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How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

As with all essay topics, you need to find a suitable topic. With compare and contrast essays, you have to find too opposing ideas or sentiments. Generally, writers favor one side over the other. You can support your views with evidence if you like but this isn’t mandatory.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  • Female Friends vs. Guy Friends
  • Watching TV vs. Reading
  • Learning French vs. Spanish
  • Classical Literature vs. Pop Fiction
  • Democrats vs. Republicans
  • Carnivores vs. Vegetarians
  • Playing Basketball vs. Soccer
  • Love vs. Lust
  • Halloween vs. Christmas
  • Playing in a Rock Band vs. Orchestra

The Compare and Contrast Essay Structure

Once you have decided on your topic, you need to choose a structure that you will use in your essay. There are two basic structures for this essay.

Structure 1

  • Introduction ‒ For this essay, you need to begin by giving a generalization, quote, or anecdote followed by the thesis statement.
  • Topic 1 Paragraph(s) ‒ Begin a discussion on the first side but don’t go into topic 2.
  • Topic 2 Paragraph(s) ‒ Discuss topic 2 in detail.
  • Analyze Both Topics Together
  • Conclude ‒ Wrap up your discussion by tying the two topics together and acknowledge the one you find most favorable. 


  • Introduction
  • Both Comparisons (Topic 1 and 2)
  • Both Contrasts (Topic 1 and 2)
  • Conclude

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Most Americans really love Christmas. They enjoy the trees, the lights, the cookies, the presents, the eggnog, the whole nine yards. But I would like to argue that in fact Halloween is a much better holiday. It is better because it is not driven by capitalist greed or by family members who gather together and pretend that they like each other. Halloween is more about fun, costumes, and scaring each other, which I personally find more joyful than Old Saint Nick…

In the old days, people only had one choice of fast travel, trains. But today, with so many choices of cheap and quick transport, most people tend to choose planes. However, I think that our society is missing much. In a train you can see all the landscapes and sights from your train. In a plane, you only see clouds. Therefore, I think that while trains are slower they provide a much more enriching mode of transportation…

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