Compare and Contrast


1.       Compare and contrast high school with college from what you know already
2.       Compare and contrast two cultures you are familiar with (holidays, customs, and so forth)
3.       Compare and contrast two people you know personally (friends, teachers, parents, coaches, and so on)
4.       Compare and contrast two sports
5.       Compare and contrast two movies that are somewhat similar, such as two superhero movies likeIron Man and Spiderman, for example.
6.       Compare and contrast two places to eat
7.       Compare and contrast two places you have lived in or visited
8.       Compare and contrast two actors, performers, or styles of music
We will begin reading about the essay style that will be used for our next essay assignment: the comparison and contrast essay. Read about how comparison and contrast essays are written in your text. Comparing means “showing similarities”; contrasting means “showing differences.” In the comparison/contrast essay, you show similarities and differences between two (or more, but usually only 2) persons, ideas, theories, novels, movies, actions, or any other items for the purpose of making a point of some kind. Making a point is emphasized because the main purpose of this type of essay is to convince the reader of your thesis: A is better than B, A is more useful than B, A is more interesting than B, and so on. Never, EVER, write a thesis like “I will compare A to B” or anything like that because there is no “point” there. No thesis should have anything like what you intend to do in the paper anyway, but in a comparison/contrast paper, you need to have an opinion about the two.

You will write a five paragraph 1,000 word minimum essay in the comparison and contrast style.

For several reasons, the comparison-contrast essay requires a very strong control of the thesis in order to cover the complete assignment in the number of words assigned. You also have to know an equal amount about both subjects to keep the essay balanced. Finally, as stated above, your essay must have a point that goes beyond just the obvious one of comparing and contrasting. Many students miss the point here because they discuss the details of two items but leave out a controlling thesis that unifies the essay, so the reader wonders why the essay was written in the first place.

Think about the sample thesis: “High school band was for me more interesting musically than college band has been.” The idea that the writer had in creating this thesis was not just to write about her experiences in high school and college bands, but to make a specific point regarding her attitudesabout them. The main phrase is “more interesting musically.” This is the idea that will control her whole essay and make her comparing and contrasting significant.


Once you have decided upon the two subjects you will compare and contrast, you must select a model to present your ideas in. There are three models for organizing a comparison/contrast essay.

The first model is called the “block” model. In this style, you introduce the subjects in your introduction, present all of your information about your first subject for comparison (called A), insert a transition, and then present all of your information about the second subject. Your fourth paragraph is a conclusion which ties the two subjects together. The outline would look like this:

I.             Introduction/Thesis Statement with CONTROLLING IDEA
II. A Topic:

1. fact #1 and support(s)

2. fact #2 and support(s)

3. fact #3 and support(s)

4. Transition
III. B Topic:

1. fact #1 and support(s)

2. fact #2 and support(s)

3. fact #3 and support(s).
IV. Conclusion, tying the two together, summarizing similarities and differences
Weaknesses of the Block Method:

There are only two body paragraphs, so it does not follow the traditional five paragraph model for essays. Additionally, it is easy to have an unbalanced essay if more is said about A than B. The same topics must be discussed in both the A half and the B half. For example, if you are comparing two places, and you mention the weather in Place A, you should mention the weather of Place B as well. Lastly, this type of essay organization often lacks sufficient detail.

The second method is called the similarities/differences model. This model is more unified because both subjects are discussed in each body paragraph. This model may be appropriate if there are about the same number of similarities as there are differences. Paragraphs should be balanced, so don’t use this method if there are more of one type than the other.

The Similarities and Differences outline looks like this:
I. Introduction/Thesis Statement with CONTROLLING IDEA
II. Similarities that Topic A and B Share:
1. Topic sentence indicates similarity
2. Similarity #1 and support(s)
3. Similarity #2 and support(s)
4. Similarity #3 and support(s)
5. Concluding sentence for this section
6. Transition
III. Differences between A and B:
1. Topic sentence illustrates the differences
2. Difference #1 and support(s)
3. Difference #2 and support(s)
4. Difference #3 and support(s)
5. Concluding sentence for this section
IV. Conclusion that unifies the Essay, summarizing main points

The third and final model for organizing the Comparison/Contrast essay is the “Point by Point” method. This is the most unified method and possibly the most difficult. It is the most sophisticated and successful approach, however. It also fits into the traditional five paragraph essay format. In this method, you present your topics of comparison/contrast in each body paragraph, and give the similarities and differences in your subjects A and B. The outline looks like this:

I. Introduction/Thesis Statement with CONTROLLING IDEA

II. Point #1
1. Topic sentence indicates the first issue for comparison
2. Similarities of A and B on this issue and support(s)
3. Differences of A and B on this issue and support(s)
4. Concluding sentence on this issue
5. Transition

III. Point #2
I. Topic sentence indicates the second issue for comparison
2. Similarities of A and B on this issue and support(s)
3. Differences of A and B on this issue and support(s)
4. Concluding sentence on this issue
5. Transition

IV. Point #3
1. Topic sentence indicates the third issue for comparison
2. Similarities of A and B on this issue and support(s)
3. Differences of A and B on this issue and support(s)
4. Concluding sentence on this issue
5. Transition

V. Conclusion, summarizing your discussion and adding a final thought

First, choose the two subjects being compared and contrasted. Don’t choose two subjects that are TOO alike or TOO different for a balanced comparison.

2.       Second, compose a thesis statement for your introduction that clearly states that a comparison will follow. Your introduction should indicate the type of essay you are writing. Don’t make it a surprise for your reader to find out later!
3.       Freewrite or brainstorm ideas to generate as many points of comparison and contrast as you can think of. You can decide later on which ones you want to use in the essay.
4.       Choose the model you wish to use of the three in this packet.

5.       Organize the points you want to make and the supporting ideas into the model chosen.
6.       Write a rough draft, using appropriate transition expressions (you have a transition list already).

7.       Revise as necessary, checking for enough supporting details.
8.       Proofread for errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and other mechanics.
9.       Write your final copy.

Learning Object Info: Comparison and Contrast   Type: HTML   Submitted By: Meri Rogoff
Introductions and Conclusions for C/C


Take a look at the following three introductions, and then we’ll discuss their strong and weak points and rank them. They were all written by students in a Freshman Composition class.

A. Attending different types of colleges and universities allows one to experience the differences and similarities between them. One always favors one college over the other for some reason. To me, this college is better than Cal State.

B. When I filled out the application to emigrate to the United States, I was mentally and financially desperate. With a father in a concentration camp, it was impossible for me to have a normal life. Ten years later, owing to changes in the Communist policy, I could find a suitable job and live a comfortable life. Then, I received permission to leave for the United States. My dilemma could not be compared to Hamlet’s, but it gave my “grey cells” [means my brain] intense work. I have been in America for over a year, and looking back at my life in Vietnam, I can see three major differences with my life in America now.

C. I still vividly remember life in Vietnam. After living under the communist government in Vietnam for more than five years, my family and I managed to escape from Vietnam in 1980. Having the opportunities to live in two different countries allows me to draw distinct differences between them. I find that life in the United States provides people more of the opportunity to lead a happier life than in Vietnam.


A. In conclusion, different schools have different ways to teach the students. Furthermore, these ways of teaching then create different responses and feelings from the students. [some summarizing of her major comparisons here was taken out for brevity] I have to look for differences to evaluate one school from another. In my mind, this school is always superior in terms of the three differences. However, even if the other college is not as good as this school, I still did learn something from it. I learned that I must pick out the categories I prefer when I compare different schools. This allows me to choose the right school which fits my requirements. I don’t like toughness and challenges. I like easiness and warmth from a school. Therefore, these are the traits I must look for in the school I plan to attend in the future.

B.I chose to come to the United States knowing the awaiting difficulties. Although my objective comparison of the two ways of life seems to indicate that I led an easier life in Vietnam than in America, it does not mean that I regret my decision. Living in America an experience that enriches my life, and experience that I would not like to have missed.

C. Many people all over the world know that the US government provides its people with freedom, a guarantee of basic human rights, and an adequate infrastructure. However, they do not have the opportunity to become US citizens. Although there are problems in the US, such as the rising crime rate, it is purely minute compared to the crime which the Vietnamese government commits against its people every day. Being a US citizen, I am fortunate enough to become one of the members of the great nation. I appreciate all the opportunity available to me since the day I arrived here.



Order This Paper Now