Compare and Contrast Essays

Comparing and contrasting can be tricky and can often sound a bit redundant. Your two keywords for any compare and contrast essay are “SIMILARITIES” and “DIFFERENCES.”




When you are assigned this type of essay, your best friend for brainstorming is something called the Venn Diagram. You can make a VENN DIAGRAM for any number of things to compare or contrast. All you must do are draw overlapping circles– one circle for each item that you are asked to compare/contrast. Label each circle with one item.  In the outer parts of the circle, write the things that are unique to that item (the differences). In the overlapping part, write the things that are similarities.

Venn Diagram

Now let’s do an example. Let’s pretend you are given an assignment to compare and contrast two modern fantasy films. You choose Superman and Harry Potter. Here is a very basic example of how your Venn Diagram brainstorm for this essay might look:

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Now that you’ve organized your thoughts a bit, you can move on to outline what your essay will look like. While it may seem silly to map out your essay before writing it, this really helpful to keep your essay together and it will make it easier to put your basic ideas into full essay sentences. If you are writing your essay in English– brainstorm and outline your essay in English so that way you get the tedious translation process out of the way before going to write. Here’s a basic outline of a compare and contrast essay:

Paragraph (P) 1: Introduction

***Your thesis statement should state your larger conclusion about the differences and similarities of your compare/contrast items***

P2: DIFFERENCES Item A (Harry Potter circles)

P3: DIFFERENCES Item B (Superman circles), drawing connections to what you mentioned in P2.

P4: SIMILARITIES Items A and B (Overlapping circle)

P5: Conclusion– reinforce your ***thesis*** are there more similarities or differences?

Another version of a compare and contrast essay outline might look like this:

P1: Introduction

P2: SIMILARITIES Items A and B (Overlapping circle)

P3: DIFFERENCES Items A and B (Harry Potter and Superman Outside circles)

P4: Conclusion

Which essay outline you choose will have mainly to do with whether you have more similarities or differences between the items. Choose whichever feels right based on your brainstorm research and information.


There are a lot of keywords, phrases and transitions that are particularly awesome for writing compare and contrast essays in English! Here are just a few:

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Can you think of any others? Leave a comment below with your suggestions 🙂

Happy writing!