Compare and Contrast Essay (Examples, Structure, Topics) 2021

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Hey guys, it’s Vlad from EssayPro, and today we’re going to be covering a very common type of essay known as Compare and Contrast. This is an update to the article we made a couple of years ago, but with several improvements and way better examples. Let’s say I want to buy a new phone but I’m not sure if I want an Android or an iPhone. Most likely, I’ll go on YouTube and find the most trustworthy сompare and сontrast article to help me decide. These articles go over every aspect of each phone in detail, and can be very handy in helping you make a decision. Today’s topic, the compare and contrast essay, is not very different from those articles, except it’s based in academia. Like compare and contrast essays, these smartphone reviews go over several main points: the cost of the phones, their functionality, and things like efficiency and battery life.

Then, they evaluate both phones based on these main points of comparison. So, you’ll notice that at the end of each article you don’t get a clear answer like “The iPhone is better than Samsung, and that’s why you should buy it.” Instead they say something like: “If you want speed, efficiency, and a fluid user experience, get the iPhone. If you want longer life, reliability, and more functionality, go for the Samsung.” This shows how a compare and contrast essay is not supposed to sell you a product or an idea. It merely serves to study similarities and differences between two or more subjects. These works can range from simple 5-paragraph essays to full on dissertations comparing anything as simple as a Zara T-shirt to a Gucci T-shirt, or the economies of America versus Europe. Now that we have an understanding of what a compare and contrast essay is, let’s talk about some essentials.

Three key principles to remember when starting a compare and contrast essay are: 1. Look for objective points of comparisons or contrast. 2. Avoid biases and pre-established ideals. In other words, strictly look at the facts. 3. Make your findings presentable to any audience, whether they’re absolute experts or know absolutely nothing about your subject. They have to understand what you’re talking about. A good rule of thumb is to pick something relevant to our everyday life: think food, tech, the environment, music and so on.

This doesn’t mean that things like politics and space travel don’t have any good compare and contrast essay topics. It’s just going to be much harder to explain aerospace engineering without having your audience fall asleep. Pick something simple and you can’t go wrong. Here are some examples. Fruits and Vegetables; Street Markets vs Mass Produced; McDonald’s vs Burger King; Electric Cars vs Fuel Cars; The Beatles vs All the Other 60s Bands.

For the sake of simplicity, we have chosen to talk about Cars versus Bikes in the city. Now let’s Compare and Contrast. Let’s just brainstorm this out really quick. Cars versus bikes. Right off the top of my head I can assume that Bikes are: Inexpensive; Much easier to store; Can easily avoid traffic jams; Generally made for city use. Meanwhile, Cars: Require much higher maintenance; Require a garage to stay clean; Are also used for daily travel; Are generally much safer to ride than bikes.

If we look at both vehicles, they: Impact the owner’s lifestyle to a much greater extent than an electric scooter. Both incur costs such as covering constant maintenance and insurance. Also need you to be a good and sharp driver, especially with bikes. Force you to take on much more responsibility than public transport. Alright, here’s your essay structure in a nutshell: Cars Versus Bikes Lifestyle Aspect; Economic Aspect; “The City” Aspect.

Now I know this is a topic I can perform primary research on. I can write down prices for insurance, gas, and storage by just walking down the street. I can also interview both car and bike owners to see how their choice has affected their lifestyle. To find out which choice is better for my city, I have to evaluate how good the roads are, how many accidents we’ve had per year, and the ratio of bike accidents to car accidents. Primary research is usually the most reliable, if the source is reliable. So, if you’re making primary research, be sure to interview multiple people to get different perspectives. Now that you’ve got the research done, it’s time to focus on: Structuring Your Essay: Two Common Methods Compare and contrast essays are usually structured using the point by point method or the block method.

In the point-by-point method, your compare and contrast essay outline will look something like this: Introduction; Cars Vs Bikes: Lifestyle Aspect; Cars Vs Bikes: Economic Aspect; Cars Vs Bikes: “The City” Aspect; Conclusion. Basically, in one paragraph you discuss both subjects in relation to the topic sentence. So your first paragraph topic sentence will be “Motorbikes are more financially viable than cars”, and the rest of the paragraph will use research and statistics to prove that point. The Block Method on the other hand, will look something like this Introduction; Cars: Lifestyle, Economics, The City; Bikes: Lifestyle, Economics, The City; Cars and Bikes compared; Conclusion. The Block Method first discusses each subject thoroughly before jumping to the next. The third paragraph offers points of comparison and contrast. So, it is basically the opposite of the point-by-point method.

Fortunately, you have the option to pick which one suits you best, and structure your essay around it. Also, feel free to visit our blog for a better visual guide to these methods, and some free compare and contrast essay examples. Learning how to write a compare and contrast essay is a crucial step in your academic journey. After writing one, you’ll see them pop up everywhere. Those YouTube tech reviews will never be the same again.

Pick a topic relevant to your everyday life and you can’t go wrong. You can have loads of fun doing research, meeting new people and interviewing them, or you can stick to the casual JSTOR and Google Scholar approach. Remember that your audience may not be familiar with your topic. So when you’re editing your essay, focus on making the presentation simple, clear, and fun to read. Use the point-by-point or block method to structure your essay and you’ll nail it to the ground. If you have enough research under your belt, writing a compare and contrast essay will be like a walk in the park.

We hope you have found our guide useful and who knows, maybe you’ll become the next Marques Brownlee! If you enjoyed this article, please leave a like and subscribe to our blog, as we will have lots of academic guides popping up in the future. We also run a blog where you can get essay samples and steal interesting topics from us, but don’t worry we won’t tell anybody. Feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you want us to cover next time. Anyways guys, that’s my time, I gotta get out of here.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you on the next one – peace!

About Post Author

Professor Cram

Professor Lawrence Cram is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University working in the Department of Applied Mathematics. His interests include astronomy, mathematics, engineering, computing, and physics. Due to his extensive expertise, professor Cram has worked as a Professor of Physics at the University of Sydney and as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor at ANU during 2004-2012. In 2013, he retired as a Master, University House and Graduate House. In January 2014, he was appointed as an acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Charles Darwin University. Professor Cram is also a Fellow at the Royal Astronomical Society and the Australian Institute of Physics.
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