then discuss the results (or effects).

Discussion essays require you to examine both sides of a situation and to conclude by saying which side you favour.

Problem-solution essays are a sub-type of SPSE essays (Situation, Problem, Solution, Evaluation).

Transition signals are useful in achieving good cohesion and coherence in your writing.

Reporting verbs are used to link your in-text citations to the information cited.

compare and contrast art essay structure

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Writing a Paper: Comparing & Contrasting

A compare and contrast paper discusses the similarities and differences between two or more topics. The paper should contain an introduction with a thesis statement, a body where the comparisons and contrasts are discussed, and a conclusion.

Address Both Similarities and Differences

Because this is a compare and contrast paper, both the similarities and differences should be discussed. This will require analysis on your part, as some topics will appear to be quite similar, and you will have to work to find the differing elements.

Make Sure You Have a Clear Thesis Statement

Just like any other essay, a compare and contrast essay needs a thesis statement. The thesis statement should not only tell your reader what you will do, but it should also address the purpose and importance of comparing and contrasting the material.

Use Clear Transitions

Transitions are important in compare and contrast essays, where you will be moving frequently between different topics or perspectives.

  • Examples of transitions and phrases for comparisons: as well, similar to, consistent with, likewise, too
  • Examples of transitions and phrases for contrasts: on the other hand, however, although, differs, conversely, rather than.

For more information, check out our transitions page.

Structure Your Paper

Consider how you will present the information. You could present all of the similarities first and then present all of the differences. Or you could go point by point and show the similarity and difference of one point, then the similarity and difference for another point, and so on.

Include Analysis

It is tempting to just provide summary for this type of paper, but analysis will show the importance of the comparisons and contrasts. For instance, if you are comparing two articles on the topic of the nursing shortage, help us understand what this will achieve. Did you find consensus between the articles that will support a certain action step for people in the field? Did you find discrepancies between the two that point to the need for further investigation?

Make Analogous Comparisons

When drawing comparisons or making contrasts, be sure you are dealing with similar aspects of each item. To use an old cliché, are you comparing apples to apples?

  • Example of poor comparisons: Kubista studied the effects of a later start time on high school students, but Cook used a mixed methods approach. (This example does not compare similar items. It is not a clear contrast because the sentence does not discuss the same element of the articles. It is like comparing apples to oranges.)
  • Example of analogous comparisons: Cook used a mixed methods approach, whereas Kubista used only quantitative methods. (Here, methods are clearly being compared, allowing the reader to understand the distinction.

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Compare And Contrast Essay Guide

Compare And Contrast Essay Examples

Last updated on: Mar 22, 2024

Good Compare and Contrast Essay Examples For Your Help

By: Barbara P.

Reviewed By: Jacklyn H.

Published on: Mar 22, 2023

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Are you ready to challenge your critical thinking skills and take your writing to the next level? Look no further than the exciting world of compare and contrast essays! 

As a college student, you'll have the unique opportunity to delve into the details and differences of a variety of subjects. But don't let the pressure of writing the perfect compare-and-contrast essay weigh you down. 

To help guide you on this journey, we've got some great compare-and-contrast essay examples. It will make the writing process not only manageable but also enjoyable. So grab a pen and paper, and let's get started on this exciting adventure!

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

On this Page

Good Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

A compare and contrast essay is all about comparing two subjects. Writing essays is not always easy, but it can be made easier with help from the examples before you write your own first. The examples will give you an idea of the perfect compare-and-contrast essay. 

We have compiled a selection of free compare-and-contrast essay examples that can help you structure this type of essay. 

SAMPLE COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY INTRODUCTION EXAMPLE

BOOK COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

CITY COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

CATS & DOGS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

SCIENCE & ART COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

E-BOOKS & HARDBACK BOOKS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

HOMESCHOOLING BOOKS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

PARENTING STYLES COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

CONVENTIONAL AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY

Don't know how to map out your compare and contrast essay? Visit this link to learn how to perfectly outline your essay!

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples University

Compare and contrast paper is a common assignments for university students. This type of essay tells the reader how two subjects are the same or different from each other. Also, show the points of comparison between the two subjects.

Look at the example that is mentioned below and create a well-written essay.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE UNIVERSITY

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples College

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE COLLEGE

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples High School

Compare and contrast essays are often assigned to high school students to help them improve their analytical skills .

In addition, some teachers assign this type of essay because it is a great way for students to improve their analytical and writing skills.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE HIGH SCHOOL

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE 9TH GRADE

Check out the video below to gain a quick and visual comprehension of what a compare and contrast essay entails.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples Middle school

In middle school, students have the opportunity to write a compare-and-contrast essay. It does not require an expert level of skills, but it is still a way to improve writing skills.

Middle school students can easily write a compare-and-contrast essay with a little help from examples. We have gathered excellent examples of this essay that you can use to get started.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE MIDDLE SCHOOL

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLES 5TH GRADE

Literary Analysis Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

The perfect way to inform readers about the pros and cons of two subjects is with a comparison and contrast essay.

It starts by stating the thesis statement, and then you explain why these two subjects are being compared in this essay.

The following is an example that you can use for your help.

LITERARY ANALYSIS COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY EXAMPLE

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Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion Example

The conclusion of an essay is the last part, in which you wrap up everything. It should not include a story but rather summarize the whole document so readers have something meaningful they can take away from it.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST ESSAY CONCLUSION EXAMPLE

Struggling to think of the perfect compare-and-contrast essay topic ? Visit this link for a multitude of inspiring ideas.

Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Tips

A compare and contrast essay presents the facts point by point, and mostly, the argumentative essay uses this compared-contrasted technique for its subjects.

If you are looking for some easy and simple tips to craft a perfectly researched and structured compare and contrast essay, we will not disappoint you.

Following are some quick tips that you can keep in mind while writing your essay:

  • Choose the essay topic carefully.
  • Research and brainstorm the points that make them similar and different.
  • Create and add your main statement and claim.
  • Create a Venn diagram and show the similarities and differences.
  • Choose the design through which you will present your arguments and claims.
  • Create compare and contrast essay outline. Use either the block method or the point-by-point structure.
  • Research and add credible supporting evidence.
  • Transitioning is also important. Use transitional words and phrases to engage your readers.
  • Edit, proofread, and revise the essay before submission.

AI Essay Writer

Create captivating essays effortlessly!

In conclusion, writing a compare and contrast essay can be an effective way to explore the similarities and differences between two topics. By using examples, it is possible to see the different approaches that can be taken when writing this type of essay. 

Whether you are a student or a professional writer, these examples can provide valuable insight to enhance your writing skills. You can also use our AI-powered essay typer to generate sample essays for your specific topic and subject.

However, if you don’t feel confident in your writing skills, you can always hire our professional essay writer.

5StarEssays.com offer comprehensive essay writing service for students across the globe. Our experts are highly trained and qualified, making sure all of your essays will meet academic requirements while receiving top grades. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do i write a compare and contrast essay.

Here are some steps that you should follow and write a great essay.

  • Begin by brainstorming with a Venn diagram.
  • Create a thesis statement.
  • Develop an outline.
  • Write the introduction.
  • Write the body paragraphs.
  • Write the conclusion.
  • Proofreading.

How do you start a compare and contrast essay introduction?

When writing a compare and contrast essay, it is important to have an engaging introduction that will grab the reader's attention. A good way to do this would be by starting with a question or fact related to the topic to catch their interest.

What are some good compare and contrast essay topics?

Here are some good topics for compare and contrast essay:

  • E-books or textbooks.
  • Anxiety vs. Depression.
  • Vegetables and fruits.
  • Cinnamon vs. sugar.
  • Similarities between cultural and traditional fashion trends.

How long is a compare and contrast essay?

Usually, a compare and contrast essay would consist of five paragraphs but there are no hard and fast rules regarding it. Some essays could be longer than five paragraphs, based on the scope of the topic of the essay.

What are the two methods for arranging a comparison and contrast essay?

The two ways to organize and arrange your compare and contrast essay. The first one is the Point-by-Point method and the second one is the Block method.

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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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34 Compelling Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Topics cover education, technology, pop culture, sports, animals, and more.

compare and contrast art essay structure

Do your writers need some inspiration? If you’re teaching students to write a compare and contrast essay, a strong example is an invaluable tool. This round-up of our favorite compare and contrast essays covers a range of topics and grade levels, so no matter your students’ interests or ages, you’ll always have a helpful example to share. You’ll find links to full essays about education, technology, pop culture, sports, animals, and more. (Need compare-and-contrast essay topic ideas? Check out our big list of compare and contrast essay topics! )

What is a compare and contrast essay?

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When choosing a compare and contrast essay example to include on this list, we considered the structure. A strong compare and contrast essay begins with an introductory paragraph that includes background context and a strong thesis. Next, the body includes paragraphs that explore the similarities and differences. Finally, a concluding paragraph restates the thesis, draws any necessary inferences, and asks any remaining questions.

A compare and contrast essay example can be an opinion piece comparing two things and making a conclusion about which is better. For example, “Is Tom Brady really the GOAT?” It can also help consumers decide which product is better suited to them. Should you keep your subscription to Hulu or Netflix? Should you stick with Apple or explore Android? Here’s our list of compare and contrast essay samples categorized by subject.

Education and Parenting Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Private school vs. public school.

Sample lines: “Deciding whether to send a child to public or private school can be a tough choice for parents. … Data on whether public or private education is better can be challenging to find and difficult to understand, and the cost of private school can be daunting. … According to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics, public schools still attract far more students than private schools, with 50.7 million students attending public school as of 2018. Private school enrollment in the fall of 2017 was 5.7 million students, a number that is down from 6 million in 1999.”

Read the full essay: Private School vs. Public School at U.S. News and World Report

Homeschool vs. Public School: How Home Schooling Will Change Public Education

Homeschool vs. Public School: How Home Schooling Will Change Public Education

Sample lines: “Home schooling, not a present threat to public education, is nonetheless one of the forces that will change it. If the high estimates of the number of children in home schools (1.2 million) is correct, then the home-schooling universe is larger than the New York City public school system and roughly the size of the Los Angeles and Chicago public school systems combined. … Critics charge that three things are wrong with home schooling: harm to students academically; harm to society by producing students who are ill-prepared to function as democratic citizens and participants in a modern economy; and harm to public education, making it more difficult for other parents to educate their children. … It is time to ask whether home schooling, charters, and vouchers should be considered parts of a broad repertoire of methods that we as a society use to educate our children.”

Read the full essay: Homeschool vs. Public School: How Home Schooling Will Change Public Education at Brookings

Which parenting style is right for you?

Sample lines: “The three main types of parenting are on a type of ‘sliding scale’ of parenting, with permissive parenting as the least strict type of parenting. Permissive parenting typically has very few rules, while authoritarian parenting is thought of as a very strict, rule-driven type of parenting.”

Read the full essay: What Is Authoritative Parenting? at Healthline

Masked Education? The Benefits and Burdens of Wearing Face Masks in Schools During the Pandemic

Sample lines: “Face masks can prevent the spread of the virus SARS-CoV-2. … However, covering the lower half of the face reduces the ability to communicate. Positive emotions become less recognizable, and negative emotions are amplified. Emotional mimicry, contagion, and emotionality in general are reduced and (thereby) bonding between teachers and learners, group cohesion, and learning—of which emotions are a major driver. The benefits and burdens of face masks in schools should be seriously considered and made obvious and clear to teachers and students.”

Read the full essay: Masked Education? The Benefits and Burdens of Wearing Face Masks in Schools During the Pandemic at National Library of Medicine

To Ban or Not: What Should We Really Make of Book Bans?

To Ban or Not: What Should We Really Make of Book Bans?

Sample lines: “In recent years, book bans have soared in schools, reaching an all-time high in fall 2022. … The challenge of balancing parent concerns about ‘age appropriateness’ against the imperative of preparing students to be informed citizens is still on the minds of many educators today. … Such curricular decision-making  should  be left to the professionals, argues English/language arts instructional specialist Miriam Plotinsky. ‘Examining texts for their appropriateness is not a job that noneducators are trained to do,’ she wrote last year, as the national debate over censorship resurged with the news that a Tennessee district banned the graphic novel  Maus  just days before Holocaust Remembrance Day.”

Read the full essay: To Ban or Not: What Should We Really Make of Book Bans? at Education Week

Technology Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Netflix vs. hulu 2023: which is the best streaming service.

Sample lines: “Netflix fans will point to its high-quality originals, including  The Witcher ,  Stranger Things ,  Emily in Paris ,  Ozark , and more, as well as a wide variety of documentaries like  Cheer ,  The Last Dance ,  My Octopus Teacher , and many others. It also boasts a much larger subscription base, with more than 222 million subscribers compared to Hulu’s 44 million. Hulu, on the other hand, offers a variety of extras such as HBO and Showtime—content that’s unavailable on Netflix. Its price tag is also cheaper than the competition, with its $7/mo. starting price, which is a bit more palatable than Netflix’s $10/mo. starting price.”

Read the full essay: Netflix vs. Hulu 2023: Which is the best streaming service? at TV Guide

Kindle vs. Hardcover: Which is easier on the eyes?

Kindle vs. Hardcover: Which is easier on the eyes?

Sample lines: “In the past, we would have to drag around heavy books if we were really into reading. Now, we can have all of those books, and many more, stored in one handy little device that can easily be stuffed into a backpack, purse, etc. … Many of us still prefer to hold an actual book in our hands. … But, whether you use a Kindle or prefer hardcover books or paperbacks, the main thing is that you enjoy reading. A story in a book or on a Kindle device can open up new worlds, take you to fantasy worlds, educate you, entertain you, and so much more.”

Read the full essay: Kindle vs. Hardcover: Which is easier on the eyes? at Books in a Flash

iPhone vs. Android: Which is better for you?

Sample lines: “The iPhone vs. Android comparison is a never-ending debate on which one is best. It will likely never have a real winner, but we’re going to try and help you to find your personal pick all the same. iOS 17 and Android 14—the latest versions of the two operating systems—both offer smooth and user-friendly experiences, and several similar or identical features. But there are still important differences to be aware of. … Owning an iPhone is a simpler, more convenient experience. There’s less to think about. … Android-device ownership is a bit harder. … Yet it’s simultaneously more freeing, because it offers more choice.”

Read the full essay: iPhone vs. Android: Which is better for you? at Tom’s Guide

Cutting the cord: Is streaming or cable better for you?

Sample lines: “Cord-cutting has become a popular trend in recent years, thanks to the rise of streaming services. For those unfamiliar, cord cutting is the process of canceling your cable subscription and instead, relying on streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu to watch your favorite shows and movies. The primary difference is that you can select your streaming services à la carte while cable locks you in on a set number of channels through bundles. So, the big question is: should you cut the cord?”

Read the full essay: Cutting the cord: Is streaming or cable better for you? at BroadbandNow

PS5 vs. Nintendo Switch

PS5 vs. Nintendo Switch

Sample lines: “The crux of the comparison comes down to portability versus power. Being able to migrate fully fledged Nintendo games from a big screen to a portable device is a huge asset—and one that consumers have taken to, especially given the Nintendo Switch’s meteoric sales figures. … It is worth noting that many of the biggest franchises like Call of Duty, Madden, modern Resident Evil titles, newer Final Fantasy games, Grand Theft Auto, and open-world Ubisoft adventures like Assassin’s Creed will usually skip Nintendo Switch due to its lack of power. The inability to play these popular games practically guarantees that a consumer will pick up a modern system, while using the Switch as a secondary device.”

Read the full essay: PS5 vs. Nintendo Switch at Digital Trends

What is the difference between Facebook and Instagram?

Sample lines: “Have you ever wondered what is the difference between Facebook and Instagram? Instagram and Facebook are by far the most popular social media channels used by digital marketers. Not to mention that they’re also the biggest platforms used by internet users worldwide. So, today we’ll look into the differences and similarities between these two platforms to help you figure out which one is the best fit for your business.”

Read the full essay: What is the difference between Facebook and Instagram? at SocialBee

Digital vs. Analog Watches—What’s the Difference?

Sample lines: “In short, digital watches use an LCD or LED screen to display the time. Whereas, an analog watch features three hands to denote the hour, minutes, and seconds. With the advancement in watch technology and research, both analog and digital watches have received significant improvements over the years. Especially in terms of design, endurance, and accompanying features. … At the end of the day, whether you go analog or digital, it’s a personal preference to make based on your style, needs, functions, and budget.”

Read the full essay: Digital vs. Analog Watches—What’s the Difference? at Watch Ranker

AI Art vs. Human Art: A Side-by-Side Analysis

Sample lines: “Art has always been a reflection of human creativity, emotion, and cultural expression. However, with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), a new form of artistic creation has emerged, blurring the lines between what is created by human hands and what is generated by algorithms. … Despite the excitement surrounding AI Art, it also raises complex ethical, legal, and artistic questions that have sparked debates about the definition of art, the role of the artist, and the future of art production. … Regardless of whether AI Art is considered ‘true’ art, it is crucial to embrace and explore the vast possibilities and potential it brings to the table. The transformative influence of AI art on the art world is still unfolding, and only time will reveal its true extent.”

Read the full essay: AI Art vs. Human Art: A Side-by-Side Analysis at Raul Lara

Pop Culture Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Christina aguilera vs. britney spears.

Christina Aguilera vs. Britney Spears- compare and contrast essay example

Sample lines: “Britney Spears vs. Christina Aguilera was the Coke vs. Pepsi of 1999 — no, really, Christina repped Coke and Britney shilled for Pepsi. The two teen idols released debut albums seven months apart before the turn of the century, with Britney’s becoming a standard-bearer for bubblegum pop and Aguilera’s taking an R&B bent to show off her range. … It’s clear that Spears and Aguilera took extremely divergent paths following their simultaneous breakout successes.”

Read the full essay: Christina Aguilera vs. Britney Spears at The Ringer

Harry Styles vs. Ed Sheeran

Sample lines: “The world heard our fantasies and delivered us two titans simultaneously—we have been blessed with Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles. Our cup runneth over; our bounty is immeasurable. More remarkable still is the fact that both have released albums almost at the same time: Ed’s third, Divide , was released in March and broke the record for one-day Spotify streams, while Harry’s frenziedly anticipated debut solo, called Harry Styles , was released yesterday.”

Read the full essay: Harry Styles versus Ed Sheeran at Belfast Telegraph

The Grinch: Three Versions Compared

Sample lines: “Based on the original story of the same name, this movie takes a completely different direction by choosing to break away from the cartoony form that Seuss had established by filming the movie in a live-action form. Whoville is preparing for Christmas while the Grinch looks down upon their celebrations in disgust. Like the previous film, The Grinch hatches a plan to ruin Christmas for the Who’s. … Like in the original Grinch, he disguises himself as Santa Claus, and makes his dog, Max, into a reindeer. He then takes all of the presents from the children and households. … Cole’s favorite is the 2000 edition, while Alex has only seen the original. Tell us which one is your favorite.”

Read the full essay: The Grinch: Three Versions Compared at Wooster School

Historical and Political Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Malcolm x vs. martin luther king jr.: comparison between two great leaders’ ideologies .

Sample lines: “Although they were fighting for civil rights at the same time, their ideology and way of fighting were completely distinctive. This can be for a plethora of reasons: background, upbringing, the system of thought, and vision. But keep in mind, they devoted their whole life to the same prospect. … Through boycotts and marches, [King] hoped to end racial segregation. He felt that the abolition of segregation would improve the likelihood of integration. Malcolm X, on the other hand, spearheaded a movement for black empowerment.”

Read the full essay: Malcolm X vs. Martin Luther King Jr.: Comparison Between Two Great Leaders’ Ideologies  at Melaninful

Contrast Between Obama and Trump Has Become Clear

Contrast Between Obama and Trump Has Become Clear

Sample lines: “The contrast is even clearer when we look to the future. Trump promises more tax cuts, more military spending, more deficits and deeper cuts in programs for the vulnerable. He plans to nominate a coal lobbyist to head the Environmental Protection Agency. … Obama says America must move forward, and he praises progressive Democrats for advocating Medicare for all. … With Obama and then Trump, Americans have elected two diametrically opposed leaders leading into two very different directions.”

Read the full essay: Contrast Between Obama and Trump Has Become Clear at Chicago Sun-Times

Sports Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Lebron james vs. kobe bryant: a complete comparison.

Sample lines: “LeBron James has achieved so much in his career that he is seen by many as the greatest of all time, or at least the only player worthy of being mentioned in the GOAT conversation next to Michael Jordan. Bridging the gap between Jordan and LeBron though was Kobe Bryant, who often gets left out of comparisons and GOAT conversations. … Should his name be mentioned more though? Can he compare to LeBron or is The King too far past The Black Mamba in historical rankings already?”

Read the full essay: LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant: A Complete Comparison at Sportskeeda

NFL: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Rivalry Comparison

NFL: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Rivalry Comparison

Sample lines: “Tom Brady and Peyton Manning were largely considered the best quarterbacks in the NFL for the majority of the time they spent in the league together, with the icons having many head-to-head clashes in the regular season and on the AFC side of the NFL Playoffs. Manning was the leader of the Indianapolis Colts of the AFC South. … Brady spent his career as the QB of the AFC East’s New England Patriots, before taking his talents to Tampa Bay. … The reality is that winning is the most important aspect of any career, and Brady won more head-to-head matchups than Manning did.”

Read the full essay: NFL: Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning Rivalry Comparison at Sportskeeda

The Greatest NBA Franchise Ever: Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers?

Sample lines: “The Celtics are universally considered as the greatest franchise in NBA history. But if you take a close look at the numbers, there isn’t really too much separation between them and their arch-rival Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, you can even make a good argument for the Lakers. … In 72 seasons played, the Boston Celtics have won a total of 3,314 games and lost 2,305 or a .590 winning mark. On the other hand, the Los Angeles Lakers have won 3,284 of 5,507 total games played or a slightly better winning record of .596. … But while the Lakers have the better winning percentage, the Celtics have the advantage over them in head-to-head competition.”

Read the full essay: The Greatest NBA Franchise Ever: Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers? at Sport One

Is Soccer Better Than Football?

Sample lines: “Is soccer better than football? Soccer and football lovers have numerous reasons to support their sport of choice. Both keep the players physically fit and help to bring people together for an exciting cause. However, soccer has drawn more numbers globally due to its popularity in more countries.”

Read the full essay: Is Soccer Better Than Football? at Sports Brief

Lifestyle Choices Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Mobile home vs. tiny house: similarities, differences, pros & cons.

Mobile Home vs. Tiny House: Similarities, Differences, Pros & Cons

Sample lines: “Choosing the tiny home lifestyle enables you to spend more time with those you love. The small living space ensures quality bonding time rather than hiding away in a room or behind a computer screen. … You’ll be able to connect closer to nature and find yourself able to travel the country at any given moment. On the other hand, we have the mobile home. … They are built on a chassis with transportation in mind. … They are not built to be moved on a constant basis. … While moving the home again *is* possible, it may cost you several thousand dollars.”

Read the full essay: Mobile Home vs. Tiny House: Similarities, Differences, Pros & Cons at US Mobile Home Pros

Whole Foods vs. Walmart: The Story of Two Grocery Stores

Sample lines: “It is clear that both stores have very different stories and aims when it comes to their customers. Whole Foods looks to provide organic, healthy, exotic, and niche products for an audience with a very particular taste. … Walmart, on the other hand, looks to provide the best deals, every possible product, and every big brand for a broader audience. … Moreover, they look to make buying affordable and accessible, and focus on the capitalist nature of buying.”

Read the full essay: Whole Foods vs. Walmart: The Story of Two Grocery Stores at The Archaeology of Us

Artificial Grass vs. Turf: The Real Differences Revealed

Sample lines: “The key difference between artificial grass and turf is their intended use. Artificial turf is largely intended to be used for sports, so it is shorter and tougher. On the other hand, artificial grass is generally longer, softer and more suited to landscaping purposes. Most homeowners would opt for artificial grass as a replacement for a lawn, for example. Some people actually prefer playing sports on artificial grass, too … artificial grass is often softer and more bouncy, giving it a feel similar to playing on a grassy lawn. … At the end of the day, which one you will choose will depend on your specific household and needs.”

Read the full essay: Artificial Grass vs. Turf: The Real Differences Revealed at Almost Grass

Minimalism vs. Maximalism: Differences, Similarities, and Use Cases

Minimalism vs. Maximalism: Differences, Similarities, and Use Cases- compare and contrast essay example

Sample lines: “Maximalists love shopping, especially finding unique pieces. They see it as a hobby—even a skill—and a way to express their personality. Minimalists don’t like shopping and see it as a waste of time and money. They’d instead use those resources to create memorable experiences. Maximalists desire one-of-a-kind possessions. Minimalists are happy with duplicates—for example, personal uniforms. … Minimalism and maximalism are about being intentional with your life and belongings. It’s about making choices based on what’s important to you.”

Read the full essay: Minimalism vs. Maximalism: Differences, Similarities, and Use Cases at Minimalist Vegan

Vegetarian vs. Meat Eating: Is It Better To Be a Vegetarian?

Sample lines: “You’ve heard buzz over the years that following a vegetarian diet is better for your health, and you’ve probably read a few magazine articles featuring a celeb or two who swore off meat and animal products and ‘magically’ lost weight. So does ditching meat automatically equal weight loss? Will it really help you live longer and be healthier overall? … Vegetarians appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure  and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than meat eaters. Vegetarians also tend to have a lower body mass index, lower overall cancer rates and lower risk of chronic disease. But if your vegetarian co-worker is noshing greasy veggie burgers and fries every day for lunch, is he likely to be healthier than you, who always orders the grilled salmon? Definitely not!”

Read the full essay: Vegetarian vs. Meat Eating: Is It Better To Be a Vegetarian? at WebMD

Healthcare Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Similarities and differences between the health systems in australia & usa.

Sample lines: “Australia and the United States are two very different countries. They are far away from each other, have contrasting fauna and flora, differ immensely by population, and have vastly different healthcare systems. The United States has a population of 331 million people, compared to Australia’s population of 25.5 million people.”

Read the full essay: Similarities and Differences Between the Health Systems in Australia & USA at Georgia State University

Universal Healthcare in the United States of America: A Healthy Debate

Universal Healthcare in the United States of America: A Healthy Debate

Sample lines: “Disadvantages of universal healthcare include significant upfront costs and logistical challenges. On the other hand, universal healthcare may lead to a healthier populace, and thus, in the long-term, help to mitigate the economic costs of an unhealthy nation. In particular, substantial health disparities exist in the United States, with low socio-economic status segments of the population subject to decreased access to quality healthcare and increased risk of non-communicable chronic conditions such as obesity and type II diabetes, among other determinants of poor health.”

Read the full essay: Universal Healthcare in the United States of America: A Healthy Debate at National Library of Medicine

Pros and Cons of Physician Aid in Dying

Sample lines: “Physician aid in dying is a controversial subject raising issues central to the role of physicians. … The two most common arguments in favor of legalizing AID are respect for patient autonomy and relief of suffering. A third, related, argument is that AID is a safe medical practice, requiring a health care professional. … Although opponents of AID offer many arguments ranging from pragmatic to philosophical, we focus here on concerns that the expansion of AID might cause additional, unintended harm through suicide contagion, slippery slope, and the deaths of patients suffering from depression.”

Read the full essay: Pros and Cons of Physician Aid in Dying at National Library of Medicine

Animals Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Compare and contrast paragraph—dogs and cats.

Compare and Contrast Paragraph—Dogs and Cats- compare and contrast essay example

Sample lines: “Researchers have found that dogs have about twice the number of neurons in their cerebral cortexes than what cats have. Specifically, dogs had around 530 million neurons, whereas the domestic cat only had 250 million neurons. Moreover, dogs can be trained to learn and respond to our commands, but although your cat understands your name, and anticipates your every move, he/she may choose to ignore you.”

Read the full essay: Compare and Contrast Paragraph—Dogs and Cats at Proofwriting Guru via YouTube

Giddyup! The Differences Between Horses and Dogs

Sample lines: “Horses are prey animals with a deep herding instinct. They are highly sensitive to their environment, hyper aware, and ready to take flight if needed. Just like dogs, some horses are more confident than others, but just like dogs, all need a confident handler to teach them what to do. Some horses are highly reactive and can be spooked by the smallest things, as are dogs. … Another distinction between horses and dogs … was that while dogs have been domesticated , horses have been  tamed. … Both species have influenced our culture more than any other species on the planet.”

Read the full essay: Giddyup! The Differences Between Horses and Dogs at Positively Victoria Stilwell

Exotic, Domesticated, and Wild Pets

Sample lines: “Although the words ‘exotic’ and ‘wild’ are frequently used interchangeably, many people do not fully understand how these categories differ when it comes to pets. ‘A wild animal is an indigenous, non-domesticated animal, meaning that it is native to the country where you are located,’ Blue-McLendon explained. ‘For Texans, white-tailed deer, pronghorn sheep, raccoons, skunks, and bighorn sheep are wild animals … an exotic animal is one that is wild but is from a different continent than where you live.’ For example, a hedgehog in Texas would be considered an exotic animal, but in the hedgehog’s native country, it would be considered wildlife.”

Read the full essay: Exotic, Domesticated, and Wild Pets at Texas A&M University

Should Zoos Be Banned? Pros & Cons of Zoos

Should Zoos Be Banned? Pros & Cons of Zoos

Sample lines: “The pros and cons of zoos often come from two very different points of view. From a legal standard, animals are often treated as property. That means they have less rights than humans, so a zoo seems like a positive place to maintain a high quality of life. For others, the forced enclosure of any animal feels like an unethical decision. … Zoos provide a protected environment for endangered animals, and also help in raising awareness and funding for wildlife initiatives and research projects. … Zoos are key for research. Being able to observe and study animals is crucial if we want to contribute to help them and repair the ecosystems. … Zoos are a typical form of family entertainment, but associating leisure and fun with the contemplation of animals in captivity can send the wrong signals to our children.”

Read the full essay: Should Zoos Be Banned? Pros & Cons of Zoos at EcoCation

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A good compare and contrast essay example, like the ones here, explores the similarities and differences between two or more subjects.

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ChatGPT as an automated essay scoring tool in the writing classrooms: how it compares with human scoring

  • Published: 13 July 2024

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compare and contrast art essay structure

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  • Jessie S. Barrot   ORCID: orcid.org/0000-0001-8517-4058 1 , 2  

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With the generative artificial intelligence (AI) tool’s remarkable capabilities in understanding and generating meaningful content, intriguing questions have been raised about its potential as an automated essay scoring (AES) system. One such tool is ChatGPT, which is capable of scoring any written work based on predefined criteria. However, limited information is available about the reliability of this tool in scoring the different dimensions of writing quality. Thus, this study examines the relationship between the scores assigned by ChatGPT and a human rater and how consistent ChatGPT-assigned scores are when taken at multiple time points. This study employed a cross-sectional quantitative approach in analyzing 50 argumentative essays from each proficiency level (A2_0, B1_1, B1_2, and B2_0), totaling 200. These essays were rated by ChatGPT and an experienced human rater. Using correlational analysis, the results reveal that ChatGPT’s scoring did not align closely with an experienced human rater (i.e., weak to moderate relationships) and failed to establish consistency after two rounds of scoring (i.e., low intraclass correlation coefficient values). These results were primarily attributed to ChatGPT’s scoring algorithm, training data, model updates, and inherent randomness. Implications for writing assessment and future studies are discussed.

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Bui, N.M., Barrot, J.S. ChatGPT as an automated essay scoring tool in the writing classrooms: how it compares with human scoring. Educ Inf Technol (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-024-12891-w

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