Comparison and Contrast Essay



In this kind of essay, the aim is to show the similarities and differences of two items, two people, two countries, or how something or someone has changed. When comparing two things, we focus more on the similarities though we may mention the differences shortly. When contrasting two things, we point out the differences between them.

The most important point to consider while planning a comparison and

contrast essay is choosing comparable items.

e.g. Middle East Technical University and Bogazici University.

We have to make sure that these two items have enough points to be compared. After writing the comparable points as a list,





social clubs,

sports facilities,

We have to eliminate some of them and choose 2-3 from the list that can lead to full supported paragraphs.





Two patterns of organization are possible:

1. Point-by-Point

In this pattern, the organization is as follows:

Thesis statement: METU and BOUN are Turkey’s two very prestigious universities with some differences in their specialties, facilities, and locations.

I. specialty



II. facility



III. location



For each of the points of comparison, we compare and contrast the two items.

2. Block (All of One / All of the Other)

In this pattern, the two items to be compared and contrasted form two separate paragraphs. In each paragraph the points of comparison are discussed in the same order, as in the following organization:

Thesis statement: METU and BOUN are Turkey’s two very prestigious universities with some differences in their specialties, facilities, and locations.


A. specialty

B. facility

C. location


A. specialty

B. facility

C. location

This pattern is mostly used when the amount of information about the items is limited. Also some topics (e.g. Your life before and after the divorce of your parents) lend themselves to block type organization.


The two patterns differ in terms of language as well. While pattern 2 is quite straightforward, pattern 1 requires more transitions but the end product is more understandable for the reader.

Some transitions that can be used for showing similarity:

similar to, similarly


both … and …

in addition




in the same way

Some transitions indicating difference:

different from

in contrast to

compared with


but, however

on the other hand


in contrast

Do not forget that using transitions enables the piece of writing to be coherent; it is easier for the reader to follow our ideas when transitions are used to link them together. However, overuse of transitions causes a traffic jam and should be avoided. We should be using transitions sparingly (only when necessary).

Sample comparison contrast essay:

METU and Bogazici University

Almost all high school students who would like to further their academic lives in the university search for information about the various universities of Turkey. Among many universities in Turkey, two of them are the most popular: Middle East Technical University and Bogazici University. They are considered the best. However, since both cannot be THE BEST, their specialties, facilities and locations need to be examined in detail to be able to choose the most suitable university for one’s education life.

One of the areas that one should investigate is the specialties of the two universities. METU is a comparatively new university (1956). Its aim was to contribute to the development of Turkey and Middle East countries and especially to train people so as to create a skilled workforce in the fields of natural and social sciences. The first academic program to start education was the Department of Architecture. It was followed by the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Today, there are 37 undergraduate programs in five faculties of METU. Bogazici University, on the other hand, is a very old university (1863). Its first name was Robert College. It got its present name in 1971. It started education by giving Bachelor of Arts degree. Engineering building was built later (1912). Today, Bogazici is known to graduate students who have strong social and business skills.

The second point we would like to compare is their facilities. METU is widely recognized with its cultural and intellectual facilities. The campus houses pioneers of some clubs such as mountaineering and scuba diving clubs, which are only two of a total of 25 different social clubs that students can choose. There is an alumni society. There are two gymnasiums, 7 tennis courts, a closed and an open swimming pool. However, the campus is far from the city center; therefore, there are not many places to eat at around the campus. METU has a very good library with hard and electronic copies of many books and journals. Bogazici also has a very good library, a swimming pool, a gymnasium and an alumni society that offers many extra-curricular courses, such as fitness, yoga, cooking courses. There are canteens on campus.However, unlike METU, Bogazici is situated in Etiler and it is close to Bebek, places popular with young people and there are a lot of places to eat around the campus.

This brings us to the third point we would like to compare; the campus. The two campuses are quite different from each other. Bogazici campus is quite old; dates back to the second half of 19th century. The buildings are very old. Though they are restored from time to time, they have historical value and their facades cannot be changed. The campus is full of old trees and it has an awesome view of the Bosphorus. The campus is quite large. However, new buildings cannot be added so two new campuses have been constructed. One is called the North Campus and is quite close to the main campus. The other is in Kilyos, 40 km away. There are shuttle busses for both campuses. METU, on the other hand, is modern looking with concrete and red brick buildings. The campus is large enough to allow construction of new buildings. With many green areas where students can meet and talk, it has a more academic atmosphere.

As a conclusion, we can say that METU dwells more on the technical departments and a closed campus life which enables the students to concentrate on their courses more. On the other hand, Bogazici is very good at social sciences and economics departments and has every facility to create a cultural and intellectual environment for the student. One should evaluate one’s priorities before making such a choice.

Comparison and Contrast Essay: Block Method

In the block method, you describe all the similarities in the first body paragraph and then all the differences in the second body paragraph. The guideline below will help you remember what you need to do in each part of a comparison/contrast essay using the block method.


1.       Attract the reader’s attention.

2.       Provide background information about your topic.

3.       Identify the two things being compared and contrasted.

4.       State the purpose for making the comparison and/or contrast.

5.       State the thesis.

Body Paragraphs

1.       In the first paragraph, discuss the similarities.

2.       In the next paragraph, discuss the differences.


1.       Paraphrase the thesis.

2.       Summarize the main similarities and differences.

3.       Paraphrase the importance of the topic.


Fighting the Battle against Drugs

The use of drugs has increased in recent years, according to numerous articles in medical journals. They threaten communities all over the world because of how affect the organs of the body and their functions. Crack and cocaine are two of these dangerous drugs. Thus, it is important for health care professionals to have knowledge about them in order to deal with any problems related to their use that patients may experience. While they may appear similar at first glance, in fact they have three major differences.

Crack and cocaine have three similar effects on the human body. Although crack is heat resistant and cocaine is destroyed by heat, both cause hypertension. Also, crack and cocaine bring about physiological and psychological damage, depending on pre-existing conditions and the extent of drug use. For example, hallucination, psychosis, paranoia and aggressive behavior may occur, and an overdose of either may cause cardiac collapse or convulsion. Finally, use of both drugs can lead to addiction.

Taken from:

Despite crack and cocaine’s similarities, they have three major differences. First, although crack and cocaine are derived from the coca plant, they differ in form. Crack has the form of flakes whereas cocaine is found in the form of powder, which can be dissolved. Furthermore, both crack and cocaine contain cocaine, but in various percentages: crack contains as much as 90 percent pure cocaine whereas cocaine contains from 15 to 25 percent pure cocaine. Another major difference is how they enter the body. For example, crack is smoked in a pipe or cigarette. It enters the body by the lungs into the bloodstream. Cocaine, on the other hand, is inhaled as a powder or is injected if dissolved. It enters the body via the nasal mucosa into the bloodstream or, if injected, directly via the bloodstream.

In conclusion, it can be seen that, while being alike in three ways, these two drugs differ in three ways. They affect the body in similar ways. Both can lead to physiological problems such as convulsions and psychological problems such as hallucinations.  Furthermore, their use may result in addiction. However, cocaine and crack differ in form, content of pure cocaine and method of entry into the body. Therefore, it is important that health care professionals know about these drugs.

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