How to find good topics for compare and contrast essays

A comparison essay is one where you either compare-and-contrast or you pick one of the two.

When you are writing this type of paper you need to first determine the similarities as well as the differences by listing them on a piece of paper or on a text document. Determine whether the differences or the similarities are more important. Then list them in order of importance from least important to most important. This is the best way to present them in a paper. While you can do both it is easier for students to only discuss the similarities or only discuss the differences.

Organizing the essay

  • When it comes to organizing the essay you should pick a plan that works best for your list of similarities and/or differences.
  • You should figure out your thesis and make sure that everything you have to say about the two things/events/people relates to the thesis.
  • The last thing you should do is start writing before you have a purpose or thesis. Your thesis is what shapes the rest of your paper.
  • It is important that your thesis is expressed clearly at the start of your essay. It does not have to be the first or last sentence in your introduction but it needs to be somewhere in the introduction.

Plan #1

One plan is best for multiple smaller similarities and/or differences. This plan starts with your introduction. After this you list everything that you wanted to say about the first item/event/person. Then you list everything you want to say about the second item/event/person. During the second part you should compare/contrast each item from the second part with the items you listed in the first part.

In this particular plan all of your comparing/contrasting takes place in the second half of the essay.

Plan #2

Another plan is reserved for those with bigger similarities/differences. Following the introduction you should pick one similarity or difference that applies to both items/events/people and discuss it. In the next paragraph you discuss the next similarity or difference that applies to both. You continue this pattern until all of the similarities/differences are covered. If you opt for this organizational plan you should have a comparison/contrast in each paragraph in order from least important to most important.

Below are some suggestions for a topic:

  • Compare and/or contrast two places you have lived
  • Compare and/or contrast two stages in your life
  • Compare and/or contrast two authors
  • Compare and/or contrast two characters
  • Compare and/or contrast two companies

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