All About Compare and Contrast Essays

Compare and contrast essays are kinds of essays that explore how two subjects are alike and how they are distinct from each other, how they share a context, and what inferences one can make from the differences and similarities.

The form and structure of this kind of essay are different from other kinds of essays but bears some similarities with the synthesis essay. Apart from uniting two subjects, the form of this kind of essay makes it necessary that one apportions adequate time and treatment to both similarities and differences separately.

Once this has been done, then one can use skills employed in the synthesis kind of essay to develop a cogent and consistent argument for the whole presentation.

Normally, one starts by defining each subject by its core characteristics with respect to the common context. The common context could be the family, workplace, or school. The roles implied in the context then give a fair guide as to what kinds of characteristics and classification that one can endorse. Then one needs to decide what he/she intends to do regarding the difference and or similarity of the two subjects, and explicate your intentions as a thesis statement. Usually, the predefined context allows one to note the kinds of critical questions or issues that are under consideration and to order their priority. Next, one needs to decide on the best format to use for the essay. Should one focus on similarities first, then move to differences? Or should one tackle both similarities and differences under each constituent premise? The choice one makes is determined by the force and even personal preferences of the target audience.

Lastly, one needs to consider the structure and flow of the argument with an eye for holistic and clear thought. The logic is likely to be weak if mostly the common contexts and the critical issues to be resolved have not been treated adequately. This is likely to happen especially if the topic under discussion is of a technical nature or is complicated by many facts. So the best thing is to have gone through a rigorous pre-writing session to clarify thoughts.

How this Kind of Essay is Outlined

One can choose either of these two variations depending on the quality of detail, target audience and personal preferences. The catch is that the quality of one’s work is very dependent on the kind of outline chosen.

Remember that the preliminary is often opened with a catching expression like in any other essay of quality.

1st Variation

  •  Preliminary – One makes a synoptic statement on the topic and argument that is precise and concise. This prepares the reader for the flow of argument that is to follow.
  •  Premise 1. State the starting premise that either contrast, or compares or does both, and focus entirely on it. For example, one could tackle both the similarities and differences of the two subjects with respect to the first premise that the writer proposes to use in the preceding argument.
  •  Premise 2. Then add another independent premise that probably builds on the first premise without mentioning the first premise. This premise is usually an independent factor in both subjects that still has relevance to the main issues under consideration.
  •  Premise 1 and 2. Now combine and analyze these two premises to create a unitary expression. Here is where skill in the synthesis kind of argument becomes handy. What new idea or reality emerges when both similarities and differences are considered together?
  •  Summation. State the overall contention of the thesis in an alternative but simplified form of the beginning thesis. This is more of elaboration and simplification of the main thesis being advanced by the writer.

2nd Variation

  • Preliminary. Offer a general exposition that guides the reader into the main argument, offering briefly stated markers of where the different premises start and end.
  • Premise 1. Explicate the similarities of both subjects and elaborate them using appropriate evidence from each. For example, how do the two different subjects converge to help resolve the main question or query?
  • Premise 2. Explicate the differences exhaustively and discuss their relations using evidence from each of the subjects. Despite similarities, both subjects are likely to differ in some things that are relevant to the issue at hand. What are these differences and what probable effects accrue from these differences?
  • Summation. Summarize the whole argument given the premises and assert the initial thesis statement that has followed from the logic applied. Once again this entails a technique similar to that of creating a synthetic argument or essay. Only it also reiterates the initial observation or logic that was to be affirmed in the entire paper as detailed in the preliminaries.

For both variations, it’s always advisable to remind the readers of the relevance of the arguments made in the summation. Otherwise one risks losing the reader after the hard task of clear and logical thinking. This directly implies an opportunity for the writer to prescribe possible solutions and even to try to project scenarios of a possible future.

An Example of this Kind of Essay


What are the differences and similarities between a mother and a father, and how do this contrast and comparisons affect child development and growth? A mother is a female parent and a father the male parent in a family set up in any species. But do these apparent differences end there, or are there more details that may need to be uncovered?


  •  Each of the two is a member of the same species and share a common progeny. A common species basically means a common informational pool and therefore a common set of problems or challenges to be resolved in an eco-system or social setting.
  •  Both parents are often the products of a similar socialization process and are teachers to their progeny. This means that both share intentions of social role and participation.
  •  Lastly, both mother and father use the same symbols of expression. An implication of this fact is that each party complements the other in their social functions and expressions.
  •  Each of the parents belongs to a different sex. Mother is female while the father is male. This translates to a difference in world view and function.
  •  Then each has a different kind of physical build; mother is many times shorter and well curved and the father is many a time taller and muscular. Such a difference shows how each of the parents is suited for example, for certain biological processes and even how conflict is resolved within a family or social context.
  •  Finally, the mother has a different nervous and endocrine wiring from what father has as a male. A consequence of this is a differentiation among the parties of items or agendas that are processed separately but for the benefit of all parties involved.


Parents are very critical to a child’s growth and development. They are the main providers of socialization and identity formation of the individual. For example, the child needs to know that he/she is taken care of and accepted while also that the child can initiate action and sustain responsibility.

While each individual parent influences the child differently from under their different roles, none can do away with the companion without significant danger or loss. A child deprived of maternal affection is likely to lack confidence in others for example.

This comparison and contrast create powerful tension that makes life both more bearable while outlining and asserting the uniqueness of each family member, and the consequent harmony that arises when we appreciate that differences imply certain and important similarities and common destinies.

Benefits of Hiring a Writing Services Provider to Help You Write this Kind of Essay

Contracting other people or service providers to help you accomplish some task is commonly known as process outsourcing. This decision is normally made the contracting party is generally constrained in one or another in terms of resources. The rationality behind outsourcing is made of many points, some of which are:

  •  Most service providers have acquired extensive skills out of their wide exposure with this kind of task. This implies that knowledge is extensive and may be used intelligently to create high-quality work.
  •  One may be pressed for time especially when engaged in other activities like work. On the other hand, the service provider defines this kind of task as routine work and hence has more resources and fewer costs.
  •  Having someone from a service provider is more affordable than getting a non-professional to help you. The latter is likely to have less experience and fewer resources to help you to optimal levels.
  •  This kind of task is often restricted to the immediate and temporary moment. Therefore one only needs to focus their resources on people who are flexible enough to suit the client’s demands.
  •  Training one's employees to levels of expertise are inefficient in terms of costs and resources, and given contract terms and turnover rates in an organization it’s better to outsource these services to people who are more efficient in this kind of knowledge.
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