A compare and contrast essay is a special type of academic paper. It implies taking two subjects and analyzing them to find possible similarities and differences. At first sight, this assignment does not seem to be of high complexity. Many students still fail these essays. Read this text and you will get access to a full online guide about writing this essay type, including good and the most popular compare and contrast essay topics.
A huge variety of topic ideas is your main advantage. You can choose from traditional subjects: American Civil War, public relations, movies, art, books, music, education, school life, etc. You can write about more unique and interesting things as well: comparing college systems of the world, the White government and power influence, living at home with parents or in a dormitory, Apple vs Microsoft, Greek and Roman culture, time with family vs a lonely day, etc.
What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?
This kind of essay can be easily distinguished from others. Two (sometimes more) subjects are taken for a comparison. The main goal of contrast and compare writing is finding possible connections that can help to identify the subjects or highlight their properties. Therefore, there are three possible ways of writing this paper:
- Choose a particular subject and compare its components in order to analyze the subject in general. Such topics as “World Wars: WW1 vs WW2” or “Western Educational Traditions: the USA and Great Britain” are aimed to take a concept and compare two things belonging to it.
- Choose two related objects to find parallels and differences to highlight their uniqueness or significance. Example: “Comparison of Wild and Domestic Cats”, “Cable and Satellite Television”.
- Choose two different objects to find hidden relations: “Sound Waves as Hunting Mechanism of Bats and Dolphins”, “Similarities between Modern Rock and Rap Celebrities”.
Compare and contrast essays are not supposed to be personal. Unlike narrative essays, these are academic-oriented papers. Contrast and compare papers are related to sciences and analytical thinking. There could be exceptions (“My Childhood Vs My Teen Age”, “My Experience of Living with Parents and Living Alone”). These cases are relatively rare.
Compare and Contrast Essay Structure and Outline
A primal structure of a compare and contrast paper is similar to other types of academic papers: an introduction, a body, a conclusion, and the bibliography part. The body is the biggest one – it should take at least 80% of the whole space given. The introduction and conclusion take about 10% of a compare and contrast text correspondingly. Purposes of the compare and contrast essay can lay influence upon the content and order of paragraphs. Let’s take a look at the possible outline:
- Here you need to present the subjects to compare and explain the topics.
- Write about the criteria and methods of analysis you will apply to the subjects, if possible.
- Present a thesis statement which you are going to prove or disprove in the essay.
- Devote one paragraph to one criterion. A description of the relationship between each subject and the criterion follows.
- You can also divide the body into parts. Each part contains a full analysis of each subject.
- Another way of writing is presenting similarities and differences one by one if they do not need clarifications.
- Restate the thesis statement and improve it according to the data acquired during writing a compare and contrast paper.
- Highlight essential relations or differences that were found between the subjects.
- Explain how your comparison improves the understanding of the subjects.
- Sometimes it is useful to indicate the overall utility of the analysis conducted in the contrast essay for future discoveries.
Honest analysis is essential for a compare and contrast essay. You have to pick relatively equal subjects and apply all analysis approaches to them. An objective attitude is a way to becoming a perfect essay writer.
What to Include in Compare and Contrast EssayAs it comes from the very name, in this type of essay it is important to compare and contrast. Thus, first of all, make sure that the subjects you have chosen for the paper have enough common characteristics. You should first compare, meaning discuss the common features. Then, you need to contrast. It means to discuss differences.
One of the most common mistakes in this type of essay is that students often just list all the common features of one subjects then all the features of the other subject. It will not work! They should be compaered and contrasted, not just listed. For example, you should contrast a difference for both subject in the same sentence using the word unlike, in contrast, by contrast, etc.
Biology Topics for Compare and Contrast Essays
This branch of science and everything related to it is a pretty wide area for picking a good and actual topic for a compare and contrast paper. There are a lot of new discoveries. Many properties of live organisms, our body, ecology, genetics, etc. are still unclear. Here are some good biological compare and contrast essay topics for your consideration:
- Similarities in Evolutionary Processes of Flora and Fauna
- Finding The Truth: Evolution Theory VS Creationism
- Differences Between Modern Approaches in Taxonomy
- Reasons of Breeding: Differences Between Wild and Cultured Plants
- Evidence of Evolution: Similarities in Organ Systems of Reptiles and Mammals
- Differences and Similarities of Ecological Protection Measures of the USA and GB
- What Makes Us Humans: Major Differences Between Central Nervous Systems of Humans and Apes
- Regeneration Mechanisms VS Stem Cells
- Similarities of Plant and Fungi Cell Construction
- Adventitious Mechanisms of Insects and Vertebral Animals
- Similarities of Global Warming Influence on Plants and Animals
- Differences in Structure and Functions of White Blood Cells
- Vegetarianism VS Meat Eating: The Best Nutrition for Children
- Compare Mitosis and Meiosis
- Similarities Between Primal Ages of Life Ontogenesis
- Common Features of Mammals’ Hunting Mechanisms
- Similarities in Influence of Various Poisons on the Human Body
- Comparison of Egg Laying and Life Birth as Different Evolutionary Paths
- Biological Differences of Humankind Races
- Similarities and Differences of Childcare Mechanism in the Animal World
- Homogeneous Mechanisms of Animal Adaptation to a Big City Habitat
History Compare and Contrast Topics
History is another field rich with topics for this essay type. You can take various countries and watch if they have passed through similar historical processes. A different attitude to the same historical trials can be observed as well. You can find contrasting features in one country during various times or ages. Here are some topic concepts for a good contrast and compare essay:
- English and American Industrial Revolutions: Different and Similar Peculiarities
- Kinds of Communism in Latin America and Europe of the 20th Century
- Brexit VS European Union: Choosing the Best Strategy for Great Britain
- Similar Mistakes All Democratic Countries Have Passed Through in the 21st Century
- Washington, Canberra, Ottawa: Similar and Different Reasons for Creating ‘Artificial’ Capitals
- President Obama VS President Kennedy: Sharp Differences in Political Decisions
- Comparison of the Constitutional Monarchy of England, Norway, and Spain
- History and Comparison of Student Protest Movements in Different Countries
- Common Features of Autocratic Countries of the 19th Century
- Small Contrasting Peculiarities of Slavery in the Russian Empire and the USA
- Great Wall VS Powerful Army: Choosing the Best Way of Protection from Mongol Invasion
- Similarities in the Appearance of Pagan Religions in Different European Countries
- The Best English Kings and Queens of All Times: Historical Comparison and Analysis
- Similarities and Differences of Medieval Royal Marriage Traditions of England and France
- Comparison of Ancient and Modern Board Games
- Summer of 1968 in Czech Republic VS Spring of 2011 in Moscow
- Free Labor VS Slavery: Historical Analysis
- Comparison of the Most Important Articles and Documents the Cabinet Office Has Issued
- Autocratic Control VS Democracy: The Best Way to Make the Crowd Follow a Politician
- Historical Fiction in Various Non-Democratic Countries
Art, Music, Literature, and Movies
These are the most reliable subjects for choosing an interesting and relevant topic to contrast and compare. One of the most popular topics is a comparison of a book and a movie. Different artistic and musical traditions of various countries are good for finding covered similarities. Here are some topics you can use and modify:
- Game of Thrones VS Song of Ice and Fire
- Comparison Ancient Roman and Greek Literature
- Compare Social Problems in Old and Modern Disney Cartoons
- 80’s Rock Music: England VS the USA
- Relations in Classical Music of Austrian and German Operas
- Differences in Directing Traditions of the 90’s and 2000’s
- Peculiarities of Literature Approaches of the USA and Great Britain
- Anti-Utopia Traditions of the USA and Soviet Union
- Similarities of Plot Writing in Movies and Plays
- Features Contrasting Between Impressionism Traditions of Netherlands and France
- Museums in Different Countries of the World
- Similar Traditional Musical Instruments of Ancient Far East and Europe
- Similarities and Differences Between Ancient and Renaissance Sculpture
- Comparison of Folk Music of Eastern and Western Europe
- Epic Poems of Ancient Rome, Greece, and India – Common Features
- Poe and Lovecraft – Similarities in Traditions of Mystical Fiction
- Comparison of Influence Cast Between Asian and Western Pop Music
- Harry Potter Movies VS Books – Compare Differences between the Main Characters
- Comparison of National Anthems
- Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice – Hidden Similarities
Sciences and Technology Compare and Contrast Essays
This field is also rich of good topics. New discoveries and inventions are born every day. You can compare various scientific approaches or new gadgets. It is easy to find something similar or different in chemistry or physics. You can compare various scientific discoveries made in different countries. It is difficult to stay irrelevant using these topics:
- MacOS VS Windows Operating Systems
- Comparison of Primal Atomic Structure Theories
- Similarities and Differences Between National Space Programs of the USA and USSR
- Different Approaches to Mechanics
- Theories About Light – Comparison and Analysis
- Physical Theories in Ancient and Medieval Times
- Personal Computers VS Laptops
- Comparison of Different Cloud Services
- Contrasting Features in Different Generations of Intel Processors
- Marconi VS Popov – A Similar Invention of the Radio
- The Birth of Railroads in the USA and Great Britain
- Differences in the Attitude toward Molecular Chemistry in the 20th and the 21st Centuries
- Oil or Natural Petrol – Comparison of Properties
- Different Approaches to Saving the Ozone Layer of Earth
- Food: Natural VS Artificial
Social Topics for Compare and Contrast Essays
This is a wide field of picking topics. You can find some related to your audience. Be careful with controversial topics – be confident that you will not insult anyone. Social sciences include education, psychology, anthropology, sociology, etc. Lots of various topics in each field can be modified to your particular conditions. These are topics for your contrast papers:
- Education Traditions in Western and Eastern Worlds
- Living in a Rented Apartment VS a Dormitory
- Traditions of Relationship in the USA and Australia
- Similar and Different Problems of Childhood and Adulthood
- Ways of Fighting Racism in My Country – A Brief Comparison
- Contrasting Governmental Structures in My Country
- Essential Differences Between World Religions
- Similarities Between Gaming and Drug Addiction
- Various Approaches to Correctional Education
- Comparison of Pandemic Prevention Approaches
- Compare the Social Importance of Labor in the 20th and 21st Centuries
- Free Education VS Private Schools
- Similar Problems of LGBT Communities in Different Countries
- Compare the Attitude toward Overweight People in Different Cultures
- The Contrast between Social Activities for Teens in Different Countries
Morale and Ethics Topics for Compare and Contrast Essays
These are very common topics in various academic assignments. They can be controversial. Many students still choose ethics essays because of some advantages: these topics can find a short way to a reader’s heart, tutors like them, they do not require relatively much knowledge, and they are good for going into details. Here are some ideas for you:
- Euthanasia VS Keeping Them Alive: What Way Is the Best for Relatives?
- To Cry or to Stay Silent? Advantages of Both Reactions to Domestic Violence
- Similarities in Ethical Problems Raised in Classical Literature of the USA and England
- Similar Ways of Torture Prevention in the USA and Canada
- Differences in Medical Ethics of Various Countries
- Relations in the Attitude toward Teen Pregnancy in Different Countries
- Ways of Racism Appearance: Essential Differences Between World Cultures
- The Attitude toward Smoking – How Different Countries Prohibit It
- Comparison of Gender Politics in the Western World
- Treatment of Addicted People – Comparison of Approaches in the 20th and 21st Centuries