Full Guide For College Students On How To Write A Comparative Essay

18 Jul 2023

how to write comparative essay

As you advance throughout your academic career, you’ll be asked to finish several types of academic writing. Writing for academic purposes isn’t difficult, but students should follow certain rules to make sure that they’re completing an adequate essay or paper. A comparative essay isn’t a challenging type of writing, and most students can finish theirs in excellent quality when they know how to write a comparative essay adequately. Understanding how to write a comparative essay properly means that you won’t waste time or effort. Moreover, your assignment will impress professors and make them impressed by the amount of work you’ve put into it.

What Is A Comparative Essay?

A comparison essay is where students are asked to compare two or more ideas or items. The range of difficulty varies as you advance throughout your academic journey. Starting from lower grades, teachers might ask you to compare two sports to teach you how to write a comparative essay, but later on, in college, things get more complicated. In college comparative writing, students might be asked to compare two stands or positions concerning a popular topic or several theories related to topics you’re studying.

In comparison essay format, you’re supposed to list similarities and differences between the two items you’re studying. This means that your job is to compare and contrast so you can draw a relationship between topics you’ve studied. For this purpose, your job would be going through several academic approved sources to search for relevant information. You can also check trustworthy websites to find relevant data on how to format essay so you can finish your assignment in excellent quality. Practicing this type of writing guarantees that you’ll get grades that qualify you for advancing along your academic path.

Methods Comparative Writing

There are several approaches that experts follow when they’re tackling various comparative essay topics. Understanding both methods help students understand how to write a comparative essay and submit excellent tasks.

Point by point method

Some experts also call this the alternating or slice method while writing a comparative essay. Researchers simply compare two or more items or concepts one point at a time. This means that you should look for similarities that combine both topics and see how they’re tackled differently. It’s rather simple because you can easily highlight points and can craft a good essay that readers find informative.


  • This method is specific and detailed.
  • Topic sentences in each paragraph focuses on the topic discussed rather than the item you’re comparing.
  • Professors think that it’s the best approach towards writing an analytical comparative paper.


  • This method doesn’t work when your job involves comparing concepts or ideas.
  • Paying too much attention to details can tempt students to conclude incorrect similarities between the topics studied.

Block method

In this comparative essay outline, you’ll list all similarities in one paragraph followed by another one where you discuss all the differences.


  • Paragraphs are more organized as the topic is discussed as a whole.
  • Only the important points are discussed.
  • Works if you’re discussing two topics that aren’t closely related.


  • There’s no focus on details.

How to Start a Comparative Essay?

Before you start writing your assignment, you should understand a few basic things. This will guarantee that none of your efforts will go in vain.

Identify the core topic

You can identify the main topic by examining the essay question. It should have a clear objective so that students don’t waste their time talking about irrelevant points.

Prepare the content

Once you’ve settled on a topic, it’s time to examine several sources. You should use academically approved sources to gather relevant data for your assignment. Use a mind map and write down notes that help you draw relationships between several points. Make sure that you have all the needed data before moving onto the comparative essay structure.

Make a comparative essay thesis

The thesis is where the writer tells readers what they’re going to read about. The thesis statement brings focus and purpose to your essay, so your audience doesn’t get confused and feel tempted enough to start reading the rest of your assignment.

A complex thesis is where you use words wisely to do a few jobs:

  • Introduce the essay topic.
  • Explain your topic and position regarding the essay subject.
  • State similarities and differences.
  • Discuss the structure of the essay, highlighting the main points that should be examined.

There will be two different approaches to writing your thesis statement, depending on whether the similarities outweigh differences or differences outweigh similarities. With regard to the nature of your assignment, it’s your job to make sure that readers understand both and are also able to conclude your stand concerning the main idea.

Comparative Essay Outline

Now that you’ve decided on the approach, you should start working on your comparative essay structure. An essay will naturally have an introduction, body, and conclusion.


This part should be simple and clear as readers should easily understand what the essay is about. You should discuss the thesis statement and highlight the purpose of your assignment.

Body Paragraphs

This is where you start listing differences and similarities according to the method you picked. Every topic sentence should focus on a single point, followed by a relevant piece of evidence. Choose words wisely so that readers won’t get confused while reading your essay.


It’s an overview of the topics examined in the body paragraphs. After identifying similarities and differences, you should write a short summary that helps sum up the whole idea.

Comparative Essay Topics

Students need to make sure that they have good titles for compare and contrast essays, so they don’t end up working on a challenging assignment. Use these ideas if you’re wondering how to write a comparative essay.

  1. Comparing Gandhi and Stalin.
  2. Islam vs. Christianity.
  3. Coke versus Pepsi.
  4. Overworking: What’s the bad and the good?
  5. SAT and TOEFL: Stating similarities and differences.
  6. How did the American and Soviet governments evolve?
  7. What are the differences and similarities in events that lead to World War 1 and World War 2?
  8. The economic situation in peace vs war.
  9. Working as a freelancer or in office. What are the pros and cons?
  10. Comparing academic and scientific writing.
  11. Online and traditional education.
  12. What is the relationship between the Roman and Greek cultures?
  13. Playing games on laptops and smartphones. Are they like each other?
  14. Traditional and online marketing methods. How are they different?
  15. Jazz music vs. Rock music.
  16. Studying physics and chemistry.
  17. Various philosophies concerning life and death.
  18. Public and private schooling.
  19. Picasso and Dali: Different approaches.
  20. The progress and evolution of Roman and Egyptian empire.

Comparative Essay Template

Here is a template to follow while working on your compare and contrast essay.


  • State the main topic and purpose of your paper.
  • Provide all exclusions from previous researches and general findings.
  • Highlight your thesis statement or question.

Main body:

  • Follow either the block or alternating methods to address similarities and differences.
  • Make sure that each topic statement is followed by a relevant piece of evidence.


  • Summarize topic sentences and provide an answer to thesis question.
  • Provide a quick overview of the essay purpose.

Understanding the main parts of a compare and contrast essay guarantees the efficient use of time and effort spent to craft an assignment. Improving your quality of writing means takes time and practice. This is why you should always try to work harder, highlighting your mistakes, and avoiding them in the future.

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