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50 Compare and Contrast Topics

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When you begin working on a comparison essay, you should consider going through a few steps before you jump into writing the introductory paragraph. You will need to organize your thoughts before you write, so it is helpful to begin with a small chart. Your chart will give you a visual aid for clarity, as well as provide a sound structure which helps with paragraph organization.

Your goal is to make a simple list of comparable characteristics for both subjects. You may want to add a statement column in your chart/list to explain why items are similar or very different. At the bottom of this page you can see an example of a short list comparing ebooks with traditional books.

After you make these lists, you'll put together a single statement that states an overall assessment of your comparison. This statement will be a first draft of your thesis sentence.

Using the ebook v. traditional book lists, you might come up with a sentence like "When comparing ebooks to traditional books, I found that the ebook seems to provide extra convenience while the traditional book provides a greater comfort factor."

Your individual characteristic comparisons will provide topics for your body paragraphs. For example, you could write an entire paragraph about the low cost of a used textbook as it compares to the high investment needed for using an ebook.

You can be pretty creative when writing a compare and contrast essay. Some of the essay ideas below may seem to contain subjects that have nothing in common. But think again! You’ll find contrasting characteristics as well as similar characteristics in each individual set.

Try comparing:

  • Halloween night to prom night.
  • Your best friend to your archenemy.
  • Weeds to flowers.
  • Slave insurrection to the Revolutionary War.
  • Being the president to being a homeless person.
  • Being a snob to being a nerd.
  • Poverty to paranoia.
  • Christopher Columbus to early astronauts.
  • School bullies to dictators.
  • Writing essays to going to the dentist.
  • Church sermons to campaign speeches.
  • Acting to lying.
  • Hurricanes to blizzards.
  • The 1970s to another decade.
  • The decisions of Red Riding Hood to the decisions of Goldilocks.
  • Wandering on the African plain to drifting in the open sea.
  • Making an apple pie to making a mud pie.
  • Being afraid to being bored.
  • The influence of music to the influence of books.
  • The influence of celebrities to the influence of parents.
  • Learning to ride a bike to learning to drive a car.
  • Going to a move to watching a movie at home.
  • Spending time with your friend to spending time with your dog.
  • Playing Wii™ games to playing real games.
  • "The Star Spangled Banner" to "American Pie" (the song).
  • "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" to "God Bless the USA."
  • The Sound of Music (movie) to The Parent Trap.
  • The Sound of Music (movie) to The Diary of Anne Frank.
  • The Sound of Music (movie) to The King and I.
  • The Wizard of Oz to Huckleberry Finn.
  • The Three Bears to The Three Little Pigs.
  • Snowfall to rainfall.
  • A big college campus to a small college campus.
  • Living on a farm to living in the city.
  • Being a teen to being a toddler.
  • Nascar to Formula One.
  • Reality TV shows to high school.
  • Working as a waitress to working as a flight attendant.
  • Washing dishes to washing laundry.
  • A female friend and a male friend.
  • The life of a dog to the life of a cat.
  • Riding a roller coaster to loving somebody.
  • Camping in the deep woods to sleeping in a motel.
  • Physical beauty to inner beauty.
  • Being rich to being famous.
  • Being grounded to being in jail.
  • Talking to your mom and talking to your friends.
  • The benefits of cold to the benefits of heat.
  • Your best birthday to your worst birthday.
  • Your happiest day to your saddest day.

Example of Compare and Contrast Lists

Paper BookeBook
comfortableconvenient
easy to flip throughbookmarking
low costexpensive
have to look up new words instant lookup
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