The very basics of a compare and contrast essay

Learning how to write a compare and contrast essay is a must-have thing for many college learners. Dealing with such a task helps them to develop and improve vital skills, including scientific argumentation, critical reasoning and organized, systematic writing. The best essays of this type feature a clear objective, such as dropping light on rather a complex idea or clearing up misconceptions regarding a difficult theme. Another purpose might be depicting how one subject is better than another or perhaps highlighting a fresh approach to thinking about anything. The individual assignment certainly varies, and each should come with its own thing. Pay much attention to the rubric, as it will outline what your advisor is actually looking for, and ensure you understand the task before you start. If you have a question about it, feel free to ask your advisor for help.

The compare and contrast essay format has much common with other essay types. The author requires stating a thesis in the introduction, arguing the thesis in the body, and then forming a conclusion. However, with this type of essay, the key objective is to demonstrate how one subject is similar to another or how it’s different. In other words, you’re expected to compare and contrast them. Such an essay needs upfront planning to ensure the author boasts a firm grasp on both subjects. One way to plan for a compare and contrast paper is to make a Venn diagram to illustrate how two subjects are similar and different.

You might find that you require creating several of these diagrams before you know for sure what your thesis is and also what your two subjects are. You should be open to different possibilities. The first two subjects you diagram might not be the ones you’d like to compare and contrast in your essay, but making that diagram might give you some useful ideas.

It would also be a good thing to make an outline before you start writing. The outline is just like a template, which you can follow to keep your essay on track throughout the entire writing process, and it should come with the introduction, body paragraphs, to say nothing of the conclusion.

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It’s time to start compare contrast essay

Well, you’ve just compared and contrasted your subjects with the help of a diagram, drafted a thesis, collected some supporting evidence, and made an essay outline, and now you’re ready to get started writing.

To start a compare and contrast essay, you should write a solid introduction, transitioning into a clear and specific thesis sentence. Your introductory paragraph needs to outline the theme you want to cover and provide insight into your key idea. Apparently, it should mention what actually matters—the people, events, ideas or other subjects you’re going to compare and contrast in the body of your paper.

In the introduction, you’re expected to include the necessary background information. It’s up to you to make your introduction exhaustive and brief. Before stating your thesis, you need to provide a preview of your supporting arguments as well as positions, as your audience should understand why your subject is worth comparing and contrasting.

Pay attention to the structure of your paper and ensure it’s balanced enough. For example, if the whole paper will be three pages long, you don’t need to spend two of them on the introduction.

How to write comparison and contrast essay

Your introduction needs to be ended with a thesis sentence. It will enable your readers to grasp your opinion of the compared subject matters. Moreover, it will logically draw their attention to the major idea.

In the thesis, you need to provide one idea or a statement, which could unite both subject matters. Even if you have spotted more differences than similarities between your subject matters, you require finding at least one element they have in common and include this stuff as part of your key idea.

In the body, you should provide as much support for your thesis as possible. In fact, support can come in the form of research results, statistics, interviews or other sources. Some authors prefer mentioning the evidential base in the thesis, while others prefer waiting until the body of the paper.

Draw a conclusion at the end of your paper based on the similarities and differences you have already presented throughout the essay. The conclusion needs to introduce any new ideas, but it should bring closure to your paper.

A bunch of worthy topic ideas for your comparison essay

A really good compare and contrast essay topic often comes with such words as “versus” or “or.” The given words might be useful in the paper’s title too. Here below you’ll see a list of potential compare and contrast essay topics. Ten of these sample topics come with “vs.” in their title, while ten boast “or,” thus clearly indicating that the resulting papers will either compare and contrast two absolutely different subjects or clarify two positions on the same subject.

  • Abortion: Life Saver or Death Sentence
  • Homeopathy: Self-Deceptiveness or Real Treatment
  • Online Courses: Waste of Time or a Key to Better Future
  • Energy Drinks: Mind Boosters or Soft Drugs
  • Putin vs. Obama
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Sylvester Stallone
  • Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris
  • Religion: Vestige of the Past or Salvation of Nations
  • Online Communication: Real Friendship or Just Illusion of Emotional Bond
  • Steve Jobbs vs. Bill Gates
  • Napoleon vs. Kutuzov
  • Jesus vs. Thor
  • Cell Phones: Vital Gadget or a Deadly Threat
  • Edward Snowden vs. Julius Caesar
  • Dita von Tease vs. Bettie Page
  • Nikola Tesla vs. Thomas Eddison
  • Plural Marriage: Way Out of Underpopulation or Flashback to Barbarian Times
  • GMO: Famine Problem Solution or Poison
  • Orwell vs. Huxley
  • International Monetary Fund: Long-Awaited Investments or a Debt Trap

How to pick up essay topics

Let’s assume you’ve been assigned to discuss energy drinks. Your essay is normally expected to clarify two positions on this stuff.

Energy drinks: mind boosters or soft drugs

Energy drinks in aluminum cans appear to be relatively new for humankind, though stimulating substances were utilized centuries before aluminum cans appeared. Today, energy drinks seem to be a good remedy for learners during exams, night clubbers dancing all night long, white collar employees during deadline periods, drivers, sportsmen heading toward a record and basically everybody who is dog-tired and needs to stay awake and work very hard. You just drink a can to be ready to go for several hours afterward.

The producers of energy drinks ascertain that the stimulation effect of their products is absolutely healthy, so they carry on making new energy drinks all the time. However, it sounds suspicious that legislators keep going after them. So, it’s time to answer the question whether energy drinks happened to be mind boosters or just soft drugs.


  • They drastically enhance our brain activity when required.
  • The energy-boosting effects of coffee last approximately 1-2 hours, while energy drinks can support us for 3-4 hours. Furthermore, most of them turn to be aerated, which makes them work faster, while coffee doesn’t ensure the same treatment.
  • The aluminum can enable you to consume an energy drink in nearly any situation: on the dance floor, in the car, in the school library, etc. Unfortunately, tea and coffee aren’t always so portable.


  • You require drinking no more than two cans of an energy drink every day. Drinking more than that increases your risk of elevated blood pressure. It also generates high blood sugar levels.
  • It has been told that energy drinks provide you with energy, but it’s not true indeed. They just act as a key to your own inner energy reserves, assisting you to tap into your naturally stored energy. Unfortunately, you’ll pay the price for this. Get ready to face weariness, insomnia, peevishness, not to mention depression.
  • The caffeine in energy drinks builds up a strong addiction in case of drinking more than two cans a day. Additionally, it exhausts your nervous system.


Evidently, there’s nothing healthy about these drinks. Their contents don’t differ a lot from coffee, tea and cocoa. Furthermore, they exhaust our energy reserves. Nevertheless, these drinks can act as effective mind boosters in critical situations.