When hearing the words “Comparative Analysis,” students may feel uncomfortable. However, all it’s really asking you to do is compare and contrast two things, an action we perform every day! A good compare and contrast essay doesn’t only reveal/show how the subjects are similar or different (or even both!). It is needed to make a consequential argument about things that were compared and contrasted.
Table Of Contents
Things to Compare And Contrast
These are common compare and contrast essay topics.
- 20th Century vs. 21st Century
- Adolf Hitler vs. Joseph Stalin
- Creationism vs. Science
- High School vs. College
- Apple vs. Microsoft
- Female friend vs. Male Friend
- Cats vs. Dogs
These are just some examples of good Compare And Contrast topics you might be asked to write about in your high school or college classrooms, but there are infinitely many others!
Scientific Compare & Contrast Topics
- Grill vs. Microvawe
- Math vs. Physics
- Earthquake or Tsunami: what's worse?
- Mars vs. Pluto
- Albert Einstein vs. Nikola Tesla
Literature Compare & Contrast Topics
- Comedy vs. Tragedy
- Prose vs. Lyrics
- Shakespeare vs. Hemingway
- Modern Literature vs. Postmodern Literature
- Lord Of The Rings vs. Harry Potter
Movie and Music Compare & Contrast Topics
- Rock vs. Rap
- Batman vs. Superman
- Sherlock Holmes vs. Moriarty
- Horror Movies vs. Comedy
- Harry Potter vs. Draco Malfoy
Constructing an argument
Choose two things that can be compared and contrasted
The first thing you need to do to write an outstanding compare and contrast essay is to pick two topics, themes, ideas, etc. that are different enough to be compared. There are few things you should consider when choosing your subject.
- You can pick fine topics that are in the same “category” but have differences that are notable. For example, between “Windows vs. MacOS” or “McDonald's vs. Subway.”
- You can choose two subjects that might appear identical but are actually different. For example “fifty shades of gray book vs. film.”
Make sure that your topic can be discussed in a meaningful way
You can’t just write “So here is subject A and subject B: they differ”. Try to show them why it’s appropriate and engaging to put these two subjects together.
- If you felt like you have learned something new after comparing and contrasting, then you have spent your time efficiently.
Brainstorm your topic
Spend some time brainstorming about how your chosen subjects, topics, themes, etc. are same and different. It will probably help you see which points are dominant ones you want to focus on.
- It can be a valuable tool when brainstorming. In the middle area of the overlapping circles write similar things. In the outer edges of the circles, you write what is different.
- Likewise, you can just write out a list of all qualities or characteristics of each subject. As soon as you’ve done that, that both subjects share. Major points of difference are also good to take into account.
Look at your main points
Choose a few points that seem to be especially important. Don’t try to provide your audience with a list of everything in which topics of consideration are similar and/or different in your essay.
For example, if you are comparing Apple vs. Microsoft, you might notice that they are the two most competitive companies in the field of computing software tools. They have different prices for their products, use different Operating Systems, and their product lines are different as well. These are points of contrast (ways they are different).
One of the similarities between these companies is based on their founders; they are both founded on the ideas of genius self-motivated businessmen. Co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is a worldwide respected man for achieving his dream of putting computers on billions of desks, and also as a philanthropist. Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, is also an insightful businessman and an open-minded genius Another sameness between the two is the production of media players, which are portable, and Smartphones. These are points of comparison (ways they are similar).
Build a thesis
Building a good thesis is crucially important. In compare and contrast essay it should always make an argument that explains why it’s necessary to put these two subjects face to face. You can use this as a base for your thesis:
- Show readers why one subject is more engaging than the other.
- Help readers make a meaningful comparison between two subjects
- Show readers how two subjects are similar and different.
How to Systemize your Essay
There are several methods to organize your essay. Choose one that works best with your ideas.
- Subject by subject: Start with saying everything you have about the first subject your discussion, and as you have done this you can move on and make all the points you want to make about the second.
- Point by point: In this method, you need to discuss how a certain point of comparison/contrast relates to all the items you are discussing. Then repeat it with another point.
Introduction. In a superior introduction you need to present all basic information about the subjects to be compared and contrasted. Moreover, you will talk about (i.e., what you are going to discuss and why your audience should care).
Body Paragraphs. In this section, provide the details and evidence that support your claims. Each different section or body paragraph should provide and analyze evidence.
Conclusion. Summarize all presented evidence. Restate the thesis, but keep one thing in your mind: your readers don’t need you just to rewrite or reword your original thesis. Take it to another level!
Outline your body paragraphs based on subject by subject comparison:
- introduction of general topic
- specific topic
- areas to be covered in this essay
- Topic 1
- Aspect 1
- Aspect 2
- Aspect 3
- Topic 2
- Aspect 1
- Aspect 2
- Summary of main points
- Evaluation and/or possible future developments
Outline your body paragraphs based on point by point comparison:
- introduction of general topic
- specific topic
areas to be covered in this essay
- Topic 1 - Aspect 1
- Topic 2 - Aspect 1
- Topic 1 - Aspect 2
- Topic 2 - Aspect 2
- Topic 1 - Aspect 3
- Topic 2 - Aspect 3
- Summary of main points
- Evaluation and/or possible future developments
The format of the comparison and contrast essay is actually unique in the fact that it doesn’t have a linear path. Most 5 paragraph essays have to be written in the 1-3-1 format which obviously includes the intro, 3 bodies and the conclusion. The cool thing about the comparison essay is that of the essay. In this case, you can choose between having 2 or 3 body paragraphs with the outlines looking accordingly:
2 Body Paragraph Style
- Similarities vs. Differences
- 1st body paragraph talks about the similarities between both subjects
- 2nd body paragraph talks about the differences between both subjects
- Point A > Point B
- Body 1 picks Topic A then gives all information and analysis about A
- Body 2 picks Topic B then gives all information and analysis about B
Generally, if you are interested in being very straightforward or just are purely trying to get the essay finished swiftly and efficiently, then this would be your go-to-method. However, if it’s not 3 am the night before the due date, read on to learn about a more creative and exciting format: the 3 body style!
3 Body Paragraph Style
The 3 body paragraph style is the subject to subject style. It gives the reader a specific subject in each paragraph and either offers a comparison or a contrast of the subject between topics A + B. The good outline would look something like this:
- Subject 1: Comparison or Contrast about Topic A + B using subject 1
- Subject 2: Comparison or Contrast about Topic A + B using subject 2
- Subject 3: Comparison or Contrast about Topic A + B using subject 3
Make sure your essay has some diversity; make sure to at least use 1 or 2 subjects for your contrast. It is a Compare AND Contrast essay after all.
Putting all pieces together
Come up with a title.
A good essay title should preview something about the paper’s content or theme you are going to discuss. Depending on your target audience, of your main point.
Take a break
Take a step back from your essay for a day or two. Then, come back to it with a fresh head. You’ll find it much easier to see gaps in your logic or organizational mistakes.
Review your essay
- Make sure that ideas in your essay flow smoothly
- Check out for any grammatical errors, repetitive ideas, unnecessary sentences, etc.
As soon as you have done all the preparations and checkings, you can start to write your masterpiece.
Here we got some connectors to simplify your writing process
Connectors that show contrast (difference)
Connectors that show comparison (similarities)
Here we have some really good examples of a compare and contrast essay
Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team
If you’ve ever written an AP or an IB exam, you know that knowing the compare and contrast essay structure is critical. As the article mentions, a Venn Diagram is an excellent way to get a hang of this structure and use it in your writing. If you are comparing two pieces of literature, then the easiest way to do it is to first talk about one book or poem, then discuss its similarities with another piece, and then discuss the other novel. My advice for you is to draft an actual Venn diagram before writing your compare and contrast essays. After you do a Venn diagram, create an outline with the middle of your Venn diagram in the middle of your essay. As the article states, make sure to group each idea as a paragraph and isolate them. In an essay like this, it is easy to repeat yourself. You can prevent that by prewriting and making your comparison very apparent.
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Compare And Contrast Essay Topics List
In choosing the compare and contrast essay topics the writer ought to identify topics that they can explore comfortably. Merely mentioning the similarities and differences is not enough if one cannot analyze the main ideas.
100 Topics for compare and contrast essay:
- Sports-American football vs. rugby
- Sports: Indoor and outdoor games
- Art- Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Go
- Art: Cubism and Abstract art
- War: WWI and WWII
- Nursing homes and assisted care living facilities
- Writing: Alice Walker vs. Margaret Atwood
- Writing: autobiography and nonfiction work
- Criminal justice for delinquents: Rehabilitation and juvenile incarceration
- Poetry versus prose
- Pizza hut and domino pizza
- Business: Doing business in America versus doing business in China
- Family: Nuclear family versus extended family
- Economy: Top paying jobs twenty years ago versus today
- Private schools versus Public schools
- Undergraduate versus Graduate studies
- Areas: Small towns versus rural areas
- Movies: Captain America I versus Captain America II
- Education: Online education versus traditional face to face industry
- Energy: Conventional oil drilling versus Shale oil drilling
- Education: American education system versus Canada education system
- Whistleblower: Edward Snowden versus Julian Assange
- Benito Mussolini versus Joseph Stalin
- Language: Brazilian Portuguese versus European Portuguese language
- Language: Canadian language versus Australian English
- People: Guajarati people in Eastern Africa versus Gujarati people in Southern Africa
- Country: Bangladesh versus Pakistan
- Political Philosophers and theorists: Thomas Hobbes versus John Locke
- Presidents: Bill Clinton versus George W Bush
- Philosophers Plato versus Socrates
- Political affiliation: Democrats versus Republicans
- North America versus South America
- Medicine: complementary medicine versus modern medicine
- Religion: Catholicism versus Protestantism
- Social welfare system: Scandinavian welfare system versus American welfare system
- Political system: American political system versus Canadian political system
- Newspaper: Washington Post versus Washington Times
- Artists: Picasso versus Leonardo da Vinci
- Bluegrass music versus Rhythm and blues music
- Autocracy versus dictatorship
- Bulimia versus anorexia
- Dementia versus multiple sclerosis
- Korean War versus Vietnam War
- Democracy versus dictatorship
- Facebook versus snap chat
- The Bible versus the Torah
- The New Testament versus the Old Testament
- Formula One versus Motor GP
- Buying a home and renting
- Immigration versus emigration
- Karl Marx versus Friedrich Hegel
- Working at home and working in an office
- Psychology and sociology
- Apple Inc versus Microsoft
- Television and newspaper
- Government control versus regulation
- Widowed parents versus single parents
- Smartphone and tablets
- Michael Jackson versus Prince
- The 1960’s and the 2010’s
- Team sports versus individual sports
- Tennis versus ping pong
- Macbeth versus Hamlet
- Coke versus Pepsi
- Stocks versus Bonds
- Wind power versus solar power
- Communism versus capitalism
- Monopoly power versus oligopoly
- Greek versus Egyptian mythology
- Standup comedy versus drama
- Spain versus Portugal
- Comic books versus novels
- Offense versus defense
- Preference versus discrimination
- Dislike versus love
- Political leader versus manager
- Public organizations versus private companies
- Weeds versus flower
- Printed books versus eBook
- Amazon versus Alibaba
- Winter versus Summer
- Manufacturing jobs versus service sector jobs
- Wooden houses versus story buildings
- Volcanoes versus earthquakes
- Hinduism versus Buddhism
- Coffee versus tea
- Donkey versus zebra
- Debit cards versus credit cards
- Al Qaeda versus the Islamic State
- Marriage versus civil union
- Dogs versus wolves
- Canadian legal system versus US legal system
- Endocrine system versus nervous system
- Centrally planned economies versus mixed economies
- Detergent versus soap
- The East versus the west coast
- Online advertising versus television advertising
- Ancient Greek art versus Modern art
- Conventional car versus hybrid car
- Atlanta Falcons versus the New England Patriots
Purpose of a compare and contrast essay
The comparison-contrast essay examines the similarities and differences between two things, ideas, events, people, and concepts. To convince readers, you may highlight the similarities between different things, but the writer needs to contrast similar things. Besides pointing out the similarities and differences, there is also a need to plan and organize before beginning the writing process. The writer may also graphic organizer to identify the similarities and differences, which helps in organizing the ideas. The writer may use the block method to present the issues where ideas are presented in block, and the main points of the other idea are in a different block. Alternatively, you may choose a point-by point approach, where each paragraph explores a point and the supporting ideas.
There are various purposes of the compare contrast essay and one chooses topics where they can utilize rhetorical strategies. Evaluation is one of the main aims of these types of essays as you need to determine the items that are best and desirable, as the writer needs to identify the advantages and disadvantages. Another purpose is arguing a certain position as the student then evaluates different viewpoints and their relevance to their worldview or opinion. It may be necessary to liaise with others to identify the good compare and contrast essay topics. Another purpose is providing clarification since it is necessary to provide a clearer picture by comparing and contrasting different items, highlighting their relationship while being objective in the analysis.
Tips concerning topic choice
There are various compare and contrast essay topics that can be explored, and there distinct aspects:
- Brainstorm for ideas;
- Read previous essays to understand how writers present ideas;
- Read background information;
- Choose interesting topics that you are passionate about;
- Investigate previous ideas presented in compare and contrast essay topics;
- After picking the topics narrow down to those that are neither too broad nor too narrow;
- Seek assistance from other writers and instructors.