The Compare And Contrast Essay Structure: Point-By-Point Guidelines

Comparison and contrast papers can be fun. You have to make sure that you cover both sides equally. The paper should not have too much of one side or the other. The paper can be set up in two distinct ways. Each format is acceptable to use, and is the writer’s choice. Here are point-by-point guidelines for the two different compare and contrast essay structures.

Mixed Main Points

You can mix your similarities and differences within the same paragraph for each main idea if you wish to do so. You would name the point, list the similarity and a support, list the difference and support, and then continue in that same pattern until that main point is fully discussed within the paragraph. So if you had three main points, you would have an introduction, three mixed main point paragraphs, and then a conclusion. So if you had two ideas, the pattern would be:

  • Introduction paragraph
  • Main Point #1 paragraph
  • Main Point # 2 paragraph
  • Main Point # 3 paragraph
  • The concluding paragraph

Separate Main Points

When you separate the similarities and differences, this method involves distinct paragraphs. One paragraph is the compare and the other paragraph is a comparison. So, if you had three main ideas, this would be the pattern for the paper:

  • Introduction paragraph
  • Main Point # 1 similarities paragraph
  • Main Point # 2 differences paragraph
  • Main Point # 2 similarities paragraph
  • Main Point # 2 differences paragraph
  • Main Point # 3 similarities paragraph
  • Main Point # 3 difference paragraph
  • The concluding paragraph

Whichever pattern or format you chose is entirely up to you. Each is equally effective. The separate pattern is a longer paper, so if you have more ideas, the essay could end up being quite lengthy. The first, mixed format is better for new writers and for shorter topics. Each will work just fine though, as you seek to impress your teacher by thoroughly investigating and writing about the similarities and the differences of your topic.

You will want o use transitions and transitional deices in this style of paper. They will be predictors to your reader that you are moving from one aspect to the other. They give your audience a very important link. You can use this guide as you work through your paper, and be assured that your essay with be an A+ style submission.