The Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay

Compare and Contrast essays are one of the most difficult assignments for students to complete. Is it the problem of structuring? Choosing the topic? Organizing ideas around a thesis statement? Seems like a bunch of knots which can hardly ever be unraveled. Well, I ensure you it’s not a big deal at all. Make yourself comfortable – I will not make you yawn.

You are lucky enough if your professor granted the topic for the compare and contrast essay. Otherwise, I will not only give you topic ideas, but I will help you master this type of essay and teach you how to write it with no stress attached.

Before I start ‘professing,’ let me tell you what compare and contrast essay is. It is a type of academic or non-academic writing where you need to find similarities and differences between two or more objects/concepts. Not only it includes comparing and contrasting, but also the research on both objects/concepts to gain a full picture for future writing.
For starters, I will give you the most common topic examples for free:

  • Working from home – Be an in-house Employee
  • US President Strategies – Soviet Union Strategies
  • Gain the University Degree or Work after College: Which option has more responsibilities and perspectives?
  • Be Married to Non-beloved or Be Single: The Cruel Reality or the Self-Respect
  • Compare and Contrast Free Sources of Information (blogs, social network, etc.) with Credible Sources (peer-review journals, news articles, .edu, .gov, etc.): What would you choose?
  • Traditional Libraries, Mobile Applications, or Book Readers: What is the future?
  • DaVinci and Thomas Jefferson: Whose Innovations More Significantly Contributed to the Society?
  • Thrillers and Horror Movies: Which one disturbs our nervous system more?
  • Living in a Big City or in a Suburbs?
  • Active Leisure – Passive Leisure: What is your choice?

The question which arises then is: How to start writing a compare and contrast essay? Any type of writing should start with an outline: an arrangement of ideas which you would like to mention, develop, and explain in your essay. Don’t make it too broad or wordy, use simple sentences and keywords.

The template or the structure of the essay might be two-folded: point-by-point and block system. I have made a kind of a scheme or structurization plan for you to visualize the data.

None of these formats can be considered as bad or good as they just represent your preferences in organizing information. It can be mistakenly assumed that the first option of the template is easier. Let me show you it is not – the first format includes one transition paragraph, while in the second one you will need to write three different transition sentences to move from one point to another.

After you’ve created an outline and chosen the format of your future essay, it is time for you to ask yourself: Are there any peculiarities of a thesis statement in a compare and contrast essay? Remember that the thesis statement is the core, the brick, and the beginning of the era. Every point in the essay is connected with the thesis statement by the transparent fiber.
Instead of giving you a clear guide on how to write compare and contrast essay, this bare theory might confuse you even more. So, let me introduce the example of this type of an essay with the necessary words, phrases, transitions, and linking words.

Working from Home and Being a Full-Time Office Employee: What Would You Choose?

I will be organizing the essay in a block template with an outline included.


  • Introduction
  • Object one
    1. Advantages and disadvantages of working from home.
    2. How it might influence personal and professional life.
    3. Are there any challenges and what impact do they have?
  • Object two
    1. Advantages and disadvantages of working from home.
    2. How it might influence personal and professional life.
    3. Are there any challenges and what impact do they have?
  • Conclusion – Summarizing key points and giving my personal opinion concerning two objects as well as demonstrating my choice with an explanation.

Now it is time to move on and show you how to make a top-notch introduction from a poor one. I will make it short in order to save your time but deliver a precise and accurate image of how everything should look like.

These days, the society is striving to find comfortable conditions for work where they can both gain some professional achievements and feel no frustration. The idea of working from home might be considered as a perfect opportunity for those who enjoy being at home. The full-time employee faces office stress, might become annoyed with the colleagues, and feel completely exhausted by the routine schedule.

Will the professor grade this introduction positively? I highly doubt so. Let me explain: the introduction looks like a chain of ideas, which are not even connected. Moreover, as you might note, there is no thesis statement – what is the essay about then?

A comfortable workplace where a person can drink a favorite cinnamon coffee, completing tasks while enjoying home walls. The idea of being a freelance is two-folded: time-management, self-discipline, and the readiness to work 24\7 should become a daily attitude. Working in an office facilitates the feedback system, provides a space for career growth, gives a person an opportunity to become involved socially, while working from home lacks all these aspects and, moreover, possesses great chances for degradation.

In this way, the introduction matches the requirements and includes a thesis statement (which is underlined). As you can see, thesis statement contains several ideas for both objects which represent the central ideas of the essay.

Don’t get too excited – I will not write this guide with all the essay text included – main ideas are still yours. However, I will now demonstrate what the transition paragraph is for a compare and contrast essay based on the topic. Believe me, your professor will appreciate the seriousness of your approach to the essay writing.

By the by, the transition paragraph is not necessarily a paragraph. It might be a sentence at the end of the first block or the first sentence at the beginning of the new block. But, if you are not attracted to academic writing, you can simply insert one sentence between the blocks (objects\concepts). Let me show it.

  • Introduction
  • Object 1
    The idea of working from home similarly contains a particular set of advantages and disadvantages, levers of impact, and challenges.
  • Object 2
  • Conclusion

Give your reader a logic transition from one concept to another so that they could understand what’s your point. Don’t make it too abstruse, just give a break from your stream of points.

I would also like to give you some useful words which are appropriate to use in the compare and contrast essays.

COMPARE – also, in addition, alike, similarly, as well as, in comparison to, both, the same, equally, in the same manner, likewise, in common.

CONTRAST – even though, though, on the contrary, while, notwithstanding, on the other hand, otherwise, in contrast, despite.

The bottom line, as in any other essay, follow the outline and make sure each idea is connected to the thesis statement. Compare means to find similarities; contrast – differences. Don’t forget to express your opinion (if needed) and explain your choice.


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