Compare and Contrast Essay Format: Organizational Patterns

A compare-and-contrast essay is not just a simple description of the fundamental distinctions and resemblances of your subjects of research. In this work, it's necessary to indicate the substantive arguments on the subjects, to sum up, the meaningful results that you can use. For example, as a tip for making a decision. Conclusions for the thesis mainly determine the value of your paper

Consider the key recommendations for the compare and contrast essay format of reporting and the data of the comparative analysis.

Compare and Contrast Essay Key Points

It is significant to choose suitable items for your comparison, and they should be comparable. But often the teacher himself gives a task that meets this requirement. The author of the essay faces the following tasks:

  • Identify three or more characteristics that relate to the two subjects under discussion;
  • describe the similarities or differences in each of the points for both subjects;
  • form a thesis and express an opinion about the merits and demerits, the importance and unimportance of both subjects.

The main task of the author is to arrive at a preemptive and justified conclusion for his thesis. In such a written work, it is important to demonstrate your critical thinking, and not just to process information in accordance with the topic.

Compare and Contrast Essay Writing Approach

The basic structure of all essays is the same: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Use one-two paragraphs for the introduction. Identify subjects for a comparative analysis, point out the primary goal and the thesis statement. Ideally, there should be only two subjects. Specify the basic comparison aspect. You can choose the appropriate format for a compare and contrast essay body, standard options:

  • Block approach (vertical pattern);
  • point-by-point approach (horizontal pattern).

The first option is a description of each analyzed item separately in the form of two sequential blocks of information. It is suitable for short essays and can only be used if the reader does not lose the thread of all comparative analysis when he moves from one subject to another. Also, such a structure is recommended for describing subjects that have obvious characteristics for comparison, and their list is small.

If you plan to compare objects by many criteria and characteristics, it is better to choose the second type of structure and walk through each item, describing two subjects at once. This structure is recommended for large texts.

These are two fundamentally different approaches. But you can determine the most suitable if you follow the recommendations. To make the right decision on how to format a compare and contrast essay you should analyze your answers to such questions:

  • How much text will you form, using all the information you found?
  • How many comparative characteristics do you plan to investigate?
  • How will your text look with the amount of data for each item, whether the essay will be readable in the chosen format?

The conclusion should be like a summary of all the analysis of your data to confirm your thesis statement. Avoid meaningless wording that subjects are really alike/different, demonstrate a critical outcome.

Compare and Contrast Essay Format Examples

Let's look at the ways to build an essay body for two variants of the format. We will analyze this with two different examples.

Horizontal Pattern

Thesis statement: the Leaning Tower of Pisa is more interesting for tourists than the Eiffel Tower.

  1. The reason for the popularity
    • Leaning Tower of Pisa
    • Eiffel Tower
  2. What's inside
    • Leaning Tower of Pisa
    • Eiffel Tower
  3. Species that open to tourists on the top
    • Leaning Tower of Pisa
    • Eiffel Tower
  4. Antiquity of construction
    • Leaning Tower of Pisa
    • Eiffel Tower
  5. Uniqueness and availability of analogs
    • Leaning Tower of Pisa
    • Eiffel Tower

Be sure to follow the order and write the information for each item.

Vertical Pattern

Thesis statement: Linen fabric is better for the skin than cotton fabric.

  1. Linen
    • tactile sensations
    • thermoregulation
    • hygroscopicity
    • unique qualities
    • hypoallergenic feature
  2. Cotton
    • tactile sensations
    • thermoregulation
    • hygroscopicity
    • unique attributes
    • hypoallergenic feature

It is better to use such a structure when the thesis becomes obvious, and the information on each item is as short as possible.

Choosing the compare and contrast essay format college students may have doubts. If you are not sure, try to form your essay in two formats. That is not difficult to do when the infusion is already assembled in one of the formats.