Comparison/Contrast Essays


Comparing involves looking at likenesses or similarities

Contrasting involves looking at differences


Analogy – a sustained comparison often used to compare unfamiliar, abstract, or complicated thoughts.


Comparison Contrast Essays:

1.      Help us perceive our environment

2.      Help us understand and organize large amounts of information

3.      Allow us to understand a subject by placing it next to another



Some Rules:

  1. Always compare/contrast items in the same category (compare 2 professors but not a professor and a swimming pool.
  2. Have a specific purpose/reason for writing
  3. Discuss the same qualities of each subject (teaching techniques)
  4. Use as many details as possible
  5. Balance the treatment of the different subjects of your comparison
  6. Determine superiority of one over other?



Body - Organization

  1. Point by point – alternating
                example:           Point 1 Appearance of Buick

                                          Point 1 Appearance of Toyota

                                          Point 2 Engine   etc

  1. Subject by subject

                        Example:          Buick – appearance and engine

                                                Toyota - appearance and engine

  1. Combination of two
                                        Interior car A
                                        Interior car B
                                        MPG car A
                                        Horsepower car A
                                        MPG car B
                                        Horsepower car B
  2. Division between similarities and differences
                                        All similarities
                                        All differences