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Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay | Tips & Examples

Published on August 6, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

Comparing and contrasting is an important skill in academic writing . It involves taking two or more subjects and analyzing the differences and similarities between them.

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Table of contents

When should i compare and contrast, making effective comparisons, comparing and contrasting as a brainstorming tool, structuring your comparisons, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about comparing and contrasting.

Many assignments will invite you to make comparisons quite explicitly, as in these prompts.

  • Compare the treatment of the theme of beauty in the poetry of William Wordsworth and John Keats.
  • Compare and contrast in-class and distance learning. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach?

Some other prompts may not directly ask you to compare and contrast, but present you with a topic where comparing and contrasting could be a good approach.

One way to approach this essay might be to contrast the situation before the Great Depression with the situation during it, to highlight how large a difference it made.

Comparing and contrasting is also used in all kinds of academic contexts where it’s not explicitly prompted. For example, a literature review involves comparing and contrasting different studies on your topic, and an argumentative essay may involve weighing up the pros and cons of different arguments.

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hook to start a comparative essay

As the name suggests, comparing and contrasting is about identifying both similarities and differences. You might focus on contrasting quite different subjects or comparing subjects with a lot in common—but there must be some grounds for comparison in the first place.

For example, you might contrast French society before and after the French Revolution; you’d likely find many differences, but there would be a valid basis for comparison. However, if you contrasted pre-revolutionary France with Han-dynasty China, your reader might wonder why you chose to compare these two societies.

This is why it’s important to clarify the point of your comparisons by writing a focused thesis statement . Every element of an essay should serve your central argument in some way. Consider what you’re trying to accomplish with any comparisons you make, and be sure to make this clear to the reader.

Comparing and contrasting can be a useful tool to help organize your thoughts before you begin writing any type of academic text. You might use it to compare different theories and approaches you’ve encountered in your preliminary research, for example.

Let’s say your research involves the competing psychological approaches of behaviorism and cognitive psychology. You might make a table to summarize the key differences between them.

Or say you’re writing about the major global conflicts of the twentieth century. You might visualize the key similarities and differences in a Venn diagram.

A Venn diagram showing the similarities and differences between World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.

These visualizations wouldn’t make it into your actual writing, so they don’t have to be very formal in terms of phrasing or presentation. The point of comparing and contrasting at this stage is to help you organize and shape your ideas to aid you in structuring your arguments.

When comparing and contrasting in an essay, there are two main ways to structure your comparisons: the alternating method and the block method.

The alternating method

In the alternating method, you structure your text according to what aspect you’re comparing. You cover both your subjects side by side in terms of a specific point of comparison. Your text is structured like this:

Mouse over the example paragraph below to see how this approach works.

One challenge teachers face is identifying and assisting students who are struggling without disrupting the rest of the class. In a traditional classroom environment, the teacher can easily identify when a student is struggling based on their demeanor in class or simply by regularly checking on students during exercises. They can then offer assistance quietly during the exercise or discuss it further after class. Meanwhile, in a Zoom-based class, the lack of physical presence makes it more difficult to pay attention to individual students’ responses and notice frustrations, and there is less flexibility to speak with students privately to offer assistance. In this case, therefore, the traditional classroom environment holds the advantage, although it appears likely that aiding students in a virtual classroom environment will become easier as the technology, and teachers’ familiarity with it, improves.

The block method

In the block method, you cover each of the overall subjects you’re comparing in a block. You say everything you have to say about your first subject, then discuss your second subject, making comparisons and contrasts back to the things you’ve already said about the first. Your text is structured like this:

  • Point of comparison A
  • Point of comparison B

The most commonly cited advantage of distance learning is the flexibility and accessibility it offers. Rather than being required to travel to a specific location every week (and to live near enough to feasibly do so), students can participate from anywhere with an internet connection. This allows not only for a wider geographical spread of students but for the possibility of studying while travelling. However, distance learning presents its own accessibility challenges; not all students have a stable internet connection and a computer or other device with which to participate in online classes, and less technologically literate students and teachers may struggle with the technical aspects of class participation. Furthermore, discomfort and distractions can hinder an individual student’s ability to engage with the class from home, creating divergent learning experiences for different students. Distance learning, then, seems to improve accessibility in some ways while representing a step backwards in others.

Note that these two methods can be combined; these two example paragraphs could both be part of the same essay, but it’s wise to use an essay outline to plan out which approach you’re taking in each paragraph.

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Some essay prompts include the keywords “compare” and/or “contrast.” In these cases, an essay structured around comparing and contrasting is the appropriate response.

Comparing and contrasting is also a useful approach in all kinds of academic writing : You might compare different studies in a literature review , weigh up different arguments in an argumentative essay , or consider different theoretical approaches in a theoretical framework .

Your subjects might be very different or quite similar, but it’s important that there be meaningful grounds for comparison . You can probably describe many differences between a cat and a bicycle, but there isn’t really any connection between them to justify the comparison.

You’ll have to write a thesis statement explaining the central point you want to make in your essay , so be sure to know in advance what connects your subjects and makes them worth comparing.

Comparisons in essays are generally structured in one of two ways:

  • The alternating method, where you compare your subjects side by side according to one specific aspect at a time.
  • The block method, where you cover each subject separately in its entirety.

It’s also possible to combine both methods, for example by writing a full paragraph on each of your topics and then a final paragraph contrasting the two according to a specific metric.

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How to Write a Comparative Essay

Last Updated: May 19, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Christopher Taylor, PhD . Christopher Taylor is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Austin Community College in Texas. He received his PhD in English Literature and Medieval Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2014. There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,680,649 times.

Perhaps you have been assigned a comparative essay in class, or need to write a comprehensive comparative report for work. In order to write a stellar comparative essay, you have to start off by picking two subjects that have enough similarities and differences to be compared in a meaningful way, such as two sports teams or two systems of government. Once you have that, then you have to find at least two or three points of comparison and use research, facts, and well-organized paragraphs to impress and captivate your readers. Writing the comparative essay is an important skill that you will use many times throughout your scholastic career.

Comparative Essay Outline and Example

hook to start a comparative essay

How to Develop the Essay Content

Step 1 Analyze the question or essay prompt carefully.

  • Many comparative essay assignments will signal their purpose by using words such as "compare," "contrast," "similarities," and "differences" in the language of the prompt.
  • Also see whether there are any limits placed on your topic.

Step 2 Understand the type of comparison essay you are being asked to write.

  • The assignment will generally ask guiding questions if you are expected to incorporate comparison as part of a larger assignment. For example: "Choose a particular idea or theme, such as love, beauty, death, or time, and consider how two different Renaissance poets approach this idea." This sentence asks you to compare two poets, but it also asks how the poets approach the point of comparison. In other words, you will need to make an evaluative or analytical argument about those approaches.
  • If you're unclear on what the essay prompt is asking you to do, talk with your instructor. It's much better to clarify questions up front than discover you've written the entire essay incorrectly.

Step 3 List similarities and differences between the items you are comparing.

  • The best place to start is to write a list of things that the items you are comparing have in common as well as differences between them. [3] X Research source

Step 4 Evaluate your list to find your argument.

  • You may want to develop a system such as highlighting different types of similarities in different colors, or use different colours if you are using an electronic device.
  • For example, if you are comparing two novels, you may want to highlight similarities in characters in pink, settings in blue, and themes or messages in green.

Step 5 Establish the basis for your comparison.

  • The basis for your comparison may be assigned to you. Be sure to check your assignment or prompt.
  • A basis for comparison may have to do with a theme, characteristics, or details about two different things. [7] X Research source
  • A basis for comparison may also be known as the “grounds” for comparison or a frame of reference.
  • Keep in mind that comparing 2 things that are too similar makes it hard to write an effective paper. The goal of a comparison paper is to draw interesting parallels and help the reader realize something interesting about our world. This means your subjects must be different enough to make your argument interesting.

Step 6 Research your subjects of comparison.

  • Research may not be required or appropriate for your particular assignment. If your comparative essay is not meant to include research, you should avoid including it.
  • A comparative essay about historical events, social issues, or science-related topics are more likely to require research, while a comparison of two works of literature are less likely to require research.
  • Be sure to cite any research data properly according to the discipline in which you are writing (eg, MLA, APA, or Chicago format).

Step 7 Develop a thesis statement.

  • Your thesis needs to make a claim about your subjects that you will then defend in your essay. It's good for this claim to be a bit controversial or up for interpretation, as this allows you to build a good argument.

How to Organize the Content

Step 1 Outline your comparison.

  • Use a traditional outline form if you would like to, but even a simple list of bulleted points in the order that you plan to present them would help.
  • You can also write down your main points on sticky notes (or type them, print them, and then cut them out) so that you can arrange and rearrange them before deciding on a final order.

Step 2 Use a mixed paragraphs method.

  • The advantages of this structure are that it continually keeps the comparison in the mind of the reader and forces you, the writer, to pay equal attention to each side of the argument.
  • This method is especially recommended for lengthy essays or complicated subjects where both the writer and reader can easily become lost. For Example: Paragraph 1: Engine power of vehicle X / Engine power of vehicle Y Paragraph 2: Stylishness of vehicle X / Stylishness of vehicle Y Paragraph 3: Safety rating of vehicle X / Safety rating of vehicle Y

Step 3 Alternate the subjects in each paragraph.

  • The advantages of this structure are that it allows you to discuss points in greater detail and makes it less jarring to tackle two topics that radically different.
  • This method is especially recommended for essays where some depth and detail are required. For example: Paragraph 1: Engine power of vehicle X Paragraph 2: Engine power of vehicle Y Paragraph 3: Stylishness of vehicle X Paragraph 4: Stylishness of vehicle Y Paragraph 5: Safety rating of vehicle X Paragraph 6: Safety rating of vehicle Y

Step 4 Cover one subject at a time thoroughly.

  • This method is by far the most dangerous, as your comparison can become both one-sided and difficult for the reader to follow.
  • This method is only recommended for short essays with simplistic subjects that the reader can easily remember as (s)he goes along. For example: Paragraph 1: Engine power of vehicle X Paragraph 2: Stylishness of vehicle X Paragraph 3: Safety rating of vehicle X Paragraph 4: Engine power of vehicle Y Paragraph 5: Stylishness of vehicle Y Paragraph 6: Safety rating of vehicle Y

How to Write the Essay

Step 1 Write your essay out of order.

  • Body paragraphs first . Work through all that information you've been compiling and see what kind of story it tells you. Only when you've worked with your data will you know what the larger point of the paper is.
  • Conclusion second . Now that you've done all the heavy lifting, the point of your essay should be fresh in your mind. Strike while the iron’s hot. Start your conclusion with a restatement of your thesis.
  • Intro last . Open your introduction with a "hook" to grab the reader's attention. Since you've already written your essay, choose a hook that reflects what you will talk about, whether it's a quote, statistic, factoid, rhetorical question, or anecdote. Then, write 1-2 sentences about your topic, narrowing down to your thesis statement, which completes your introduction.

Step 2 Write the body paragraphs.

  • Organize your paragraphs using one of the approaches listed in the "Organizing the Content" part below. Once you have defined your points of comparison, choose the structure for the body paragraphs (where your comparisons go) that makes the most sense for your data. To work out all the organizational kinks, it’s recommended that you write an outline as a placeholder.
  • Be very careful not to address different aspects of each subject. Comparing the color of one thing to the size of another does nothing to help the reader understand how they stack up. [15] X Research source

Step 3 Write the conclusion...

  • Be aware that your various comparisons won’t necessarily lend themselves to an obvious conclusion, especially because people value things differently. If necessary, make the parameters of your argument more specific. (Ex. “Though X is more stylish and powerful, Y’s top safety ratings make it a more appropriate family vehicle .”)
  • When you have two radically different topics, it sometimes helps to point out one similarity they have before concluding. (i.e. "Although X and Y don't seem to have anything in common, in actuality, they both ....”)

Step 4 Write the introduction...

  • Even the best writers know editing is important to produce a good piece. Your essay will not be your best effort unless you revise it.
  • If possible, find a friend to look over the essay, as he or she may find problems that you missed.
  • It sometimes helps to increase or decrease the font size while editing to change the visual layout of the paper. Looking at the same thing for too long makes your brain fill in what it expects instead of what it sees, leaving you more likely to overlook errors.

Expert Q&A

Christopher Taylor, PhD

  • The title and introduction really catch the reader's attention and make them read the essay. Make sure you know how to write a catchy essay title . Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 1
  • Quotes should be used sparingly and must thoroughly complement the point they are being used to exemplify/justify. Thanks Helpful 5 Not Helpful 2
  • The key principle to remember in a comparative paragraph or essay is that you must clarify precisely what you are comparing and keep that comparison alive throughout the essay. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 2

hook to start a comparative essay

  • Avoid vague language such as "people," "stuff," "things," etc. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0
  • Avoid, at all costs, the conclusion that the two subjects are "similar, yet different." This commonly found conclusion weakens any comparative essay, because it essentially says nothing about the comparison. Most things are "similar, yet different" in some way. Thanks Helpful 4 Not Helpful 0
  • Some believe that an "unbalanced" comparison - that is, when the essay focuses predominantly on one of the two issues, and gives less importance to the other - is weaker, and that writers should strive for 50/50 treatment of the texts or issues being examined. Others, however, value emphasis in the essay that reflects the particular demands of the essay's purpose or thesis. One text may simply provide context, or historical/artistic/political reference for the main text, and therefore need not occupy half of the essay's discussion or analysis. A "weak" essay in this context would strive to treat unequal texts equally, rather than strive to appropriately apportion space to the relevant text. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0
  • Beware of the "Frying Pan Conclusion" in which you simply recount everything that was said in the main body of the essay. While your conclusion should include a simple summary of your argument, it should also emphatically state the point in a new and convincing way, one which the reader will remember clearly. If you can see a way forward from a problem or dilemma, include that as well. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 1

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  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/comparing-and-contrasting/
  • ↑ http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/specific-types-of-writing/comparative-essay
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/comparing-and-contrasting/
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/how-write-comparative-analysis
  • ↑ https://www.butte.edu/departments/cas/tipsheets/style_purpose_strategy/compare_contrast.html
  • ↑ https://open.lib.umn.edu/writingforsuccess/chapter/10-7-comparison-and-contrast/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/proofreading/steps_for_revising.html
  • How to Structure Paragraphs in an Essay

About This Article

Christopher Taylor, PhD

To write a comparative essay, start by writing an introduction that introduces the 2 subjects you'll be comparing. You should also include your thesis statement in the introduction, which should state what you've concluded based on your comparisons. Next, write the body of your essay so that each paragraph focuses on one point of comparison between your subjects. Finally, write a conclusion that summarizes your main points and draws a larger conclusion about the two things you compared. To learn how to do research for your essay, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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  • Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Perfect Comparative Essay

Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Perfect Comparative Essay

What is a comparative essay

  • Purpose of a comparative essay
  • Comparative essay outline

Organization of the essay outline by criteria

Organization of the essay outline by item.

  • How to start a comparative essay
  • Choose the structure of your essay
  • How to write a comparative essay
  • Tips for a great comparative analysis essay
  • Comparative essay examples
  • Compare and contrast essay topics

A comparative essay is the type of academic essay that students are expected to write at some point over each course of their college studies. A comparative essay aims to compare two or more items that usually have some differences and similarities, but it all depends on the particular assignment. In other words, students need to define the similarities and differences of the subjects compared and analyze them. Sometimes, a student can be asked to compare different viewpoints on one issue. 

    Purpose of a comparative essay

The core purpose of comparative essay writing is to systematically elaborate on the similarities and differences between several objects or positions. As a result, after reading a comparative essay, the reader will get a clear understanding of the difference between the objectives of the study. In other words, comparative writing can serve as an influencing factor towards making the decision about the topic or taking a particular debating position.

Comparative essay outline 

While it is easy to entangle this essay type with a simple opposition between two topics or subjects, these are different. Therefore, it is better to bear in mind that a comparative essay serves a larger purpose and covers the following:

  • recognize and explain basic differences
  • prove the superiority of one option to another
  • provide a new approach to doing or understanding something
  • use facts and credible sources to support each claim 
  • state, study, and discuss everything unknown.

It is rather hard to keep in mind all the necessary features of a comparative essay so that it is easier to create an effective outline to make sure all the core rules are followed. There are diverse methods of structuring the comparative essay outline.

  • Hook sentence, attention-getter
  • Background information 
  • Items to compare
  • Thesis statement
  • Transition + Topic sentence 1
  • First subject: detail 1, detail 2, etc. 
  • Second subject: detail 1, detail 2, etc.
  • Concluding sentence
  • Reworded thesis statement
  • Call to action
  • Clincher statement

How to start a comparative essay 

To start a comparative essay, the writer should create a concise introduction part. The introduction of each essay is critical to make the reader interested in reading the last of the paper. In other words, it gives the audience the first impression of the quality of the content presented in a compare and contrast essay. The following checklist will help the writer start their comparative essay in the right manner:

Choose the structure of your essay 

It is of vital importance to use just one approach at a time. As a result, before writing an outline to a comparative essay, they should choose a preferred structure for the text. Among the most popular essay structures are point-by-point and subject-by-subject approach; however, the list of approaches is far more extensive. For example:

  • Point-by-point. All of the necessary information about the first object is compared and contrasted, and all of the necessary information about the next object is listed afterward throughout the essay.
  • Subject-by subject. This is a block structure that depends on providing all the options related to every block in separate paragraphs of the essay.

 How to write a comparative essay 

If students have to write comparative essays, they should take into consideration the stage of the academic writing process. To write a comparative essay, you should:

  • Read the topic thoroughly. This phase gives you the opportunity to ensure having an understanding of what the topic is and how to follow its requests throughout the text.
  • Equal weight to every paragraph. The essay is graded higher, and visually text looks prettier when all the paragraphs are almost the same in length. 
  • Choose a preferred structure. Use just one approach in the essay at a time, a point-by-point or subject-by-subject approach.

  Tips for a great comparative analysis essay 

To compare and contrast two options perfectly, it is necessary to follow the checklist of rules related to the comparative essay writing. To ease the writer's life, proficient and experienced writers tend to help their colleagues and outline the most useful and exciting essay writing tips that help to find the difference. Here are the most popular ones:

  • Analyze the topic wholly
  • Use more active voice
  • Do not ramble
  • Eliminate words with obscure meaning
  • Remember to use a proper voice
  • Illustrate clear ideas, presentation, and conventions
  • Organize your essay with the right word choice and sentence structure.

Comparative essay examples 

Example 1: “ Comparing and Contrasting London and Washington, DC ”

Example 2: “ In what ways are the protagonists in “the Necklace” and “the Gift of the Magi” similar and different ?”

Compare and contrast essay topics 

  • Comparison of Renaissance and Baroque Epoch
  • Pros and cons of overwork
  • Education vs. professional career: Which one is an easier way and which remains to be more complicated?
  • Facebook vs. Twitter: how to get more opportunities?
  • Horror Films vs. Thrillers
  • Subjectivity vs. Objectivity
  • Western philosophy: comparison of the ancient Greek and ancient Roman philosophers.
  • Similarity between dogs and humans.
  • School uniform and free dress: benefits/disadvantages.
  • Earthquakes vs. volcano eruption: what induces more damage?
  • Playing video games and walking: which is the preferable distraction for you and why?
  • Which approach is more effective: cooking video recipes and traditional cookery books.
  • Charlotte Bronte and Jane Austen comparison
  • Money and gift for birthday: What is better?
  • Chinese economic development vs. American one
  • It is better to pay for college or get a scholarship
  • Life in high school and college life comparison
  • Home tuition or coaching: which one to choose?
  • Graduate college or get a job
  • Working in college vs. freelancing
  • Similarity between Toyota Yaris and Toyota Corolla
  • A car or a bike: What would be your choice? 
  • The Pew Research surveys vs. Google results
  • Archaeologist Indiana Jones vs. the real Archaeologist
  • Stereotypes vs. cultural generalizations
  • Maize vs. Rice: nutrition comparison
  • Low carb diet vs. exercise for weight loss: comparison of the outcomes
  • Compare the role of influencer and follower
  • Preschool and kindergarten comparison

Studying in college, it is almost impossible to omit getting the assignment to write a compare and contrast essay. After reading answers to all the questions about comparison structure, similarity, paper organization, a student will write an A+ grade essay with balanced body paragraphs, a concise introduction, and a reasonable conclusion.  If you have some questions left, you can always apply for getting online academic assistance and stay patient about getting a perfect quality paper.

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4.1: Introduction to Comparison and Contrast Essay

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The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. Comparison and contrast is simply telling how two things are alike or different. The compare-and-contrast essay starts with a thesis that clearly states the two subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both. The thesis should focus on comparing, contrasting, or both.

Key Elements of the Compare and Contrast:

  • A compare-and-contrast essay analyzes two subjects by either comparing them, contrasting them, or both.
  • The purpose of writing a comparison or contrast essay is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities between two subjects.
  • The thesis should clearly state the subjects that are to be compared, contrasted, or both, and it should state what is to be learned from doing so.
  • Organize by the subjects themselves, one then the other.
  • Organize by individual points, in which you discuss each subject in relation to each point.
  • Use phrases of comparison or phrases of contrast to signal to readers how exactly the two subjects are being analyzed.

Objectives: By the end of this unit, you will be able to

  • Identify compare & contrast relationships in model essays
  • Construct clearly formulated thesis statements that show compare & contrast relationships
  • Use pre-writing techniques to brainstorm and organize ideas showing a comparison and/or contrast
  • Construct an outline for a five-paragraph compare & contrast essay
  • Write a five-paragraph compare & contrast essay
  • Use a variety of vocabulary and language structures that express compare & contrast essay relationships

Example Thesis: Organic vegetables may cost more than those that are conventionally grown, but when put to the test, they are definitely worth every extra penny.

Graphic Showing Organization for Comparison Contrast Essay

Sample Paragraph:

Organic grown tomatoes purchased at the farmers’ market are very different from tomatoes that are grown conventionally. To begin with, although tomatoes from both sources will mostly be red, the tomatoes at the farmers’ market are a brighter red than those at a grocery store. That doesn’t mean they are shinier—in fact, grocery store tomatoes are often shinier since they have been waxed. You are likely to see great size variation in tomatoes at the farmers’ market, with tomatoes ranging from only a couple of inches across to eight inches across. By contrast, the tomatoes in a grocery store will be fairly uniform in size. All the visual differences are interesting, but the most important difference is the taste. The farmers’ market tomatoes will be bursting with flavor from ripening on the vine in their own time. However, the grocery store tomatoes are often close to being flavorless. In conclusion, the differences in organic and conventionally grown tomatoes are obvious in color, size and taste.

Creative Commons Attribution

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

09 November, 2020

17 minutes read

Author:  Elizabeth Brown

You have been assigned a compare and contrast essay but what is it and where do you even begin? The purpose of this type of essay is to focus on two or more topics examining them for subtle differences and unexpected similarities. These topics can be closely related, say a zebra and a horse, or they can be vastly different, like a pizza and salad. The focus of a compare and contrast essay is to bring to light something unknown, show whether one is superior to another, argue a point with supported facts, or clear up a misunderstanding.  

Compare and Contrast Essay

WWI and WWII. London and Paris. “Gone with the Wind” and “The Thorn Birds.” What do these things have in common? Or how do they differ?

This is a compare and contrast essay in a nutshell. Its main focus is on spotting the similarities or differences in terms of this or that object, phenomenon, or event. But there’s more to it. So, let’s look into all the details more profoundly.

Compare vs contrast

What is a compare and contrast essay?

A compare and contrast essay is a piece of academic writing focused on finding similarities or differences between several objects.

“Well,” you might think, “it’s the easiest paper ever. Why even bother looking for samples and examples?” Is that what you’re thinking? Then we’ve got a surprise for you.

Even though it all seems pretty self-explanatory, a compare and contrast essay can be a real challenge to compose. Especially if you don’t know all the pitfalls to pay attention to.

Evidently, you can always choose to seek the assistance of a good essay writing service like HandMadeWriting. With us, you don’t have to spend long nights working on a piece like this. However, we guarantee that we’ll cover all the bases in this guide and you’ll be able to craft a decent compare and contrast essay in the end.

Of course, the essence of this type of writing lies in finding common or different characteristics of two objects, places, events, or people. However, the piece can look differently depending on the approach a student considers to use when working on it.

While still on the subject, let’s look into different approaches to writing a compare and contrast essay.

How to write a Compare and contrast essay outline

how to write a compare and contrast essay outline

An outline will serve as a roadmap for your project. It will be the lighthouse you will keep your eyes on amidst all the arguments and ideas you want to mention in a piece.

Related Post: How to Write an Argumentative essay

Besides, it will help you keep your thoughts organized and well-structured. So, what should an outline for this type of essay look like?

Compare and Contrast essay outline example

Now use this scheme and adjust it to your own essay. Remember that an outline is only a blueprint: no need to go into numerous details at each section. Simply mention what you will talk about in each section and mark what sources you will use to back up your ideas.

Related Posts: Essay Outline | Research Paper Outline

Once you crafted an outline, you’re all set to start your essay.

The structure of a compare and contrast essay

There are three approaches to writing this type of essay:

  • Point by point method

Venn diagram

Block structure.

Approaches to writing a compare and contrast essay

Point-by-point method

This method focuses on comparing or contrasting various points of the same object. This being said, we find it essential to add that you can only choose two objects which you can really compare.

Thus, it is a great idea to compare two books of the same genre, but it makes no sense to compare a basketball and a soccer team: they’re completely different.

To demonstrate what this method is about, let’s try to compare public and private education in the USA. We will focus on three main aspects: the cost of such education, quality of education (based on the results and achievements of graduates), and the workload.

The author should mention these aspects in the introduction saying that he will compare or contrast two different options of obtaining a degree based on these points.

Next, come the main body paragraphs. Each of them is dedicated to only one point.

Topic: Public and private education comparison


Main body paragraphs #1:   The cost of education

  • Higher at privately help institutions (e.g. provide a range of tuition fees across one specialization)
  • Lower (yet not completely free) at public educational establishments (e.g. offer a list of things an average student pays for at a public institution)

Main body paragraph #2:   Quality of the education

  • Typically higher at private institutions (e.g. smaller classes, a more dedicated teacher-student approach, access to necessary materials, etc.)
  • Typically lower with exceptions (e.g. offer examples of statistical data which proves that public education can be just as effective)

Main body paragraph #3:   The workload

  • Heavier at private colleges where tutors get more one-on-one time with each student. As a result, students have less time for extracurricular activities.
  • Might be lighter than at a private institution.


This is what a point-by-point approach looks like. Now, let’s check out the other two.

Venn diagram is “a diagram that shows all possible logical relations between a finite collection of different sets.” It is an excellent tool to visualize the content and brainstorm ideas.

Specifically, if you ever decide to use this tool for one of the compare and contrast essay topics, here is what it would look like:

Firstly, simply draw two or more circles (depending on the number of objects you’re comparing). Secondly, write down things they have in common inside the intersection of these circles leaving the differences on the outside.

Let’s see how students can use this approach to crafting a compare and contrast essay outline.

Topic: Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy

Main body paragraph #1: They were both presidents.

  • Lincoln was the 16th, while Kennedy – the 35th.
  • Lincoln served for five years, and Kennedy for three years.

Paragraph #2: They were both assassinated on Friday (share the story and background of each of these cases).

  • Kennedy was killed on the 23rd of November, 1963, by Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • Lincoln was shot dead on April 15th, 1865, by John Wilkes Booth.

Paragraph #3: They were commemorated by being posted on the US money.

  • Tell about Kennedy’s half-dollar.
  • A five-dollar bill with Abraham Lincoln.

Paragraph #4: Differences.

  • Kennedy was a Democrat, while Lincoln was a Republican.
  • Lincoln fought in the Civil War and signed the Emancipation Proclamation, while Kennedy focused on civil rights, foreign policies, and a space mission.

Finally, let’s see what a block structure approach will look like in practice.

This approach allows the students to compare different objects based on a particular writing pattern. A benefit of using this method lies in the structure and the level of organization of your piece.

Firstly, the author takes the first object and describes it in the first paragraph. Then, he proceeds to describe the second object in the second paragraph. Throughout the process, features or qualities are looked into step by step.

Let’s see what it would look like on the example.

Topic: Cats and dogs: Who makes a better pet?

An introduction.

Paragraph #1: Cats

  • Don’t need their master to walk with them.
  • Take care of their own hygiene.
  • Require minimum training.

Paragraph #2: Dogs

  • Need regular walks with their masters to exercise.
  • Can’t wash themselves.
  • Need the training to maintain proper behavior.

These are the three main methods used to craft a compare and contrast essay. Just choose the one that you feel most comfortable using and move on to the actual writing part.

Alternatively, you can look for help from a professional custom writing service like  HandMade Writing . It’s your chance to shave hours off your week and end up having an A+ in no time!

How to write a compare and contrast essay

Knowing all the approaches is one thing. Nevertheless, there is much more you need to know about this type of writing if you want to succeed.

As a rule, a compare and contrast essay writing is based on an in-depth analysis of two or more objects and practical findings of them (don’t confuse it with a reflective essay which allows you to focus on your own reflections rather than solid facts). That is why every student must start with finding proper credible sources and reading them carefully. As you read, don’t forget to take notes: your goal is to find whether similarities between the objects outweigh the differences or vice versa. But, of course, this is only true if you were given a choice to either contrast or compare the notions.

Next, take your time to craft a decent outline. Yes, you heard it right: you need it way before you dive into the first draft creation. Wondering how to write an outline? Here are several useful tips.

How to start a compare and contrast essay

The first thing a reader should see in your essay is an attention grabber. What can serve as one?

  • A quote by a famous person.
  • A literary quote.
  • An anecdote.
  • An interesting definition.
  • A little-known fact.
  • An open-end question.
  • A beautifully painted scene.

These are the basic ideas on how to make your audience sit up and listen from the very first moment. Later on, develop this hook into a thesis statement.

Related post: H ow to write an Essay introduction?  | Essay format guide 

Thesis statement

Usually, thesis statement presents your argument to the readers. It invites the audience to dispute your position and encourages a discussion around the topic of your choice.

The Writing Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill states that  a thesis statement “tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion. It’s also a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.”

The secret of  a good thesis statement is in its length. It shouldn’t be longer than one sentence. Here is a good example:

“If it weren’t for Abraham Lincoln’s wisdom, excellent diplomatic skills, and patriotism, he could have been the last President of the existing and prospering United States of America.”

How to organize the main body paragraphs

We’ve already mentioned briefly what the main body paragraph should really look like. Now, let’s take a step forward and look into each nuance in more detail.

  • An argument. The first sentence of every paragraph of your comparative essay should present the argument that supports the thesis statement. Keep it short and up to the point. And only use the arguments you can actually back up with sufficient evidence.
  • Evidence. Next, provide at least one (but better two or three) pieces of evidence that support your argument. We encourage college students to use only credible sources at this point. Eventually, this will add credibility to your writing and definitely get you a better grade.
  • A conclusion. Finally, summarize the argument and the evidence for it in one sentence. Keep it short and to the point, but don’t underestimate the importance of this part of your paragraph. Obviously, it’s often the only part your audience will remember from the whole piece.

Generally, college students get to choose how many main body paragraphs they want to have in their piece. Besides, the word count plays an important role here: you can’t have six main body paragraphs if you only have 500 words. For the most part, there won’t be enough space for all the essential parts of the paragraph. And you’ll end up crafting an incomprehensive and poorly-structured essay. We’re begging you to be wise not to lose good grades to not thought-through writing process.

In addition, if you aren’t a college student yet, but are going to enter a college or university soon, don’t forget to check out our complete guide to writing a scholarship essay . It’s your chance to stretch a buck by getting the financial help from college!

How to end a compare and contrast essay

Finally, get ready to compose a top-notch closure for the piece. Even though it comes last in your essay, it must be nothing short of perfect.

Studies show that conclusions are your last chance to impress a reader. Overall, the structure of this last section is quite standard.

  • Restate that thesis statement to remind your audience of what your whole article centered around.
  • Go over the pieces of evidence you used along the way.
  • Finish with an open question, a call-to-action, or a challenge for the audience.

See? It’s not as difficult as you might have thought it will be. Still, you have to take your time to polish it and make it count.

Compare&Contrast essay example

Good compare and contrast essay topics.

Well, now that you know everything you need about the process of writing such papers, it seems like you’re simply destined to grab readers’ attention and keep them interested from the start.

And though we would really want to tell you it is really so, it won’t necessarily be true.

Likewise, there is one more secret you can’t miss: a good essay requires an engaging topic.

Certainly, we know that finding excellent good topics sentence might be difficult. Thus, we’ve gathered a short list of thing we think you might find exciting to write about.

However, you can find 127 great compare and contrast essay topics in our recent guide. They’re all unique and interesting. So, don’t hesitate to take a look and pick something to write about.

  • Greek vs. Roman mythology: Differences and similarities.
  • Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: Compare the techniques, history, and professionalism of the players in these two football clubs.
  • Veganism vs. Vegetarianism: Differences in the dieting styles.
  • American English vs. British English.
  • Public vs. private education: The good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • Being a freelancer vs. being self-employed.
  • Christianity in Europe vs. Christianity in Asia in the 21st century.
  • Traditional vs. Unconventional cancer treatments around the globe.
  • Breastfeeding vs. infant formula: Which is a better choice both for the mother and the baby?
  • Car-sharing vs. Hitchhiking: Which would you choose to travel the world?
Related post: Top argumentative essay topics

Transition words

Transition words are your key to the smooth reading experience. Here are two lists of transition words students should use when crafting this type of paper.

Transitions words

Transitions in a comparison essay:

  • In the same way
  • By the same token
  • Coupled with
  • In addition
  • Identically
  • Correspondingly
  • Together with
  • Comparatively

Contrast transitions:

  • Nonetheless
  • In contrast
  • Notwithstanding
  • On the contrary
  • On the other hand
  • At the same time

We tried to cover all the information a student might need when working on a compare and contrast essay. Use this guide step by step for the best results. Don’t fall victim to the idea that you need no assistance in composing this type of academic writing. Of course, it might be tricky. So, it’s in your best interest to use professional assistance.

Problems with writing Your Compare and Contrast Essay? Try our Essay Writer Service!

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How to Write a Comparison Essay

  • Introduction
  • Essay Outline
  • Expressions For Comparison Essays
  • Sample Comparison 1
  • Sample Comparison 2
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A comparison essay compares and contrasts two things. That is, it points out the similarities and differences (mostly focusing on the differences) of those two things. The two things usually belong to the same class (ex. two cities, two politicians, two sports, etc.). Relatively equal attention is given to the two subjects being compared. The essay may treat the two things objectively and impartially. Or it may be partial, favoring one thing over the other (ex. "American football is a sissy's game compared to rugby").

The important thing in any comparison essay is that the criteria for comparison should remain the same; that is,  the same attributes should be compared . For example, if you are comparing an electric bulb lamp with a gas lamp, compare them both according to their physical characteristics, their history of development, and their operation.

Narrow Your Focus (in this essay, as in any essay). For example, if you compare two religions, focus on  one  particular aspect which you can discuss in depth and detail, e.g., sin in Buddhism vs. sin in Christianity, or salvation in two religions. Or if your topic is political, you might compare the Conservative attitude to old growth logging vs. the Green Party's attitude to old growth logging, or the Conservative attitude to the Persian Gulf War vs. the NDP attitude to the same war.

Each paragraph should deal with only  one idea  and deal with it  thoroughly . Give  adequate explanation  and  specific examples  to support each idea. The first paragraph introduces the topic, captures the reader's attention, and provides a definite summary of the essay. It may be wise to end the first paragraph with a thesis statement that summarizes the main points of difference (or similarity). For example, "Submarines and warships differ not only in construction, but in their style of weapons and method of attack." This gives the reader a brief outline of your essay, allowing him to anticipate what's to come. Each middle paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that summarizes the main idea of that paragraph (ex. "The musical styles of Van Halen and Steely Dan are as differing in texture as are broken glass and clear water"). An opening sentence like this that uses a  metaphor  or  simile  not only summarizes the paragraph but captures the reader's attention, making him want to read on. Avoid a topic sentence that is too dull and too broad (ex. "There are many differences in the musical styles of Van Halen and Steely Dan").


The  structure  of the comparison essay may vary. You may use  simultaneous comparison structure  in which the two things are compared together, feature by feature, point by point. For example, "The electric light bulb lasts 80 hours, while the gas lamp lasts only 20 hours . . . ." Or as in this example (comparing two American presidents):

Consider how perfectly Harding met the requirements for president. Wilson was a visionary who liked to identify himself with "forward-looking men"; Harding was as old-fashioned as those wooden Indians which used to stand in front of cigar stores, "a flower of the period before safety razors." Harding believed that statemanship had come to its apogee in the days of McKinley and Foraker. Wilson was cold. Harding was an affable small-town man, at ease with "folks"; he was an ideal companion to play poker with all Saturday night. Wilson had always been difficult of access; Harding was accessible to the last degree. etc.

Don't use simultaneous structure all the way through the essay, however. It becomes monotonous. Use it sparingly. For most of the essay, use  parallel order structure .

In  parallel order structure  you compare the two things separately but take up the same points in the same order. For example, you may spend half a paragraph on "thing A" and the other half of the paragraph on the corresponding characteristics of "thing B." Or, if you have enough material, devote one paragraph to the physical characteristics of an electric bulb lamp, and the next paragraph to the physical characteristics of the gas lamp.

Or say everything there is to say about the electric bulb lamp (its physical characteristics, history of development and operation), followed by everything there is to say about the gas lamp.

For the sake of variety  you may switch to simultaneous comparison at one point  in the essay, and then switch back to parallel order structure for the rest of the essay. In fact, there are many ways to structure a comparison essay; use whichever organization works best for your particular paper. Here are a few sample organizational methods. "A" stands for "thing A" (ex. electric lamp) and "B" stands for "thing B" (ex. gas lamp). Each number (1,2,3, etc.) stands for a different aspect of that thing (ex. physical characteristics, operation, history of development).

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The Comparative Essay

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What is a comparative essay?

A comparative essay asks that you compare at least two (possibly more) items. These items will differ depending on the assignment. You might be asked to compare

  • positions on an issue (e.g., responses to midwifery in Canada and the United States)
  • theories (e.g., capitalism and communism)
  • figures (e.g., GDP in the United States and Britain)
  • texts (e.g., Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth )
  • events (e.g., the Great Depression and the global financial crisis of 2008–9)

Although the assignment may say “compare,” the assumption is that you will consider both the similarities and differences; in other words, you will compare and contrast.

Make sure you know the basis for comparison

The assignment sheet may say exactly what you need to compare, or it may ask you to come up with a basis for comparison yourself.

  • Provided by the essay question: The essay question may ask that you consider the figure of the gentleman in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations and Anne Brontë’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall . The basis for comparison will be the figure of the gentleman.
  • Developed by you: The question may simply ask that you compare the two novels. If so, you will need to develop a basis for comparison, that is, a theme, concern, or device common to both works from which you can draw similarities and differences.

Develop a list of similarities and differences

Once you know your basis for comparison, think critically about the similarities and differences between the items you are comparing, and compile a list of them.

For example, you might decide that in Great Expectations , being a true gentleman is not a matter of manners or position but morality, whereas in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall , being a true gentleman is not about luxury and self-indulgence but hard work and productivity.

The list you have generated is not yet your outline for the essay, but it should provide you with enough similarities and differences to construct an initial plan.

Develop a thesis based on the relative weight of similarities and differences

Once you have listed similarities and differences, decide whether the similarities on the whole outweigh the differences or vice versa. Create a thesis statement that reflects their relative weights. A more complex thesis will usually include both similarities and differences. Here are examples of the two main cases:

While Callaghan’s “All the Years of Her Life” and Mistry’s “Of White Hairs and Cricket” both follow the conventions of the coming-of-age narrative, Callaghan’s story adheres more closely to these conventions by allowing its central protagonist to mature. In Mistry’s story, by contrast, no real growth occurs.
Although Darwin and Lamarck came to different conclusions about whether acquired traits can be inherited, they shared the key distinction of recognizing that species evolve over time.

Come up with a structure for your essay

Note that the French and Russian revolutions (A and B) may be dissimilar rather than similar in the way they affected innovation in any of the three areas of technology, military strategy, and administration. To use the alternating method, you just need to have something noteworthy to say about both A and B in each area. Finally, you may certainly include more than three pairs of alternating points: allow the subject matter to determine the number of points you choose to develop in the body of your essay.

When do I use the block method? The block method is particularly useful in the following cases:

  • You are unable to find points about A and B that are closely related to each other.
  • Your ideas about B build upon or extend your ideas about A.
  • You are comparing three or more subjects as opposed to the traditional two.

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hook to start a comparative essay


A comparative essay is an academic writing style that requires you to compare and contrast two or more subjects, ideas, or topics. The primary aim is to draw meaningful relationships and analyze the similarities and differences between them. To successfully write a comparative essay, follow the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide.

Step 1: Choose Your Topic

Begin by selecting an appropriate topic for your essay. Whether your task is assigned or not, it’s essential to choose something that interests you and engages the reader. Make sure that the subjects share similarities and differences to ensure your essay remains relevant and focused.

Step 2: Understand Your Method of Comparison

There are two common methods of comparison: the alternating method and the block method.

1. The Alternating Method : In this method, you will alternate between the subjects throughout your essay. In each paragraph, you will discuss a certain aspect of one subject followed by its counterpart in the other subject.

2. The Block Method: With this method, you will dedicate one half of your essay to discussing one subject in its entirety before moving on to the other subject. This approach is useful when comparing very different items or when there are several ideas to discuss per subject.

Choose a method that best suits your chosen subjects and overall purpose.

Step 3: Develop Your Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement sets the foundation for your entire essay by expressing your position on the subjects being compared. It should be concise, clear, and invite further examination from your reader. Keep in mind that it must address both similarities and differences between the subjects.

Step 4: Conduct Research

Research both subjects thoroughly to gather relevant information that supports your thesis statement. Use credible sources such as books, articles, or journals and take notes as needed. Remember to keep track of your sources for citation purposes in accordance with your formatting style (such as APA, MLA, or Chicago).

Step 5: Create an Outline

Before you start writing, create an outline to organize your thoughts and ensure logical progression. A typical comparative essay outline might follow this structure:

1. Introduction

– Hook to grab reader’s attention

– General background information on the subjects

– Thesis statement

2. Body Paragraphs

– Comparison/Contrast Point 1

– Subject A

– Subject B

– Comparison/Contrast Point 2

– (Add additional points as needed)

3. Conclusion

– Restate the thesis statement in a summarized manner

– Recap of main arguments discussed

– Final thoughts on the comparison

Step 6: Write the Essay

Using your outline as a guide, begin writing your essay. Make sure to maintain clarity and coherence, utilizing appropriate transition words to ease the reader through your analysis. Avoid presenting new information and ensure that each paragraph supports your thesis statement.

Step 7: Proofread and Edit

Give yourself some time before revisiting your essay to proofread and edit it. Check for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting errors. Additionally, ensure that your arguments are clear, concise, and well-supported.

A well-crafted comparative essay can be a fascinating and insightful exploration into various subjects. Following these steps will help you create a compelling piece that showcases meaningful relationships between seemingly unconnected ideas or topics. Good luck!

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Essay Writing Guide

Hook Example

Nova A.

20+ Hook Examples to Grab Reader’s Attention

15 min read

Published on: Oct 10, 2017

Last updated on: Dec 30, 2023

hook example

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Are your essays falling flat with a disinterested audience? Do you find it challenging to keep readers engaged from start to finish?

The truth is, if you don't capture your reader's attention right away, they might just click away or, worse, never even start reading your essay.

But how can we make sure that does not happen? 

An essay hook is what you need to meet this challenge. It is an attention grabber that hooks your reader’s interest.

Here, we will discuss several catchy hook examples to make your piece of writing more engaging. You can also read the types of hooks and tips to write effective hook statements for your essay. 

So, let’s start with the blog!

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What is an Essay Hook?

An essay hook, often found at the beginning of an essay introduction , serves as an opening sentence that immediately grabs the reader's attention. These hooks are a common feature in high school, college, and various academic assignments.

It's vital to understand that hooks are distinct from introductions; they complement introductions rather than replacing them. A well-crafted hook should be self-contained, avoiding the pitfalls of being dull or predictable.

Purpose of Hook in Writing

An effective hook serves two primary purposes. 

  • Firstly, it sets the tone for the essay by providing the reader with a glimpse of the topic's essence. 
  • Secondly, it constructs a compelling introduction that tempts the reader to dive deeper into the essay's content.

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Examples of Different Types of Hook

In this section, we will explore different types of essay hooks and hook sentence examples. We will look into how these hooks can be used for writing different academic papers.

Question Hook

You can grab the reader’s attention by asking them an intriguing question that they would want to know the answer to. When posing a question, think about the interest of the reader and the things they would want to learn more about.

Avoid making your question generalized or simple Yes or No questions. For instance, asking a general question such as “Do you watch television?” won’t grab their attention and make them think it over. 

Using rhetorical questions to engage the reader is always a good idea!

Question Hook Example

Here are 10 hook question examples:

An anecdote can be a personal story or a product of your imagination. Provided that the story is relevant to your focus topic.

Typically, an anecdote is a funny statement, written to make the reader laugh and want to continue reading further.

Our lives are full of stories. Every day something interesting, funny, or strange happens. So, why don’t you use such stories to attract the reader’s attention?

Anecdote Hook Example

An anecdotal hook should be directly related to the central theme of the paper, demonstrating its relevance and connection to the main idea.

A "quote hook" is a type of hook used in writing that involves opening an essay with a quotation from a notable person, a famous author, or a respected source. The purpose of a quote hook is to immediately capture the reader's attention and establish the relevance of the topic by providing an authoritative statement.

A well-chosen quote can add credibility to your writing, evoke emotion, or introduce a key theme or idea that you intend to explore in your essay. It can also set the tone for the piece, whether it's persuasive, informative, or narrative.

Quotation Hook Example

The following is a quotation hook example that you can consider for your essay. 

Statistical Facts 

Fact or statistic hook is a type of hook used in writing that involves opening an essay or piece of content with a numerical fact or data point. The purpose of a statistical facts hook is to immediately engage the reader's interest by presenting them with a surprising, statistic related to the essay's topic.

This type of hook is particularly effective when writing an informative essay or persuasive essays that rely on data and evidence to support the main argument. 

Statistical Hook Example

Below is an interesting statistical hook example:

Personal Story

Starting a piece of writing with a personal short story is a good idea when writing narrative essays or a college application essay .

It doesn’t have to be an experience that you faced firsthand; it could be something that happened with a friend or a relative.

Personal Story Hook Example

Here is a great hook example for a personal story essay that you can consider. 

Description Hook

This hook is a vivid description of a scene or event to draw readers' attention to your writing. A well-written descriptive hook will make your readers want to know more about what is in the rest of your paper. 

Descriptive hooks are most commonly used in narrative essays but can be used in any type of writing. 

Description Hook Essay Example

The following is an interesting example of a description hook that you can read for your better understanding. 

Metaphor/Simile Hook

The metaphor/simile hook is used to help readers think about a particular topic in a different way. Your readers will think about the meaning and the context in which the topic is being addressed. 

A metaphor directly compares two things that are not related to each other. 

Metaphor/Simile Hook Example

Literary quotes.

When writing book reviews, it is often a good idea to use literary quotes. However, it is important to keep in mind that these quotes may not be appropriate for use in persuasive or expository essays .

We remember visual information more efficiently than words. When we see something, our brains quickly turn it into a picture. Scenes are often used in descriptive or narrative essays.

Scene Hook Example

Hook examples for types of essays.

There are different types of essays according to their structure and purpose. For instance, an argumentative essay is a serious essay written to persuade the reader on an argument. Whereas a narrative essay could be a light-hearted narration of an event. 

You can not use a funny question to start an argumentative essay. Similarly, you can not use a serious fact to start a funny narrative essay. 

The table shows hook examples for essays:

Let’s explore in detail some interesting hook examples according to different types of essays.

Expository Essay Hook Example

Hook: "Did you know that bees are responsible for pollinating one-third of the world's crops?"

Explanation: This hook explains the surprising and essential role that bees play in our food production, setting the stage for an expository essay that will explore this topic in detail.

Argumentative Essay Hook Example

Hook: "Is the use of technology making us more connected or driving us further apart as a society?"

Explanation: This hook presents a thought-provoking question about the impact of technology on human relationships, signaling that the argumentative essay will analyze and argue different perspectives on this issue.

Descriptive Essay Hook Example

A hook example sentence for a descriptive essay is as follows: 

Hook: "Imagine standing on a pristine white beach, the turquoise waves gently caressing your toes, and the scent of saltwater filling the air."

Explanation: This hook invites the reader to visualize a tranquil scene, creating anticipation for a descriptive essay that will provide vivid details and sensory experiences of this beautiful location.

Persuasive Essay Hook Example 

A hook example sentence for a persuasive essay is as follows:

Hook: "What if I told you that a simple change in diet could extend your lifespan by years?"

Explanation: This hook raises a compelling question about the potential health benefits of dietary choices, hinting at the persuasive argument that will follow in the essay.

Narrative Essay Hook Example

A hook example for narration is as follows: Hook: “I am really not sure if it is a real memory or just something that became more solid over time. But I am not sure that my neighbor once tried to murder me.”

Explanation: This hook introduces doubt about the authenticity of a memory involving the neighbor's alleged murder attempt.

Compare and Contrast Essay Hook Example 

Hook: "Apples and oranges—two fruits that couldn't be more different in taste, texture, and appearance." Explanation: This hook highlights the contrast between apples and oranges, signaling that the compare and contrast essay will explore the differences and similarities between these two fruits.

Process Essay Hook Example

A hook example sentence for a process analysis essay is as follows:

Hook: "Have you ever wondered how your favorite chocolate chip cookies are made?"

Explanation: This hook engages the reader's curiosity about the process of making chocolate chip cookies, setting the stage for a process essay that will provide step-by-step instructions.

Cause and Effect Essay Hook Example 

A hook example sentence for a cause and effect essay is as follows:

Hook: "In the realm of environmental science, the butterfly effect is real."

Explanation: This hook introduces the concept of the butterfly effect and its relevance to environmental science, foreshadowing a cause and effect essay that will explore the ripple effects of small actions on the environment.

Analytical Essay Hook Example

A hook example sentence for a analytical essay is as follows:

Hook: "Unlocking the hidden layers of Shakespearean sonnets is like deciphering a cryptic code."

Explanation: This hook uses a metaphor to describe the complexity of analyzing Shakespearean sonnets, indicating that the analytical essay will delve into the intricate language and themes within these works.

Hook Examples In Speeches

Hook: “In the United States, people are still fighting to be free. Many are fighting for free access to resources, free speech, and even the right to marry.”

Hook: “Getting revenge can easily become an obsession for many people. Some really crave for that kind of thing when they are being wronged.”

How to Choose a Good Hook?

Choosing a good hook involves engaging your audience, creating interest, and setting the stage for your content. Here is how to choose a good hook: 

  • Know Your Audience: Understand the interests and preferences of your target audience.
  • Relevance is Key: Ensure your hook directly relates to your content's topic.
  • Shock or Surprise: Use shocking facts, surprising statistics, or intriguing anecdotes.
  • Tell a Story: Engage emotionally with personal stories or narratives.
  • Pose a Question: Ask thought-provoking questions that make readers curious.
  • Quotations: Share powerful quotes from relevant authorities.
  • Visual Imagery: Use descriptive language to create vivid mental images.
  • Conciseness: Keep your hook brief and to the point.
  • Test and Refine: Experiment with different hooks and refine based on audience response.

Now that you have learned various techniques for crafting effective hooks, you're well-prepared to start writing one.

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How to Write a Good Essay Hook?

Here are the points that you need to keep in mind to write a hook for your essay. 

Step#1 Know the Kind of Literary Work 

First, it is important to have a clear vision in mind of the literary work you have selected for your paper. Here you need to describe what a certain essay type demands and what types of techniques you require to support your arguments in your essay. 

Step#2 Create an Outline

Always create an essay outline to see how the information can be organized better and which points need to be highlighted. Try to find an attention grabber that adds to the significance of that point. 

Step#3 Who are You Writing for?

Know your target audience and choose a way in which you want to develop your work. Your hook statement should be according to it. If you are writing for children, write in simple language. If you are writing for professionals, take the specific language into account. 

Step#4 Know the Purpose of Writing Your Essay

Choose hooks that fit your paper. Know the type of essay you are writing and its purpose. You can go for funny hooks if you are writing a paper on a light topic. If you are writing a conference paper, then you should be more formal. 

To Sum it Up!

Now you know the different ways to start your essay or research paper. You are the one to decide which hook is better and more effective to use according to the type of paper. Don’t forget to take into account the preparatory steps and figure out what type of hook is best to use.

You know that starting with a hook can make or break your academic essay. However, it is not always easy to come up with the perfect anecdote or statement for an opening line. 

Luckily, you can get help from a legit essay writing service like MyPerfectWords.com , which can create perfect essays and do your paper for you. You may be asking yourself why you should use this service instead of creating one yourself and here's your answer - getting high-quality academic writing help from our professional essay writer at affordable prices is a good deal!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good hook sentence.

A good hook sentence is a sentence that grabs the reader’s attention or compels them to read your essay further. It is supposed to make your essay more interesting and engaging for them.

A great technique to use is starting out by making an assertive claim about your topic. This will help in grabbing the reader’s attention the moment they begin reading your essay.

What comes first, thesis or hook?

The hook of your essay is the first line of your introductory paragraph or can be more than one also. But the essay hook is written first.

A thesis statement follows it. It is included as a mini-outline of the essay and tells the readers about the essay’s content. Further on, the transitional hook sentence is added at the end of the paragraph.

What is the purpose of a hook?

The main and foremost purpose of a hook is to grab the attention of readers and hook them to your work. It creates an interesting and enticing start to an essay or any other assignment and connects the readers to your work.

What is a hook statement?

The hook is the first sentence of your introduction, and it should be interesting. A great way to start your introduction is by writing an engaging, concise, and clear hook. This will spark curiosity in the reader, which leads them through all that you have written about.

How long is a hook in an essay?

The hook is 1-2 sentences of your essay are important because they help capture the reader's attention. They will continue reading if they are interested in what you have to say.

Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

Nova Allison is a Digital Content Strategist with over eight years of experience. Nova has also worked as a technical and scientific writer. She is majorly involved in developing and reviewing online content plans that engage and resonate with audiences. Nova has a passion for writing that engages and informs her readers.

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hook to start a comparative essay

Hook Examples for Compare and Contrast Essay

Engage your readers and keep them gripped with powerful compare and contrast essay hooks. Learn how to create them effortlessly using AI.

hook to start a comparative essay

Ertugrul Portakal

Aug 8, 2023

Hook Examples for Compare and Contrast Essay


Trending articles.

By writing powerful hooks for your Compare and Contrast essays, you can engage readers and keep them reading your essay. However, creating essay hooks is a more challenging and time-consuming task than it seems. Luckily, by leveraging AI tools, you can generate engaging hooks and work on them.

In this article, we will discuss what compare and contrast essays are and provide a few examples of hooks for them.

  • Compare essays focus on similarities between topics while contrast essays look at differences. A third type is the compare and contrast essay that examines both similarities and differences.
  • To write a good one, it's important to identify meaningful comparisons and contrasts between subjects.
  • To make your compare and contrast essay interesting, you need to use attention-grabbing hooks.
  • We have compiled a list of popular topics for such essays.
  • If you are looking for an AI assistant to support you in your essay writing process, including hook sentence generation, TextCortex is the way to go.

What is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

There are two main types of essays to compare and contrast different topics, subjects, objects, or things: compare essays and contrast essays. Compare essays focus on the similarities between two or more topics, subjects, objects, or things, while contrast essays focus on the differences. However, there is also a third type of essay known as a compare and contrast essay, which discusses both the similarities and differences between two or more topics, subjects, objects, or things.

Core Features of Compare and Contrast Essay

If you want to write a high-quality compare and contrast essay, you need to know its core elements. In the compare and contrast essay, you must specify the exact differences and meaningful similarities between two or more subjects. You need to add supporting details and evidence to the subjects about which you are writing similarities and differences.

hook examples for compare and contrast essay

Why do You Need an Attention-Grabbing Hook for Compare and Contrast Essays?

In order to capture your reader's attention and motivate them to read on, it is important to use interesting and compelling hooks in your essay. This way, you can provide an overview of the key themes and comparisons that you discuss throughout your piece.

Popular Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Compare and contrast essays are a common type of essay that students encounter throughout their academic careers. To help get you started, we've compiled a list of some of the most popular compare and contrast essay topics, including:

  • Plastic surgery or not
  • To be on social media or not
  • Apple or One Plus
  • Saving money or not
  • Virtual vs real classrooms
  • E-books or textbooks
  • Socialism vs communism
  • Legislature vs executive
  • Homework helps online or home tuition
  • Research paper writing or creative writing
  • Remote or Office
  • Joining a startup vs joining a corporate
  • Science vs arts
  • Tea or Coffee: What Drink Is Healthier
  • Art History of France and Italy: What Unites Them?
  • Movie and Book With the Same Plot: How Are They Different?
  • Playing Online Games or Physical Ones: Key Linking Elements
  • Loving Rain & Hating It
  • Fans of Escapism & Those Who Despise It
  • Paying for Online or Physical Ads: Benefits

AI-Generated Hook Examples for Compare and Contrast Essays

Now that you know what compare and contrast essays are and a few topics you can write about, we would like to share some engaging AI-generated (by ZenoChat) hook examples with you. 

hook examples for compare and contrast essay

Prompt: Write a catchy hook for compare and contrast essay about "Compare the Most Dangerous Philosophies"

  • "From communism to fascism, from nihilism to radicalism, the world has seen its fair share of dangerous philosophies. But which one is the most deadly? In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the most dangerous philosophies in history to determine which one poses the greatest threat to society."
  • "What do the philosophies of Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche have in common? More than you might think. In this essay, we'll compare and contrast two of the most dangerous philosophies in modern history to explore the similarities and differences in their worldviews."
  • "Some philosophies are like a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode and wreak havoc on society. In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the most dangerous philosophies in history to uncover the underlying beliefs and values that make them so destructive."

Prompt: Create catchy hooks for compare and contrast essay about "Fans of Escapism & Those Who Despise It"

Output: Here are three potential hooks for a compare and contrast essay about fans of escapism and those who despise it:

1. "For some people, the idea of escaping to another world is a dream come true. For others, it's a dangerous distraction from the problems of the real world. In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the perspectives of fans of escapism and those who despise it to explore the role of fantasy in our lives."

2. "From Harry Potter to Lord of the Rings, the world is full of stories that allow us to escape to another world. But is this kind of escapism healthy, or is it a waste of time? In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the views of those who love escapism and those who hate it to determine whether fantasy is a friend or foe."

3. "Some people love to lose themselves in a good book or movie, while others see this kind of escapism as a sign of weakness. But is it really that simple? In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the perspectives of escapism fans and critics to explore the deeper psychological and cultural factors that shape our relationship with fantasy.”

Prompt: Generate attention-grabbing hooks for compare and contrast essay about "Art Created by AI and Human"

Output: Here are three potential hooks for a compare and contrast essay about art created by AI and humans:

1. "Artificial intelligence is revolutionizing the way we create and experience art. But can machines really replace human creativity and emotion? In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the works of art created by AI and humans to explore the limits and potential of technology in the world of art."

2. "From classical painting to modern sculpture, art has always been a reflection of the human experience. But what happens when we remove the human element and let machines take over? In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the art created by AI and humans to see how each approach reflects our unique perspectives on the world."

3. "The line between human and machine is becoming increasingly blurred, and nowhere is this more evident than in the world of art. In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the works of art created by AI and humans to explore the ways in which technology is changing the definition of creativity and artistic expression."

Prompt: Write engaging hooks for compare and contrast essay about "Using Cars or Riding a Motorcycle?"

Output: Here are three potential hooks for a compare and contrast essay about using cars or riding a motorcycle:

1. "When it comes to getting around, there are two main options: cars and motorcycles. Both offer unique advantages and drawbacks, but which one is right for you? In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the benefits and risks of using cars versus riding a motorcycle to help you make an informed decision."

2. "For some people, a car is a symbol of comfort and convenience. For others, a motorcycle represents freedom and adventure. In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the perspectives of those who prefer cars versus those who prefer motorcycles to explore the underlying values and beliefs that shape our transportation choices."

3. "From fuel efficiency to maneuverability, there are many factors to consider when choosing between a car and a motorcycle. In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the features of these two modes of transportation to help you decide which one is the best fit for your lifestyle and needs."

Prompt: Create powerful hooks for compare and contrast essay about "City Living vs. Country Living" add statistics.

Output: Here are three potential hooks for a compare and contrast essay about city living versus country living, with added statistics:

1. "Did you know that over 80% of Americans live in urban areas? Despite this trend, many people still dream of escaping the hustle and bustle of the city for a simpler life in the country. In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the benefits and drawbacks of city living versus country living to explore the factors that shape our preferences for where we call home."

2. "According to recent studies, city dwellers are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues than their rural counterparts. But why is this the case? In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the effects of city living versus country living on our mental and emotional wellbeing to explore the impact of environment on our overall health."

3. "It's no secret that city living is more expensive than country living. In fact, the cost of living in urban areas can be up to 50% higher than in rural areas. But is the higher price tag worth it? In this essay, we'll compare and contrast the economic factors of city living versus country living to explore the trade-offs between convenience and affordability."

TextCortex: All-in-One AI Assistant

If you are looking for an AI assistant that you can generate hook sentences for all essay types, TextCortex is designed for you. In addition to hook sentence generation, you can complete tasks such as spelling & grammar fixes, text generation, research, rewriting, summarization, and text extender with TextCortex. It is available as a web application and browser extension that is integrated with 4000+ websites and apps.

TextCortex Templates

TextCortex offers its users over 100 writing templates . By utilizing these templates, you can efficiently and quickly complete all your text-based tasks. Some of the most sought-after TextCortex templates include:

  • Paraphrase your text in 25+ different languages.
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  • Read your text aloud with text to speech feature.
  • Communicate with AI using prompts.
  • Write emails from bullet points .
  • Create essays and blog posts in 25+ language.
  • Product Description (with features) generator. 
  • Support or Sales Email Generator

and so much more. Click here to create your free TextCortex account and start using its advantageous features.

TextCortex comes with a multilingual and multifunctional conversational AI called ZenoChat . You can receive the text-based output you desire, such as hook sentences and essay outlines, by inputting prompts into ZenoChat or utilizing its speech-to-text feature. Because ZenoChat works with large language models such as GPT-4 and Sophos 2, it can generate high-quality, human-like, and consistent outputs.

ZenoChat has 12 unique personas designed to meet the various needs of users. With our Individual Personas feature, you can create your own digital persona and assign it to specific tasks. You can also upload your documents or connect your datasets using ZenoChat's " Knowledge Bases " feature and have ZenoChat use the resources you provide while generating output.

Zeno Assist

If you are looking for a tool to assist you in all stages of your essay, Zeno Assistant is the solution for you. After installing our browser extension, simply use the "Alt/Opt + Enter" shortcut to activate Zeno Assistant on 4000+ websites, including Google Docs and Pages.

Zeno Assistant's features include:

• Fix Spelling and Grammar

• Make Texts Longer/Shorter

• Simplify the Language of Your Text

• Create Essays/Outlines/Paragraphs

• Find Action Items

• Summarize/Break Down/Rewrite

• Continue Writing

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hook to start a comparative essay

Compare and Contrast Essay Outline: Template and Example

High school and college students often face challenges when crafting a compare-and-contrast essay. A well-written paper of this kind needs to be structured appropriately to earn you good grades. Knowing how to organize your ideas allows you to present your ideas in a coherent and logical manner

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The picture explains what a compare-and-contrast essay is and how it can be structured.

This article by our custom-writing team delves into all the fine details of structuring your compare-and-contrast paper. It also provides practical examples of the two main outlining methods you may use. Keep reading to up your writing game!

  • 👀 Comparison Essay Outline Types
  • 🔍 Before You Start
  • ✍️ How to Write an Outline
  • ✅ Outline Template
  • 📑 Outline Examples

🔗 References

👀 compare and contrast essay outline types.

A compare and contrast paper studies similarities and differences between two or more subjects. But how do you present the points of comparison? Well, in this kind of essay, there are two methods of structuring the text: point-by-point and block .

Before composing your essay, it’s crucial to choose the approach that suits your assignment best. Your choice will depend on how you want to approach and present your ideas.

Let’s examine these two methods in more detail.

Point-by-Point Comparison Essay

The point-by-point method implies discussing one point of comparison at a time. For example, if you’re comparing two cities, you may dedicate separate paragraphs to their size, population, and architecture.

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The point-by-point arrangement has advantages and disadvantages. Keep them in mind before deciding whether to use it or not.

The picture describes the features of point-by-point and block comparison essay outline methods.

Block Method Compare and Contrast Essay

The block method, also known as subject-by-subject comparison, is a way of outlining your assignment that involves discussing each subject separately. For example, in an essay about different types of fruit, you will discuss the features of one fruit at a time.

This approach has shortcomings and strengths that may affect how you want to handle your essay.

🔍 Comparative Essay Outline: Before You Start

After you’ve chosen a topic (you’re welcome to consult our list of compare-and contrast essay topics for inspiration,) you enter the pre-writing stage. It involves brainstorming, researching, and determining which points are the most important. Here’s how to do it:

  • Brainstorming and in-depth research are vital when working on a compare-and-contrast essay. It helps you figure out the direction your paper will take and provides you with source materials. At this initial stage, your main goal is to identify various similarities and differences between the things you want to write about.
  • After determining the similarities and differences between your subjects of choice, decide which points are the most significant . They will assist you in developing your essay’s thesis statement and paragraphs.

It’s important to remember that you can leave some things out of your assignment. There may be so much material to cover that you will never finish the paper in the first place!

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So, how do you determine what’s worth including in your paper? Consider the following factors:

Useful Tip:

You can draw a Venn diagram and list the similarities and differences to make your comparison easier. Simply draw large intersecting circles and name each one to reflect the traits or subjects you are comparing. Write all the similarities inside the circles’ intersections and differences in the remaining space of each one.

Here’s an example of a Venn diagram comparing the US and Canada with crosses and checkmarks representing what’s different and similar between them, respectively:

The picture shows a Venn diagram comparing the US and Canada.

✍️ How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

Do you need some more guidance in outlining your paper? Well, look no further! Here is a comprehensive coverage of how to write a perfect outline for your compare-and-contrast essay.

Compare and Contrast Essay Introduction

Your essay’s introduction is arguably its most important section. It gives readers a solid summary of your paper’s contents and helps them understand what to expect as your comparison essay progresses.

Here’s what a good introduction is made of:

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  • Background information about your topic that the readers need to know before proceeding.
  • A catchy hook that captures and retains your audience’s attention up to the end.
  • A thesis statement that provides a direction and ties up your whole assignment. All your arguments will focus on defending this statement.

Hook for Compare and Contrast Essay + Example

Ways of creating a hook can differ based on your essay’s purpose and overall tone:

Here is a hook example to inspire you. It uses statistics in the form of a question:

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Need more ideas on how to start your essay? Check out our article on hooks in writing !

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis

Formulating your paper’s thesis statement is critical to drafting the outline. In most cases, its purpose is to clarify what features make the subjects of comparison different or similar.

Note that your essay’s thesis may vary depending on its function. For instance, it might serve an informational or judgmental purpose:

  • If your thesis is informative , you only need to enumerate differences and similarities between your subjects of comparison.
  • But if your thesis is judgmental , you should state which similarities or differences are the most significant.

Check out these examples to understand the difference better:

Comparison Essay Outline: Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs in a contrast essay support your thesis about the subjects you are comparing.

Each body paragraph should start with a topic sentence that states the passage’s main idea. The rest depends on the type of outline you’re using: you either discuss the features of one subject of comparison or focus on one criterion and describe it in relation to each topic.

Let’s see it in more detail. Say, we’re comparing subjects A and B according to their features 1, 2, and 3:

📌 Point-by-Point Body Paragraphs Arrangement

📌 Block Method Body Paragraphs Arrangement

Compare and Contrast Essay Transition Words

A compare and contrast essay features a set of similar and distinct items. To make the comparison easier to understand, you can use words that create a smooth transition between your ideas and thoughts.

Transition words serve 4 essential purposes in a compare and contrast assignment:

  • They make transitioning and linking between thoughts easier.
  • They make your writing more dynamic.
  • They improve readability in your paper.
  • They set the stage for ideas that will be introduced next.

Here are transition words you can use to show similarities in your comparison essay:

Similarly, too, just as, also, both, comparatively, same as, like, in the same way.

For contrasting, use appropriate transition words to give your paper a more logical, coherent flow. These include:

However, in contrast to, conversely, while, more than/less than, rather than, unlike, although, compared with.

Compare and Contrast Essay Conclusion

Finally, it’s time to wrap up your comparison essay. Your conclusion should contain 2 core elements:

  • Summarized key points. Sum up the main arguments you’ve presented throughout your essay. Make sure to refrain from introducing any new ideas at this point!
  • A restated thesis. Your essay’s conclusion should also restate your thesis and prove that you’ve effectively defended it in the body paragraphs.
  • A final thought. A good conclusion leaves the reader with something to think about. In a compare-and-contrast essay, it can be a statement that connects it to the broader context or underlines the topic’s significance.

✅ Compare and Contrast Essay Outline Template

Now, let’s sum up everything you’ve learned about different ways to outline your compare-and-contrast essay using the block or point-by-point approaches. Here are the templates you can use for structuring your paper:

📌 Point-by-Point Method Outline Template

📌 Block Method Outline Template

📑 Compare and Contrast Outline Examples

Are you stuck with your paper and need an outline example to inspire you? You’ll find it below!

Here are 2 outline samples done using point-by-point and block methods.

📌 Point by Point Outline Example: Differences between Fresh and Canned Foods

📌 Block Method Outline Example: Differences between Backpacking and Staying in Hotels

We hope these insights and template examples will inspire you to master the structure of the compare-and-contrast essays. Use these ideas to excel in your studies and do your homework quickly!

Further reading:

  • Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Tips and Examples
  • Literature Review Outline: Examples, Approaches, & Templates
  • Rhetorical Analysis Essay Outline: Examples & Strategies
  • How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline: Template & Examples

❓ Compare and Contrast Essay Outline FAQs

You can use different approaches to hook your readers from the get-go. Start your paper using an anecdote, a relevant question, or an exciting fact about the subjects you compare. You may also use a related quote from a famous person.

The body paragraphs in a comparative essay provide a detailed and systematic analysis of the similarities and differences between the two or more. Each body paragraph should focus on a specific point of comparison and provide evidence to support the argument.

Subject-by-subject comparison is a method of organizing and presenting a comparison essay in which you first discuss all aspects of one subject, followed by a discussion of all aspects of the next subject. This approach is also sometimes called a point-by-point comparison.

A point-by-point comparison is a method of organizing a compare-and-contrast essay in which you discuss specific points of comparison between the subjects. You select the criteria and discuss each one in a separate paragraph or section.

To end a compare and contrast essay, restate the thesis statement, summarize the main points, and provide a final thought. This creates a clear and concise summary of the essay’s argument and proves its significance to the reader.

  • Comparison and Contrast: University of Minnesota  
  • Comparing and Contrasting: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill  
  • How to Write a Compare-and-Contrast Essay: Grammarly  
  • Writing for Success: Compare/Contrast: Kellogg Community College  
  • Compare & Contrast Essay: Excelsior University Site  
  • Comparison and Contrast Essays: Saint Mary’s University  
  • Compare & Contrast Assignments: The University of Arizona Global Campus  
  • Organizational Patterns for the Comparison/Contrast Essay: San José State University  
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10+ Comparative Essay Samples

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Academic institutions always provide writing exercises to students so that the level of understanding that the students can have about a particular subject manner is widened. One of the most common academic essay examples  that’s given as writing assignment to students is the comparative essay. A comparative essay, also known as comparison essay or compare and contrast essay, is the type of essay that specifically analyzes two subject matters. There are a lot of academic fields where writing a comparative essay can be beneficial to students and their educational undertaking.

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A comparative essay can either compare or contrast two topics, theories, materials and other subjects of discussion. However, there are activities where both comparisons and contrasts are necessary to be presented. If you are required to write a comparative essay but is unaware on how you can do one effectively, you can browse through the samples that we have gathered for you so you can be more knowledgeable on how to structure both the content and layout of this kind of essay.

Comparative Essay

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Comparative Essay For High School

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College Comparative Essay

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Comparative Essay Plan Template

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Compare and Contrast Sample Essay

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Sample Comparative Essay Format

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The Concept of Comparative Essays

Different  college essay examples  are written based on different sets of instructions. Depending on the writing task that you have at hand, the things that you may include in your comparative essay may vary. However, the concept of making a comparative essay remains the same. For it to be clearer in your mind, here is how a comparative essay works:

  • A comparative essay is an academic essay  that requires students to create a comprehensive and precise comparative report about two things.
  • A comparative essay is an organized written material that is meant to provide a comparison that should be easily understood by the target readers. It is set to impress people by providing them the information that they need to be aware of about two subjects and how they differ and/or compare with each other.
  • A comparative essay can be written if you have two objects or subjects that can be compared in a level where their similarities and/or differences are relevant or meaningful for a specific purpose.
  • A comparative essay can be used in formal writing assignments and it can also be the basis for various research assessments.
  • A comparative essay is created through pertaining precise points of comparison. These points should be backed by actual researchers, factual information, and other reliable evidence.

Block Comparative Essay Example

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Student Comparative Essay Sample

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How to Develop the Content of Your Comparative Essay

Before writing a comparative essay, you first need to arm yourself with the information that you need. This will allow you to create a comparative essay that is filled with relevant and helpful information. More so, this can help you veer away from committing  common essay mistakes  if you are already in the process of actual content writing.

The way that you plan to present your ideas, especially if they are backed up with facts, can make your comparative essay more successful. Listed below are the steps that you may use when developing the content of your comparative essay.

  • The first thing that you need to do is to be aware of the question that you need to answer. You need to be aware of the essay prompt so you can address the needs of your readers. It is essential for you to be fully knowledgeable of the essence of the question so you can interpret it accordingly. The content that you will write will only be effective if it is related to the question and if it matches the purpose on why the essay is necessary to be written.
  • Know whether there are limits for your discussion . Always identify whether you need to know the similarities or the differences between your subjects. Also, you need to know whether the scope of your essay assignment requires you to do any of these or both.
  • Select the ideas that you would like to compare. It is important for you to have an in-depth understanding of the kind of comparison that you will write. The framework of your essay should be based on an actual evaluation that can point out how you were able to perceive the similarities or differences of the subject.
  • Assess whether you already have sufficient points for comparison. Your ability to present as many valid points as possible can make a lot of clarifications about the unanswered questions that you can enlighten your readers with.
  • Once the points of your comparison are already specified, list down whether they are under the similarities or differences of the two subjects. This step can help you be organized throughout the writing process. With easy access to how subjects are compared, you can be guided on how to use them in your content development.
  • Evaluate your list. Your list is only your initial view about the subjects being reviewed or assessed. Hence, further evaluation is necessary. Make sure that you will read through the entire list so you can rank them based on their impact and weight of thesis.
  • Chronologically arrange your list based on your basis of comparison . Make sure that you will follow a metric when examining the items that you will place in your actual comparative essay.
  • Know the approach that you will use when developing your essay content. Will you be theoretical? Will you focus on answering questions for comparison? It is essential for you to be aware of your basis so your approach can provide you with maximum benefits within the entirety of the content development process.
  • Research further about your subjects so you can verify whether your claims and initial claims are correct. This can help you create more topics and gather more evidence that can support your comparison.
  • Create a thesis statement where your discussion can set its foundation. This will enable you to start writing the comparative essay that you would like to achieve.

You may think that this is a very long process just for developing the ideas that you will present. In a way, you may be right. However, being prepared and ready on how you will attack and execute the writing assignment can make it easier for you to create a valid discussion.

Comparative Contrast Essay Template

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Printable Comparative Essay Sample

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Steps in Organizing Your Comparative Essay Discussion

Aside from knowing the idea of what you will write about, the structure of your essay or the organization of your essay’s content can affect the smooth flow of your discussion. Even during  last minute essay writing  activities, you can still come up with an outstanding comparative essay if you are already knowledgeable on how you can organize your essay’s idea, content, structure, and discussion. Listed below are some of the ways on how you can efficiently organize your comparative essay’s content.

  • Refer to the outline of your comparisons. This is where the items that we have discussed above can be helpful. If you are already guided by your comparisons, then you can easily rank their relevance to the essay that you will write. Referencing your comparisons can make it easier for you to have a thesis statement that you can further discuss.
  • Organize your writing strategies. The strategies that you will incorporate into your discussion can make it easier for readers to relate to your point. You need to make sure that your strategies are aligned with your type of comparison and the subjects that you are comparing.
  • Properly address your comparisons.  For your comparative essay to be highly-usable, you need to make sure that you will implement simplicity within your discussion. Do not make it complicated. The content of your comparative essay should be as simple as possible so that it can be furthermore understood.
  • Organize your paragraph structure.  The way that you create your paragraph listing can be one of the factors that can either improve or destroy your comparative essay. You should create a draft that can specifically state the items that you will discuss per paragraph. Create statements that can address specific comparisons and divide them per paragraph. Each of your paragraphs should be talking about one subject so you can give focus per comparison aspect.
  • Evaluate whether your writing guide is already organized enough. It is essential for you to not overlap subjects of discussion. When organizing your statements, make sure to cover one subject at a time. This will help you create a comparative essay that contains a list of carefully arranged and curated evidence which are further discussed and broken down into relevant specification pieces.

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Sample Comparative Essay in PDF

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Writing Guide in Creating the Actual Comparative Essay

Just like  descriptive essay examples  and other kinds of academic essays, a comparative essay can be created in different ways. Each writer has various techniques that can be applied when doing this particular kind of essay. Since there are no strict rules when it comes to crafting a comparative essay, all you need to ensure is that your comparative essay is comprehensive, understandable and credible. Here is how you can effectively write your actual comparative essay:

  • Create an introduction to the topic. Your thesis statement should contain the subjects that you will talk about. You also need to create an initial discussion of what your readers can expect to the reader within the content of your comparative essay. A strong validation of your comparison can make your readers more interested to browse through the entire essay document.
  • Develop your next paragraphs for discussion. As mentioned above, work per paragraph. Arrange your topics of discussion in a way that each paragraph can specifically state one comparison topic per time. You have to create an interesting discussion so you need to ensure that all your paragraphs are organized and well-written.
  • Finalize your comparative essay with a conclusion. Your last paragraph should contain the information about your final thoughts with regards the comparison. How different or similar are the two subjects from one another? How sure are you that your basis is factual and relevant? Create a great impact b
  • y having a conclusion that can put together all your points of discussion.

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Sample Comparative Essay Guide

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Factors to Consider When Writing a Comparative Essay

In comparison to  evaluation essay examples , a comparative essay is more keen with regards the assessment of two subjects. If you will write a comparative essay, you need to have an idea of the impacts of different factors to the result that you may get at the end of the writing activity. Listed below are some of the elements or factors that you need to take into consideration when writing a comparative essay.

  • Your discussion’s organization.  Within the entirety of the comparative essay creation, it is very evident that organization is key to success. As a writer, you need to ensure that you have a skeletal plan that can create your discussion more polished and coherent. The discussion of your organization can greatly affect the impression of your readers with regards your knowledge about your topic as well as your level of understanding with what you are talking about.
  • Your thesis statement.  When creating a comparative essay, you need to stick with an argument that can provide you the framework for the effective dissemination of information. Your thesis statement should be based on the results of your frame of references. You need to analyze your subjects properly so that you can create a stand on how you perceive them in levels of similarities and/or differences.
  • Your claims or grounds for comparison.  You should always be aware of your selection processes. At the end of the writing activity, you need to validate the importance of comparing two subjects. Always have your grounds of comparison ready so you can ensure your readers that you have followed a particular set of criteria that can enable the objectivity between the selection of two items for comparison. The rationale that you have behind your subject selection can make your comparative essay more appealing.
  • Your reference frame.  A comparative essay’s frame of reference deals with the way that the writer has created the groupings for the comparison. May it be talking about the similarities, differences, or both of these factors; a comparative essay should be able to have a reference that can identify how the characteristics of ideas, themes, theories or even problems are arranged.

With the samples that we have in this post, it will be faster for you to identify the points of discussion that you need to provide. Again, comparative essays vary from one another in terms of content. Ensure that you are fully aware of the writing instructions given to you so you can plan your comparative essay’s content and structure accordingly.

Always refer to the guidelines and tips that we have specified so you can create effective decisions in every step of your comparative essay development. Do not be afraid to write what your thoughts. As long as these thoughts are based on factual references, then it will be easy for you to have a comparative essay that can achieve its purpose or reason for creation.

the art of writing a comparative essay lies in the delicate balance of presenting similarities and differences in a clear, coherent manner. This type of essay encourages critical thinking and develops analytical skills, crucial for academic success. For further guidance on creating effective comparative essays, the UNC Writing Center offers a detailed resource on comparing and contrasting ( UNC Writing Center ). This link provides valuable insights and examples, helping students refine their comparative writing skills. By mastering the comparative essay, students not only enhance their writing abilities but also deepen their understanding of contrasting subjects, an essential skill in many academic and professional fields.

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5 Compare and Contrast Essay Examples (Full Text)

A compare and contrast essay selects two or more items that are critically analyzed to demonstrate their differences and similarities. Here is a template for you that provides the general structure:

compare and contrast essay format

A range of example essays is presented below.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

#1 jean piaget vs lev vygotsky essay.

1480 Words | 5 Pages | 10 References

(Level: University Undergraduate)

paget vs vygotsky essay

Thesis Statement: “This essay will critically examine and compare the developmental theories of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky, focusing on their differing views on cognitive development in children and their influence on educational psychology, through an exploration of key concepts such as the role of culture and environment, scaffolding, equilibration, and their overall implications for educational practices..”

#2 Democracy vs Authoritarianism Essay

democracy vs authoritarianism essay

Thesis Statement: “The thesis of this analysis is that, despite the efficiency and control offered by authoritarian regimes, democratic systems, with their emphasis on individual freedoms, participatory governance, and social welfare, present a more balanced and ethically sound approach to governance, better aligned with the ideals of a just and progressive society.”

#3 Apples vs Oranges Essay

1190 Words | 5 Pages | 0 References

(Level: 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade)

apples vs oranges essay

Thesis Statement: “While apples and oranges are both popular and nutritious fruits, they differ significantly in their taste profiles, nutritional benefits, cultural symbolism, and culinary applications.”

#4 Nature vs Nurture Essay

1525 Words | 5 Pages | 11 References

(Level: High School and College)

nature vs nurture essay

Thesis Statement: “The purpose of this essay is to examine and elucidate the complex and interconnected roles of genetic inheritance (nature) and environmental influences (nurture) in shaping human development across various domains such as physical traits, personality, behavior, intelligence, and abilities.”

#5 Dogs vs Cats Essay

1095 Words | 5 Pages | 7 Bibliographic Sources

(Level: 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade)

Thesis Statement: “This essay explores the distinctive characteristics, emotional connections, and lifestyle considerations associated with owning dogs and cats, aiming to illuminate the unique joys and benefits each pet brings to their human companions.”

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

I’ve recorded a full video for you on how to write a compare and contrast essay:

Get the Compare and Contrast Templates with AI Prompts Here

In the video, I outline the steps to writing your essay. Here they are explained below:

1. Essay Planning

First, I recommend using my compare and contrast worksheet, which acts like a Venn Diagram, walking you through the steps of comparing the similarities and differences of the concepts or items you’re comparing.

I recommend selecting 3-5 features that can be compared, as shown in the worksheet:

compare and contrast worksheet

Grab the Worksheet as Part of the Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Pack

2. Writing the Essay

Once you’ve completed the worksheet, you’re ready to start writing. Go systematically through each feature you are comparing and discuss the similarities and differences, then make an evaluative statement after showing your depth of knowledge:

compare and contrast essay template

Get the Rest of the Premium Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Pack (With AI Prompts) Here

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis Statement

Compare and contrast thesis statements can either:

  • Remain neutral in an expository tone.
  • Prosecute an argument about which of the items you’re comparing is overall best.

To write an argumentative thesis statement for a compare and contrast essay, try this AI Prompts:

💡 AI Prompt to Generate Ideas I am writing a compare and contrast essay that compares [Concept 1] and [Concept2]. Give me 5 potential single-sentence thesis statements that pass a reasonable judgement.

Ready to Write your Essay?

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Take action! Choose one of the following options to start writing your compare and contrast essay now:

Read Next: Process Essay Examples

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    A comparative essay is a type of essay in which an essay writer compares at least two or more items. The author compares two subjects with the same relation in terms of similarities and differences depending on the assignment. The main purpose of the comparative essay is to:

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    Organization of the essay outline by item 1.Introduction. Hook sentence, attention-getter ... To start a comparative essay, the writer should create a concise introduction part. The introduction of each essay is critical to make the reader interested in reading the last of the paper. In other words, it gives the audience the first impression of ...

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    A comparative essay, also known as comparison essay or compare and contrast essay, is the type of essay that specifically analyzes two subject matters. There are a lot of academic fields where writing a comparative essay can be beneficial to students and their educational undertaking. Download Comparative Essay Bundle.

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