A compare and contrast essay does exactly as it is called—it compares and contrasts two things or ideas, similar or different from one another. In a compare and contrast essay, you need to find the differences and similarities of the two subjects, then reflect on their importance in the larger picture. By doing this, you go beyond simply understanding the concepts, but actually analyze them in relation to one another and to the real world. Unlike your typical essay, a compare and contrast essay pits two things or ideas against each other. Oftentimes, the goal is to realize which the better choice is, but most of the time it is to find each of their strengths and weaknesses, or how they may even complement each other. Some examples of topics you may explore in a compare and contrast essay are:
- Homeschooling versus regular school
- Democracy versus communism
- Books versus movies
- Coca Cola versus Pepsi
How to write a compare and contrast essay is almost the same as writing a typical essay, in that it follows the same structure. The compare and contrast essay only differs in its thesis statement and main body because these are where the comparison and contrasting take place.
The thesis statement
The thesis statement of a compare and contrast essay should not just state what subjects will be compared, rather it should clearly state what aspects of the subjects will be compared and contrasted.
The main body
The main body is where you present your arguments—the similarities and differences. It can be organized in two ways:
- One way how to write the compare and contrast essay is by dividing the body according to the two subjects. In this style, you will discuss all the points or characteristics of the first subject before proceeding with the second subject. You compare and contrast the two subjects as you discuss the characteristics of the second subject.
- The second way to organize a compare and contrast essay is by dividing it according to the main points or the main characteristics that you will discuss. Here, you talk about the characteristic first, then talk about the first subject exemplifies this, then compare it with how the second subject does.
You will find that the second organizational style will have longer paragraphs than the first. Both of these work well, and the choice often depends on the writer’s preference or the requirements of the topic—there is no one way of how to write a compare and contrast essay.
The conclusion is where you reiterate your thesis statement and main points. Therefore, in a compare and contrast essay, this is also where you will recount your points about which aspects the two subjects are similar or different. This is just a guide on how to write a compare and contrast essay. This should give you an idea on how to start and organize your compare and contrast essay so that you can express yourself more clearly.
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