What steps should take to write a compare and contrast essay?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first step to writing a comparison and contrast essay is choosing the topic. You want to choose two things to compare/contrast that have both similarities and differences. Some students make the mistake of writing about only similarities or only differences because they forget to look at the larger picture. One has to be careful about choosing the topic because some things really don't have similarities.

Once you've chosen the topic, you'll next want to make a list of all the similarities you feel are important to point out and all the differences. You'll also want to take your analysis one step further and figure out why it is important for the reader to know about these similarities and differences. What further thing are you trying to convey with this analysis? Once you have a list of comparisons and contrasts and know exactly what you want to argue, you are now ready to compose the most important part of your essay, the thesis. A good formula to use for a comparison and contrast thesis is:

While both X and Y (strong verb, e.g. share) A, on the other hand, X is B while Y is C, showing us that (thesis assertion).

Once you have written your thesis and know the details of your argument, you can then decide how best to organize your analysis, and there are a couple of ways to organize a comparison and contrast essay.

The first way is Point-by-Point. Each paragraph will analyze one specific point and both compare and contrast the one point. If, for example, you were analyzing the quality of Mac vs. PC, one body paragraph could analyze software, comparing and contrasting both PC and Mac software.

The second method of organization is Block-by-Block. In this method, you will develop one paragraph that will be devoted to explaining one topic. The next paragraph will explain the same topic for the opposing side. Finally a third paragraph will be devoted to comparing and contrasting both sides of the topic. If we went back to our PC vs. Mac software example, the first paragraph would describe PC software, the second paragraph would describe Mac software, and the third would compare and contrast both types of software.

superridzy-16 | Student


     Writing is a tool of communication that enhances expression of human feelings through the use of pen and paper, writing is a multifaceted enterprise that is delve into for different reasons. Writing can be used to persuade and dissuade human being and also writing can be used to describe an event which can be fictitious or non-fictitious.

    Essay writing in the same vein can be written for different reasons there are essays that exposes us to some unknown fact about a particular subject, essays can also be a base for argument for or against a particular event or subject.

      In writing a compare and contrast essay there are key concepts that needs to be shown, firstly, when writing an essay the imperative step to take is drafting an outline which entails a step by step occurrence of events that will be discussed in an essay, for a compare and contrast essay there is need to draft a dichotomous outline which contains the various differences and similarities between the two subject being debated on. This to an extent is the skeletal structure of an essay which will be fleshed in the body of the essay.

  Furthermore, after the outline then you can begin with the essay which should follow the steps on the outline sequentially. It's also resourceful to note that an essay is a whole which comprised of three major parts namely;

1. Introduction

2. Body of the essay/ content


The introduction is the part where the topics are discussed for intent understanding of the readers. While the body of the essay should contain various points buttressing it with convincing evidences, facts and examples. While the conclusion should contain a summary of what has been discussed in the introduction and body of the essay, this should be followed by a powerful assertion encapsulating the whole write up in a common term.