Chapter 9-1: The Compare & Contrast Essay
In a compare and contrast essay, the writer studies two different subjects and analyzes their similarities, differences, or both.
Discuss the similarities of Instagram and Facebook (compare essay)
Describe the differences between owning a cat and owning a dog (contrast essay)
Examine both the similarities and differences between Canada's and your home country's healthcare system (compare and contrast essay)
A compare and contrast essay has two potential structures: point-by-point and block.
Either of these structures can be used with the five-paragraph approach for an essay:
an introductory paragraph
three evidentiary body paragraphs
Discusses individual points, alternating between subjects
Point 1: Subject 1 > Subject 2
Point 2: Subject 1 > Subject 2
Point 3: Subject 1 > Subject 2
Discusses the subjects, first one and then the other
Subject 1: Point 1, 2, and 3
Subject 2: Point 1, 2, and 3
Useful Words and Phrases
In the same way
In the same manner
not only... but also...
Both _________________ and _________________ are ___________________.
Just as ____________________ is _________________, _____________________ is also _____________________.
____________________ and __________________ have several things in common.
On the contrary
On the other hand
While _______________ is _______________, __________________ is ___________________.
The main difference between ___________________ and __________________ is __________________.
Compare and Contrast
While the similarities between _____________________ and _____________________, the differences are _________________________.
Both _________________ and _________________ are ___________________, but they _________________________.
At first glance, __________________ and __________________ don't have anything common, but __________________.
This outline of a point-by-point compare and contrast essay should help you with the content of your essay.
The MLA format for essays has the following rules:
Font: 12pt Times New Roman
Margins: One-inch margins in all sides
Heading: Left-justified at the beginning of the essay and includes:
Paragraphs: Double spaced with indentation on first line
In-text citation and paraphrasing format
“Works Cited” format
Exercises & Resources
The resources linked below can help you brainstorm topics for your essay. Comparing or contrasting subjects in a table or worksheet can be helpful before you write your complete essay. These can help you make an outline and decide whether to use point-by-point or block structure, as well.