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Student Learning Center: Compare and Contrast Essay

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Compare/Contrast Essay

Compare & Contrast


In this type of essay, you are looking at two things or ideas that should be similar (this is the comparison) but also different (contrasting) from one another. 



For example:

  • Basketball & Football (both sports, but differences in rules, equipment, etc)

  • World War I and World War II (differences and similarities in causes, development, outcomes.)

  • Painting styles of Monet & Renoir (both impressionist painters, differences in style, technique.)

Gather your ideas by writing down characteristics of each thing, noting the differences and similarities between them.


Venn Diagrams

  • It can be helpful when organizing your ideas to make a Venn Diagram:


Ask yourself these important questions before you begin writing your draft:

  • Does my instructor want me to compare AND contrast, or am I only being asked to do one of those things?

  • Are these two things or ideas similar and/or different, in at least one meaningful way?

  • Do I know enough about my topic to write an effective compare/contrast essay about it?

Thesis Statement: When deciding on your thesis statement, avoid simply saying “This paper will compare and contrast Monet and Renoir.” Instead, come up with your argument based on the comparison research that you’ve already done (ex. “Although Monet and Renoir are both painters from the impressionist period, their styles and techniques varied in a number of ways”).


Download the PDF here:  CompareContrast.pdf

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