Comper And Contrast Essay

Students like writing compare and contrast essays as they have enough space for creativity. Such papers allow expressing your thoughts regarding some contradictive issues. It makes more fun to draw a parallel between two people or objects instead of describing a single issue.

It does not mean, however, that compare and contrast essay is an easy assignment to complete. There are so many possible compare and contrast essay topics, and some of them are hard to carry out.

Keys to Writing Compare & Contrast Essay

Before you start, it is crucial to choose topics that you really know well. Most often, you should find two things that have enough differences and similarities. You can take two pets, cats and dogs, while comparing a food (i.e., banana) with music (i.e., hard rock) basically, makes no sense.

Of course, if you're a part of Arts class where tutor appreciates uncommon parallelism, you may try your luck in your compare and contrast essay. You may talk about a sense of taste and the book of your favorite author. For instance, you may try to explain how it tastes to be Dracula. Or you can highlight how it smells to be Jean-Baptiste Grenouille from famous novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. Such creative comparisons are often appreciated and awarded with more than "A." Original and unexpected compare and contrast essay topics serve as your ticket to special universities where Arts are studied. Along with a personal statement written by professional writers, such essay will increase your chances to get enrolled.

Sources to be Used

In any case, writing about things to compare and contrast is an activity which requires your full attention and creativity. But when you have to compare things objectively, you should operate facts. Just like an argumentative essay, your text will need corresponding evidence. Search for the primary and secondary sources on the given topics before you start your first draft. Make sure these sources are no older than 5 years. They should be as relevant as possible. Don't forget to apply only credible sources to reveal your topics. Those are:

  • Textbooks
  • Books
  • Documentaries
  • Academic journals
  • Scientific magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Official reports

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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

The traditional essay tips won't work with compare and contrast paper. We have gathered the best ideas online to share with students. If you write such assignment for the first time in your school or college life, read information from us.

You need to keep in mind the most common writing mistakes school and college students make to avoid them.

Start with the type of your compare and contrast essay topic. The topics are divided into 4 different groups:

  • Events (point to the differences and similarities of some historical events or episodes from the book)
  • Situations (choose to compare two different cases or episodes from your life)
  • People or fiction characters (choose the story)
  • Places (describe different locations)

No matter what comparison and contrast topics you write on, you need to keep to the traditional structure of the academic paper.

Start with a capturing and interesting hook. Outline what your topic is. Point to the main argument of your topic known as a thesis statement. This sentence or two usually come in the last sentence of your first paragraph.

  • Developing your arguments

You need to research your topic to choose three claims. Include evidence with the supporting points next to each argument. There should be up to three supporting points in each body paragraphs.

  • Refuting opponent's arguments

This time, you need to research the topic to view the facts that contradict your thesis. It is important to choose at least one example and develop a paragraph with the counter-argument as well. Write down maximum two opposing views followed by a couple of your refutations.

Restate your thesis statement and stress why your side is right once again.

You can learn more information on the structure of five-paragraph paper online.

Writing Tips Used by Smart American College Students

Moreover, use such helpful words as "because,""for example," "the writer mentioned...," "according to the book/movie," "from the given reading, we know that...," "on the following page, I have found..."

Examples:

"Why do you believe Americans will win the next Olympic games?"

"According to the reading I have found in my college library, their team showed better results than Canadians during the last games."

  1. Check possible examples of compare and contrast essays when working in your hook sentence. It has a great influence on the reader's decision whether to read your text on a specific topic or not. You may add numbers, figures, facts - whatever to make your reader interested. On the whole, there are many types of hooks:
  • Anecdotes and jokes
  • Literary quotes
  • Quotes of famous people
  • Lines from poetry
  • Setting scenes
  • Scientific facts
  • Questions and rhetorical questions
  • Metaphors and similes
  • Thesis statements

We think it is better to write a thesis statement in the last sentence of the argumentative essay’s introduction to conclude.

  1. Brainstorm all the time. The best way to decide on two good compare and contrast topics to analyze is to brainstorm and write down possible versions on a blank paper. Once you choose the subjects, you have to organize your thoughts. Prepare a table where you will mention both similarities and differences between the two subjects.
  2. Get professional help and examples. Find online educational services which help to choose some good sources on the given topic. Those can be movies, books, articles, etc. It is the last pre-writing stage which is known as a literature review. School and college students conduct in-depth research to enrich their compare and contrast essay drafts with important details. If you miss any words to finish your essay, a literature review is a brilliant way to reach the necessary word count.
  3. Don't forget about the formatting and in-text citations. Apply direct and indirect quotes to make your text longer and more persuasive. Citations will serve as the strong evidence to support your compare and contrast topics.

It was just a short preview of every section of your compare and contrast paper in English. Selecting the proper topics might take a while if you don't have a list of sample topics in front of you. We are ready to share the best compare and contrast essay subjects with you right now. You may use any example as the subject for your comparative essay when the theme is not assigned to you.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for College Students

We have divided the topics into several categories to make it easier to select one. The list starts with the most relevant subjects college students usually discuss. Other categories are full of great ideas too.

  1. School vs. College: What's New?
  2. Students Who Work and Unemployed Students: Who Takes the Best of This Life?
  3. Research Paper and Essay: What Is More Responsible?
  4. American English vs. British English: Major Differences
  5. What Makes Education and Employment Similar?
  6. SAT and TOEFL: Differences and Similarities
  7. How Are Master Degree and Ph.D. different?
  8. Persuasive and Argumentative Paper: Different or the Same
  9. Traditional Education or Remote Learning?

History and Political Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. Comparison of Lincoln's and Washington' Ideas
  2. Renaissance vs. Baroque Epoch
  3. Anthropology vs. Religious Studies
  4. American Government vs. Soviet Government
  5. US President vs. UK Prime Minister
  6. North and South Before the Civil War in the US
  7. Henry VIII vs. King Louis XIV
  8. Fascism and Nazism: Different or the Same?
  9. World War I and World War II: Difference in Events

Compare and Contrast Topics for Beginners

  1. Compare Apple and Orange
  2. Night Time and Day Time: Advantages Each Period Has
  3. What Makes People Completely Different from Animals
  4. Living in Poverty and Being Rich
  5. Coffee and Tea: The Effects of Both
  6. Living in Big City or Staying in Village
  7. Feeling Sad against Feeling Lonely
  8. Differences and Similarities between American and British Traditional Dishes
  9. Camping in the Woods or Resting by the Sea?

Opposite Things to Compare and Contrast

  1. Females and Males
  2. Coke vs. Pepsi
  3. Red vs. White
  4. Country in War Compared to Country in Peace
  5. Driving a Car or Riding a Bus
  6. Love and Hatred
  7. Bad and Good Aspects of Overwork
  8. Moon and Sun
  9. Dolls or Soft Toys: What Should Parents Buy to Their Children?

Ideas Teenagers May Use in Their Papers

  1. Childhood vs. Adulthood
  2. Living at Home or Living on Campus
  3. Reading or Watching Screened Versions: What Teens Prefer
  4. Working in Office or Being a Freelancer?
  5. Academic Writing vs. Scientific Writing
  6. TV Shows and Radio Shows: What Is More Trendy?
  7. Education or Professional Career: What Is Easier and What Is More Difficult?
  8. Greek and Roman Culture: Differences and Similarities
  9. Comparing Art and Science Classes

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IT & Social Media Compare & Contrast Ideas

  1. E-mail or Traditional Mailing: What Will Happen in the Future?
  2. Online vs. Traditional Commerce
  3. Online Dating vs. Real-Life Relations
  4. Computer Games, Video Games, or Smartphone Games
  5. Choosing between New York Times and Forbes
  6. FaceBook or MySpace: Which Social Network Offers More Opportunities?
  7. Searching for Job Online or Traditionally?
  8. Using Online Writing Services against Traditional Writing Services
  9. Benefits Marketing Specialists Get from Using Online Advertising vs. Traditional One

Movie & Music Compare and Contrast Themes

  1. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer or Charmed?
  2. Books against Movies: Why Reading Is Preferred
  3. Jazz vs. Rock
  4. Sam vs. Frodo Baggins (Lord of the Rings)
  5. Gandalf vs. Dumbledore
  6. American Cinematography vs. Soviet Union Cinematography
  7. Thor and Loki: Friends or Enemies According to Movie of 2009?
  8. Horror Films and Thrillers: What's in Common?
  9. Harry Potter or Draco Malfoy?

Literature Compare & Contrast Ideas

  1. Comedy vs. Drama
  2. Greek vs. Roman Mythology
  3. Beauty and the Beast: Lessons Learned
  4. Prose or Lyrics: What People Prefer More and Why?
  5. Poetry of XIII Century and Nowadays Lyrics
  6. Shakespeare's Othello Compared to Hamlet
  7. Fiction or Non-Fiction Literature: When You May Need Different Types?
  8. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter: Which Fantasy Book Is Better?
  9. Literature of the Past against Literature of the Future

Scientific Compare & Contrast Ideas

  1. Oven vs. Microwave
  2. Physics vs. Chemistry
  3. Our Galaxy, Milky Way, and Andromeda, the Closest
  4. What Makes Earth Different from Mars
  5. First Mission to Moon and Second Visit: What Are the Differences and Similarities?
  6. Thomas Jefferson or DaVinci: Whose Innovations Matter More?
  7. Earthquakes or Tsunami: Which Consequences Are Worse?
  8. Limited Control Tools or Software with Fool Access to Navigation
  9. Formulas of Two Different Chemical Reactions

Popular Compare & Contrast Ideas

  1. Soccer vs. Football
  2. Chinese vs. Korean
  3. Public Opinion vs. Personal Point of View: Discuss Subjectivity & Objectivity
  4. Juice and Water
  5. Light Beer vs. Dark Beer: Which One Is More Popular?
  6. Anorexia Nervosa and Obesity: What Is More Dangerous?
  7. Marriage and Divorce: Two Sides of the Coin
  8. Windows or Linux: Paid vs. Free OS
  9. Marxism vs. Other Ideas of Capitalism

Philosophy Compare & Contrast Ideas

  1. Is Home Really a Better Place Than Miami Beach?
  2. Life and Death: Various Philosophical Views
  3. Living in Your Dreams or Living in Reality: Pros and Cons
  4. Friends and ... Where Is the Edge?
  5. Physical & Mental Needs of Human Beings
  6. Reality or Fantasy World?
  7. Main Philosophical Ideas of Macbeth against the Main Ideas of Hamlet
  8. Dogs and Humans: They Are More Similar Than We Think
  9. Sources with Free Access and Rights Reserved: Should We Protect Intellectual Property?
  10. Greek Philosophers vs. Roman Philosophers

Compare and contrast essay topics for college students might be tricky to choose. The whole process of academic writing is even longer and more complex. Online help from expert writers will save you a plenty of time. You just need to order a good essay from experts with the highest academic degrees in a variety of fields.

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Comparison and contrast are processes of identifying how ideas, people, or things are alike (comparison) and how they are different (contrast). Although you have probably been writing compare/contrast papers since grade school, it can be a difficult form to master.

Such assignments require you to move beyond mere description by thinking deeply about the items being compared, identifying meaningful relationships between them, and deciding which qualities are most significant. This process involves evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing your findings and presenting them in a meaningful, interesting, and logical way.

Structure

There are two general formats for compare and contrast papers:

1. The block, divided, or whole-to-whole format

Evaluates Subject A in its entirety and then Subject B in its entirety. This format can result in two separate papers, joined by an awkward transition. Follow the tips below to develop a seamless and unified paper using the block format:

  • Provide a clear introduction and thesis that not only spells out the major similarities and differences you will be discussing but that answers the question, “So what? ”
  • “Pepper” references to both topics throughout the paper, where appropriate.
  • Link the two sections with a strong transition that demonstrates the relationships between the subjects. Remind the reader of your thesis, summarize the key points you have made about Subject A, and preview the points you will be making about Subject B.
  • Conclude the paper by summarizing and analyzing the findings, once again reminding the reader of the relationships you have noted between Subject A and Subject B

2. The alternating, integrated, or point-by point comparison

Explores one point of similarity or difference about each subject, followed by a second point, and so on. Some pointers:

  • Provide a clear introduction and thesis that not only spells out the major similarities and differences you will be discussing but that answers the question, “So what? ”
  • To avoid creating a glorified list, synthesize and organize the material in a logical way.
  • Conclude the paper by summarizing and analyzing the findings, once again reminding the reader of the relationships you have noted between Subject A and Subject B.

Brainstorming

When we first begin thinking about a subject, we generally start by listing obvious similarities and differences, but as we continue to explore, we should begin to notice qualities that are more significant, complex, or subtle. For example, when considering apples and oranges, we would immediately observe that both are edible, both grow on trees, and both are about the size of a baseball. But such easy observations don't deepen our knowledge of apples and oranges. An interesting and meaningful compare/contrast paper should help us understand the things we are discussing more fully than we would if we were to consider them individually.

Selectivity: Sharpening the Focus

As you approach a compare/contrast paper, ask the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the assignment?
  • Which of the similarities and differences that I have observed are relevant to the assignment and the themes of the course? In an economics course, it might be appropriate to consider how the markets for apples and oranges have changed, which is more popular fruit and why, which is more expensive to produce, and so on. In a humanities course, it might be fruitful to consider why we seem to have so many more cultural references to apples than to oranges.
  • What is the most interesting basis of comparison for this topic? Of the similarities and differences that I have noted, which are obvious or merely descriptive, and which are significant? Which will lead to a meaningful analysis and an interesting paper?

Recognizing the Compare/Contrast Assignment

Some assignments use the words “compare, ” “contrast, ” “similarities, ” and “differences. ” Others may not use these terms but may nevertheless require you to compare and/or contrast. Still others may require comparison and/or contrast as only part of the assignment. Some examples:

  • Select two fast food chains and discuss the approaches they have used in gaining entry into the global marketplace.
  • How do the authors we have studied thus far define and describe racism?
  • Choose a theme, such as fellowship, faith, or hope, and consider how it is treated in the works of C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.
  • The analysis in Ronald Rogowski's book Commerce and Coalitions ends in the 1980s. Extend his analysis to two countries, Canada and a country of your choice, from 1990 to 2000. Using Rogowski's theory, predict how the change in exposure to international trade should affect political conflict in Canada and the country you chose.
  • Analyze the various data security options available to online businesses and recommend one to your boss, Sally Simple, President of Simply Simple, Inc.
  • I want to invest in satellite radio. Which is the better choice: Sirius or XM?

Transitional Markers to Indicate Comparison and Contrast

Transitional markers are words or phrases that show the connections and relationships among ideas. They are often placed at or near the beginning of a sentence or paragraph. There are many such words, but here are some of the most useful terms:

Words to indicate comparison: in comparison, similarly, likewise, in the same way, parallel to, correlate, identically, akin to, consistent with, also, too, analogous to, correspondingly

Words to indicate contrast: in contrast, however, on the other hand, nevertheless, although, counter to, on the contrary, conversely, rather than, in opposition to, opposite of Sample Introductory Paragraph

Below is a sample of an introduction from a literary compare and contrast paper written by student Kate James: (Some of the terms she uses to indicate comparison and contrast are in boldface.)

Because America itself is still a relatively young nation, its poetry, too, lacks the years of history and growth that have defined the voices of other nations. However, within the past century, American poetry has developed into a distinctive and accomplished art of its own. The creation of this poetic voice is often attributed to Walt Whitman, who has been coined “the father of American poetry.” His revolutionary style and untraditional subject matter, exemplified in his renowned poem “Song of Myself,” have paved the way for future generations of American writers. Furthermore, his unique use of the line and breath has had a great influence on many poets' own work, particularly the writing of the more contemporary poet Allen Ginsberg, whose controversial poem “Howl” echoes many of the characteristics of Whitman's verse. However, while the form and content of “Howl” may have been influenced by “Song of Myself,” Ginsberg's poem signifies a transformation of Whitman's use of the line, his first-person narration, and his vision of America. As Whitman's sprawling lines open outward in the voice of a cosmic speaker who creates a positive view of America, Ginsberg's poem does the opposite, using long lines that close inward to mimic the suffocation and madness that characterize the vision of America that he presents through the voice of a prophetic speaker.

*Thesis Statement

After she developed the introduction and thesis, Kate had to decide which format would be most effective for organizing her argument and proving her thesis. One way to decide which structure to use is to create outlines that visually organize the information:

Sample Block Format Outline

  1. Introduction/thesis
  2. Poets' Use of Line
  3. Voice of First Person Speaker
  4. Vision of America
  5. Discussion/analysis
  6. Conclusion

Sample Integrated Format Outline

  1. Introduction/thesis
  2. Whitman's “Song of Myself”
    • Use of Line
    • Voice of First Person Speaker
    • Vision of America
  3. Ginsberg's “Howl”
    • Use of Line
    • Voice of First Person Speaker
    • Vision of America
  4. Discussion/analysis
  5. Conclusion

In this case, Kate decided that the integrated format would be more effective because it allowed for the side-by-side analysis of passages that illustrated the three primary qualities that she noticed in the poems.

Sample Paragraph in the Block Format

In the following paragraph from “American Space, Chinese Place, ” writer Yi-Fu Tuan fully discusses space in America before turning to an analysis of place in China:

Americans have a sense of space, not of place. Go to an American home in exurbia, and almost the first thing you do is drift toward the picture window. How curious that the first compliment you pay your host inside his house is to say how lovely it is outside his house! He is pleased that you should admire his vistas. The distant horizon is not merely a line separating earth from sky, it is a symbol of the future. The American is not rooted in his place, however lovely: his eyes are drawn by the expanding space to a point on the horizon, which is his future. By contrast, consider the traditional Chinese home. Blank walls enclose it. Step behind the spirit wall and you are in a courtyard with perhaps a miniature garden around a corner. Once inside his private compound you are wrapped in an ambiance of calm beauty, an ordered world of buildings, pavement, rock, and decorative vegetation. But you have no distant view: nowhere does space open out before you. Raw nature in such a home is experienced only as weather, and the only open space is the sky above. The Chinese is rooted in his place. When he has to leave, it is not for the promised land on the terrestrial horizon, but for another world altogether along the vertical, religious axis of his imagination.

--from DiYanni, Robert and Pat C. Hoy. Frames of Mind. Thomson Wadsworth. 2005. p. 260

Sample Paragraph in the Alternating Format

In the book Oranges, author John McPhee wanted to help readers appreciate the difference between Florida and California oranges. Here's a sample paragraph from the book:

An orange grown in Florida usually has a thick and tightly fitting skin, and is also heavy with juice. Californians say that if you want to eat a Florida orange you have to get into a bathtub first. California oranges are light in weight and have thick skins that break easily and come off in hunks. The flesh inside is marvelously sweet, and the segments almost separate themselves. In Florida, it is said that you can run over a California orange with a ten-ton truck and not even wet the pavement. The differences from which these hyperboles arise will prevail in the two states even if the type of orange is the same. In arid climates, like California's, oranges develop a thick albedo, which is the white part of the skin. Florida is one of the two or three most rained-upon states in the United States. California uses the Colorado River and similarly impressive sources to irrigate its oranges, but of course irrigation can only do so much. The annual difference in rainfall between the Florida and California orange-growing areas is one million one hundred and forty thousand gallons per acre. For years, California was the leading orange-growing state, but Florida surpassed California in 1942, and grows three times as many oranges now. California oranges, for their part, can safely be called three times as beautiful.

--from DiYanni, Robert and Pat C. Hoy. Frames of Mind. Thomson Wadsworth. 2005. p. 260

Fran Hooker & Kate James, Webster University Writing Center, 2007

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