Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay

In the point-by-point method, the writer outlines the major points of comparison between the two subjects, and then addresses both subjects for each major point. In the subject-by-subject method, the writer first discusses important aspects of one of the subjects, then those same aspects for the other subject. These points must be , meaning that all aspects addressed with one subject need to also be addressed with the other subject in the same order. This is also known as the block method.


In this lesson, you will learn eight steps to develop a compare and contrast essay:


The key to a good compare-and-contrast essay is to choose two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way. The purpose of conducting the comparison or contrast is not to state the obvious but rather to illuminate subtle differences or unexpected similarities. For example, if you wanted to focus on contrasting two subjects you would not pick apples and oranges; rather, you might choose to compare and contrast two types of oranges or two types of apples to highlight subtle differences. For example, Red Delicious apples are sweet, while Granny Smiths are tart and acidic. Drawing distinctions between elements in a similar category will increase the audience’s understanding of that category, which is the purpose of the compare-and-contrast essay.

Comparison Essay--Point by Point

First, make sure that your subject is of appropriate for the assignment, not too broad and not too narrow. Comparing President Ronald Reagan to President Jimmy Carter, for example, is too broad for a five-page essay. But comparing their foreign policies may not be, depending on how detailed the comparison is supposed to be.

You may organize compare-and-contrast essays in one of the following two ways:

Overview Comparison and Contrast:Block and Point by Point Method 1

This activity will give you practice in writing an effective thesis and statement of organization—one that is neither too broad nor too narrow for the supporting points in an essay. An added value of the activity is that sometimes you will construct your thesis and statement of organization after you have decided what your supporting points or main ideas will be. You will need to know, then, how to write a thesis statement that will match exactly the points that you have developed, in other words a thesis statement and statement of organization.

Compare and contrast essay point by point method - …

The format to follow is really up to you. Writers often find that the point-by-point essay makes the connections between the points of comparison clearer and easier for the reader to understand. It is better for longer essays with more complicated ideas. Your points of comparison should generally be organized from most to least important (though all of them should be important!) so that you can hook your reader with your most compelling ideas first. A subject-by-subject outline might be better if you are writing an explanatory, rather than an evaluative, essay. It is often used for shorter essays. Whichever you choose, make sure that you are consistent with the format throughout your essay.

How to Write a Compare and Contrast Essay - wikiHow

(Topic Sentence—second point)
Don't forget to revise, edit, and proofread
your paper before turning in.
Remember to include an introductory paragraph that indicates you will be writing a comparison
or contrast..

A Compare and Contrast Essay Outline to Beat Writer's …

Being able to write strong compare and contrast essays will also allow you to recognize when others compare subjects effectively—and when they do not. It will help you to recognize logical errors and misleading comparisons and improve your own critical analysis skills.

Comparison Essays: Block & Point-by-Point Methods | …

The assignment is to write a compare and contrast essay on the benefits of walking versus running for exercise, using either the point-by-point or subject-by-subject format. I choose to use the point-by-point format.