A Guide To Compare And Contrast Essay Writing: Free Academic Help For Students

The number one mistake for students who are tasked with writing a compare and contrast essay, typically in their freshmen English course, are that they mistakenly think that you have to both compare and contrast within the same paper. You do not. You are asked to compare or contrast not both.

What are Comparing and Contrasting?

Comparing means to compare—things – to look at two different things and to point out their similarities. When you contrast things you point out their differences.

What are Good Topics For Comparing Essays?

If you are going to compare two things you could go for a humorous effect—comparing going to college to boot camp, or comparing culinary school or some other type of school that is very grueling to training for a marathon or something. Some students who have children write very humorous essays on how having a child is similar to having a pet – or vise versa.

What are Good Topics for Contrast Essays?

I had one student who wrote a very interesting paper on how having a wolf pup is similar to having a dog/puppy. It turns out they are very different things indeed. It turns out that wolf puppies, for example, have to have raw meat in their diets while basic dogs, who derive from wolves, can only consume cooked meat wihout fear of getting ill. The paper was basically fascinating and very well written.

What you want to think about are two things that would be very interesting to hold up against one another. However, length constraints and structural challenges make it difficult.

The Challenges of Compare and Contrast Essays

The most challenging things about compare and contrast essays are that students sometimes get tangled up in the structural aspect and write very very dull and predicatble essays wherein they describe one object in detail on pages one and two of the essay and then describe the similarities to that object in the second half of the essay.

You never want your essay to be that predictable or your reader will simply put it down, knowing they can basically predict what will fill these pages without even reading the essay.

What works Best for Compare and Contrast Essays is This

What works best for every one of these essays is to compare yourself before an after some experience you have had that has changed you as an individual or to compare your perceptions of what you thought some experience would be like and what it actually was.


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