How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay: Complete Guide

Compare and contrast essays should demonstrate both differences and common characteristics of two subjects. And it seems like there’s nothing easier than exploring and making a line between objects, but many people still face challenges when it comes to writing. Even if you have dozens of ideas that will uncover the background of both objects, sometimes it’s hard to unite them properly and perform a well-tailored text. Besides, starting writing often turns into the most complicated part. How to begin a compare and contrast essay? How to organize your paper? What is a definition essay? How to grab the attention of readers with the first sentence? You’ll find the answers to these and many other questions in our guide. Keep on reading!


Choose the Topic of a Comparison Essay

If you didn’t receive directions requiring the exploration of two determined objects, you have to choose them by yourself. They should come from one specific field and not be something like “differences and similarities between cats and windows”. Your compare essay has to contain information about objects that have common characteristics. For example, you can choose two painters, formats of jobs positions, educational institutions, etc:

⦁    Claude Monet and Edouard Manet;

⦁    freelance and full-time jobs;

⦁    colleges and universities.

Make an Outline and Organize Your Essay

When starting a compare and contrast essay, you need to consider its length, structure, and main thoughts. For this, you’ll have to prepare an outline that will be your draft. It should include whatever you think is important for your compare essay: topic, structure, columns with key differences and familiarities, arguments. This outline will help you organize a text properly, divide it by sections, and make it clear for readers. The structure of your contrast essay will include an introduction, body text, and a conclusion.

Introduction Part

It’s the very beginning of your essay and it should contain information that will make an audience read a full paper. Of course, you have to follow a common requirement for introductions – explaining what this text is about. But if you want to awake a reader’s interest, it’s better to use a hook for compare and contrast essay. You can start with an uncommon detail connected with one of the subjects or asking a question. A reader will be curious about the answer, and that will make him/her keep on looking for it in a compare essay. Here are a few questions for the mentioned examples:

⦁    What makes Monet’s pictures outstanding?

⦁    Why a freelance job has so many advantages?

⦁    Can we get an extended program in colleges?

This part will also include general information about what your essay is about. Mention all the objects you’re describing and the key thoughts highlighting their differences and common characteristics. The order of these details in the introduction for a compare and contrast essay should be the same as in your text.

Body Text

In this section, you will write about the main characteristics of differences and similarities of the researched objects. Typically, this part is divided into three paragraphs, but a writer is able to choose a structure of a contrast essay by himself. For example, you can pick three characteristics of each object, describe and draw a parallel between them. Separate the information with paragraphs like this:

⦁    Paragraph 1. The painting manner of Monet and Manet;

⦁    Paragraph 2. Most painted sceneries by Monet and Manet, etc;

⦁    Paragraph 3. Monet’s and Manet’s famous pictures.

Of course, you can change the structure of a compare and contrast essay and perform your variant. It doesn’t matter if you write about the first object in one paragraph and about another in the next section. And if your task is to write an essay that is larger than 500 words, you’ll have to write more parts and include other arguments.

Stay unique with the details you use in a body text. Write about facts known only by a small group of people and then readers will definitely highly estimate your essay. Of course, you must make deep research, but only in this way you’ll manage to create a flawless paper.


Now that you know how to start a comparison essay, it’s time to move to the conclusion. It will include a brief summary of a paper. Here, you can mention all the key details and write that both objects are unique in their own way. If you think that one of them is better than another, highlight your opinion after arguments.

Final Words

These hints will help you to come up with a well-organized text. With an outline, strong introduction part, and comprehensive analysis you’ll cope with any task. Use our guide whenever you need to write a comparison and contrast essay and make readers love your text.

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