How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

Going to college is full of fun, and students enjoy their first days. Sadly, a day comes when a professor asks you to write a compare-and-contrast essay. The task is always challenging to students who have never submitted such an assignment before. Unlike other class-related works, a compare-and-contrast essay adheres to a particular style. Typically, this type of essay is meant to show the similarities and differences of a subject. For example, you could be asked to compare the democracy systems of Canada and the United States. If you are not pursuing a course in international relations, completing such a task may be complicated. Your worries end here because this article will take you through a comprehensive process of writing a compare and contrast essay.

Tips to Writing an Excellent Compare-and-Contrast Essay

  1. Comprehend the topic

Always start by understanding the question being asked. Many college students are quick to start writing before knowing their professor’s expectations when asking the question. Comprehending the subject may require you to read the instructions several times. Professionals recommend going through your prompt at least three times. The first time should involve reading quickly before doing it a bit slow the second time. For the third time, read slowly and pose questions. Ask yourself if you have entirely understood.

  1. Understand the elements of a compare and contrast essay

A compare-and-contrast essay has the introduction, body, and conclusion, just like the other essays. However, the process is different from others. In the introduction, you should include the following elements:

  1. An interesting title- People always read an article starting with its title. If your essay’s title lacks a captivating element, even your professor will find it boring to read. A good title should provoke new ideas.
  2. A captivating opening statement– Your introduction should also have an opening statement that motivates the reader to continue reading. The opening statement should appear on the first line of the introductory part.
  3. Background of the topic- The introduction should further tell the readers about your topic. Let the reader know the history of the subject that you are discussing. Do not compare anything in this section.
  4. Thesis statement- Your thesis statement appears at the end of the introduction. A thesis statement in a compare and contrast paper should highlight the similarities and differences of your subject without expounding it further. For example, suppose you are comparing democracy in the US and Canada; in that case, the following is a good thesis: Canada and the US allow ample freedom of expression and the rule of law, but the government structures differ.
  5. The body– like other essays, a comparison essay has this section, which discusses the subject comprehensively. The size of this part depends on the overall pages required. For example, if your work is a two-page paper, your body can only have three paragraphs.
  6. Conclusion- in the concluding part, connect your ideas. Concluding paragraphs always come last and do not require you to write everything about your paper; just mention the main ideas.
  7. Separate your ideas in the body paragraphs

After writing the introduction of your compare and contrast essay, you are now expected to explain in detail the topic you are discussing. Most of the time, college learners combine all the ideas in one paragraph. This approach confuses the readers. Your ideas discussed in the thesis statement should be broken down. Let’s use the US-Canada democracy systems as an example. In our thesis statement, we said that the two nations have ample freedom of expression. In your body section, you should discuss this aspect in the first paragraph.

Also, remember to compare the ideas. This means that if you are asked to compare and contrast the democratic state in the US and Canada, then you should show the status of democracy in each country in one paragraph. Do not contrast and compare within one paragraph.

The reader who goes through your paper should see that the essay has shown the similarities and differences of the topic you were discussing. In case you are asked to limit your writing to just two pages, you could choose to have one paragraph discussing the similarities then the other two showing the differences.


  1. Choose your favorite method of writing a compare and contrast essay
  • The point method: Writers who choose to write their compare and contrast essay using this method write about one point and proceed to the other.
  • The Block approach: In a block plan, writers take two ideas and compare them within one section before progressing. None of the two methods is better; everything depends on the instructions given by your professor or your preference.
  1. Synthesize your ideas

A good compare and contrast essay should have what they call a “flow.” In other words, one idea should lead to another. Experienced writers connect the ideas in the introduction. Instead of just summarizing your essay, you should show how each of the points discussed in the body section matters to the whole topic.

  1. Choose the correct transitional words

Nothing makes an essay more captivating than utilizing transitional words. The process of connecting ideas requires your understanding of some of these phrases. The most commonly used transitions include likewise, similarly, in contrast, and conversely. Let us apply one of the words. The US has a legal system that empowers citizens to access their rights. Similarly, Canada’s democracy is also based on the rule of law.



How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay




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Reference no: EM132069492