How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

A compare and contrast essay describes similarities and differences. It is possible to note only similarities or only differences in a comparison and contrast essay. It is also possible to point out both similarities and differences at the same time. It is possible to report the advantages and disadvantages and it is possible to state that something is better or worse than another thing in a certain way in a compare and contrast essay. However, in a compare and contrast essay, the writer does not directly support or stand for an argument like he/she does in an argumentative essay.



Sample essay topic: Which one is better as a pet animal? A dog or a cat?

Let's say there is such an essay topic. Now there are three possibilities:



Possible argument one: A dog is better.
Possible argument two: A cat is better.
Possible argument three: Both of them equally have advantages and disadvantages.

General organization of a compare and contrast essay

Before starting to write a compare and contrast essay, there are some important things to do:

1. State your argument
2. Determine your major ideas.
3. Support your major ideas with  minor supporting details. Create a bullet list of them.

Sample essay topic: Which one is better? A tablet or a laptop?

1. Sample argument: A laptop is better than a tablet.

2. Major ideas: Business, gaming and surfing the internet  (We want to write a 5 paragraph essay. That's why we need 3 body paragraphs. And that's why we need 3 major ideas.)

3. Minor ideas (at least 3 minor supporting details for each major idea):
Business: Using office programs, browsing folders, keyboard (we will claim that all are easier to use with a laptop).
Gaming: Better system properties, bigger case, wider screen (we think that these features of laptop provide better gaming experience).
Surfing the internet: Bigger screen, using a mouse, using a keyboard (We believe that these features of a laptop provide better surfing experience).

Well that's all. Our general organization and our major ideas and minor details are ready. Now, we have to put these into words.

Writing the introduction paragraph:

The introduction paragraph involves two or three introducing sentences. Following these, the major ideas can be mentioned in the introduction paragraph. And finally, the thesis statement must be stated. A sample introduction paragraph:

Thanks to the advancements in technology, we have two important companions in our lives; a laptop and a tablet. Thanks to these two electronic devices, we can do a lot of things. Though these devices have a lot in common, there are also many differences between them. There are important differences between a laptop and a tablet in terms of their practicalities regarding business, gaming and surfing the internet. Concerning these main issues, a laptop has huge advantages when compared to a tablet.

Writing the first body paragraph:

The first body paragraph mentions the first major idea (business) and the minor ideas that support the first major idea. The compared subjects should be mentioned and compared for each minor supporting detail. A sample first body paragraph:

First of all there are important differences between a laptop and a tablet in terms of their usabilities in business life. Initially, laptops have a huge advantage when compared to tablets regarding the use of office programs thanks to their bigger screens and faster system properties. Furthermore, it is easier to browse folders with a laptop. By using a mouse, you can browse a lot of folders more easily. Also, a built-in keyboard makes it easier to write things with a laptop when compared to writing things by tapping your fingers on the screen of a tablet.   

Writing the second body paragraph:

The second body paragraph mentions the second major idea (gaming) and the minor ideas that support the second major idea. The compared subjects should be mentioned and compared for each minor supporting detail. A sample second body paragraph:

Secondly, there are crucial dissimilarities between a laptop and a tablet regarding their gaming effectiveness. To begin with, laptops with similar prices have better system properties compared to tablets. This enables laptops to play games with high system requirements. In addition to this, a laptop has a much bigger case compared to a tablet. This means that, there is more space that allows for bigger fans to cool down the components. Thanks to this, a laptop works more effectively. Ultimately, a laptop's wider screen makes gaming experience much more enjoyable compared to gaming with a tablet. 

Writing the third body paragraph:

The third body paragraph mentions the third major idea (surfing the internet) and the minor ideas that support the third major idea. The compared subjects should be mentioned and compared for each minor supporting detail. A sample third body paragraph:

Thirdly, a laptop is preferable to a tablet due to its practicalities in terms of surfing the internet. To start with, a laptop has a wider screen, which makes surfing websites, watching videos or checking out pictures more enjoyable. Furthermore, by using a mouse, a person can surf the internet in a more comfortable manner. Lastly, by using a keyboard, a laptop user can write things down in a more comfortable and effective way when compared to a tablet user. 

Writing the conclusion paragraph:

The conclusion paragraph involves 2-3 concluding sentences. The major ideas can be mentioned again in the conclusion paragraph. And a conclusion paragraph must involve a closing sentence similar to the thesis statement. A sample conclusion paragraph:

To sum up, a laptop is superior to a tablet in terms of various aspects. Among these aspects, business, gaming and surfing the internet are the most important points in which a laptop is superior to a tablet. Considering its practical use in business life, the enjoyable experience it provides while gaming and the faster and more effective internet surfing it offers, it can be concluded that a laptop is more advanced when compared to a tablet. 

It should be noted that these paragraphs are only examples. Better sentences and different styles can also be applied to write a compare and contrast essay. These sample paragraphs focus on the positive sides of laptops while briefly mentioning the inferior sides of tablets compared to laptops in each paragraph. You can practice writing a compare and contrast essay by trying to write an essay on one of the following topics:

1. A car or a motorbike?
2. A smart phone or a computer?
3. Diploma or work experience?
4. A cat or a dog?
5. A pet or a friend?

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