In the formation of basic concepts, a huge role belongs to comparison and contrast. Through comparison, the similarity and difference of substances and phenomena and the concepts reflecting them are established. In order to do this, the comparison must be accompanied by an analysis of phenomena, as well as by synthesis, which recreates phenomena in all concreteness. Comparison helps not only to distinguish and refine concepts but also to systematize them. That is why students are obliged to learn how to write a compare and contrast essay.

The thesis statement is a core of compare and contrast essay.  An effective thesis statement establishes the focus of a compare-and-contrast essay by a brief indication of the degree of similarity and distinction between the compared objects.

In the case of this work, it is more reasonable to apply a different tactic than the standard plan. It is much more convenient to start with the main part, highlighting all the differences and similarities, and only then develop a thesis statement and add the remaining necessary parts of the essay.

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Topics and Ideas for a Compare and Contrast Essay

Many analysis techniques are based on a comparison operation, since the comparison always gives some material for observations, awakens thought, focuses on details that go unnoticed beyond comparison with another object, phenomenon. Any comparison involves the identification of common and distinctive features, as well as the search for the reasons and meaning of these differences.

In the process of comparative analysis, private methods relating to stylistic, philosophical, eventual, compositional analysis can be used. However, each private reception serves only as a stepping stone to the meaning, provides material for comparison, on the basis of which the author draws a conclusion about the uniqueness of the analyzed phenomena.

Thus, the basis of the work is two objects, events, theories, individuals, which are in the same plane and can have both common and different traits. Let’s look at examples within specific academic disciplines.

  • In the field of literature it can be a comparison of two works, heroes, literary styles of two authors;
  • The same can be applied to philosophy so you can compare and contrast views of two philosophers, philosophical directions, approaches, and theories;
  • Psychology as a field of science allows to comparing and contrasting theories and scientists of different periods.
  • History provides an opportunity for a wide research so you can write about two events, battles, revolutions, wars, laws, political regimes, historical periods, development processes and noticeable individuals.
  • Here you can compare famous doctors, their achievements and inventions, symptoms of diseases, influence of different drugs and so on.

How to Structure a Compare and Contrast Essay

Answering a question what should a compare and contrast essay identify, it should be said that it should determine the common and distinctive features of two objects under researching. In order to underline these features you can use the following transition words for a compare and contrast essay:

  • In comparison with/to;
  • Differences and similarities between;
  • Contrast between;
  • Unlike;
  • Similarity manifests itself;
  • The difference is.

Outline of a Compare and Contrast Essay

An Example of a 5 Paragraph Essay

Plato was the creator of idealism, and his great disciple Aristotle became the creator of realism. When comparing Plato with Aristotle, it immediately strikes that the poetic soul of the first of them enthusiastically ascended into an invisible field of ideas and considered philosophy a means to purify the soul, to inspire its desire for heaven. Aristotle’s critical mind was primarily concerned with an empirical (experimental) study of the world of phenomena, studied the facts represented by nature, went by induction from the particular to the general, and set the goal of philosophy to acquire the knowledge of truth with the help of science.

Plato regards concepts (ideas) as entities separate from phenomena (things), having an original reality; Aristotle reduces ideas from their separate field to the world of phenomena, considers them as forms through which sensory, really existing objects are formed from matter. Plato seeks to rise above nature and takes the content of his philosophy from the region of the supersensible, the heavenly. Aristotle subjects nature, the earth, the objects existing on the earth to his study, systematizes information acquired about them and, by clear, strictly logical conclusions and proofs, he formulates general laws.

The point of departure for Plato and Aristotle is the same, but the question of the relationship between the ideas and phenomena is solved differently by them. The same thing we see in comparing their approaches to the question of the essence of philosophy. They consider true knowledge to be different from ordinary, popular views of the uneducated crowd. Both of them consider true knowledge as the highest goal of human aspirations, the most important element of happiness.

According to Plato, virtue merges with the knowledge of the truth, the study of philosophy leads to possessing not only mental but also moral perfection. Aristotle more precisely defines the difference between knowledge and practical life; at the same time, he puts philosophy in a close relationship with the experienced knowledge.

These two thinkers, opposing each other in their tendencies, were representatives of two equally necessary directions of human thought, the greatest representatives of human understanding in the ancient world. The points of view of Plato and Aristotle are the two poles, around which all the research of truth will revolve forever.