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Compare and Contrast Essay Structure and Format

The key component in writing this kind of assignment is that you compare and contrast two related but different or opposing subjects. The basic structure should include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The intro, like in other academic essays, should explain the subjects and what it is you are trying to achieve by comparing and contrasting the two or, in other words, what are you trying to discover about them. You need to include a solid hook to capture the reader’s attention as well as a thesis presenting your argument as to why one subject achieves something over the other.

We will talk about the body paragraphs in the next paragraph. First, we will move forward with the conclusion. Again, similar to other assignments, it must summarize and synthesize all of the main discussion points you have brought up in the body paragraphs. As you may already know from writing other academic assignments, you can’t simply cut and paste the text you have already used. It must be rewritten in a way that is familiar to the reader and does not introduce new material. If you can do so, write a closing statement that leaves the reader thinking about your piece long after he or she has finished reading it.

How to Start Compare and Contrast Essay

Now, we go back to discuss the body paragraphs. The reason we left this till the end is because there are two basic formats you can follow. Let’s use the example of comparing and contrasting apples to oranges. You can discuss their similarities in one or more paragraphs and then discuss their differences in one or more paragraphs. Like this:


Apples and Oranges both are fruits (Paragraph 1)

Apples and Oranges both are sweet (Paragraph 2)


Oranges must be peeled to eat, but Apples don’t have to be peeled (Paragraph 3)

Oranges contain much more Vitamin C, but Apples contain much more Fiber (Paragraph 4)

You can see the pattern beginning to emerge in the format above. Basically, all similarities are listed first and all differences are listed last. Or, it can look like this:

Similarity and Difference:

Apples and Oranges are both fruits, but oranges have to be peeled to be eaten, while apples do not (Paragraph 1)

Similarity and Difference:

Apples and Oranges are both sweet, but oranges contain more Vitamin C, while Apples contain more fiber (Paragraph 2)

In the above format, both a similarity and a difference are contained in one paragraph on a point-by-point basis. And the pattern continues with each subsequent paragraph.

These are obviously stripped down examples. But you can see that the number of paragraphs you choose to use depends on how many discussion points you have found in your research. A good idea is to keep the number equal so that you are not putting more “weight” on one side which could come off as biased writing.

Compare and Contrast Essay Ideas to Consider

The following list of 100 compare and contrast essay topics were compiled by high school teachers and college professors to be shared freely among students without the worry of being unoriginal. They are meant to inspire fresh ideas by touching on the surface of two separate subjects that can be compared and contrasted perfectly for essays of any length. Feel free to modify them any way you think is appropriate. Also, we advise you to check our argumentative essay topics.

Funny Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. LeBron James versus Michael Jordan (athletes)
  2. Twilight Books versus Hunger Games Books
  3. Harry Potter Series versus Series of Unfortunate Events
  4. Shark Attack versus Bear Attack (personal preference)
  5. Original Book Form versus Movie Adaption
  6. Cheeseburgers versus Pizzas (taste and nutrition)
  7. Thanksgiving Dinner versus Christmas Dinner
  8. School Detention versus At-Home Grounding
  9. When Mom is in Charge versus When Dad is in Charge
  10. Aliens Film Franchise versus Predator Film Franchise

Easy Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. Vegetable Salads versus Fruit Salads (taste and nutrition)
  2. New Year’s Eve versus New Year’s Day
  3. Dark Chocolate versus Milk Chocolate
  4. Giving Gifts versus Receiving Gifts
  5. Dogs versus Cats (better family pet)
  6. The Simpsons versus Family Guy (satirical cartoons)
  7. Specialty Grocers versus Super Markets
  8. World Religions versus World Philosophies
  9. The United States Army versus the United States Marine Corp
  10. Star Wars Film Franchise versus Star Trek Film Franchise

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Kids

  1. The Muppets versus the Sesame Street Gang
  2. Playing Video Games versus Playing Outdoor Sports
  3. Little League Soccer versus Little League Baseball
  4. Summer Break versus Winter Break
  5. Oranges versus Apples (better taste and nutrition)
  6. A Weekend at the Beach versus a Weekend in the Woods
  7. Living in a Big City versus Living in a Small Town
  8. Cartoon Network versus Nickelodeon Network
  9. Avengers Movies versus Justice League Movies
  10. Pixar Animated Films versus DreamWorks Animated Films

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for High School Students

  1. High School Diploma versus General Education Degree
  2. High School Counselors versus College Counselors
  3. After School Sports versus Intra-Mural Sports
  4. SAT Test Scores versus ACT Test Scores (an indicator of skills)
  5. The Winter Olympics versus The Summer Olympics
  6. In-store Shopping versus Online Shopping
  7. Android OS versus Apple iOS (any generation)
  8. Old School Rap Music versus Modern/Current Rap Music
  9. Marvel Comics Universe versus Detective Comics Universe
  10. Stan Lee versus Jack Kirby (comic creators)
  11. Texas HoldEm Style Poker versus Five Card Draw Style Poker
  12. Fraternities versus Sororities (better academic opportunities)
  13. Science Major versus Humanities Major (better professional opportunities)
  14. PC Operating Systems versus Mac Operating Systems (any generation)
  15. Ford Mustang versus Ford Shelby (classic muscle car)
  16. Motorized Scooters versus Motorized Bicycles (city transportation)
  17. History of the Americas versus History of Europe
  18. Ancient Greek History versus Ancient Roman History
  19. Athletic Sports versus Healthy Diets (better for weight loss)
  20. Pride and Prejudice versus Wuthering Heights (novels)

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics College Level

  1. Australian Rules Football versus Australian Rugby
  2. Being Stable Financially Before Marriage versus the Opposite
  3. Efficient Learning Process versus Theory Learning Process
  4. Writing a Thesis versus Writing a Dissertation
  5. The literature of the 18th Century versus the literature of the 19th Century
  6. U.S Politics of Early 20th Century versus U.S. Politics of the Late 20th Century
  7. American Film Institute versus the British Film Institute
  8. American Animated Films versus Japanese Animated Films
  9. Online College Education versus Traditional On-Campus College Education
  10. Introverted Personalities versus Extroverted Personalities
  11. NBA Contract Negotiations versus the NFL Contract Negotiations
  12. Health Benefits of Working Out 3 Times a Week versus Working Out 5 Times a Week
  13. The Ancient Aztec Civilization versus the Ancient Mayan Civilization
  14. Modern Democracies versus Modern Monarchies
  15. Vaccinating Children versus Not Vaccinating Children
  16. Corn Grain Food Staples versus Wheat Food Staples
  17. Traveling Cross-Country by Train versus Traveling Cross-Country by Plane
  18. Working Out in the Gym versus Working Out in the Outdoors/Nature
  19. Running on a Treadmill versus Running on a Dirt Track
  20. Physical Training in the Morning versus Physical Training in the Evening
  21. Creationist Belief System versus Evolutionist Belief System
  22. Landing on the Moon versus Landing on the Planet Mars
  23. Donald Trump versus the Field of Candidates (2020 election)
  24. Road Trips with Friends by Car versus Trips with Friends by Train
  25. Processed Agricultural Foods versus Un-Processed Agricultural Foods
  26. 19th Century British Poetry versus 19th Century British Novels
  27. European Affairs with the Middle East versus American Affairs with the Middle East
  28. Western Medicinal Practices versus Eastern Medicinal Practices
  29. State Finance Laws versus Federal Finance Laws
  30. Approaches to Domestic Violence in the West versus the East

Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  1. National Football League (NFL) Rules versus Canadian Football League (CFL) Rules
  2. Cardiovascular Exercises versus Strength Building Exercises
  3. American Educational System versus the UK Educational System
  4. Having a Father’s Love versus Having a Mother’s Love
  5. The Sopranos versus The Wire (television series)
  6. Hollywood Film Industry versus Bollywood Film Industry (profit margin)
  7. The American Health Care System versus the Canadian Health Care System
  8. 19th Century British Literature versus 20th Century British Literature
  9. 20th Century American Fashion versus 21st Century American Fashion
  10. Raising Kids with Two Parents Working versus One Parent Working
  11. Global Coffee Flavors versus Global Tea Flavors
  12. Traditional Country Music versus Contemporary Country Music
  13. World War I versus World War II (global impact)
  14. Shakespeare’s Macbeth versus Shakespeare’s Hamlet
  15. Google Chrome versus Mozilla Firefox (any generation)
  16. Google Home versus Amazon Echo (home assistants)
  17. Blue Collar Workers versus White-Collar Workers
  18. Traditional Office Jobs versus Telecommuting/Remote Jobs
  19. Twitter versus Instagram (picture sharing)
  20. Fossil Fuel Energy versus Nuclear Energy (efficiency)

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