Barbara P.
Barbara P.

Comparative Essay - A Complete Guide for Beginners

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Published on: Nov 29, 2020

Last updated on: Dec 29, 2022

Comparative Essay

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Have you ever had to write a comparative essay? Have you struggled with it because there are just too many directions your thoughts can go in and no clear way to narrow down the topic? Well, we're here to help.

This blog post is going to explore how to write a comparative essay. We'll show you all the steps and provide examples of what they look like so that this will be less daunting for any student who might come across this post.

Hopefully, by reading this, it'll make writing your comparative essays much easier.

What is a Comparative Essay?

Comparative essays measure the similarities and differences between two subjects. The comparison might focus on a single facet or an aspect of one subject that is in contrast with another.

Still, the essay must be able to prove how these are important enough for consideration.

Comparative essays examine relationships by comparing different aspects of discussed topics while proving why they're worth considering together instead of standing alone.

A comparative essay is an important paper because the stakes are often unclear when you have to decide or choose a side in an argument.

A good comparison can bring out both differences and similarities between two options under consideration so that you, as the reader, understand what's at stake for each option.

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How to Start a Comparative Essay?

When you start writing an essay, it’s essential to understand what the prompt is asking. First of all, make sure that you know how to use comparative words and phrases in your response.

It might seem like a simple task, but if not done correctly could lead to failure on the test even with good ideas. Because there are some key points needed for each question that needs addressing before anything else can be written about.

Most essays will either have “comparing and contrasting” or just “similarities between two things” as their main phrase. Always take time when starting out by reading through any given sentence carefully, looking at those keywords first, then proceeding from there or vice versa.

How to Write a Comparative Essay?

Here are the steps required for writing a great comparative essay.

1. Identify the Basis of Comparison

Developing the basis of comparison is an important first step to answering this question. The author needs to develop a comparative framework, which could be accomplished by providing the main points of comparison between two objects for them to serve as sufficiently similar enough that they may be compared with each other.

2. Gather the Details of What You are Comparing

Once you have decided what idea or theme you are investigating, it's important to gather as many details of whatever the topic is. This will help in figuring out which criteria should be used if they're not specified by your professor/instructor already.

Organize all of your criteria into columns or a Venn diagram to make sure you stay on track. A visual map can help keep the essay structured and easier for readers to follow.

3. Develop a Thesis Statement

Developing an essay requires a clear and strong thesis statement. This doesn't matter whether the basis of comparing the objects is given by you or has already been identified by your professor.

n order to come up with a strong thesis statement, first look at the list of aspects and decide whether they are more similar or different. Based on that judgment, it is recommended that an essay be written about how one subject is similar in comparison to another without forgetting their differences.

Here is a comparative essay thesis example.

“In both the Harry Potter series and Never Let Me Go, characters are forced to live out their fates with no chance of escaping.”

4. Comparative Essay Structure

The two ways to organize a comparative essay are as follows:

  • Point-by-Point Method

With the point-by-point method, you can emphasize points of difference while comparing two objects. This is by far one of the most interesting methods for comparison because it allows a reader to really see how different these texts are from each other. And make their own conclusions about which text was better or if they were both equally good in some way.

  • Block Method

In the block method, you say everything about one thing then do the same for another. This way of writing works best if it’s something like a new process that needs explaining or introducing to readers who may be unfamiliar with what is traditional and accepted in their field.

Comparative Essay Outline

Now you know the basics, which are developing content for your comparative analysis essay and deciding on an essay structure. Now you're left with writing it out.

The comparative essay format is just like that of any other academic paper - there should be an introduction, body paragraphs to support your claims, and a conclusion paragraph detailing what lesson can be learned.

  • Comparative Essay Introduction

    The introduction paragraph should be clear and concise, stating the thesis of your argument. It is important to include a basic summary of what you will be discussing in this essay so that readers can have an idea of where they are headed with their reading.

  • Comparative Essay Body Paragraphs

    The first sentence (called a topic sentence) of a body paragraph should prepare the reader for what you'll be addressing in that paragraph and then present the information. The final sentence draws a conclusion based on that information.

    But it's important not to overstep bounds by making too much of your opinion about two topics - this is when an introduction or conclusions come into play.

    Organize your paragraphs in an engaging, creative way. The perfect organizational structure is one that makes sense for you and the data presented.

    To work out all of those kinks before writing anything down, it's recommended to first outline what you want to say with a placeholder document so that writers can see how their thoughts are connecting together logically as they progress through each point in depth.

  • Comparative Essay Conclusion

    The conclusion is the final part of an essay. It's where you review what has been said in your body paragraphs and offer a bit of advice at the end. The concluding paragraph should summarize all that happened with help from both similarities and differences, not just personal preferences.

Comparative Essay Example

Comparison essays are a great way to help you sharpen your essay-writing skills, and that's why it is always important to go through sample comparative essays before starting writing.

Below we have provided a comparative essay sample on two different topics for your help.

Comparative Essay Topics

If you're a student looking for an interesting compare and contrast essay topic, have a look at this list of the best 2021 topics.

With these ideas, you'll be able to find something that will grab everyone's attention.

  • Public vs. private college
  • Nuclear power or other forms of energy
  • Key differences between school and college
  • Online jobs vs. traditional jobs
  • Discuss biology and chemistry in terms of similarities
  • Discuss the similarities between the west vs. the east
  • Major differences between British English or American English
  • Online writing services vs. traditional writing services
  • Persuasive essay vs. argumentative essay: similarities and differences
  • Is summer the best season or winter?
  • Greek and Roman mythology
  • Advantages and disadvantages of free trade

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many paragraphs are in a comparative essay?

The most basic form for a comparative essay is six paragraphs in length. The first paragraph should introduce the two topics, followed by three others focusing on how they are different, finally ending with another that talks about what similarities exist between them or why one may have been more advantageous than the other.

What are the best practices for a great comparative essay?

Here are some best practices/tips for writing a great comparative essay. 

  • Choose appropriate items for comparison 
  • Specific parameters should be selected for comparison 
  • Choose a specific organizational method and stick to it throughout 
Barbara P.


Barbara P. (Literature, Marketing)

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

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