How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

how to write a compare and contrast essay paper

Writing Guidelines for Comparison and Contrast Essays

To write a compare and contrast essay you are are supposed to bring about the similarities and differences between any two objects; places, persons, work of art or literature or concepts.

The primary essence of writing a good comparison and contrast essay lies in the manner you bring about and analyze the similarities and dissimilarities between any two objects.

1. Introduction: How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay?

Choosing a Pattern

While there is no law about selecting one method over another, for longer essays you should possibly go with the alternating pattern. It is hard for the reader to keep hold of all the significant information about each side of your argument in lengthier discussions.

Tandem Pattern

For shorter essays, the tandem pattern will probably be the best choice. In this pattern you are required to separate the pros and cons under two different blocks.

For example, you are given to compare the main characters of Harry Potter and Twilight then you have to  list all the ways in which the protagonists are similar and different.

Alternating Pattern

If you are using the alternating pattern for your comparison then you need to run the comparisons back and forth in a repeated manner and will be including similarities and differences back and forth.

Using Quotes and Anecdotes

The introductory paragraph of your essay should open with a quote, anecdote or other interesting approach and should take your readers to the thesis statement.

2. Body Paragraphs: Handling Multiple Topics

Handling Multiple Topics Through Various Sections

A compare and contrast essay comprises of various topics  which help you in systematically arranging your comparison and contract arguments and analysis.

Section I: Paragraphs Supporting Topic 1

This section should consists of several paragraphs supporting and elucidating on the first topic. You are required to mention all similarities you find in the two areas between your subject of study. There should be at least three comparisons (essentially three short body paragraphs) in which you give an example of comparison from both areas.

Section II: Paragraphs Supporting Topic 2

In this section you pick another area of study and make comparison and contrast by high lighting the similarities and differences in 2 to 3 paragraphs.

Comparing and Contrasting the Main Arguments

The last paragraphs give a brief summary but not the concluding remarks from your perspective.

3. Conclusion

Sum Up Evidence and Arguments
  • With compare and contrast essays, the ending will be a lot like the introduction. You sum up what you just said.
  • You may find that a few points came up in writing that you had not put in your introduction.
Analyze Similarities and Differences
  • If this is not an in-class essay test, which you are writing for, you should try to set the essay aside after you finish, so you can get back to it later on with a fresher mind full of ideas.
  • You may come up with a small number of other bits and pieces you want to talk about on your compare or contrast record. You may come up with a better way to write your introduction or conclusion.

Additional Tips for Constructing Effective Comparing and Contrast Essays

Helpful Transition Words and Phrases

Make sure you use good transitional elements in your compare and contrast essay to help the readers understand more accurately the points that you have put forward.

Another point to ponder is that your topic sentences along with you thesis statement should be strong enough to give the readers an idea as to what you want to say in the rest of the paragraph or the essay as a whole.

The following transitional words and phrases can help you in formatting a better compare a contrast essay argument:


similar to




in the same way  compared to


even though


nevertheless conversely

at the same time

contrasted with

regardless despite


on the one hand

on the contrary



in like manner




in contrast



How to Support Your Point of View Effectively?

  • In general, we use comparison or contrast in nearly everything we do. When deciding what to eat, for example, we often choose between diet foods or foods full of calories.
  • An imperative point to bear in mind when writing compare and contrast essays is that many times writers use comparison or contrast to support a personal point of view.
  • Whenever likely and suitable, writers should support their own views. One of the prime challenges for a writer is to offer his or her own take on a topic.
  • You may feel that everyone else has already said everything there is to say about your subject. Do not be dispirited! Your own analysis is what holds worth and appreciation in the end.