101 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

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Compare and contrast essays are taught in school for many reasons. For one thing, they are relatively easy to teach, understand, and format. Students can typically understand the structure with just a short amount of instruction. In addition, these essays allow students develop critical thinking skills to approach a variety of topics.

Brainstorming Tip

One fun way to get students started brainstorming their compare and contrast essays is to create a Venn diagram , where the overlapping sections of the circle contain similarities and the non-overlapping areas contain the differing traits.

Following is a list of 101 topics for compare and contrast essays that you are welcome to use in your classroom. As you look through the list you will see that some items are academic in nature while others are included for interest-building and fun writing activities.

  • Apple vs. Microsoft
  • Coke vs. Pepsi
  • Renaissance Art vs. Baroque Art
  • Antebellum Era vs. Reconstruction Era in American History
  • Childhood vs. Adulthood
  • Star Wars vs. Star Trek
  • Biology vs. Chemistry
  • Astrology vs. Astronomy
  • American Government vs. British Government (or any world government)
  • Fruits vs. Vegetables
  • Dogs vs. Cats
  • Ego vs. Superego
  • Christianity vs. Judaism (or any world religion )
  • Republican vs. Democrat
  • Monarchy vs. Presidency
  • US President vs. UK Prime Minister
  • Jazz vs. Classical Music
  • Red vs. White (or any two colors)
  • Soccer vs. Football
  • North vs. South Before the Civil War
  • New England Colonies vs. Middle Colonies OR vs. Southern Colonies
  • Cash vs. Credit Cards
  • Sam vs. Frodo Baggins
  • Gandalf vs. Dumbledore
  • Fred vs. Shaggy
  • Rap vs. Pop
  • Articles of Confederation vs. U.S. Constitution
  • Henry VIII vs. King Louis XIV
  • Stocks vs. Bonds
  • Monopolies vs. Oligopolies
  • Communism vs. Capitalism
  • Socialism vs. Capitalism
  • Diesel vs. Petroleum
  • Nuclear Power vs. Solar Power
  • Saltwater Fish vs. Freshwater Fish
  • Squids vs. Octopus
  • Mammals vs. Reptiles
  • Baleen vs. Toothed Whales
  • Seals vs. Sea Lions
  • Crocodiles vs. Alligators
  • Bats vs. Birds
  • Oven vs. Microwave
  • Greek vs. Roman Mythology
  • Chinese vs. Japanese
  • Comedy vs. Drama
  • Renting vs. Owning
  • Mozart vs. Beethoven
  • Online vs. Traditional Education
  • North vs. South Pole
  • Watercolor vs. Oil
  • 1984 vs. Fahrenheit 451
  • Emily Dickinson vs. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • W.E.B. DuBois vs. Booker T. Washington
  • Strawberries vs. Apples
  • Airplanes vs. Helicopters
  • Hitler vs. Napoleon
  • Roman Empire vs. British Empire
  • Paper vs. Plastic
  • Italy vs. Spain
  • Baseball vs. Cricket
  • Jefferson vs. Adams
  • Thoroughbreds vs. Clydesdales
  • Spiders vs. Scorpions
  • Northern Hemisphere vs. Southern Hemisphere
  • Hobbes vs. Locke
  • Friends vs. Family
  • Dried Fruit vs. Fresh
  • Porcelain vs. Glass
  • Modern Dance vs. Ballroom Dancing
  • American Idol vs. The Voice
  • Reality TV vs. Sitcoms
  • Picard vs. Kirk
  • Books vs. Movies
  • Magazines vs. Comic Books
  • Antique vs. New
  • Public vs. Private Transportation
  • Email vs. Letters
  • Facebook vs. Twitter
  • Coffee vs. an Energy Drink
  • Toads vs. Frogs
  • Profit vs. Non-Profit
  • Boys vs. Girls
  • Birds vs. Dinosaurs
  • High School vs. College
  • Chamberlain vs. Churchill
  • Offense vs. Defense
  • Jordan vs. Bryant
  • Harry vs. Draco
  • Roses vs. Carnations
  • Poetry vs. Prose
  • Fiction vs. Nonfiction
  • Lions vs. Tigers
  • Vampires vs. Werewolves
  • Lollipops vs. popsicles
  • Summer vs. Winter
  • Recycling vs. Landfill
  • Motorcycle vs. Bicycle
  • Halogen vs. Incandescent
  • Newton vs. Einstein
  • . Go on vacation vs. Staycation
  • Rock vs. Scissors
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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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As the name suggests, comparing and contrasting is about identifying both similarities and differences. You might focus on contrasting quite different subjects or comparing subjects with a lot in common—but there must be some grounds for comparison in the first place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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 she/he doesn’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 her/him 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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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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How to Write a Compare Contrast Thesis: Tips and Examples

How to Write a Compare Contrast Thesis: Tips and Examples

When it comes to composing essays, students are often faced with the challenge of establishing a clear and concise thesis statement. In compare and contrast essays, this task becomes even more crucial as it determines the overall structure and direction of the essay. Your thesis statement essentially acts as a guide for the reader, letting them know what to expect and how to navigate through your essay.

A good compare contrast thesis statement is like a roadmap that guides the reader through your essay. It provides a brief preview of what’s to come and highlights the main points of comparison or contrast. The thesis statement should be clear, concise, and thought-provoking, grabbing the reader’s attention right from the start.

There are two main types of compare contrast thesis statements: point-by-point and block format. The point-by-point format compares each aspect of the two subjects in separate paragraphs, while the block format contrasts the subjects in separate paragraphs. Both formats have their own advantages and can be used depending on the topics being compared and the overall structure of the essay.

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A compare contrast thesis statement could look something like this:

In the theater industry, the experience of watching live performances can be contrasted in two major ways: in traditional theaters and in open-air theaters. While both types of theaters offer their own unique charm, they also have significant differences. This essay will explore the similarities and differences between traditional theaters and open-air theaters, using examples from well-known theaters to support the discussion. By comparing and contrasting the two types of theaters, this essay aims to shed light on what makes each experience special and why theater enthusiasts should explore both options.

For more tips on writing a compare contrast thesis and to read further examples, check out YourDictionary and ThoughtCo . These resources provide detailed information on how to write effective thesis statements, as well as sample essays and templates to help you get started. With a little research and practice, you’ll be well on your way to writing a strong compare contrast essay that will impress your readers.

Understanding the Purpose of a Compare Contrast Thesis

Having a strong and well-crafted thesis statement is essential for composing an effective compare and contrast essay. It acts as a guide for both the writer and the reader, providing them with a clear understanding of the main focus of the essay and the points being compared and contrasted.

A good compare and contrast thesis statement should clearly identify the two things being compared, highlight the main similarities and differences between them, and set the structure for the essay. It should also provide a brief preview of the main arguments or points that will be discussed in the body paragraphs.

There are two common types of compare and contrast thesis statements: the block format and the point-by-point format.

In the block format, each topic or point of comparison is discussed in a separate paragraph. This format allows for a more detailed analysis of each topic, but it can be more challenging to maintain a coherent flow in the essay.

The point-by-point format, on the other hand, alternates between the two topics being compared in each paragraph. This format allows for a more direct comparison and is easier to read, but it may not allow for as much in-depth analysis of each topic.

Here are two examples to further illustrate the different types of compare and contrast thesis statements:

Example 1 (Block Format):

Example 2 (Point-by-Point Format):

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Choosing a Compare Contrast Thesis Structure

One popular structure is the point-by-point structure. This structure is used to compare and contrast two or more topics in a paragraph-by-paragraph format. In this structure, each paragraph focuses on a specific point of comparison or contrast, providing examples and evidence to support the thesis statement. This structure is often used in research papers and academic essays.

Another common structure is the block structure. In this structure, the writer discusses all the points about one topic in a series of paragraphs, and then all the points about the second topic in a separate series of paragraphs. This structure is often used in shorter essays or when the topics being compared are very different from each other. A block structure is a good choice when you want to establish clear boundaries between the compared and contrasted ideas.

A good thesis statement for a compare contrast essay should be brief and to the point. It should clearly state what the essay will be comparing and contrasting. For example, a thesis statement for a compare contrast essay about two different schools might be: “While School A has a more traditional approach to education, School B uses a more student-centered approach.” This thesis statement clearly outlines the main points that will be discussed in the essay.

When writing the body paragraphs of a compare contrast essay, make sure to use clear topic sentences that establish the focus of each paragraph. Each paragraph should then provide examples and evidence to support the main points of the thesis statement. For example, a topic sentence for a paragraph about School A might be: “One of the main differences between School A and School B is their approach to discipline.”

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Overall, a compare contrast thesis should have a clear structure that guides the reader through the essay. Whether you choose a point-by-point or block structure (or another variation), make sure to establish a strong thesis statement, compose clear and focused paragraphs, and provide ample examples and evidence to support your thesis. By following these tips and using the provided examples, students can create well-structured and engaging compare contrast theses.

Crafting a Strong Compare Contrast Thesis Statement

Understanding the structure of a compare contrast essay.

The body paragraphs can be structured in two different ways: the block method and the point-by-point method. In the block method, each paragraph focuses on one aspect of the two topics being compared or contrasted. The point-by-point method, on the other hand, compares and contrasts in a paragraph-by-paragraph format, discussing one point at a time.

Tips for Writing Compare Contrast Thesis Statements

1. Research the topics you will be comparing and contrasting. This will help you gather enough information to support your thesis statement.

2. Use specific language and avoid vague statements. Your thesis statement should clearly indicate what is being compared and contrasted.

3. Consider the type of essay you are writing. Different types of essays may require different structures for compare contrast thesis statements.

4. Start with a simple draft of your thesis statement and refine it as you further develop your essay. Your thesis may change as you conduct more research and analyze the information you have gathered.

5. Use strong and compelling language in your thesis statement. This will grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read further.

Examples of Compare Contrast Thesis Statements

1. Example using a block structure:

“While both high school and college are important for academic growth, they differ in terms of the learning environment, the amount of freedom and responsibility given to students, and the types of activities available outside of academics.”

2. Example using a point-by-point structure:

“Comparing and contrasting the theater experience between modern cinemas and traditional theaters, it becomes clear that modern cinemas offer more comfort and convenience, while traditional theaters create a sense of nostalgia and charm.”

By following these tips and examples, you can create a strong compare contrast thesis statement that sets the foundation for a well-structured and insightful essay.

Examples of Effective Compare Contrast Thesis Statements

  • Example 1: While both high schools and colleges are educational institutions, they differ in terms of the types of courses offered, the structure of the education system, and the overall learning environment.
  • Example 2: When comparing the experience of watching a movie in theaters versus at home, it becomes evident that going to theaters offers a more immersive and communal experience, while watching at home provides more convenience and control over the viewing experience.
  • Example 3: By researching and comparing the lives of historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, it becomes apparent that they had different approaches to achieving racial equality, with King advocating for nonviolent resistance and integration, while Malcolm X supported more radical and separatist views.
  • Example 4: Composing a compare contrast essay using a point-by-point format makes it easier to show the similarities and differences between two topics. In this essay, we will compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of using traditional books versus e-readers for reading.
  • Example 5: In the above examples, the thesis statements are clear, concise, and specific, allowing the reader to understand what the essay will be about. This demonstrates the importance of creating a strong thesis statement that supports and guides the writing process.

Read the Compare Contrast Thesis Template

In the body paragraphs of your compare contrast essay, you’ll go into more detail about the topics being compared. There are two common ways to structure these paragraphs: block format and point-by-point format. With the block format, you write about one topic fully, and then the other, showing the similarities and differences between the two. With the point-by-point format, you compare and contrast specific aspects of each topic in each paragraph.

Within each paragraph, you’ll want to start with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph, followed by supporting sentences that provide evidence and examples to back up your thesis statement. This format helps to create a clear and logical flow of ideas, making it easy for readers to follow along and understand your comparisons.

By reading a compare contrast thesis template, like the one provided by ThoughtCo and YourDictionary, students can get a good sense of what a strong thesis statement looks like and how to structure their essays effectively. It makes the writing process much easier and helps students avoid common pitfalls. With a clear template to guide you, you’ll be able to compose a compare contrast thesis that is cohesive, well-supported, and impactful.

What is a compare contrast thesis?

A compare contrast thesis is a statement that identifies the similarities and differences between two or more subjects or ideas. It serves as the main argument or focus of a compare and contrast essay.

What are some tips for writing a compare contrast thesis?

Some tips for writing a compare contrast thesis include clearly defining the subjects or ideas being compared, organizing the essay using a clear and logical structure, and using specific evidence and examples to support your arguments.

Can you give an example of a compare contrast thesis?

Of course! Here is an example of a compare contrast thesis: “While both cats and dogs can be great pets, cats are more independent and require less maintenance, whereas dogs are more loyal and require more attention.”

How long should a compare contrast thesis be?

A compare contrast thesis should be concise and clearly stated. It can range from one to a few sentences, depending on the complexity of the comparison being made.

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Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California , and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.

127 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

13 December, 2020

13 minutes read

Author:  Elizabeth Brown

Crafting a compare and contrast essay is typically much more interesting and fun than working on a dissertation. With this piece of writing, a student gets his chance to be creative. Besides, one doesn’t have to re-invent the bicycle: these essays already have a purpose and a topic. All you have to do is find similarities or differences between specific notions. And yes, there is one more problem to it.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Half of the success of a compare and contrast essay lies in a properly-chosen topic. Now, this can be tricky.

Just think about it: would want to read a piece on a beaten topic like “Books vs. Television”? Or would you rather give a read to an unusual compare and contrast Korean and Vietnam war essay? While you know everything about the first one, the second topic actually sounds interesting.

Choosing compare and contrast essay topics can be time-consuming and daunting. However, with the guide our  essay writer prepared, you will find a great title with no problem.

By the way, if you need a reminder of what such writing looks like and what components it consists of, don’t hesitate to read our guide on  how to write a compare and contrast essay . It will help you structure and organize your knowledge in this regard.

And here is a short introduction to what this type of academic writing should really look like.

How to write a compare and contrast essay

Depending on the task you received from your tutor, in this particular academic paper you are either to compare several things or notions or contrast them.

how to write a compare and contrast essay outline

Here is what a structure of this type of writing looks like:

  • An engaging opening with a “hook.”
  • A thesis statement that explains what is the focus of your writing and whether you’ll be comparing or contrasting the notions.
  • If you don’t know  how to write a thesis statement , here is a guide that will explain you all the details step by step.
  • An argument #1 that supports the thesis statement.
  • Evidence proving the author’s position.
  • A short conclusion.
  • A short reminder of a problem described in the essay.
  • A brief overview of the similarities or differences (aka supporting arguments).
  • A call to action or a interesting question to the audience.

Any A-grade essay would follow this structure. Thus, if you aim to receive better grades, consider taking this structure into account.

Meanwhile, as a student you get tons of other writing assignments. If you’re currently struggling with choosing good  argumentative essay topics , don’t hesitate to take a look at our recent guide!

Finally, let’s dive into the search. After all, this is a key to crafting an excellent piece.

What makes good compare and contrast essay topics

Several factors make some topics your best option compared to the rest.

No matter how great the topic of your choice is, the target audience can sense when you genuinely care about what you are writing, and when you’re simply following the structure with no personal interest in the subject. If you write yawning and find it hard to find any evidence to support your position, chances are you’ve chosen a wrong topic. A compare and contrast dog and cat essay might be a good topic for a person deeply loving these furry little creatures. But someone not that much into domestic animals won’t be able to write a single line of an essay comparing dogs and cats. So, choose your topic wisely.

Availability of trusted sources.

In some cases, you have to use trusted sources to prove your point. Otherwise, your position might seem biased and subjective. That is why we strongly recommend you to check whether the compare and contrast essay titles you opted can be supported by evidence found at the trusted sources.

Recommendation of a tutor.

Last but not least, ask for recommendations. With years of experience under his belt, your tutor might have an eye for great topics. So, why not using his experience for your own good? Besides, apart from good topics suggestions, he can also provide you with great sources to explore. So, don’t lose an opportunity to make your life easier with his assistance!

Proper formatting style.

Proper formatting is hard to overestimate when it comes to A-grade essay writing. A great deal of your grade depends on it. That is why we recommend you to check out our  essay format guide to figure out what your piece should look like.

These are the criteria that help you pick a good theme for your paper. But where should you look for theme to choose from in the first place? We know the answer.

If you aren’t sure you have the time and energy to craft a piece yourself, we’re here to help.  Handmade Writing is a reliable place to order your academic papers from.

Sources of interesting topics

Basically, there are six sources students can go to these days:

  • Social media.
  • Scientific journals.

Each one of them is filled with personalities, facts, events, and locations to contrast and compare. Therefore, don’t hesitate to explore these right sources.

By the way, if you are looking for ideas or inspiration on  how to write a scholarship essay , we’ve got something for you. We’ve gathered a guide that will walk you step by step through the process of composing a good essay that’ll get you college scholarship!

compare contrast essay topics

Easy compare and contrast essay topics for college students

  • High school vs college.
  • McDonalds and Burger King: Explain how these two fast food chains similar or different from each other.
  • Public schools and homeschooling: Which do you prefer?
  • Basketball and football: Popularity, speed of play, dependency on athleticism, personal preference, etc.
  • Lamborgini vs. Bugatti.
  • Virtual vs. Augmented reality: Which technology is the future?
  • Star Wars vs. Star Trek: Which is better?
  • Communism vs. Socialism: The good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • American English vs British English.
  • Conventional or E-learning: What would you choose?
  • Computer and video games: Which is more fun?
  • Inner beauty and outer beauty.
  • Snapchat and Instagram: What makes them similar (different)?
  • Stalin or Hitler: Which is a bigger evil? Or what in their management style was similar?
  • Living in the big city or living in the country: What would you choose?
  • Italian vs. Spanish cuisines.
  • Active vacation in the mountains vs. passive rest by the sea.
  • Facebook vs. Twitter.
  • Windows vs. Linux.
  • Android or iOS: Which is the future?

Funny compare and contrast essay topics

  • Chandler, Joey and Ross: Which one of them is cooler?
  • Pizza or pasta: If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, which of these would you choose?
  • Batman vs. SuperMan;  Avengers vs. Justice League.
  • Soccer vs football: How are they different apart from their name?
  • Iron Man or Hulk: Which one is the best superhero of his time?
  • Michael Jackson vs. Elvis Presley.
  • George and Lennie.
  • Harry Potter vs. Ronald Weasley: One is way cooler than the other.
  • Simpsons or the South Park?
  • Eternal summer or eternal winter: Which is the least of all evil?

Historical topics

  • WW1 and WW2: Reasons, participants, number of dead and wounded, etc.
  • Renaissance and Barocco.
  • Roman and Greek mythology.
  • Crusaders vs. Saracens.
  • The European economics before and after WW2.
  • Abolition of slavery in the USA and Europe.
  • Japanese and European feudalism essay.
  • Gender roles in the Roman Empire vs Ottoman Empire.
  • British colonization and Spanish colonization.
  • Lincoln and Kennedy.
  • Reconstruction in America against the Industrial Age.
  • Mongolian Empire and Persian Empire.
  • Monaco vs Luxembourg: Countries’ history comparison.
  • Worker unions history in the USA vs. Great Britain.
  • Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great.

Compare and contrast essay between two jobs

  • Marketer vs. Digital Marketer.
  • Anthropologist vs. Philosopher vs. Psychologist
  • Software Engineer vs. Software Architect.
  • Film producer and a Film Director.
  • Working from home and working at an office.
  • Linguist and a Grammarian.
  • Developer or a Coder?
  • QA Specialist or a Test Engineer.
  • Dean or a Principal.
  • Accountant vs. Economist.
  • Journalist vs. Reporter.
  • Recruiter vs. HR Generalist.
  • Copywriter vs. Content Marketer.

Compare and contrast essay between two cultures

  • Egypt and Mesopotamia compare and contrast essay
  • Modern European and American culture.
  • Urbanism and ruralism.
  • Vegetarianism vs. pescetarianism.
  • Compare and contrast Mexico and United States essay.
  • Emo culture and gothic.
  • Compare and contrast Sparta and Athens essay.
  • Bookworms vs. Film Buffs.
  • Culture and ethnicity.
  • Christianity, Islam and Judaism essay.

Interesting topics about literature

  • Bible vs. Quran.
  • 1984 vs. Fahrenheit 451.
  • Chronicles of Narnia: Film or the book series?
  • The Great Gatsby vs. The Catcher in the Rye.
  • Fiction against non-fiction.
  • Divine Comedy vs. Paradise Lost.
  • Lord of the Rings: The book against the latest film production?
  • Expository and Persuasive writing.
  • Harry Potter vs. Lord of the Rings.
  • Anne Frank’s Diary vs. I am Malala.
  • Classic poetry against the modern one.
  • Paper books against the e-books: The never-ending battle.
  • Anne of Green Gables vs. Pollyanna.
  • Pride and Prejudice vs. Bridget Jones’ Diary.
  • Bronte sisters vs. Jane Austen.
  • Drama and Comedy.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird or The Help.
  • Little Women vs. Little Men.
  • Poetry and prose: What makes them different?

Topics related to movies and cinematography

  • Wolf of Wall Street vs. Great Gatsby.
  • Main differences between European and American films.
  • Horror films and thrillers.
  • House M.D. against Grey’s Anatomy.
  • Sherlock Holmes: The old series or the new episodes?
  • Polyanna: Which is better – a film or the book?
  • Japanese horror films vs. American.
  • Home Alone 1 vs. Home Alone 4.
  • The Wizard of Oz against Gone With the Wind.
  • The Sound of Music vs. Mary Poppins.
  • Beverly Hills, 90210 or Melrose Place.
  • Friends vs. The Office.
  • Charlie Chaplin and Mr. Bean.
  • The Pianist or Schindler’s List.
  • Romeo and Juliet: 1968, 1996, and 2013 productions.
  • Forrest Gump or The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
  • 300 or Gladiator.
  • Lord of the Rings: extended edition vs. director’s cut.
  • Ben-Hur (1959) vs. Ben-Hur (2016).
  • Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) and Prince of Egypt.
  • Dunkirk vs. Saving Private Ryan.
  • The Green Mile vs. The Shawshank Redemption.
  • Les Miserables (2012) vs. The Greatest Showman.

Music and arts-related topics

  • Beyonce vs. Rihanna.
  • Whitney Houston against Adele.
  • Britney Spears against Madonna.
  • Mona Lisa vs. Girl with a Pearl Earring.
  • Van Gogh against Picasso.
  • Impressionism against Expressionism.
  • Opera and ballet.
  • Spotify or Deezer.
  • Records or Live concerts.
  • Jazz or classical music.
  • Musical theatre vs. Play with music.
  • Renaissance and Enlightenment epochs in arts.
  • African vs. Asian art.
  • Rock music of the XX century vs. today.
  • Religious hymns and secular songs about Christmas.
  • Music people listened to in their twenties in the XX century and now.
  • Protagonist of the modern pop music culture and that of the 1960s.

We guarantee that you can easily find a good title among the ones we suggested. If you find it hard to compose a good compare and contrast essay even after choosing one of our topics, don’t hesitate to us a line asking for help.

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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.

ProWritingAid's Transition Report

Sign up for a free ProWritingAid account to use the Transitions Report.

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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5 Compare and Contrast Essay Examples (Full Text)

A compare and contrast essay selects two or more items that are critically analyzed to demonstrate their differences and similarities. Here is a template for you that provides the general structure:

compare and contrast essay format

A range of example essays is presented below.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

#1 jean piaget vs lev vygotsky essay.

1480 Words | 5 Pages | 10 References

(Level: University Undergraduate)

paget vs vygotsky essay

Thesis Statement: “This essay will critically examine and compare the developmental theories of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, focusing on their differing views on cognitive development in children and their influence on educational psychology, through an exploration of key concepts such as the role of culture and environment, scaffolding, equilibration, and their overall implications for educational practices..”

#2 Democracy vs Authoritarianism Essay

democracy vs authoritarianism essay

Thesis Statement: “The thesis of this analysis is that, despite the efficiency and control offered by authoritarian regimes, democratic systems, with their emphasis on individual freedoms, participatory governance, and social welfare, present a more balanced and ethically sound approach to governance, better aligned with the ideals of a just and progressive society.”

#3 Apples vs Oranges Essay

1190 Words | 5 Pages | 0 References

(Level: 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade)

apples vs oranges essay

Thesis Statement: “While apples and oranges are both popular and nutritious fruits, they differ significantly in their taste profiles, nutritional benefits, cultural symbolism, and culinary applications.”

#4 Nature vs Nurture Essay

1525 Words | 5 Pages | 11 References

(Level: High School and College)

nature vs nurture essay

Thesis Statement: “The purpose of this essay is to examine and elucidate the complex and interconnected roles of genetic inheritance (nature) and environmental influences (nurture) in shaping human development across various domains such as physical traits, personality, behavior, intelligence, and abilities.”

#5 Dogs vs Cats Essay

1095 Words | 5 Pages | 7 Bibliographic Sources

(Level: 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade)

Thesis Statement: “This essay explores the distinctive characteristics, emotional connections, and lifestyle considerations associated with owning dogs and cats, aiming to illuminate the unique joys and benefits each pet brings to their human companions.”

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

I’ve recorded a full video for you on how to write a compare and contrast essay:

Get the Compare and Contrast Templates with AI Prompts Here

In the video, I outline the steps to writing your essay. Here they are explained below:

1. Essay Planning

First, I recommend using my compare and contrast worksheet, which acts like a Venn Diagram, walking you through the steps of comparing the similarities and differences of the concepts or items you’re comparing.

I recommend selecting 3-5 features that can be compared, as shown in the worksheet:

compare and contrast worksheet

Grab the Worksheet as Part of the Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Pack

2. Writing the Essay

Once you’ve completed the worksheet, you’re ready to start writing. Go systematically through each feature you are comparing and discuss the similarities and differences, then make an evaluative statement after showing your depth of knowledge:

compare and contrast essay template

Get the Rest of the Premium Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Pack (With AI Prompts) Here

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement

Compare and contrast thesis statements can either:

  • Remain neutral in an expository tone.
  • Prosecute an argument about which of the items you’re comparing is overall best.

To write an argumentative thesis statement for a compare and contrast essay, try this AI Prompts:

💡 AI Prompt to Generate Ideas I am writing a compare and contrast essay that compares [Concept 1] and [Concept2]. Give me 5 potential single-sentence thesis statements that pass a reasonable judgement.

Ready to Write your Essay?

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Take action! Choose one of the following options to start writing your compare and contrast essay now:

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compare and contrast thesis ideas

Compare and Contrast Essay: Full Writing Guide and 150+ Topics

compare and contrast thesis ideas

Compare and contrast essays are academic papers in which a student analyses two or more subjects with each other. To compare means to explore similarities between subjects, while to contrast means to look at their differences. Both subjects of the comparison are usually in the same category, although they have their differences. For example, it can be two movies, two universities, two cars etc.

Good compare and contrast papers from college essay writer focus on a central point, explaining the importance and implications of this analysis. A compare and contrast essay thesis must make a meaningful comparison. Find the central theme of your essay and do some brainstorming for your thesis.

This type of essay is very common among college and university students. Professors challenge their students to use their analytical and comparative skills and pay close attention to the subjects of their comparisons. This type of essay exercises observance and analysis, helps to establish a frame of reference, and makes meaningful arguments about a subject. Let's get deeper on how to write a compare and contrast essay with our research writing services .

How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay: Brainstorm Similarities and Differences

Now that you know what is compare and contrast essay and are set with your topic, the first thing you should do is grab a piece of paper and make a list with two columns: similarities and differences. Jot down key things first, the most striking ones. Then try to look at the subjects from a different angle, incorporating your imagination.

If you are more of a visual learner, creating a Venn diagram might be a good idea. In order to create it, draw two circles that overlap. In the section where it overlaps, note similarities. Differences should be written in the part of the circle that does not overlap.

Let’s look at a simple example of compare and contrast essay. Let one of the subjects be oranges, and the other one be apples. Oranges have thick peel, originally from India, and are tropical fruit. These characteristics pertain only to oranges and should be in the part of the circle that does not overlap. For the same section on apples, we put thin peel, originated in Turkey or Kazakhstan, and moderate to subtropical. In the section that overlaps, let’s say that they are both fruit, can be juiced, and grow on trees. This simple, yet good example illustrates how the same concept can be applied to many other complicated topics with additional points of comparison and contrast.

Example of compare and contrast

This format of visual aid helps to organize similarities and differences and make them easier to perceive. Your diagram will give you a clear idea of the things you can write about.

Another good idea for brainstorming in preparation for your comparison contrast essay is to create a list with 2 columns, one for each subject, and compare the same characteristics for each of them simultaneously. This compare and contrast format will make writing your comparison contrast paper argument a breeze, as you will have your ideas ready and organized.

One mistake you should avoid is simply listing all of the differences or similarities for each subject. Sometimes students get too caught up in looking for similarities and differences that their compare and contrast essays end up sounding like grocery lists. Your essay should be based on analyzing the similarities and differences, analyzing your conclusions about the two subjects, and finding connections between them—while following a specific format.

Compare and Contrast Essay Structure and Outline

So, how do you structure this compare and contrast paper? Well, since compare and contrast essay examples rely heavily on factual analysis, there are two outline methods that can help you organize your facts. You can use the block method, or point-by-point method, to write a compare and contrast essay outline.

While using the block structure of a compare and contrast essay, all the information is presented for the first subject, and its characteristics and specific details are explained. This concludes one block. The second block takes the same approach as the first for the second subject.

The point-by-point structure lists each similarity and difference simultaneously—making notes of both subjects. For example, you can list a characteristic specific to one subject, followed by its similarity or difference to the other subject.

Both formats have their pros and cons. The block method is clearly easier for a compare and contrast essay writer, as you simply point out all of the information about the two subjects, and basically leave it to the reader to do the comparison. The point-by-point format requires you to analyze the points yourself while making similarities and differences more explicit to the reader for them to be easier to understand. Here is a detailed structure of each type presented below.

Point-by-Point Method

  • Introduce the topic;
  • Specify your theme;
  • Present your thesis - cover all areas of the essay in one sentence.
Example thesis: Cars and motorcycles make for excellent means of transportation, but a good choice depends on the person’s lifestyle, finances, and the city they live in.

Body Paragraph 1 - LIFESTYLE

  • Topic Sentence: Motorcycles impact the owner’s lifestyle less than cars.
  • Topic 1 - Motorcycles
  • ~ Argument: Motorcycles are smaller and more comfortable to store.
  • ~ Argument: Motorcycles are easy to learn and use.
  • Topic 2 - Cars
  • ~ Argument: Cars are a big deal - they are like a second home.
  • ~ Argument: It takes time to learn to become a good driver.

Body Paragraph 2 - FINANCES

  • Topic sentence: Cars are much more expensive than motorcycles
  • ~ Argument: You can buy a good motorcycle for under 300$.
  • ~ Argument: Fewer parts that are more accessible to fix.
  • ~ Argument: Parts and service are expensive if something breaks.
  • ~ Argument: Cars need more gas than motorcycles.

Body Paragraph 3 - CITY

  • Topic sentence: Cars are a better option for bigger cities with wider roads.
  • ~ Argument: Riding motorcycles in a big city is more dangerous than with cars.
  • ~ Argument: Motorcycles work great in a city like Rome, where all the streets are narrow.
  • ~ Argument: Big cities are easier and more comfortable to navigate by car.
  • ~ Argument: With a car, traveling outside of the city is much easier.
  • Sum up all you wrote in the article.

Block Method

  • Thesis — cover all areas of the essay in one sentence

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic Sentence: Motorcycles are cheaper and easier to take care of than cars.
  • Aspect 1 - Lifestyle
  • Aspect 2 - Finances
  • ~ Argument: Fewer parts, easier to fix.
  • Aspect 3 - City
  • ~ Argument: Riding motorcycles in a big city is more dangerous than cars.

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence: Cars are more expensive but more comfortable for a big city and for travelling.
  • ~ Argument: Cars are a big deal—like a second home.
  • ~ Argument: With a car, traveling outside the city is much more comfortable.

Body Paragraph 3 ‍

Use the last paragraph to evaluate the comparisons and explain why they’re essential. Giving a lot of facts can be intense. To water it down, try to give the reader any real-life applications of these facts.

Depending on the structure selected, you can begin to create an outline for your essay. The typical comparison essay follows the format of having an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion — though, if you need to focus on each subject in more detailed ways, feel free to include an extra paragraph to cover all of the most important points.

To make your compare and contrast essay flow better, we recommend using special transition words and phrases. They will add variety and improve your paper overall.

For the section where you compare two subjects, you can include any of the following words: similarly, likewise, also, both, just like, similar to, the same as, alike, or to compare to. When contrasting two subjects, use: in contrast, in comparison, by comparison, on the other hand, while, whereas, but, to differ from, dissimilar to, or unlike.

Show Your Evidence

Arguments for any essay, including compare and contrast essays, need to be supported by sufficient evidence. Make good use of your personal experiences, books, scholarly articles, magazine and newspaper articles, movies, or anything that will make your argument sound credible. For example, in your essay, if you were to compare attending college on campus vs. distance-based learning, you could include your personal experiences of being a student, and how often students show up to class on a daily basis. You could also talk about your experience taking online classes, which makes your argument about online classes credible as well.

Helpful Final Tips

The biggest tip dissertation writing services can give you is to have the right attitude when writing a compare contrast essay, and actively engage the reader in the discussion. If you find it interesting, so will your reader! Here are some more compare and contrast essay tips that will help you to polish yours up:

types of writing

  • Compare and contrast essays need powerful transitions. Try learning more about writing transition sentences using the words we provided for you in the 'Compare and Contrast Structure and Outline' section.
  • Always clarify the concepts you introduce in your essay. Always explain lesser known information—don’t assume the reader must already know it.
  • Do not forget to proofread. Small mistakes, but in high quantities, can result in a low grade. Pay attention to your grammar and punctuation.
  • Have a friend or family member take a look at your essay; they may notice things you have missed.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Now that you know everything there is to know about compare and contrast essays, let’s take a look at some compare and contrast examples to get you started on your paper or get a hand from our essay helper .

Different countries across the world have diverse cultural practices, and this has an effect on work relationships and development. Geert Hofstede came up with a structured way of comparing cultural dimensions of different countries. The theory explains the impacts of a community’s culture on the values of the community members, and the way these values relate to their behaviors. He gives scores as a way to help distinguish people from different nations using the following dimensions: long-term orientation, individualism, power distance, indulgence, necessity avoidance, and masculinity. Let us examine comparisons between two countries: the United Kingdom and China — based on Hofstede’s Six Dimensions of Culture.
Over the last two decades, the demand from consumers for organic foods has increased tremendously. In fact, the popularity of organic foods has exploded significantly with consumers, spending a considerably higher amount of money on them as compared to the amount spent on inorganic foods. The US market noted an increase in sales of more than 10% between 2014 and 2015 (Brown, n.p). The increase is in line with the views of many consumers that organic foods are safer, tastier, and healthier compared to the inorganic foods. Furthermore, considering the environmental effects of foods, organic foods present less risk of environmental pollution — compared to inorganic foods. By definition, organic foods are those that are grown without any artificial chemical treatment, or treatment by use of other substances that have been modified genetically, such as hormones and/or antibiotics (Brown, n.p).

Still feeling confused about the complexities of the compare and contrast essay? Feel free to contact our paper writing service to get a professional writing help.

Finding the Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics For You

When choosing a topic for your comparison essay, remember that subjects cannot be drastically different, because there would be little to no points of comparison (similarities). The same goes for too many similarities, which will result in poor contrasts. For example, it is better to write about two composers, rather than a composer and a singer.

It is extremely important to choose a topic you are passionate about. You never want to come across something that seems dull and uninspiring for you. Here are some excellent ways to brainstorm for a topic from essay writer :

  • Find categories: Choose a type (like animals, films or economics), and compare subjects within that category – wild animals to farm animals, Star Wars to Star Trek, private companies to public companies, etc.
  • Random Surprising Fact: Dig for fun facts which could make great topics. Did you know that chickens can be traced back to dinosaurs?
  • Movie vs. Book: Most of the time, the book is better than the movie — unless it’s Blade Runner or Lord of the Rings. If you’re a pop culture lover, compare movies vs. books, video games, comics, etc.

Use our rewrite essay service when you need help from professionals.

How to Choose a Great Compare and Contrast Topic

College students should consider providing themselves with a chance to use all topic examples. With enough revision, an advantage is gained. As it will be possible to compare arguments and contrast their aspects. Also, discuss numerous situations to get closer to the conclusion.

For example:

  • Choose a topic from the field of your interests. Otherwise you risk failing your paper.
  • It is a good idea to choose a topic based upon the class subject or specialist subject. (Unless the requirements say otherwise.)
  • Analyze each argument carefully. Include every detail for each opposing idea. Without doing so, you can definitely lower grades.
  • Write a conclusion that summarizes both arguments. It should allow readers to find the answer they’re looking for.
  • It is up to you to determine which arguments are right and wrong in the final conclusion.
  • Before approaching the final conclusion, it’s important to discuss each argument equally. It is a bad idea to be biased, as it can also lower grades.

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150 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics to Consider

Choosing a topic can be a challenging task, but there are plenty of options to consider. In the following sections, we have compiled a list of 150 compare and contrast essay topics to help you get started. These topics cover a wide range of subjects, from education and technology to history and politics. Whether you are a high school student or a college student, you are sure to find a topic that interests you. So, read on to discover some great compare and contrast essay ideas.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics For College Students

When attending a college, at any time your professor can assign you the task of writing this form of an essay. Consider these topics for college students from our team to get the grades you deserve.

  • Attending a College Course Vs. Distance-Based Learning.
  • Writing a Research Paper Vs. Writing a Creative Writing Paper. What are the differences and similarities?
  • The differences between a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree.
  • The key aspects of the differences between the US and the UK education systems.
  • Completing assignments at a library compared with doing so at home. Which is the most efficient?
  • The similarities and differences in the behavior among married and unmarried couples.
  • The similarities and differences between the EU (European Union) and ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations)?
  • The similarities and significant differences between American and Canadian English.
  • Writing an Internship Report Vs. Writing a Research Paper
  • The differences between US colleges and colleges in the EU?

Interesting Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Some topics for the compare and contrast essay format can be boring. To keep up motivation, doing a research , have a look at these topics. Maybe they can serve you as research paper help .

  • Public Transport Vs. Driving A Car. Which is more efficient?
  • Mandarin Vs. Cantonese: What are the differences between these Chinese languages?
  • Sports Cars Vs. Luxurious Family Cars
  • Wireless Technology Vs. Wired Devices
  • Thai Food Vs. Filipino Cuisine
  • What is the difference and similarities between a register office marriage and a traditional marriage?
  • The 2000s Vs. The 2010s. What are the differences and what makes them similar?
  • Abu Dhabi Vs. Dubai. What are the main factors involved in the differences?
  • What are the differences between American and British culture?
  • What does the New York Metro do differently to the London Underground?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for High School Students

When writing essays for high school, it is good to keep them informative. Have a look at these compare and contrast sample topics.

  • Highschool Life Vs. College Life
  • Paying College Fees Vs. Being Awarded a Scholarship
  • All Night Study Sessions Vs. Late Night Parties
  • Teenager Vs. Young Adult Relationships
  • Being in a Relationship Vs. Being Single
  • Male Vs. Female Behavior
  • The similarities and differences between a high school diploma and a college degree
  • The similarities and differences between Economics and Business Studies
  • The benefits of having a part-time job, instead of a freelance job, in college
  • High School Extra Curricular Activities Vs. Voluntarily Community Services

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Science

At some point, every science student will be assigned this type of essay. To keep things at flow, have a look at best compare and contrast essay example topics on science:

  • Undiscovered Species on Earth Vs. Potential Life on Mars: What will we discover in the future?
  • The benefits of Gasoline Powered Cars Vs. Electric Powered Cars
  • The differences of the Milky Way Vs. Centaurus (Galaxies).
  • Earthquakes Vs. Hurricanes: What should be prepared for the most?
  • The differences between our moon and Mars’ moons.
  • SpaceX Vs. NASA. What is done differently within these organizations?
  • The differences and similarities between Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox’s theories on the cosmos. Do they agree or correspond with each other?
  • Pregnancy Vs. Motherhood
  • Jupiter Vs. Saturn
  • Greenhouse Farming Vs. Polytunnel Farming

Sports & Leisure Topics

Studying Physical Education? Or a gym fanatic? Have a look at our compare and contrast essay topics for sports and leisure.

  • The English Premier League Compared With The Bundesliga
  • Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona
  • Football Vs. Basketball
  • Walking Vs. Eating Outside with Your Partner
  • Jamaica Team Vs. United States Team: Main Factors and Differences
  • Formula One Vs. Off-Road Racing
  • Germany Team Vs. Brazil Team
  • Morning Exercise Vs. Evening Exercise.
  • Manning Team Vs. Brazil Team
  • Swimming Vs. Cycling

Topics About Culture

Culture can have several meanings. If you’re a Religious Studies or Culture student, take a look at these good compare and contrast essay topics about culture.

  • The fundamental similarities and differences between Pope Francis and Tawadros II of Alexandria
  • Canadian Vs. Australian Religion
  • The differences between Islamic and Christian Holidays
  • The cultural similarities and differences between the Native Aboriginals and Caucasian Australians
  • Native American Culture Vs. New England Culture
  • The cultural differences and similarities between Italians and Sicilians
  • In-depth: The origins of Buddhism and Hinduism
  • In-depth: The origins of Christianity and Islam
  • Greek Gods Vs. Hindu Gods
  • The Bible: Old Testament Vs. New Testament

Unique Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

What about writing an essay which is out of the ordinary? Consider following these topics to write a compare and contrast essay on, that are unique.

  • The reasons why some wealthy people pay extortionate amounts of money for gold-plated cell phones, rather than buying the normal phone.
  • The differences between Lipton Tea and Ahmad Tea
  • American Football Vs. British Football: What are their differences?
  • The differences and similarities between France and Britain
  • Fanta Vs. 7Up
  • Traditional Helicopters Vs. Lifesize Drones
  • The differences and similarities between Boston Dynamics and the fictional equivalent Skynet (From Terminator Movies).
  • Socialism Vs. Capitalism: Which is better?
  • Curved Screen TVs’ Vs. Regular Flat Screen TVs’: Are they really worth big bucks?
  • Is it better to wear black or white at funerals?

Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Sometimes, it may be a requirement to take it back a notch. Especially if you’re new to these style of writing. Consider having a look at these good compare and contrast essay topics that are pretty easy to start off.

  • Is it a good idea to work on weekdays or weekends?
  • Black of White Coffee
  • Becoming a teacher or a doctor? Which career choice has more of an impact on society?
  • Air Travel Vs. Sea Travel: Which is better?
  • Rail Travel Vs. Road Travel: Which is more convenient?
  • What makes Europe far greater than Africa? In terms of financial growth, regulations, public funds, policies etc…
  • Eating fruit for breakfast Vs. cereals
  • Staying Home to Read Vs. Traveling the World During Holidays. Which is more beneficial for personal growth?
  • Japanese Vs. Brazilian Cuisine
  • What makes ASEAN Nations more efficient than African Nations?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics About TV Shows, Music and Movies

We all enjoy at least one of these things. If not, all of them. Why not have a go at writing a compare and contrast essay about what you have been recently watching or listening to?

  • Breaking Bad Vs. Better Call Saul: Which is more commonly binge watched?
  • The differences between Dance Music and Heavy Metal
  • James Bond Vs. Johnny English
  • Iron Man Vs. The Incredible Hulk: Who would win?
  • What is done differently in modern movies, compared to old black and white movies?
  • Dumber and Dumber 2 Vs. Ted: Which movie is funnier?
  • Are Horror movies or Action Movies best suited to you?
  • The differences and similarities between Mozart and Beethoven compositions.
  • Hip Hop Vs. Traditional Music
  • Classical Music Vs. Pop Music. Which genre helps people concentrate?

Topics About Art

Sometimes, art students are required to write this style of essay. Have a look at these compare and contrast essay topics about the arts of the centuries.

  • The fundamental differences and similarities between paintings and sculptures
  • The different styles of Vincent Van Gogh and Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Viewing Original Art Compared With Digital Copies. How are these experiences different?
  • 18th Century Paintings Vs. 21st Century Digitally Illustrated Images
  • German Art Vs. American Art
  • Modern Painting Vs. Modern Photography
  • How can we compare modern graphic designers to 18th-century painters?
  • Ancient Greek Art Vs. Ancient Egyptian Art
  • Ancient Japanese Art Vs. Ancient Persian Art
  • What 16th Century Painting Materials were used compared with the modern day?

Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Almost every student at any stage of academics is assigned this style of writing. If you’re lacking inspiration, consider looking at some of the best compare and contrast essay topics to get you on track with your writing.

  • The United States and North Korea Governmental Conflict: What is the reason behind this phenomenon?
  • In the Early Hours, Drinking Water is far healthier than consuming soda.
  • The United States Vs. The People’s Republic of China: Which economy is the most efficient?
  • Studying in Foreign Countries Vs. Studying In Your Hometown: Which is more of an advantage?
  • Toast Vs. Cereal: Which is the most consumed in the morning?
  • Sleeping Vs. Daydreaming: Which is the most commonly prefered? And amongst who?
  • Learning French Vs. Chinese: Which is the most straightforward?
  • Android Phones Vs. iPhones
  • The Liberation of Slaves Vs. The Liberation of Women: Which is more remembered?
  • The differences between the US Dollar and British Pound. What are their advantages? And How do they correspond with each other?

Easy Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

In all types of academics, these essays occur. If you’re new to this style of writing, check our easy compare and contrast essay topics.

  • The Third Reich Vs. North Korea
  • Tea Vs. Coffee
  • iPhone Vs. Samsung
  • KFC Vs. Wendy’s
  • Laurel or Yanny?
  • Healthy Lifestyle Vs. Obese Lifestyle
  • Forkes Vs. Sporks
  • Rice Vs. Porridge
  • Roast Dinner Vs. Chicken & Mushroom Pie
  • What’s the difference between apples and oranges?

Psychology Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Deciding upon good compare and contrast essay topics for psychology assignments can be difficult. Consider referring to our list of 10 psychology compare and contrast essay topics to help get the deserved grades.

  • What is a more severe eating order? Bulimia or Anorexia
  • Modern Medicine Vs. Traditional Medicine for Treating Depression?
  • Soft Drugs Vs. Hard Drugs. Which is more dangerous for people’s psychological well-being?
  • How do the differences between Lust and Love have an effect on people’s mindsets?
  • Ego Vs. Superego
  • Parents Advice Vs. Peers Advice amongst children and teens.
  • Strict Parenting Vs. Relaxed Parenting
  • Mental Institutions Vs. Stress Clinics
  • Bipolar Disorder Vs. Epilepsy
  • How does child abuse affect victims in later life?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Sixth Graders

From time to time, your teacher will assign the task of writing a compare and contrast essay. It can be hard to choose a topic, especially for beginners. Check out our easy compare and contrast essay topics for sixth graders.

  • Exam Preparation Vs. Homework Assignments
  • Homeschooling Vs. Public Education
  • High School Vs. Elementary School
  • 5th Grade Vs. 6th Grade: What makes them different or the same?
  • Are Moms’ or Dads’ more strict among children?
  • Is it better to have strict parents or more open parents?
  • Sandy Beaches Vs. Pebble Beaches: Which beaches are more popular?
  • Is it a good idea to learn guitar or piano?
  • Is it better to eat vegetable salads or pieces of fruit for lunch?
  • 1st Grade Vs. 6th Grade

Funny Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Sometimes, it is good to have a laugh. As they always say : 'laughter is the best medicine'. Check out these funny compare and contrast essay topics for a little giggle when writing.

  • What is the best way to waste your time? Watching Funny Animal Videos or Mr. Bean Clips?
  • Are Pug Dogs or Maltese Dogs crazier?
  • Pot Noodles Vs. McDonalds Meals.
  • What is the difference between Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson?
  • Mrs. Doubtfire Vs. Mrs. Brown. How are they similar?
  • Which game is more addictive? Flappy Bird or Angry Birds?
  • Big Shaq Vs. PSY
  • Stewie Griffin Vs. Maggie Simpson
  • Quarter Pounders Vs. Big Macs
  • Mr. Bean Vs. Alan Harper

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Compare And Contrast Essay

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Your Ultimate Guide to Compare and Contrast Essays

Published on: Mar 11, 2018

Last updated on: Oct 31, 2023

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Are you writing a compare and contrast essay and feeling totally lost? Yeah, it happens to the best of us. Picking the right stuff to compare and figuring out how to put it all together – can be a real headache.

That's where we come in! In this guide, we'll show you, step by step, how to write striking compare and contrast essays. 

We'll help you pick topics, organize your thoughts, and make your essays shine. With our tips and examples, you'll be well prepared. 

So, let’s get started!

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What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

A compare and contrast essay is a form of academic writing where you examine the similarities and differences between two or more subjects, objects, ideas, or concepts. 

This type of essay requires critical thinking to analyze and synthesize information and goes beyond simple description.

The aim is to point out the interesting details, similarities, and differences that come to light when you compare these subjects directly.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

Writing a compare and contrast essay is about uncovering similarities and differences between two subjects. 

Let's break it down into straightforward steps:

Step 1 - Use a Venn Diagram for Brainstorming

To start, use a Venn diagram, two circles overlapping on a page. In one circle, jot down the things that your two subjects have in common. 

Compare and Contrast Essay Venn Diagram - MyPerfectWords.com

In the other circle, note down the aspects that make them different to clarify what the essay will compare. This visual tool acts like a roadmap, guiding you toward the key points you'll explore in your essay. 

Here’s a practice table comparing and contrasting dogs:

Step 2 - Craft a Clear Thesis

Your thesis statement is your essay's compass. It should be concise, clearly outlining what you'll compare and contrast. 

For instance , if writing an essay comparing pets , say you'll explore their care, behavior, and suitability.

A typical compare and contrast essay thesis statement follows this structure:

Step 3 - Create an Outline

An outline, like a blueprint, keeps your essay organized. Plan an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 

Start by planning out the structure of your essay, typically consisting of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each body paragraph should focus on one main point of comparison.

Here’s a sample compare and contrast template:

Check out this guide and get in-depth knowledge on creating the perfect compare and contrast essay outline !

Step 4 - Write an Introduction

Start with a captivating opening, like a fact or a question. Briefly introduce both subjects and provide some background information on them. 

Finally, end with your thesis statement, which is the heart of your essay. It tells your reader what you'll be comparing and contrasting along with clarifying the purpose of your essay.

Here’s an example of how to start a compare and contrast essay 

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

Step 5 - Tackle the First Body Paragraph

In the body paragraphs, each addresses a single point of comparison. Begin with a clear topic sentence, e.g., "Both books feature complex characters." Support it with evidence or examples. 

Step 6 - Repeat for Subsequent Paragraphs

Continue this pattern for other body paragraphs, each exploring different aspects of your subjects. For instance, design, features, and price in smartphone comparisons.

Step 7 - Craft a Reflective Conclusion

Summarize key points from your body paragraphs. Restate your thesis differently. Conclude with a thought-provoking idea or a call to action, leaving readers with something to ponder.

Here’s an example of how to end a compare and contrast essay:

Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion

Step 8 - Proofread for Clarity

Before sharing your essay, proofread it carefully. Make sure you’ve used correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. 

Ensuring logical flow by reading aloud can help detect awkward sentences. 

How to Structure a Compare-and-Contrast Essay?

When it comes to structuring, you can choose from these compare and contrast formats:

Block Method (Subject by Subject)

In this method, you delve deeply into one subject before transitioning to the next. It's like thoroughly exploring one side before moving to the other.

Example: Comparing Cats and Dogs

  • Introduction - introduces both subjects.
  • Body Paragraph 1 - delves into cats' characteristics.
  • Body Paragraph 2 - explores dogs' characteristics.
  • Conclusion - summarizes key points.

Alternating Method (Point by Point)

Here, you explore one aspect of each subject in sequence. It's like comparing specific points between the subjects.

Example: Comparing City Living and Country Living

  • Introduction - introduces both living environments.
  • Body Paragraphs - alternate discussing lifestyle, environment, and social interactions.
  • Conclusion - summarizes comparisons.

- Similarities and Differences

With this method, you either discuss all the similarities or all the differences first and then cover the other aspects.

Example: Comparing Online Learning and Traditional Classroom Learning

  • Introduction - introduces both learning methods.
  • Body Paragraph 1 - covers similarities.
  • Body Paragraph 2 - addresses differences.
  • Conclusion - sums up the comparisons and offers insights.

Each method has its merits, so choose the one that suits your purpose and subjects best. Maintain clarity and coherence throughout your essay for effective communication.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

This type of essay can cover a wide range of topics, from literature and history to science and culture.

Now, let's explore some concrete examples that showcase how this essay format can be applied to various subjects and disciplines.

Compare And Contrast Essay Examples Pdf

Compare And Contrast Essay Sample

Compare And Contrast Essay On Summer And Winter

Free Compare And Contrast Essay Examples

Compare And Contrast Essay On City And Village Life

Compare And Contrast Essay On Pet And Wild Animals

Compare And Contrast Essay On Books And Mobile Phones

Need more examples? Have a look at our compare and contrast essay examples on different themes and grades!

Compare and Contrast Words

When comparing and contrasting, using appropriate transitional words is crucial to convey similarities, differences, and connections effectively. These words and phrases help to structure your writing and create a smooth flow of ideas. 

Here’s a list of these terms:

Compare Words

  • In the same way
  • Analogous to
  • Correspondingly

Contrast Words

  • On the contrary
  • Nevertheless
  • On the other hand

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Choosing the right topic for your comparison essay is crucial because it sets the stage for your entire essay. A good topic should be interesting, relevant, and allow for meaningful comparisons. 

Here are some good compare and contrast essay ideas:

  • Online Learning vs. Traditional Classroom Learning
  • The Influence of Nature vs. Nurture on Human Development
  • City Life vs. Rural Life: Contrasting Lifestyles
  • Two Iconic Superheroes: Batman vs. Superman
  • Democracy vs. Autocracy: Contrasting Forms of Government
  • The Impact of Social Media vs. Traditional Media
  • Two Prominent World Religions: Christianity vs. Islam
  • The Roaring Twenties vs. the Swinging Sixties: Contrasting Decades
  • Vegetarianism vs. Veganism: Dietary Choices and Ethical Considerations
  • The Effects of Exercise vs. Diet on Health and Fitness

Can’t pick a topic? Check out our extensive list of compare and contrast essay topics to find more unique and interesting topics!

Tips for Writing a Good Compare and Contrast Essay

Writing a successful compare and contrast essay doesn't have to be daunting. Here are some practical tips to help you along the way:

  • Be specific about what aspects or elements of the subjects you will compare and contrast. This helps maintain focus.
  • When presenting similarities and differences, use parallel structure in your sentences to keep the essay organized and readable.
  • Ensure that your comparisons are balanced . Don't spend too much time on one subject or aspect at the expense of the other.
  • Use transitional words and phrases like "similarly," "in contrast," "on the other hand," to guide readers through your comparisons.
  • Go beyond surface-level comparisons . Analyze the significance of the similarities and differences you present. Why are they important?
  • Support your points with specific examples, quotes, or evidence . This adds depth to your analysis.
  • Make sure your thesis statement is concise and clearly states the main points of comparison or contrast.
  • In your conclusion, offer insights or reflections on what the comparisons and contrasts reveal about the subjects or the broader topic.
  • Have someone review your essay to ensure that your comparisons are clear and make sense to a reader unfamiliar with the topic.

In closing, with the steps, examples, and valuable tips provided, you're well-prepared to craft an outstanding compare and contrast essay. 

However, if you ever find yourself facing writer's block or tight deadlines, our professional essay writing service stands ready to assist you. 

Our experienced writers have helped countless students like you achieve top-notch quality in their essays. 

So, why hesitate? Place your order now to ensure your academic success.

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

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

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Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Compare and contrast essays are some of the most interesting assignments and students (well, some) enjoy writing them. This is because unlike most kinds of essays, it is hardly possible to get writer's block when you are handling these. You are given the freedom to not only pick compare and contrast topics on your own, but you have the freedom to choose the side of your support as well as how to contrast it.

However, the fact that you are given all this freedom does not mean that this is the simplest essay to write. The biggest challenge is usually in picking the best topic for you and this can be quite a huge issue if you are not careful in what you are doing. Let's see compare and contrast essay topics ideas as well as brief strategies you can use in your writing.

Tips On How To Write Superb Compare And Contrast Essays

The first thing that you need to do before you start writing is to choose an appropriate topic to write about. This should essentially be a topic of interest to you or something that you can discuss in length without any problem whatsoever. Lucky for you, there are so many topics you could focus on when writing and it is all up to you to determine the exact topic that you want to build on.

In most cases, the topics you choose should be closely related. For example if you chose to go with sports, choose two contrasting topics that are in the same category such as soccer vs basketball. You should steer clear of choosing topics that do not have any kind of relationship whatsoever such as pasta vs winter. This will be difficult to compare as they do not have any similarities and are basically worlds apart.

However, there is an exception of really good art students who can pull off contrasting two things that are completely different or discussing certain topics from an artistic point of view. For example one may choose a topic such as, life in the shoes of a werewolf. You see that it is an unusual topic that may be quite difficult to imagine or explain, but some students may just turn that topic into a masterpiece.

Students are encouraged that when choosing a topic, you think outside the box as this will most likely earn you better grades. Students who excel in writing about such complex topic may have a chance to be enrolled into some of the best Art universities to develop their skills and talent.

How To Choose Your Sources

Just because you are given total freedom about what you are going to write, does not mean that you should write casually without giving any proof. Remember that a compare and contrast essay is an academic essay so the language and formatting should all be formal.

Referencing and giving citations in your work is one of the best ways of proving your points, hence explaining why you chose a particular stand. The sources that you choose should be up to date and not more than 5 years old unless you are discussing a historical topic. Always check for the credibility of your sources before using them in your essay so as not to give false information. Some of the best sources of information include:

  • Official textbooks and encyclopedias.
  • Published journals.
  • Official magazines.
  • Academic and research reports.
  • Documentaries.

Steps To Writing A Compare And Contrast Essay

As you may know, a compare and contrast essay is not really written like other common kinds of essays . There are certain aspects about it that make it so different from all these other essays and you need to be aware of that before you start writing.

The first thing you need to do is identify the type of compare and contrast essay that you are handling. There are basically four types:

  • Events . These essays focus on the comparison of different historical events in life or in books.
  • Different situations . They examine the differences of certain cases that you may have found yourself in or even others. If you know how to write a newspaper editorial you are familiar with this stylistics
  • Characters . Focused on people or characters in books, what they did and the impact.
  • Locations or travelling essays . Discusses different places and locations in the world.

As much as compare and contrast essays are written a bit differently from other types of essays , there are certain aspects about them that are similar to the writing format of other essays.

  • Introduction . Just like in any other essay, a good compare and contrast essay has to have an introduction that is catchy and functional. Here, you need to explain what your topic is all about and what you hope to achieve at the end of the discussion. It should also have a thesis statement that will give a little more information about the subject matter and why you have chosen to discuss it.
  • Your argument . The next step is to start writing about your stand point, while giving proof of why you think that the way you are looking at it is the best. Use references, quotations and citations to develop your argument into something readable and easy to understand.
  • Opposing arguments . You need to do thorough research about the opposing arguments that your rival would use to counter your points. You should discuss at least two points here and refute these points standing with your own.
  • Concluding statement . Here, you can choose to rephrase your thesis statement and supporting that your point of view is the best. Conclude with a powerful statement that will impact on the reader. Use some cause and effect essay outline to emphasise the connection between the paragraphs.

Writing Tips To Make Your Essay Stand Out

Any good essay has to stand out and encourage the reader to continue reading from the beginning to the end, no matter the type of essay it is. This is why you need to ensure that you make your compare and contrast essay as interesting and accurate as possible using these tips.

  • Check other essays for inspiration. Starting your own essay from scratch can be a bit confusing for most students. This is why you need to take some time and check out other written essays in the same category as the one you are writing for the best ways to start, develop your argument and finally conclude. See how to incorporate quotes, sayings and humor into your compare and contrast essay. Also check on creative ways to use our references to add some backbone to your argument.
  • Think critically. This is necessary when you are trying to find a suitable topic to write about since there are so many to choose from. Brainstorm and write down a list of your best topics listing down the differences and similarities to see which work well together and have a lot of points that you can discuss.
  • Seek professional assistance. Identifying great education services can help you get your hands on really useful sources on your chosen topics. This will help you build a strong argument and to be able to back what you are discussing. You can write literature review where you reveal your sources and how they helped in your discussion. It is a really great way of increasing your word count without unnecessary fluff.
  • Proper formatting and in text citations. As earlier mentioned, a compare and contrast essay is an academic paper so the correct formatting needs to be used according to what you were instructed to do. In text citations give evidence of your discussion and why you chose the argument that you did.

So now you know how to choose the best compare and contrast topics and the different segments that you need to address when writing. You also understand how to find sources and the best kind to use in your paper to make it relevant and interesting. however, you may still have a problem identifying the best topics for you to discuss, which is why we have highlighted different topics that you can use in your compare and contrast essay.

Best Compare And Contrast Topics For University Students

  • Sciences vs Arts: which are the most viable in the job market?
  • Essays vs research papers: what is the difference:
  • Home schooling: what are the benefits and disadvantages?
  • College education: should it be free? What is to be gained if that step was taken?
  • College degrees: how relevant are they in today’s job market?
  • Education: is it necessary to become successful in life?
  • Exams: are they a true reflection of a student’s ability?
  • Boarding schools vs day schools: what are the major differences?
  • Hostels vs renting: what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Political And Historical Topics

  • Karl Marx vs Friedrich Hegel: who made the most impact?
  • The bible vs the Quran: what are the differences in teachings
  • The 60s vs the 90s music: which was better?
  • Capitalism vs communism: which is superior?
  • Dictatorship and democratic: how are they different?
  • Al Qaeda vs Boko Haram: are they the same?
  • African government vs western governments: what are the differences in governance?
  • Greek gods: real or not?
  • Us president vs Monarch of England: what are the differences in power?

Compare And Contrast Topics For Starters

  • Tomatoes: are they fruits or vegetables?
  • Netball vs basketball: are the rules different or the same?
  • Samsung vs apple: which is the better brand?
  • Being miserable in a mansion or happy in a shanty: which is better?
  • Differences between the American and the British.
  • Aliens: real or not?
  • Marijuana: is it dangerous or a blessing in disguise?
  • Winter vs summer: which is better?
  • Dinner date vs movie and drinks.

Battle Of The Opposites Essay Topics

  • White vs black.
  • Alibaba vs amazon.
  • Religious marriage vs civil marriage.
  • Dogs vs cats.
  • Happiness vs sadness.
  • Pizza vs pasta.
  • WW1 vs WW2.
  • Good girl vs bad boy.
  • Electric vs gas cars.

Teenage Compare And Contrast Essays

  • Watching at home vs going out to a movie.
  • When should one be allowed to date?
  • Reading vs watching? Which is easier
  • Arts vs Science
  • Hip hop vs RnB
  • White collar vs blue collar
  • Android vs IOS
  • Casual vs casual official? What is more appropriate?
  • Snapchat vs Instagram: which is better?

IT And Social Media Essay Topics

  • Does paper mailing have a space in future?
  • Desktop computers vs tablets
  • Facebook vs Twitter: which is better?
  • Online jobs vs traditional jobs?
  • SEO vs traditional marketing? Which yield more results?
  • Blogs vs websites.
  • Traditional learning vs E-learning: what does the future hold?
  • Windows vs IOS.
  • Radio vs newspapers.

Movie and Music Comparison Ideas

  • Rock vs country.
  • Batman vs superman: who is the true hero of the world?
  • DC vs Marvel?
  • Comedy vs Horror
  • Dumbledore vs Voldemort
  • Vampires vs werewolves: who are stronger?
  • 3D vs normal screening? Differences and similarities?
  • Avengers vs fantastic four
  • Michael Jackson vs Prince: who is the true kind of pop music?

Compare And Contrast Literature Topics

  • Fiction vs nonfiction: which has a larger readership?
  • Romance vs horror.
  • Past vs present works of literature: which is better?
  • Hardcopy vs E- books
  • Romeo and Juliet: takeaway lessons
  • Is Shakespeare the greatest poet who ever lived?
  • Poetry vs hip hop: are there any similarities?
  • Greek vs Egyptian mythology
  • Is harry potter the best magical fantasy book ever written?

Scientific Topic Ideas

  • Uranus vs Saturn: are there any similarities?
  • The sun vs the moon
  • Chemistry vs biology
  • Nuclear vs fossil energy
  • Disputable scientific statements
  • Science and technology: are they interdependent?
  • Is there life on other planets
  • Can theories in physics be used to explain all aspects of life?
  • Hurricanes vs tornados

Everyday Compare And Contrast Topics

  • Coffee vs tea
  • Wood vs bricks: which is better to build with
  • The west vs the east: similarities
  • Catholics vs protestants
  • African countries vs European countries
  • Flying vs driving: which one is better?
  • McDonalds vs KFC
  • Cartoon network vs Nickelodeon
  • American English vs British English

Philosophy Topic Ideas

  • Music vs poetry: do they have the same effect on people
  • Philosophers vs historians: are they similar?
  • Which is more important food or health care?
  • Are humans wilder than wild animals?
  • Should there be justification for evil deeds?
  • Friends vs enemies: who should you be weary of?
  • Good vs evil: where is the line drawn?
  • Simplest explanation vs complex explanation: which is best?
  • Similarities between philosophy and religion.
  • The pen is mightier than the sword: how true is this?

Final Thoughts

The above mentioned compare and contrast essay topics are just a few of the many topics you can choose to discuss in your essay. If you are still having problems making a decision, then you can always ask for assistance from our professional essay writers who will help you find the best topic. You can also order a fully written compare and contrast essay and ease the amount of work you have to do.

compare and contrast essay topics

It’s no wonder that students like to write contrast and compare essays because they leave a lot of space for creativity and own opinion. Such an essay allows the student to put in his own thoughts on the subjects compared and it can be quite fun to compare two entities rather just analyzing one and composing an essay on that. Of course, this doesn’t make it a very easy job and there are some rules and tips you should be aware of before starting to write a comparative essay.

Main Parts of Writing a Compare Essay

Before you even start writing it is very important to choose the topic that will put you in advantage. In most of the situations, you should look for items to compare that have some differences but similarities as well. For example, you can’t go on writing a comparative essay between a stone and rock and roll. So focus on comparison items that will give you the chance to talk about things they have in common but as well on how one is better than the other at certain aspects.

After you establish the comparison items you needs to do some proper research so that you have enough information on both to be able to perform a proper comparison. There are several sources from where you can gather information on your subjects but make sure that you always go with facts. Your text will need some proper back-up and sources to be cited. You can use sources like:

  • Documentaries
  • Scientific magazines
  • Academic journals
  • Official Reports

How to Write a Comparative and Contrast Essay

If you think that you can simply use the basic essay tips you learned in class or for other types of essays, you’re wrong. The thing with comparative and contrast essays is that you’re not just focusing on one item and anything you write has to be constructed in such a way that it can be used to compare it with the other one.

You can start with the type of topic you choose for your compare and contrast essay. Usually, the topics are divided into 4 categories:

  • People and Fiction

No matter what category you choose to go with, you will have to always follow the structure of any academic paper. If you’re not sure how that goes, let us refresh your memory a bit.

Introduction

Here is the place where you have to try and get your readers to listen and hook them with your story. You need to present your topic, of course, and also your thesis statement which has the role of indicating to your readers what is the probable course of the entire work. The thesis statement usually goes in the first paragraph, somewhere around the last sentence of it.

Emphasizing on your arguments

After you’ve done the research, it’s time to develop the arguments that you make when comparing one thing to another. Makes sure to include reliable sources and don’t overdo it, just make it enough for your comparison to look well-researched.

Refuting arguments

In this section things will go the other way around. You need to research the selected topic and find facts to contradict your initial thesis. Again, choose at least one example and expand it into a paragraph at least that contains the counter-argument and as well as sources you used to reach that conclusion.

Obviously, this is the part where you draw your conclusions. You can restate your thesis statement and point out some of the arguments used over the entire essay that backs it up.

More Tips on Writing a Comparative and Contrast Essay

Always check for possible examples of essays when working on your hook sentence. This sentence has a great influence on a first-time reader of your work decision to keep reading or simply pass. There’s a wide variety of hooks you can use such as:

  • Literary queotes
  • Anecdotes or jokes
  • Quotes of important persons
  • Setting scenes
  • Quotes from poetry
  • Scientific arguments
  • Rhetorical questions

Never stop brainstorming since it’s the best way to make a decision regarding the two items you’re going to write about. Make sure to write them down so you can go over them later and finally decide what you’re going to focus on. You can even start to sketch a few similarities and differences between the topic you brainstormed so that you have an idea on how complicated it will be to write the essay.

If needed, you can always turn to professionals to give you a nudge or help you with your topics or sources. You can appeal to books, movies or articles that are discussing the same topic you’re going to approach in your essay.

Make sure you don’t forget about in-text citations and formatting since you’re writing an academic paper. You have to use all the correct citations, including indirect and direct quotes to make your text even more believable.

We are trying to keep the part on how to write a comparative and contrast essay as brief as possible as we already approached this subject, in full, in another article. This article puts more focus on subjects and topic for these types of essays since without a good topic, you might end up getting stuck and have to start over and over again. So here are the best 150 topics you can elaborate a compare and contrast essay on.

Topics for Compare and Contrast Essays That Can be Used by College Students

As you can see, the topics are divided into multiple categories so that it would be easier for you to select one. We chose to start this list of categorized topics with what’s most relevant for college students and that’s obviously college itself and how to handle it. So, here we go:

  • College vs Schools – what’s changed?
  • Unemployed students compared to students that work. Who’s having the right approach.
  • Essays vs research papers – what’s the best choice?
  • British English or American English – what are the major differences?
  • Are there any similarities between employment and education?
  • TOEFL and SAT – what are the similarities and differences?
  • Ph. D and Master Degree – main differences
  • Argumentative papers vs persuasive paper – same or different
  • Traditional Education or remote education – what works best?

6th Grade Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  • Summer or Winter – what’s the best season?
  • Christmas at home vs Christmas traveling
  • Wolves and dogs – differences and similarities
  • Flowers and Weeds – why do we need both?
  • Novels or comic books – what’s more interesting to read?
  • Ping-pong vs tennis – what’s your favorite game?
  • Reading a book vs watching TV
  • Female friend or male friends – which ones are best?
  • Western USA vs Eastern USA

Middle School Essay Topics

  • Zeus vs King Arthur – which one is cooler?
  • Role models of 1950s compared to modern role models
  • Watching a move at home compared with going to the cinema
  • Is there a link between school bullies and dictators?
  • Is a hurricane worse than a tsunami or the other way around?
  • Christmas, Halloween or Prom night – which one is the most fun?
  • Bicycle or car driving – which one is more difficult?
  • 5-star hotels vs 3-star ones – why should you choose each of them?
  • Parents or celebrities – who influences a teenager most of all?

High School Compare and Contrast Essay Themes

  • Historic literature or fiction – which one appeals most to college students?
  • College Tests vs High School examinations – what is the most important of the two?
  • E-learning versus traditional learning – is science and technology really helping with the learning process?
  • New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons – who has more fans?
  • Printed books vs e-books – what is the most appealing form of reading for colleague students?
  • Story buildings or wooden houses – what type of construction is best?
  • Portugal and Spain – what are the main similarities and differences?
  • Japanese concept of beauty compared with the American one – what are the standards?
  • Modern rock music compared with rock from the early 20th century – what are the differences and how did this genre evolve?

Day-to-day Compare and Contrast Essay Themes

  • Buffy or Twilight – similarities and differences in characters
  • Macbeth vs Julius Caesar – what do they have in common?
  • Modernism vs realism – main differences and similarities
  • Prose vs poetry – what are the literary elements that differentiate these genres
  • Rural vs urban living – what are the similarities and differences
  • Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump – who should have won and what do they have in common?
  • Barcelona vs Real Madrid – differences and things the two clubs have in common
  • Android vs iOS – benefits of both operating systems
  • Textbooks or tablets in schools – what are the advantages and disadvantages of each in the process of learning?
  • Asylums vs Jails
  • Star Trek vs Star Wards
  • Family Guy vs American Dad
  • Pineapple vs Apple
  • Scandinavian Mythology vs Greek Mythology

Politics and History Compare Essay Topics

  • Washington’s Ideas compared with Lincoln’s way of action
  • Baroque vs Renaissance epochs
  • Religious Studies vs Anthropology
  • Soviet Government opposed to the American Government
  • UK Prime Minister vs US President
  • South and North Before the events of the Civil War in the United States
  • King Louis XIV compared with Henry VIII
  • Nazism and fascism: are there any differences?
  • Difference in the events of World War II and World War I

Easy to Approach Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  • Comparing an orange to an apple
  • Day Time vs Night Time – what are the advantages of each time frame?
  • What are the main differences between animals and people
  • Being rich opposed to living in poverty
  • Tea or Coffee – What are the similarities and contrasts?
  • Living in a small village opposed to living in a big city
  • The differences between feeling sad or lonely
  • Main differences and similarities between British and American traditional dishes
  • Camping sites – seashore or in the woods?

Opposite Compare Essay Topics

  • Males vs Females
  • Pepsi or Coke?
  • White vs Red
  • Peace vs War
  • Riding the bus or driving a car?
  • Hatred and love
  • Positive and negative aspects of working a lot
  • Sun and the Moon
  • Soft toys or dolls – what are the most appropriate toys?

Compare and Contrast Topics for Teenagers

  • Adulthood vs Childhood
  • Living on Campus opposed to living at home
  • Watching a movie or reading the book that the movie was made after?
  • Freelancing or working in an office?
  • Scientific writing vs academic writing
  • Radio shows or TV show?
  • Professional career or education – what should you focus on?
  • Roman and Greek culture – what are the main similarities and differences
  • Science Classes compared with Art Classes

Social Media and IT Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  • Traditional Mailing vs email
  • Traditional Commerce vs e-commerce
  • Real-life dating vs online dating sites and apps
  • Video Computer games vs smartphone games
  • Forbes or New York Times?
  • MySpace or Facebook? What’s the best social network?
  • Online job application vs traditional methods
  • Traditional writing services compared with online writing services
  • Online advertising compared with traditional advertising

Music and Movie Compare and Contrast Essay Themes

  • Charmed or Buffy?
  • Movies against books: Reading is the best way to explore a novel?
  • Rock vs Jazz
  • Frodo vs Sam – Which Lord of the Rings character is more important?
  • Dumbledore vs Gandalf
  • Soviet cinematography vs American films
  • Loki and Thor – Brothers or Enemies?
  • Thriller or horror films – what do they have in common
  • Draco Malfoy vs Harry Potter

Literature-Inspired Compare and Contrast Essay Ideas

  • Drama vs Comedy
  • Roman vs Greek Mythology
  • Lessons learned from Beauty and the Best
  • Lyrics of Prose – what students prefer?
  • Nowadays Lyrics compared with poetry of the 13th century
  • Non-fiction vs fiction literature
  • Harry Potter vs Lord of the Rings
  • Literature of the past compared with the one of the future

Scientific Topics for Compare and Contrast Essays

  • Microwave vs Oven
  • Chemistry vs Physics
  • Andromeda and Milky Way
  • What are the differences between Mars and Earth
  • Differences and similarities of the two moon missions
  • DaVinci vs Thomas Jefferson
  • Tsunami vs Earthquakes – what’s the worse natural phenomenon
  • Two different chemical reactions formulas
  • Limited control software vs full access navigation

Popular Compare Essay Themes

  • Football vs Soccer
  • Korean vs Chinese
  • Personal point of view vs public opinion
  • Water or juice
  • Dark beer vs light beer
  • Obesity and Anorexia – what is the most dangerous
  • Divorce and marriage
  • Linux or Windows – Paid vs free OS
  • Capitalism vs Marxism

Philosophical Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  • Is Miami Beach a better place to live rather than home?
  • Life and Death
  • Anchored in reality or dreamy – what are the pros and cons?
  • Friends or more – where’s the limit?
  • Mental and physical needs of humans
  • Fantasy world or reality?
  • Macbeth and Hamlet – a philosophical approach
  • Humans and dogs – similarities
  • Free access compared with reserved rights – how intellectual property should be treated?
  • Roman philosophers vs Greek ones

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Black History Month for Kids: Google Slides, Resources, and More!

80 Intriguing Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Kids and Teens

Android vs. iPhone? Capitalism vs. communism? Hot dog vs. taco?

First day of school vs. the last day of school.

In compare and contrast essays , writers show the similarities and differences between two things. They combine descriptive writing with analysis, making connections and showing dissimilarities. Remind students that in this type of writing, they’re not necessarily trying to sway the reader to one opinion or another—they’re just presenting and analyzing facts. These compare and contrast essay topics will give them plenty of practice.

  • School and Life Essay Topics
  • Entertainment Essay Topics
  • History and Politics Essay Topics
  • Just for Fun Essay Topics

School and Life Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  • Public and private schools
  • Online school and in-person school
  • Any two schools or colleges
  • Going to college vs. starting work full-time

Going to college vs. starting work full-time

  • Working your way through college as you go or taking out student loans
  • Parents and grandparents
  • Elementary school and high school
  • Learning to read vs. learning to write
  • The importance of any two school subjects
  • Wearing glasses vs. having braces
  • You and your best friend
  • Friendship vs. romantic love

Friendship vs. romantic love

  • Group work and individual work
  • Only child vs. having siblings
  • Nature vs. nurture
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Old friends and new friends
  • Your teacher vs. your parent/guardian
  • Car ownership and public transportation

Car ownership and public transportation

  • Learning to ride a bike vs. learning to drive a car

Entertainment Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  • iPhone vs. Android
  • Instagram vs. Twitter (or choose any other two social media platforms)
  • Xbox vs. PlayStation

Xbox vs. PlayStation

  • Any two sports, like American football vs. soccer
  • Cooking at home and dining out
  • A movie based on a book and the book it was based on
  • Reading and watching TV
  • Opera music and pop music (or any two music genres)
  • Vegetarian and vegan

Vegetarian and vegan

  • Giving and receiving gifts
  • Going to a play vs. going to a movie
  • Playing a video game and watching a movie
  • Horse racing vs. NASCAR
  • Laptop vs. tablet
  • Sprint vs. marathon
  • Poetry and rap music
  • Ping-Pong vs. tennis
  • DC vs. Marvel
  • Netflix and YouTube
  • Shopping online and shopping in person

Shopping online and shopping in person

History and Politics Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  • Capitalism vs. communism
  • Socialism vs. communism
  • Monarchy/dictatorship and democracy
  • Two political candidates in a current race

Two political candidates in a current race

  • Spanish flu pandemic vs. COVID-19 pandemic
  • World War I and World War II
  • American pioneers vs. first space explorers
  • Gen X vs. Gen Z
  • Abraham Lincoln vs. Barack Obama (or any other two presidents)
  • Any two U.S. states

Any two U.S. states

  • Any two historic eras
  • Queen Elizabeth I vs. Queen Elizabeth II
  • Republicans and Democrats
  • Hitler and Stalin
  • The first airplane flight vs. the first manned spaceflight
  • American president vs. U.K. prime minister

American president vs. U.K. prime minister

  • Fox News vs. CNN
  • Legislative branch and executive branch and/or judicial branch
  • Equality and equity
  • Elected politicians vs. lobbyists

Just for Fun Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  • Dogs vs. cats as pets

Dogs vs. cats as pets

  • Paper books or e-books
  • Hot dogs vs. tacos
  • Summer and winter
  • Fall and spring
  • Big Mac vs. Whopper
  • Coke vs. Pepsi
  • Chocolate shake vs. hot chocolate
  • Any two superheroes or villains
  • Mondays and Fridays
  • Mornings vs. evenings

Mornings vs. evenings

  • First day of school vs. last day of school
  • Christmas vs. birthdays
  • Hurricane vs. tornado
  • Birthday as a kid and birthday as an adult
  • Going barefoot vs. wearing shoes
  • Appetizers and desserts

Appetizers and desserts

  • Phone calls and texting
  • Pants vs. skirts
  • Electric cars vs. gas-powered cars

What are some of your favorite compare and contrast essay topics? Come share your prompts on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook .

Plus, check out the big list of essay topics for high school (100+ ideas).

80 Intriguing Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Kids and Teens

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People Can’t Get Over The Side-By-Side Contrast Between Zendaya’s Iconic Mugler Robot Suit And Timothée Chalamet’s Outfit At The “Dune: Part 2” London Premiere

“Zendaya is absolutely someone you call to see what she's wearing before you get ready,” one fan tweeted.

Leyla Mohammed

BuzzFeed Staff

The Dune: Part Two London premiere took place yesterday, and it’s safe to say that the celebs stepped out in style.

Celebrities in formal wear pose together at an event

From Florence Pugh to Anya Taylor-Joy , the star-studded cast of Denis Villeneuve’s highly anticipated sequel — which hits theaters on March 1 — looked incredible as they posed at the lavish event.

Florence Pugh in a sequined hooded gown at a premiere, paired with slicked-back hair and a bracelet

But there’s one cast member in particular who undoubtedly stole the show: Zendaya .

Person with a metallic sculpted top and a statement necklace

As you might’ve seen by now, Zendaya rocked up to the Dune: Part Two event in a silver, robot-esque suit that was pulled from a 1995 Manfred Thierry Mugler collection.

Person in a futuristic metallic bodysuit with sculpted details, posing at an event

And, unsurprisingly, she looked absolutely stunning.

Person in a futuristic metallic costume with structured shoulders and a high neckline

Well, among all the online discourse about the iconic look, one particular photo of Zendaya posing directly next to her close friend and Dune costar Timothée Chalamet attracted heaps of attention once fans highlighted just how different their outfits were.

Person with wavy hair in black top and patterned pants, standing confidently

Timothée, who portrays protagonist Paul Atreides in the film, paired an oversized black T-shirt with some silver Haider Ackermann trousers. And while he certainly looked great, many fans agreed that he looked pretty underdressed next to Zendaya.

Two individuals standing, one in a black top and metallic trousers, the other in a futuristic silver bodysuit with sculpted details

Taking to X (formerly known as Twitter) to share their thoughts, many internet users quipped that Timothée didn’t get the memo ahead of the Dune event.

Two people face each other, one in a metallic bodysuit, the other in a black top and patterned pants

“Zendaya is absolutely someone you call to see what she's wearing before you get ready,” one person tweeted .

Two individuals on the red carpet. Person on the left in a metallic structured outfit. Person on the right in a black top and shimmery trousers

“When the invite says ‘smart casual’ and you interpret that pretty differently,” someone else joked .

Two people on a stage, one in a black top and metallic pants, the other in a shiny, sculpted bodysuit

Another user quipped , “Zendaya went full robot & Timothée went robot-casual,” while one more added , “zendaya giving alien superstar and then here go timothee giving spaceship tech support.”

Person in a black top, shimmering pants, and boots posing on a backdrop

“Cracks me up that she looks incredible and badass, and he wore a shirt,” one more tweet read.

Two celebrities, one in a black outfit and the other in a metallic dress with structured bodice

In Timothée’s défense, it’s hard to outdo something like this!

Kim Kardashian in a metallic, armoured-style outfit with matching boots at an event

Topics in this article

  • Timothée Chalamet
  • Dune: Part Two

IMAGES

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  1. 13 Compare and Contrast Thesis Examples to Inspire You

    Yes! Show me examples. 6 compare and contrast thesis examples (general comparisons) Topic #1 How does culture and tradition impact student achievement? Example thesis: In both Japan and the United States, cultural expectations greatly influence academic achievement in high school students.

  2. 101 Compare and Contrast Essay Ideas for Students

    One fun way to get students started brainstorming their compare and contrast essays is to create a Venn diagram, where the overlapping sections of the circle contain similarities and the non-overlapping areas contain the differing traits.

  3. Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay

    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.

  4. Comparing and Contrasting

    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.

  5. Exploring Strong Compare and Contrast Thesis Examples

    Paperdue September 5, 2023 No matter what field of study you pursue, you will probably be asked to write a compare and contrast essay. They provide a great way to highlight the similarities or differences between two or more things.

  6. Compare and Contrast Essays: The Ultimate Guide

    A compare-and-contrast essay is a style of essay that points out the similarities and differences between two or more subjects. It's ideal for showing what separates and unites related things or concepts, particularly if the subjects are often confused for each other or unjustly lumped together.

  7. 50 College-Level Compare and Contrast Topics for an Essay

    Compare and Contrast Essay Ideas Writing a good essay largely depends on what you choose to write about, as you need to find two comparable subjects - people, books, traditions, phenomena, etc. Here are some ideas, grouped by subject, to help get you started! Sociological Change 1.

  8. Academic Guides: 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. ... Transitions are important in compare and contrast essays, where you will be moving frequently ...

  9. How to Write a Compare Contrast Thesis: Tips and Examples

    Example 4: Composing a compare contrast essay using a point-by-point format makes it easier to show the similarities and differences between two topics. In this essay, we will compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of using traditional books versus e-readers for reading. Example 5: In the above examples, the thesis statements are ...

  10. How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

    1. Begin by Brainstorming With a Venn Diagram. The best compare and contrast essays demonstrate a high level of analysis. This means you will need to brainstorm before you begin writing. A Venn diagram is a great visual tool for brainstorming compare and contrast essay topics.

  11. 34 Compelling Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

    Feb 7, 2024 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.

  12. Compare & Contrast Assignments

    A compare-contrast assignment or essay shows the similarities and differences between two topics or ideas. Comparing: Shows the similarities between two topics or ideas. ... Use point-by-point method for longer essays to more closely compare and contrast the two topics. A reader won't be as likely lose track of the main ideas if they are ...

  13. 75 Dynamic Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

    With 75 compare and contrast essay topics on this list, you're guaranteed to find an idea that interests you! Social Studies Compare and Contrast Essay Ideas If you need a history, geography, or other social studies topic for a compare and contrast essay, one of these may be ideal: 1920s vs. 1960s American culture

  14. Compare & Contrast Thesis Statements

    A compare and contrast thesis statement states the focus or main idea of the essay. It should name the two subjects that will be compared and make an assertion about their similarities and...

  15. 127 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

    13 December, 2020 13 minutes read Author: Elizabeth Brown 127 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics Crafting a compare and contrast essay is typically much more interesting and fun than working on a dissertation. With this piece of writing, a student gets his chance to be creative.

  16. Comparing and Contrasting: A Guide to Improve Your Essays

    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 ...

  17. 5 Compare and Contrast Essay Examples (Full Text)

    A compare and contrast essay selects two or more items that are critically analyzed to demonstrate their differences and similarities. Here is a template for you that provides the general structure: Here's an Editable Copy of This Template you can Have A range of example essays is presented below. Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

  18. Compare and Contrast Essay: Topics, Outline, Examples

    March 6, 2023 11 min read Share the article Compare and contrast essays are academic papers in which a student analyses two or more subjects with each other. To compare means to explore similarities between subjects, while to contrast means to look at their differences.

  19. Your Ultimate Guide to Compare and Contrast Essays

    Step 1 - Use a Venn Diagram for Brainstorming. To start, use a Venn diagram, two circles overlapping on a page. In one circle, jot down the things that your two subjects have in common. In the other circle, note down the aspects that make them different to clarify what the essay will compare.

  20. Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement Generator

    Step 3: Write Your Thesis Statement. Creating your thesis statement is the next step in writing your academic paper. The thesis statement is more important in the compare and contrast essay type than most other essay types. You must succinctly identify the distinction between the two objects, people, or ideas compared.

  21. 260 Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Students

    Scientific Topics for Compare and Contrast Essays. Microwave vs Oven. Chemistry vs Physics. Andromeda and Milky Way. What are the differences between Mars and Earth. Differences and similarities of the two moon missions. DaVinci vs Thomas Jefferson. Tsunami vs Earthquakes - what's the worse natural phenomenon.

  22. 80 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Kids and Teens

    Sep 28, 2022 In compare and contrast essays, writers show the similarities and differences between two things. They combine descriptive writing with analysis, making connections and showing dissimilarities.

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  24. Fans Compare Zendaya And Timothée Chalamet's Dune Premiere Outfits

    People Can't Get Over The Side-By-Side Contrast Between Zendaya's Iconic Mugler Robot Suit And Timothée Chalamet's Outfit At The "Dune: Part 2" London Premiere "Zendaya is absolutely someone you call to see what she's wearing before you get ready," one fan tweeted.