Books Vs. Movies: Similarities and Differences Essay

Books vs. movies – introduction, similarities between books and movies, difference between books and movies, works cited.

This paper examines the similarities and differences between books and movies. Although both tell stories and evoke emotions, they also have distinct characteristics. For example, books rely on the reader’s imagination, while movies present a pre-determined visual interpretation. Another difference between books and movies is that books typically offer a more in-depth exploration of characters, while movies may prioritize visual spectacle over character development. Despite these contrasts, both books and movies have the power to entertain, educate, and inspire. This essay compares and contrasts the two products in detail and provides examples from famous works.

Books and movies are two of the most important mediums for communicating ideas to an audience. The two can be used for various purposes, including entertaining and informing. Books make use of written words to communicate with the reader. On the other hand, movies utilize audio-visual technology to communicate with the viewing audience. Books and Movies have several significant similarities and differences.

A major similarity is that both books and movies set out to tell stories that are often fascinating to the audience. Regardless of which medium is being used, efforts are made to create stories that are going to be engaging to the reader or viewer. For both movies and books, the story is a central part, and the authors or directors come up with themes and plotlines that can captivate and entertain the audience (Bordwell and Staiger 262). By using elements such as characters, setting, conflict, and resolution at the end, book authors and movie directors can come up with successful stories.

Another similarity is that both books and movies make great use of characters through whom the story is told. Bordwell and Staiger note that the characters used must be well suited to the story, and they must be clearly distinguished from one another (262). They are given personalities and used to fulfill the key elements of the story being told through the book or the movie. In most cases, it is the characters that make the audience regard a movie or book as superior or inferior.

A significant difference between books and movies is in the manner in which the visual images are created. When reading a book, the reader has to use his/her imagination to create a visual image from the words contained in the book (Mayer 17). For example, in the Harry Potter books, the reader is required to form his/her own image of the various magical creatures. On the other hand, movies present the reader with a ready visual image. In the Harry Potter Movies, the images of creatures such as trolls and goblins are presented to the audience. The imagination of the viewer is not required since the movie makers have already created the image they want the audience to have.

Books and movies differ in the level of detail provided. In books, the author spends a lot of time providing details of characters, events, objects, and places. These lengthy descriptions are necessary to help the reader to create a mental image of the story. With movies, there are no lengthy details used. Movies do not have to engage in detailed descriptions since a complicated image can be shown in a single movie shot. Mayer notes that a movie can, within the span of a few seconds, graphically show a mass of details to the viewer (17).

Books and movies are both adequate means of telling a story. While the two make use of different technologies to communicate with an audience, they have some similarities. These include the use of stories and the reliance on characters to tell the story. However, the two have major differences in terms of the level of imagination required of the audience and the use of details. Overall, books and movies are important communication mediums that play a great role in our society.

Bordwell, David, and Janet Staiger. The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960. NY: Routledge, 2003. Print.

Mayer, Robert. Eighteenth-Century Fiction on Screen . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2023, October 29). Books Vs. Movies: Similarities and Differences Essay.

"Books Vs. Movies: Similarities and Differences Essay." IvyPanda , 29 Oct. 2023,

IvyPanda . (2023) 'Books Vs. Movies: Similarities and Differences Essay'. 29 October.

IvyPanda . 2023. "Books Vs. Movies: Similarities and Differences Essay." October 29, 2023.

1. IvyPanda . "Books Vs. Movies: Similarities and Differences Essay." October 29, 2023.


IvyPanda . "Books Vs. Movies: Similarities and Differences Essay." October 29, 2023.

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Books vs. movies: the age-old debate.

compare and contrast essay about movies and books

The Mountain Between Us , It , Murder on the Orient Express , Wonder , My Cousin Rachel . These films released in 2017 have one thing in common, and you may have guessed it already: They were all books that were later adapted into movies.

compare and contrast essay about movies and books

Similar to its affinity for sequels and remakes , it seems to me like Hollywood is increasingly looking to books for inspiration for the next blockbuster hits. From a business standpoint, it makes total sense because producers can draw on the popularity of a certain book and use that to their advantage when it comes to marketing the film’s release.

As an avid reader, I am always excited at the news that a book is being adapted as a feature film. My mind is occupied by thoughts of who the actors/actresses are going to be (and if I approve), if the film will stay true to the book, and most importantly, if the movie will be just as good as the book. The thought of finally being able to visualize what has only previously been limited to my imagination is always an exciting prospect.

However, I am usually underwhelmed after watching a certain film based on a book, and if you asked me a year ago which one I would prefer: the movie or the book, I would have immediately chosen the book.

compare and contrast essay about movies and books

Hands down. No doubt. However, within the past year, I have come to appreciate movie adaptations of books more because I have realized that comparing books to their counterpart movies isn’t fair; at the end of the day, the two mediums of storytelling have different advantages and different qualifications for what makes them good. Like Stephen King once said, comparing one to the other is like comparing apples to oranges. They are both great sources of entertainment, but they aren’t comparable. For those still reluctant to accept this theory, I’ll be delving more into this age-old question: “What’s better: books or movies?” I’ll make a case for each argument and let you make the final call.

The popular belief is that books are often a hundred times better than their movie counterparts; if you need any further proof, just take a look at the following Washington Post visual.

compare and contrast essay about movies and books

Books are great because they allow the reader to be a part of the story; we are the observers that have insight into the character’s thoughts and feelings, and all the nuances that create three-dimensional characters. With books, there’s just more. More detail, more focus on character development, and more depth to the meaning of the artwork. It’s also the more time-consuming form of the two, and after finishing a novel, after a couple of hours of being immersed into a different world and mind space, it seems like you have suddenly been thrust back into reality.

On the other hand, the great thing about movies is their ability to show, and the overall experience of watching one. While reading a book, I often have a movie reel playing in my head. I can map out the setting, I can see the characters’ expressions, and I can empathize with their emotions.

However, watching the same story unfold on the big screen is a different experience. While reading spurs your imagination, a movie helps you visualize all the elements of the books that were previously confined to your imagination. It immerses you into the story in a different way than a book.

compare and contrast essay about movies and books

For example, instead of reading about the magical world of Harry Potter, while watching the movie, I can actually see what J.K. Rowling means by “He was almost twice as tall as a normal man and at least five times as wide. He looked simply too big to be allowed, and so wild – long tangles of bushy black hair and beard hid most of his face, he had hands the size of dustbin lids and his feet in their leather boots were like baby dolphins.” To put it simply, movies make it easier for us to just lean back and enjoy the show.

compare and contrast essay about movies and books

An added benefit of movies is the music and visual designs that enhance the experience of watching a film. Imagine, for example, that you are watching an emotional scene. It’s the climax of the story, and in the background plays a gentle orchestra, that eventually swells into a big crescendo as the story reaches its resolution. In that moment, you feel exactly what the characters feel, and your heart races along with the melody of the music. So although (in some cases) the audience might not have a play by play of the characters’ thoughts and emotions, movies have another way of conveying the emotion and tone of a certain scene.

If you feel like further exploring this age-old debate personally, come down to Media Services to check out movies even the worst critic would have to admit are just as good as the books. Don’t know where to start? Try Pride and Prejudice, Psycho, Jaws, The Godfather, etc.

Until next time! RE

Robiati Endashaw is a sophomore studying public policy analysis in KSB with a minor in Economics. In her spare time, she enjoys reading non-fiction and watching crime documentaries.

compare and contrast essay about movies and books

Oh gee thanks so much . I also feel quite the same way too when it comes to books as in they are so much enjoyable because they allow us as the reader to explore the depths of my imagination and every thing happening Is felt dearly. 😊

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Bookish Place

To Watch or to Read: The Great Debate of Books vs. Movies

The debate between books vs. movies has been raging for decades. Some people prefer the immersive experience of reading a good book, while others enjoy the visual and auditory spectacle of a blockbuster movie. While both mediums have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, there is no denying that they both offer a powerful and engaging way to tell a story.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of both books and movies and delve into the reasons why some people prefer one medium over the other. We will also examine the impact that film adaptations have had on the literary world, and how books and movies have influenced and inspired each other over the years.

Through this exploration, we hope to provide a better understanding of the book vs. movie debate and help readers decide which medium they prefer. Whether you’re a die-hard bookworm or a film buff, there’s no denying that both books and movies have a place in our cultural landscape. So sit back, relax, and join us as we explore the great debate of book vs. movie.

Book Vs Movie: Compare And Contrast

Books vs. movies: The age-old debate. Here’s a chart summarizing the key differences between books and movies:

These are just a few of the many differences between books and movies, and there is no right or wrong choice when it comes to deciding which medium you prefer. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and what you enjoy most in a story.

The Advantages of Reading a Book Over Watching a Movie

Books and movies are two very different forms of media. While movies can be visually stunning and entertaining, books offer a deeper, more immersive experience that simply can’t be replicated on the big screen. In this section, we’ll explore some of the key advantages of reading a book over watching a movie and find out the reasons why good books are better than movies.

Reading a book offers a more immersive experience than a movie, as it allows readers to delve deeper into the story and form a stronger connection to the characters. With more extensive descriptions of people, places, and events, readers can visualize the story in their own way and bring their own experiences and perspectives to the reading experience. This personal connection is not possible with a movie, which visualizes the story for the viewer.

Books Vs. Novel - A Reader Enjoying His Favourite Book

Reading also has cognitive benefits, improving memory, focus, and concentration, as readers actively process and make connections between story elements. Additionally, reading expands vocabulary and language skills, exposing readers to a wider range of words and sentence structures.

While movies have their own unique advantages, such as a cinematic experience and visual and auditory stimulation, reading a book offers a deeper, more engaging experience that cannot be matched by any other medium. Overall, the benefits of reading make it an essential and highly rewarding activity.

The Advantages of Watching a Movie Over Reading a Book

While there are numerous advantages to reading a book, there are also many reasons why watching a movie can be a more enjoyable and fulfilling experience. In this section, we’ll explore some of the key advantages of watching a movie over reading a book and find out the reasons why movies are better than books.

Movies have a distinct advantage over books due to their visual medium, which can create stunning visuals, deliver visceral impacts, and transport viewers to different worlds. Movies are also more convenient than books, as they require less time and effort to enjoy. Additionally, movies are accessible to a broader audience, including young children and those with limited literacy skills. 

Books Vs. Movie - Enjoying a Movie in a Theater

Finally, movies offer a shared experience that can bond friends and family and create lasting memories. While books offer a deeper, more immersive experience and can improve cognitive functioning and language skills, movies should not be overlooked. Movies are an essential and valuable part of our culture, and their unique advantages should be appreciated.

The Importance of Originality: The Book vs. Movie Debate

The importance of originality is a crucial factor in the debate of book vs. movie. Books and movies require originality to stand out in their respective mediums. 

In books, originality is crucial to the success of the story, as readers are looking for something new and fresh. Authors who can deliver original and compelling stories are more likely to attract a loyal following of readers. 

On the other hand, movies need to offer something unique and different from what has come before to succeed in a crowded marketplace. Audiences want to be entertained and challenged, to see something they haven’t seen before. The challenge lies in adapting a book for the screen, as movies need to capture the essence of the original story while also offering something new and original to viewers. A successful movie adaptation captures the spirit of the original story while also offering something fresh and unique to the audience. 

Overall, originality is crucial for both books and movies to be successful and memorable.

The Impact of Film Adaptations on Book Sales

Film adaptations of books have become common in the entertainment industry, and their impact on book sales is significant. A successful movie adaptation can result in a surge of book sales and increased attention for the author. However, a poorly received adaptation can damage the reputation of the source material and turn potential readers away. 

The impact of film adaptations on book sales can also vary depending on the genre of the book , with young adult novels having a particularly strong impact. A successful adaptation can also lead to increased interest in the author and their other works. 

Books Versus Movie - Best Selling Harry Potter Book Series

Nonetheless, the relationship between books and movies is complex, and a delicate balance must be struck between staying true to the source material and offering something new and original. 

Despite the challenges, it is clear that the relationship between books and movies is important, with each medium having the potential to influence and enhance the other.

Comparing the Popularity of Books and Movies: A Statistical Analysis

This section explores the popularity of books and movies by analyzing sales figures and audience engagement. 

According to the Association of American Publishers, book sales in the US reached $25.8 billion in 2020, while global box office revenue for movies was $42.2 billion in 2019. However, these figures are not necessarily indicative of overall popularity, as the success of a book or movie can depend on various factors such as genre and marketing. 

In terms of audience engagement, a survey by the Pew Research Center found that 65% of American adults reported reading a book in print or digital format in 2019, while data from the Motion Picture Association shows that the average US moviegoer attended about 5 movies in theaters in 2019 . 

Nonetheless, it is important to note that reading books and watching movies are not mutually exclusive activities, and personal preference and taste play a significant role in determining the popularity of these two forms of entertainment. 

Ultimately, both books and movies have the potential to provide enjoyable and meaningful experiences for viewers and readers alike.

Why Some Movies Fail to Capture the Essence of the Book

Movie adaptations of books often face challenges in capturing the essence of the original work. The biggest challenge is condensing the story into a shorter running time, which can result in a movie that feels rushed or incomplete, with important plot points or character development left out. 

Gulliver's Travels - Books Vs. Movies

Another challenge is finding the right tone and style, as books can be written in a variety of styles, from lyrical and poetic to straightforward and simple. Filmmakers may make changes to the story or characters that alter the tone or style of the original work, resulting in a movie that feels different from the book. Inner thoughts and emotions, which are extensively described in books, can be difficult to convey visually, leading to clunky or awkward voiceovers or other techniques. 

Lastly, some movies fail to capture the essence of the book simply because they are not faithful to the original work, as filmmakers may make changes that are not in line with the author’s vision.

Overall, adapting a book to a movie is a challenging task that requires balancing various elements such as condensing the story, finding the right tone, conveying inner experiences, and staying faithful to the original work. However, when done well, a movie adaptation can provide a fresh perspective on a beloved story and introduce new audiences to the world of the book.

How Movies Can Enhance or Detract from the Reading Experience

Movies can impact the experience of reading books in both positive and negative ways. While a well-made movie adaptation can bring a story to life in a new way and provide new insights into the characters and settings, it can also limit your imagination and leave out important details or changes that affect the overall meaning of the story

A movie adaptation can enhance the reading experience by providing a visual representation of the story and bringing new nuances to the characters and events. On the other hand, movies can detract from the reading experience by limiting the reader’s imagination and leaving out important details or changing aspects of the story that affect its overall meaning. When a movie adaptation leaves out a key subplot or character, the story may feel incomplete, and if it changes the ending of the story, it can alter the entire meaning of the book. 

Ultimately, the decision to read a book or watch a movie adaptation is a personal one and depends on the individual’s preferences and the specific book and movie in question.

Does Reading the Book First Ruin the Movie Experience?

book versus movie

The debate over whether reading the book before watching the movie adaptation ruins the movie experience has been ongoing. Some people believe that knowing the story beforehand takes away the suspense and surprises that make movies enjoyable, while others argue that reading the book first enhances the movie experience. 

Those against reading the book first argue that it takes away from the suspense and surprise of the movie and leads to constant comparison with the book. However, reading the book first can also provide a deeper understanding of the story and characters, making the story more meaningful and impactful. It can also help fill in gaps that are often left out in the movie adaptation. Movies have to condense the story, leaving out important details or subplots, which can leave viewers feeling confused or unsatisfied. 

Ultimately, whether reading the book first ruins the movie experience is a matter of personal preference. It’s up to the individual to decide whether they want to read the book first or wait to see the movie without any prior knowledge of the story.

The Role of Directors and Screenwriters in Adapting Books for Film

Adapting a book into a film is a challenging task that requires a skilled director and screenwriter to bring the story to life on the big screen. They must carefully decide which elements of the book should be included in the movie, considering the pacing, structure, characters, and motivations, to ensure that the movie stays true to the spirit of the book while also being entertaining for moviegoers. Without understanding the psychology of movie watchers, a movie hardly gets success at the box office. The tone and mood of the book must also be captured in the movie adaptation, which can be particularly challenging when adapting books known for their unique style or voice.

Books Vs. Movies - Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit

Practical constraints of the movie medium must also be considered, such as deciding which scenes and characters can realistically be portrayed on screen and which elements of the story may need to be altered or omitted to fit within the constraints of the movie format.

The success of a movie adaptation depends on the skill and creativity of the director and screenwriter, who must work together to craft a cinematic experience that stays true to the book while also being engaging for moviegoers. When done well, a movie adaptation can bring a beloved book to life in a new and exciting way, creating a powerful and memorable cinematic experience.

The Future of Books and Movies: Will One Outlast the Other?

The future of books and movies is uncertain, and it is difficult to predict which medium will outlast the other. 

Books have been around for centuries and provide an immersive experience, allowing readers to engage with the story and characters. They have a wide range of genres and subject matter, making them accessible to a broad audience. On the other hand, movies offer a unique cinematic experience that cannot be replicated by any other medium. They visually immerse viewers in the story and characters and can reach a wider audience through mass distribution in theaters and online streaming platforms.

However, concerns remain about the future of both mediums. The rise of e-books and audiobooks and the decline of traditional print books are concerns for the book industry, while the decline of movie theaters and the rise of streaming services are affecting the movie industry. 

Despite these concerns, both books and movies have shown resilience over time. While the formats may change, the desire for stories and entertainment will always be present. It is likely that both mediums will coexist in the future, with each offering its unique benefits to audiences.

The debate between books and movies will continue as both have their unique advantages and disadvantages, and the choice depends on personal preference. While books provide an immersive experience and movies offer a unique cinematic experience, the impact of movie adaptations on book sales and the role of directors and screenwriters in the adaptation process is crucial. Both books and movies have influenced and inspired each other, but some movies fail to capture the essence of the book. 

Ultimately, both mediums have a place in our cultural landscape, and it’s important to celebrate and appreciate their unique benefits while enjoying the stories and characters they bring to life.

So, Keep Watching and Be Bookish !

Bookish Place Author Dennis K. Hawkins

Dennis K. Hawkins is a writer, blogger, book critic and bookish person. He has written several books and regularly write blogs. As a bookish, he reads a lot and regularly share his opinion regarding books. Besides, he has a huge collection of unique accessories related to book. So, he is an expert and also a real user of the book accessories that he chooses to write on.

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compare and contrast essay about movies and books

Compare and Contrast Essay: Full Writing Guide and 150+ Topics

compare and contrast essay about movies and books

Compare and contrast essays are academic papers in which a student analyses two or more subjects with each other. To compare means to explore similarities between subjects, while to contrast means to look at their differences. Both subjects of the comparison are usually in the same category, although they have their differences. For example, it can be two movies, two universities, two cars etc.

Good compare and contrast papers from college essay writer focus on a central point, explaining the importance and implications of this analysis. A compare and contrast essay thesis must make a meaningful comparison. Find the central theme of your essay and do some brainstorming for your thesis.

This type of essay is very common among college and university students. Professors challenge their students to use their analytical and comparative skills and pay close attention to the subjects of their comparisons. This type of essay exercises observance and analysis, helps to establish a frame of reference, and makes meaningful arguments about a subject. Let's get deeper on how to write a compare and contrast essay with our research writing services .

How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay: Brainstorm Similarities and Differences

Now that you know what is compare and contrast essay and are set with your topic, the first thing you should do is grab a piece of paper and make a list with two columns: similarities and differences. Jot down key things first, the most striking ones. Then try to look at the subjects from a different angle, incorporating your imagination.

If you are more of a visual learner, creating a Venn diagram might be a good idea. In order to create it, draw two circles that overlap. In the section where it overlaps, note similarities. Differences should be written in the part of the circle that does not overlap.

Let’s look at a simple example of compare and contrast essay. Let one of the subjects be oranges, and the other one be apples. Oranges have thick peel, originally from India, and are tropical fruit. These characteristics pertain only to oranges and should be in the part of the circle that does not overlap. For the same section on apples, we put thin peel, originated in Turkey or Kazakhstan, and moderate to subtropical. In the section that overlaps, let’s say that they are both fruit, can be juiced, and grow on trees. This simple, yet good example illustrates how the same concept can be applied to many other complicated topics with additional points of comparison and contrast.

Example of compare and contrast

This format of visual aid helps to organize similarities and differences and make them easier to perceive. Your diagram will give you a clear idea of the things you can write about.

Another good idea for brainstorming in preparation for your comparison contrast essay is to create a list with 2 columns, one for each subject, and compare the same characteristics for each of them simultaneously. This compare and contrast format will make writing your comparison contrast paper argument a breeze, as you will have your ideas ready and organized.

One mistake you should avoid is simply listing all of the differences or similarities for each subject. Sometimes students get too caught up in looking for similarities and differences that their compare and contrast essays end up sounding like grocery lists. Your essay should be based on analyzing the similarities and differences, analyzing your conclusions about the two subjects, and finding connections between them—while following a specific format.

Compare and Contrast Essay Structure and Outline

So, how do you structure this compare and contrast paper? Well, since compare and contrast essay examples rely heavily on factual analysis, there are two outline methods that can help you organize your facts. You can use the block method, or point-by-point method, to write a compare and contrast essay outline.

While using the block structure of a compare and contrast essay, all the information is presented for the first subject, and its characteristics and specific details are explained. This concludes one block. The second block takes the same approach as the first for the second subject.

The point-by-point structure lists each similarity and difference simultaneously—making notes of both subjects. For example, you can list a characteristic specific to one subject, followed by its similarity or difference to the other subject.

Both formats have their pros and cons. The block method is clearly easier for a compare and contrast essay writer, as you simply point out all of the information about the two subjects, and basically leave it to the reader to do the comparison. The point-by-point format requires you to analyze the points yourself while making similarities and differences more explicit to the reader for them to be easier to understand. Here is a detailed structure of each type presented below.

Point-by-Point Method

  • Introduce the topic;
  • Specify your theme;
  • Present your thesis - cover all areas of the essay in one sentence.
Example thesis: Cars and motorcycles make for excellent means of transportation, but a good choice depends on the person’s lifestyle, finances, and the city they live in.

Body Paragraph 1 - LIFESTYLE

  • Topic Sentence: Motorcycles impact the owner’s lifestyle less than cars.
  • Topic 1 - Motorcycles
  • ~ Argument: Motorcycles are smaller and more comfortable to store.
  • ~ Argument: Motorcycles are easy to learn and use.
  • Topic 2 - Cars
  • ~ Argument: Cars are a big deal - they are like a second home.
  • ~ Argument: It takes time to learn to become a good driver.

Body Paragraph 2 - FINANCES

  • Topic sentence: Cars are much more expensive than motorcycles
  • ~ Argument: You can buy a good motorcycle for under 300$.
  • ~ Argument: Fewer parts that are more accessible to fix.
  • ~ Argument: Parts and service are expensive if something breaks.
  • ~ Argument: Cars need more gas than motorcycles.

Body Paragraph 3 - CITY

  • Topic sentence: Cars are a better option for bigger cities with wider roads.
  • ~ Argument: Riding motorcycles in a big city is more dangerous than with cars.
  • ~ Argument: Motorcycles work great in a city like Rome, where all the streets are narrow.
  • ~ Argument: Big cities are easier and more comfortable to navigate by car.
  • ~ Argument: With a car, traveling outside of the city is much easier.
  • Sum up all you wrote in the article.

Block Method

  • Thesis — cover all areas of the essay in one sentence

Body Paragraph 1

  • Topic Sentence: Motorcycles are cheaper and easier to take care of than cars.
  • Aspect 1 - Lifestyle
  • Aspect 2 - Finances
  • ~ Argument: Fewer parts, easier to fix.
  • Aspect 3 - City
  • ~ Argument: Riding motorcycles in a big city is more dangerous than cars.

Body Paragraph 2

  • Topic sentence: Cars are more expensive but more comfortable for a big city and for travelling.
  • ~ Argument: Cars are a big deal—like a second home.
  • ~ Argument: With a car, traveling outside the city is much more comfortable.

Body Paragraph 3 ‍

Use the last paragraph to evaluate the comparisons and explain why they’re essential. Giving a lot of facts can be intense. To water it down, try to give the reader any real-life applications of these facts.

Depending on the structure selected, you can begin to create an outline for your essay. The typical comparison essay follows the format of having an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion — though, if you need to focus on each subject in more detailed ways, feel free to include an extra paragraph to cover all of the most important points.

To make your compare and contrast essay flow better, we recommend using special transition words and phrases. They will add variety and improve your paper overall.

For the section where you compare two subjects, you can include any of the following words: similarly, likewise, also, both, just like, similar to, the same as, alike, or to compare to. When contrasting two subjects, use: in contrast, in comparison, by comparison, on the other hand, while, whereas, but, to differ from, dissimilar to, or unlike.

Show Your Evidence

Arguments for any essay, including compare and contrast essays, need to be supported by sufficient evidence. Make good use of your personal experiences, books, scholarly articles, magazine and newspaper articles, movies, or anything that will make your argument sound credible. For example, in your essay, if you were to compare attending college on campus vs. distance-based learning, you could include your personal experiences of being a student, and how often students show up to class on a daily basis. You could also talk about your experience taking online classes, which makes your argument about online classes credible as well.

Helpful Final Tips

The biggest tip dissertation writing services can give you is to have the right attitude when writing a compare contrast essay, and actively engage the reader in the discussion. If you find it interesting, so will your reader! Here are some more compare and contrast essay tips that will help you to polish yours up:

types of writing

  • Compare and contrast essays need powerful transitions. Try learning more about writing transition sentences using the words we provided for you in the 'Compare and Contrast Structure and Outline' section.
  • Always clarify the concepts you introduce in your essay. Always explain lesser known information—don’t assume the reader must already know it.
  • Do not forget to proofread. Small mistakes, but in high quantities, can result in a low grade. Pay attention to your grammar and punctuation.
  • Have a friend or family member take a look at your essay; they may notice things you have missed.

Compare and Contrast Essay Examples

Now that you know everything there is to know about compare and contrast essays, let’s take a look at some compare and contrast examples to get you started on your paper or get a hand from our essay helper .

Different countries across the world have diverse cultural practices, and this has an effect on work relationships and development. Geert Hofstede came up with a structured way of comparing cultural dimensions of different countries. The theory explains the impacts of a community’s culture on the values of the community members, and the way these values relate to their behaviors. He gives scores as a way to help distinguish people from different nations using the following dimensions: long-term orientation, individualism, power distance, indulgence, necessity avoidance, and masculinity. Let us examine comparisons between two countries: the United Kingdom and China — based on Hofstede’s Six Dimensions of Culture.
Over the last two decades, the demand from consumers for organic foods has increased tremendously. In fact, the popularity of organic foods has exploded significantly with consumers, spending a considerably higher amount of money on them as compared to the amount spent on inorganic foods. The US market noted an increase in sales of more than 10% between 2014 and 2015 (Brown, n.p). The increase is in line with the views of many consumers that organic foods are safer, tastier, and healthier compared to the inorganic foods. Furthermore, considering the environmental effects of foods, organic foods present less risk of environmental pollution — compared to inorganic foods. By definition, organic foods are those that are grown without any artificial chemical treatment, or treatment by use of other substances that have been modified genetically, such as hormones and/or antibiotics (Brown, n.p).

Still feeling confused about the complexities of the compare and contrast essay? Feel free to contact our paper writing service to get a professional writing help.

Finding the Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics For You

When choosing a topic for your comparison essay, remember that subjects cannot be drastically different, because there would be little to no points of comparison (similarities). The same goes for too many similarities, which will result in poor contrasts. For example, it is better to write about two composers, rather than a composer and a singer.

It is extremely important to choose a topic you are passionate about. You never want to come across something that seems dull and uninspiring for you. Here are some excellent ways to brainstorm for a topic from essay writer :

  • Find categories: Choose a type (like animals, films or economics), and compare subjects within that category – wild animals to farm animals, Star Wars to Star Trek, private companies to public companies, etc.
  • Random Surprising Fact: Dig for fun facts which could make great topics. Did you know that chickens can be traced back to dinosaurs?
  • Movie vs. Book: Most of the time, the book is better than the movie — unless it’s Blade Runner or Lord of the Rings. If you’re a pop culture lover, compare movies vs. books, video games, comics, etc.

Use our rewrite essay service when you need help from professionals.

How to Choose a Great Compare and Contrast Topic

College students should consider providing themselves with a chance to use all topic examples. With enough revision, an advantage is gained. As it will be possible to compare arguments and contrast their aspects. Also, discuss numerous situations to get closer to the conclusion.

For example:

  • Choose a topic from the field of your interests. Otherwise you risk failing your paper.
  • It is a good idea to choose a topic based upon the class subject or specialist subject. (Unless the requirements say otherwise.)
  • Analyze each argument carefully. Include every detail for each opposing idea. Without doing so, you can definitely lower grades.
  • Write a conclusion that summarizes both arguments. It should allow readers to find the answer they’re looking for.
  • It is up to you to determine which arguments are right and wrong in the final conclusion.
  • Before approaching the final conclusion, it’s important to discuss each argument equally. It is a bad idea to be biased, as it can also lower grades.

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150 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics to Consider

Choosing a topic can be a challenging task, but there are plenty of options to consider. In the following sections, we have compiled a list of 150 compare and contrast essay topics to help you get started. These topics cover a wide range of subjects, from education and technology to history and politics. Whether you are a high school student or a college student, you are sure to find a topic that interests you. So, read on to discover some great compare and contrast essay ideas.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics For College Students

When attending a college, at any time your professor can assign you the task of writing this form of an essay. Consider these topics for college students from our team to get the grades you deserve.

  • Attending a College Course Vs. Distance-Based Learning.
  • Writing a Research Paper Vs. Writing a Creative Writing Paper. What are the differences and similarities?
  • The differences between a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree.
  • The key aspects of the differences between the US and the UK education systems.
  • Completing assignments at a library compared with doing so at home. Which is the most efficient?
  • The similarities and differences in the behavior among married and unmarried couples.
  • The similarities and differences between the EU (European Union) and ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations)?
  • The similarities and significant differences between American and Canadian English.
  • Writing an Internship Report Vs. Writing a Research Paper
  • The differences between US colleges and colleges in the EU?

Interesting Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Some topics for the compare and contrast essay format can be boring. To keep up motivation, doing a research , have a look at these topics. Maybe they can serve you as research paper help .

  • Public Transport Vs. Driving A Car. Which is more efficient?
  • Mandarin Vs. Cantonese: What are the differences between these Chinese languages?
  • Sports Cars Vs. Luxurious Family Cars
  • Wireless Technology Vs. Wired Devices
  • Thai Food Vs. Filipino Cuisine
  • What is the difference and similarities between a register office marriage and a traditional marriage?
  • The 2000s Vs. The 2010s. What are the differences and what makes them similar?
  • Abu Dhabi Vs. Dubai. What are the main factors involved in the differences?
  • What are the differences between American and British culture?
  • What does the New York Metro do differently to the London Underground?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for High School Students

When writing essays for high school, it is good to keep them informative. Have a look at these compare and contrast sample topics.

  • Highschool Life Vs. College Life
  • Paying College Fees Vs. Being Awarded a Scholarship
  • All Night Study Sessions Vs. Late Night Parties
  • Teenager Vs. Young Adult Relationships
  • Being in a Relationship Vs. Being Single
  • Male Vs. Female Behavior
  • The similarities and differences between a high school diploma and a college degree
  • The similarities and differences between Economics and Business Studies
  • The benefits of having a part-time job, instead of a freelance job, in college
  • High School Extra Curricular Activities Vs. Voluntarily Community Services

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Science

At some point, every science student will be assigned this type of essay. To keep things at flow, have a look at best compare and contrast essay example topics on science:

  • Undiscovered Species on Earth Vs. Potential Life on Mars: What will we discover in the future?
  • The benefits of Gasoline Powered Cars Vs. Electric Powered Cars
  • The differences of the Milky Way Vs. Centaurus (Galaxies).
  • Earthquakes Vs. Hurricanes: What should be prepared for the most?
  • The differences between our moon and Mars’ moons.
  • SpaceX Vs. NASA. What is done differently within these organizations?
  • The differences and similarities between Stephen Hawking and Brian Cox’s theories on the cosmos. Do they agree or correspond with each other?
  • Pregnancy Vs. Motherhood
  • Jupiter Vs. Saturn
  • Greenhouse Farming Vs. Polytunnel Farming

Sports & Leisure Topics

Studying Physical Education? Or a gym fanatic? Have a look at our compare and contrast essay topics for sports and leisure.

  • The English Premier League Compared With The Bundesliga
  • Real Madrid Vs. Barcelona
  • Football Vs. Basketball
  • Walking Vs. Eating Outside with Your Partner
  • Jamaica Team Vs. United States Team: Main Factors and Differences
  • Formula One Vs. Off-Road Racing
  • Germany Team Vs. Brazil Team
  • Morning Exercise Vs. Evening Exercise.
  • Manning Team Vs. Brazil Team
  • Swimming Vs. Cycling

Topics About Culture

Culture can have several meanings. If you’re a Religious Studies or Culture student, take a look at these good compare and contrast essay topics about culture.

  • The fundamental similarities and differences between Pope Francis and Tawadros II of Alexandria
  • Canadian Vs. Australian Religion
  • The differences between Islamic and Christian Holidays
  • The cultural similarities and differences between the Native Aboriginals and Caucasian Australians
  • Native American Culture Vs. New England Culture
  • The cultural differences and similarities between Italians and Sicilians
  • In-depth: The origins of Buddhism and Hinduism
  • In-depth: The origins of Christianity and Islam
  • Greek Gods Vs. Hindu Gods
  • The Bible: Old Testament Vs. New Testament

Unique Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

What about writing an essay which is out of the ordinary? Consider following these topics to write a compare and contrast essay on, that are unique.

  • The reasons why some wealthy people pay extortionate amounts of money for gold-plated cell phones, rather than buying the normal phone.
  • The differences between Lipton Tea and Ahmad Tea
  • American Football Vs. British Football: What are their differences?
  • The differences and similarities between France and Britain
  • Fanta Vs. 7Up
  • Traditional Helicopters Vs. Lifesize Drones
  • The differences and similarities between Boston Dynamics and the fictional equivalent Skynet (From Terminator Movies).
  • Socialism Vs. Capitalism: Which is better?
  • Curved Screen TVs’ Vs. Regular Flat Screen TVs’: Are they really worth big bucks?
  • Is it better to wear black or white at funerals?

Good Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Sometimes, it may be a requirement to take it back a notch. Especially if you’re new to these style of writing. Consider having a look at these good compare and contrast essay topics that are pretty easy to start off.

  • Is it a good idea to work on weekdays or weekends?
  • Black of White Coffee
  • Becoming a teacher or a doctor? Which career choice has more of an impact on society?
  • Air Travel Vs. Sea Travel: Which is better?
  • Rail Travel Vs. Road Travel: Which is more convenient?
  • What makes Europe far greater than Africa? In terms of financial growth, regulations, public funds, policies etc…
  • Eating fruit for breakfast Vs. cereals
  • Staying Home to Read Vs. Traveling the World During Holidays. Which is more beneficial for personal growth?
  • Japanese Vs. Brazilian Cuisine
  • What makes ASEAN Nations more efficient than African Nations?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics About TV Shows, Music and Movies

We all enjoy at least one of these things. If not, all of them. Why not have a go at writing a compare and contrast essay about what you have been recently watching or listening to?

  • Breaking Bad Vs. Better Call Saul: Which is more commonly binge watched?
  • The differences between Dance Music and Heavy Metal
  • James Bond Vs. Johnny English
  • Iron Man Vs. The Incredible Hulk: Who would win?
  • What is done differently in modern movies, compared to old black and white movies?
  • Dumber and Dumber 2 Vs. Ted: Which movie is funnier?
  • Are Horror movies or Action Movies best suited to you?
  • The differences and similarities between Mozart and Beethoven compositions.
  • Hip Hop Vs. Traditional Music
  • Classical Music Vs. Pop Music. Which genre helps people concentrate?

Topics About Art

Sometimes, art students are required to write this style of essay. Have a look at these compare and contrast essay topics about the arts of the centuries.

  • The fundamental differences and similarities between paintings and sculptures
  • The different styles of Vincent Van Gogh and Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Viewing Original Art Compared With Digital Copies. How are these experiences different?
  • 18th Century Paintings Vs. 21st Century Digitally Illustrated Images
  • German Art Vs. American Art
  • Modern Painting Vs. Modern Photography
  • How can we compare modern graphic designers to 18th-century painters?
  • Ancient Greek Art Vs. Ancient Egyptian Art
  • Ancient Japanese Art Vs. Ancient Persian Art
  • What 16th Century Painting Materials were used compared with the modern day?

Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Almost every student at any stage of academics is assigned this style of writing. If you’re lacking inspiration, consider looking at some of the best compare and contrast essay topics to get you on track with your writing.

  • The United States and North Korea Governmental Conflict: What is the reason behind this phenomenon?
  • In the Early Hours, Drinking Water is far healthier than consuming soda.
  • The United States Vs. The People’s Republic of China: Which economy is the most efficient?
  • Studying in Foreign Countries Vs. Studying In Your Hometown: Which is more of an advantage?
  • Toast Vs. Cereal: Which is the most consumed in the morning?
  • Sleeping Vs. Daydreaming: Which is the most commonly prefered? And amongst who?
  • Learning French Vs. Chinese: Which is the most straightforward?
  • Android Phones Vs. iPhones
  • The Liberation of Slaves Vs. The Liberation of Women: Which is more remembered?
  • The differences between the US Dollar and British Pound. What are their advantages? And How do they correspond with each other?

Easy Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

In all types of academics, these essays occur. If you’re new to this style of writing, check our easy compare and contrast essay topics.

  • The Third Reich Vs. North Korea
  • Tea Vs. Coffee
  • iPhone Vs. Samsung
  • KFC Vs. Wendy’s
  • Laurel or Yanny?
  • Healthy Lifestyle Vs. Obese Lifestyle
  • Forkes Vs. Sporks
  • Rice Vs. Porridge
  • Roast Dinner Vs. Chicken & Mushroom Pie
  • What’s the difference between apples and oranges?

Psychology Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Deciding upon good compare and contrast essay topics for psychology assignments can be difficult. Consider referring to our list of 10 psychology compare and contrast essay topics to help get the deserved grades.

  • What is a more severe eating order? Bulimia or Anorexia
  • Modern Medicine Vs. Traditional Medicine for Treating Depression?
  • Soft Drugs Vs. Hard Drugs. Which is more dangerous for people’s psychological well-being?
  • How do the differences between Lust and Love have an effect on people’s mindsets?
  • Ego Vs. Superego
  • Parents Advice Vs. Peers Advice amongst children and teens.
  • Strict Parenting Vs. Relaxed Parenting
  • Mental Institutions Vs. Stress Clinics
  • Bipolar Disorder Vs. Epilepsy
  • How does child abuse affect victims in later life?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for Sixth Graders

From time to time, your teacher will assign the task of writing a compare and contrast essay. It can be hard to choose a topic, especially for beginners. Check out our easy compare and contrast essay topics for sixth graders.

  • Exam Preparation Vs. Homework Assignments
  • Homeschooling Vs. Public Education
  • High School Vs. Elementary School
  • 5th Grade Vs. 6th Grade: What makes them different or the same?
  • Are Moms’ or Dads’ more strict among children?
  • Is it better to have strict parents or more open parents?
  • Sandy Beaches Vs. Pebble Beaches: Which beaches are more popular?
  • Is it a good idea to learn guitar or piano?
  • Is it better to eat vegetable salads or pieces of fruit for lunch?
  • 1st Grade Vs. 6th Grade

Funny Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Sometimes, it is good to have a laugh. As they always say : 'laughter is the best medicine'. Check out these funny compare and contrast essay topics for a little giggle when writing.

  • What is the best way to waste your time? Watching Funny Animal Videos or Mr. Bean Clips?
  • Are Pug Dogs or Maltese Dogs crazier?
  • Pot Noodles Vs. McDonalds Meals.
  • What is the difference between Peter Griffin and Homer Simpson?
  • Mrs. Doubtfire Vs. Mrs. Brown. How are they similar?
  • Which game is more addictive? Flappy Bird or Angry Birds?
  • Big Shaq Vs. PSY
  • Stewie Griffin Vs. Maggie Simpson
  • Quarter Pounders Vs. Big Macs
  • Mr. Bean Vs. Alan Harper

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Comparing and Contrasting

What this handout is about.

This handout will help you first to determine whether a particular assignment is asking for comparison/contrast and then to generate a list of similarities and differences, decide which similarities and differences to focus on, and organize your paper so that it will be clear and effective. It will also explain how you can (and why you should) develop a thesis that goes beyond “Thing A and Thing B are similar in many ways but different in others.”


In your career as a student, you’ll encounter many different kinds of writing assignments, each with its own requirements. One of the most common is the comparison/contrast essay, in which you focus on the ways in which certain things or ideas—usually two of them—are similar to (this is the comparison) and/or different from (this is the contrast) one another. By assigning such essays, your instructors are encouraging you to make connections between texts or ideas, engage in critical thinking, and go beyond mere description or summary to generate interesting analysis: when you reflect on similarities and differences, you gain a deeper understanding of the items you are comparing, their relationship to each other, and what is most important about them.

Recognizing comparison/contrast in assignments

Some assignments use words—like compare, contrast, similarities, and differences—that make it easy for you to see that they are asking you to compare and/or contrast. Here are a few hypothetical examples:

  • Compare and contrast Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression.
  • Compare WWI to WWII, identifying similarities in the causes, development, and outcomes of the wars.
  • Contrast Wordsworth and Coleridge; what are the major differences in their poetry?

Notice that some topics ask only for comparison, others only for contrast, and others for both.

But it’s not always so easy to tell whether an assignment is asking you to include comparison/contrast. And in some cases, comparison/contrast is only part of the essay—you begin by comparing and/or contrasting two or more things and then use what you’ve learned to construct an argument or evaluation. Consider these examples, noticing the language that is used to ask for the comparison/contrast and whether the comparison/contrast is only one part of a larger assignment:

  • Choose a particular idea or theme, such as romantic love, death, or nature, and consider how it is treated in two Romantic poems.
  • How do the different authors we have studied so far define and describe oppression?
  • Compare Frye’s and Bartky’s accounts of oppression. What does each imply about women’s collusion in their own oppression? Which is more accurate?
  • In the texts we’ve studied, soldiers who served in different wars offer differing accounts of their experiences and feelings both during and after the fighting. What commonalities are there in these accounts? What factors do you think are responsible for their differences?

You may want to check out our handout on understanding assignments for additional tips.

Using comparison/contrast for all kinds of writing projects

Sometimes you may want to use comparison/contrast techniques in your own pre-writing work to get ideas that you can later use for an argument, even if comparison/contrast isn’t an official requirement for the paper you’re writing. For example, if you wanted to argue that Frye’s account of oppression is better than both de Beauvoir’s and Bartky’s, comparing and contrasting the main arguments of those three authors might help you construct your evaluation—even though the topic may not have asked for comparison/contrast and the lists of similarities and differences you generate may not appear anywhere in the final draft of your paper.

Discovering similarities and differences

Making a Venn diagram or a chart can help you quickly and efficiently compare and contrast two or more things or ideas. To make a Venn diagram, simply draw some overlapping circles, one circle for each item you’re considering. In the central area where they overlap, list the traits the two items have in common. Assign each one of the areas that doesn’t overlap; in those areas, you can list the traits that make the things different. Here’s a very simple example, using two pizza places:

Venn diagram indicating that both Pepper's and Amante serve pizza with unusual ingredients at moderate prices, despite differences in location, wait times, and delivery options

To make a chart, figure out what criteria you want to focus on in comparing the items. Along the left side of the page, list each of the criteria. Across the top, list the names of the items. You should then have a box per item for each criterion; you can fill the boxes in and then survey what you’ve discovered.

Here’s an example, this time using three pizza places:

As you generate points of comparison, consider the purpose and content of the assignment and the focus of the class. What do you think the professor wants you to learn by doing this comparison/contrast? How does it fit with what you have been studying so far and with the other assignments in the course? Are there any clues about what to focus on in the assignment itself?

Here are some general questions about different types of things you might have to compare. These are by no means complete or definitive lists; they’re just here to give you some ideas—you can generate your own questions for these and other types of comparison. You may want to begin by using the questions reporters traditionally ask: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? If you’re talking about objects, you might also consider general properties like size, shape, color, sound, weight, taste, texture, smell, number, duration, and location.

Two historical periods or events

  • When did they occur—do you know the date(s) and duration? What happened or changed during each? Why are they significant?
  • What kinds of work did people do? What kinds of relationships did they have? What did they value?
  • What kinds of governments were there? Who were important people involved?
  • What caused events in these periods, and what consequences did they have later on?

Two ideas or theories

  • What are they about?
  • Did they originate at some particular time?
  • Who created them? Who uses or defends them?
  • What is the central focus, claim, or goal of each? What conclusions do they offer?
  • How are they applied to situations/people/things/etc.?
  • Which seems more plausible to you, and why? How broad is their scope?
  • What kind of evidence is usually offered for them?

Two pieces of writing or art

  • What are their titles? What do they describe or depict?
  • What is their tone or mood? What is their form?
  • Who created them? When were they created? Why do you think they were created as they were? What themes do they address?
  • Do you think one is of higher quality or greater merit than the other(s)—and if so, why?
  • For writing: what plot, characterization, setting, theme, tone, and type of narration are used?
  • Where are they from? How old are they? What is the gender, race, class, etc. of each?
  • What, if anything, are they known for? Do they have any relationship to each other?
  • What are they like? What did/do they do? What do they believe? Why are they interesting?
  • What stands out most about each of them?

Deciding what to focus on

By now you have probably generated a huge list of similarities and differences—congratulations! Next you must decide which of them are interesting, important, and relevant enough to be included in your paper. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s relevant to the assignment?
  • What’s relevant to the course?
  • What’s interesting and informative?
  • What matters to the argument you are going to make?
  • What’s basic or central (and needs to be mentioned even if obvious)?
  • Overall, what’s more important—the similarities or the differences?

Suppose that you are writing a paper comparing two novels. For most literature classes, the fact that they both use Caslon type (a kind of typeface, like the fonts you may use in your writing) is not going to be relevant, nor is the fact that one of them has a few illustrations and the other has none; literature classes are more likely to focus on subjects like characterization, plot, setting, the writer’s style and intentions, language, central themes, and so forth. However, if you were writing a paper for a class on typesetting or on how illustrations are used to enhance novels, the typeface and presence or absence of illustrations might be absolutely critical to include in your final paper.

Sometimes a particular point of comparison or contrast might be relevant but not terribly revealing or interesting. For example, if you are writing a paper about Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey” and Coleridge’s “Frost at Midnight,” pointing out that they both have nature as a central theme is relevant (comparisons of poetry often talk about themes) but not terribly interesting; your class has probably already had many discussions about the Romantic poets’ fondness for nature. Talking about the different ways nature is depicted or the different aspects of nature that are emphasized might be more interesting and show a more sophisticated understanding of the poems.

Your thesis

The thesis of your comparison/contrast paper is very important: it can help you create a focused argument and give your reader a road map so they don’t get lost in the sea of points you are about to make. As in any paper, you will want to replace vague reports of your general topic (for example, “This paper will compare and contrast two pizza places,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in some ways and different in others,” or “Pepper’s and Amante are similar in many ways, but they have one major difference”) with something more detailed and specific. For example, you might say, “Pepper’s and Amante have similar prices and ingredients, but their atmospheres and willingness to deliver set them apart.”

Be careful, though—although this thesis is fairly specific and does propose a simple argument (that atmosphere and delivery make the two pizza places different), your instructor will often be looking for a bit more analysis. In this case, the obvious question is “So what? Why should anyone care that Pepper’s and Amante are different in this way?” One might also wonder why the writer chose those two particular pizza places to compare—why not Papa John’s, Dominos, or Pizza Hut? Again, thinking about the context the class provides may help you answer such questions and make a stronger argument. Here’s a revision of the thesis mentioned earlier:

Pepper’s and Amante both offer a greater variety of ingredients than other Chapel Hill/Carrboro pizza places (and than any of the national chains), but the funky, lively atmosphere at Pepper’s makes it a better place to give visiting friends and family a taste of local culture.

You may find our handout on constructing thesis statements useful at this stage.

Organizing your paper

There are many different ways to organize a comparison/contrast essay. Here are two:


Begin by saying everything you have to say about the first subject you are discussing, then move on and make all the points you want to make about the second subject (and after that, the third, and so on, if you’re comparing/contrasting more than two things). If the paper is short, you might be able to fit all of your points about each item into a single paragraph, but it’s more likely that you’d have several paragraphs per item. Using our pizza place comparison/contrast as an example, after the introduction, you might have a paragraph about the ingredients available at Pepper’s, a paragraph about its location, and a paragraph about its ambience. Then you’d have three similar paragraphs about Amante, followed by your conclusion.

The danger of this subject-by-subject organization is that your paper will simply be a list of points: a certain number of points (in my example, three) about one subject, then a certain number of points about another. This is usually not what college instructors are looking for in a paper—generally they want you to compare or contrast two or more things very directly, rather than just listing the traits the things have and leaving it up to the reader to reflect on how those traits are similar or different and why those similarities or differences matter. Thus, if you use the subject-by-subject form, you will probably want to have a very strong, analytical thesis and at least one body paragraph that ties all of your different points together.

A subject-by-subject structure can be a logical choice if you are writing what is sometimes called a “lens” comparison, in which you use one subject or item (which isn’t really your main topic) to better understand another item (which is). For example, you might be asked to compare a poem you’ve already covered thoroughly in class with one you are reading on your own. It might make sense to give a brief summary of your main ideas about the first poem (this would be your first subject, the “lens”), and then spend most of your paper discussing how those points are similar to or different from your ideas about the second.


Rather than addressing things one subject at a time, you may wish to talk about one point of comparison at a time. There are two main ways this might play out, depending on how much you have to say about each of the things you are comparing. If you have just a little, you might, in a single paragraph, discuss how a certain point of comparison/contrast relates to all the items you are discussing. For example, I might describe, in one paragraph, what the prices are like at both Pepper’s and Amante; in the next paragraph, I might compare the ingredients available; in a third, I might contrast the atmospheres of the two restaurants.

If I had a bit more to say about the items I was comparing/contrasting, I might devote a whole paragraph to how each point relates to each item. For example, I might have a whole paragraph about the clientele at Pepper’s, followed by a whole paragraph about the clientele at Amante; then I would move on and do two more paragraphs discussing my next point of comparison/contrast—like the ingredients available at each restaurant.

There are no hard and fast rules about organizing a comparison/contrast paper, of course. Just be sure that your reader can easily tell what’s going on! Be aware, too, of the placement of your different points. If you are writing a comparison/contrast in service of an argument, keep in mind that the last point you make is the one you are leaving your reader with. For example, if I am trying to argue that Amante is better than Pepper’s, I should end with a contrast that leaves Amante sounding good, rather than with a point of comparison that I have to admit makes Pepper’s look better. If you’ve decided that the differences between the items you’re comparing/contrasting are most important, you’ll want to end with the differences—and vice versa, if the similarities seem most important to you.

Our handout on organization can help you write good topic sentences and transitions and make sure that you have a good overall structure in place for your paper.

Cue words and other tips

To help your reader keep track of where you are in the comparison/contrast, you’ll want to be sure that your transitions and topic sentences are especially strong. Your thesis should already have given the reader an idea of the points you’ll be making and the organization you’ll be using, but you can help them out with some extra cues. The following words may be helpful to you in signaling your intentions:

  • like, similar to, also, unlike, similarly, in the same way, likewise, again, compared to, in contrast, in like manner, contrasted with, on the contrary, however, although, yet, even though, still, but, nevertheless, conversely, at the same time, regardless, despite, while, on the one hand … on the other hand.

For example, you might have a topic sentence like one of these:

  • Compared to Pepper’s, Amante is quiet.
  • Like Amante, Pepper’s offers fresh garlic as a topping.
  • Despite their different locations (downtown Chapel Hill and downtown Carrboro), Pepper’s and Amante are both fairly easy to get to.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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101 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Great Ideas for Essays

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Compare and contrast essays are taught in school for many reasons. For one thing, they are relatively easy to teach, understand, and format. Students can typically understand the structure with just a short amount of instruction. In addition, these essays allow students develop critical thinking skills to approach a variety of topics.

Brainstorming Tip

One fun way to get students started brainstorming their compare and contrast essays is to create a Venn diagram , where the overlapping sections of the circle contain similarities and the non-overlapping areas contain the differing traits.

Following is a list of 101 topics for compare and contrast essays that you are welcome to use in your classroom. As you look through the list you will see that some items are academic in nature while others are included for interest-building and fun writing activities.

  • Apple vs. Microsoft
  • Coke vs. Pepsi
  • Renaissance Art vs. Baroque Art
  • Antebellum Era vs. Reconstruction Era in American History
  • Childhood vs. Adulthood
  • Star Wars vs. Star Trek
  • Biology vs. Chemistry
  • Astrology vs. Astronomy
  • American Government vs. British Government (or any world government)
  • Fruits vs. Vegetables
  • Dogs vs. Cats
  • Ego vs. Superego
  • Christianity vs. Judaism (or any world religion )
  • Republican vs. Democrat
  • Monarchy vs. Presidency
  • US President vs. UK Prime Minister
  • Jazz vs. Classical Music
  • Red vs. White (or any two colors)
  • Soccer vs. Football
  • North vs. South Before the Civil War
  • New England Colonies vs. Middle Colonies OR vs. Southern Colonies
  • Cash vs. Credit Cards
  • Sam vs. Frodo Baggins
  • Gandalf vs. Dumbledore
  • Fred vs. Shaggy
  • Rap vs. Pop
  • Articles of Confederation vs. U.S. Constitution
  • Henry VIII vs. King Louis XIV
  • Stocks vs. Bonds
  • Monopolies vs. Oligopolies
  • Communism vs. Capitalism
  • Socialism vs. Capitalism
  • Diesel vs. Petroleum
  • Nuclear Power vs. Solar Power
  • Saltwater Fish vs. Freshwater Fish
  • Squids vs. Octopus
  • Mammals vs. Reptiles
  • Baleen vs. Toothed Whales
  • Seals vs. Sea Lions
  • Crocodiles vs. Alligators
  • Bats vs. Birds
  • Oven vs. Microwave
  • Greek vs. Roman Mythology
  • Chinese vs. Japanese
  • Comedy vs. Drama
  • Renting vs. Owning
  • Mozart vs. Beethoven
  • Online vs. Traditional Education
  • North vs. South Pole
  • Watercolor vs. Oil
  • 1984 vs. Fahrenheit 451
  • Emily Dickinson vs. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • W.E.B. DuBois vs. Booker T. Washington
  • Strawberries vs. Apples
  • Airplanes vs. Helicopters
  • Hitler vs. Napoleon
  • Roman Empire vs. British Empire
  • Paper vs. Plastic
  • Italy vs. Spain
  • Baseball vs. Cricket
  • Jefferson vs. Adams
  • Thoroughbreds vs. Clydesdales
  • Spiders vs. Scorpions
  • Northern Hemisphere vs. Southern Hemisphere
  • Hobbes vs. Locke
  • Friends vs. Family
  • Dried Fruit vs. Fresh
  • Porcelain vs. Glass
  • Modern Dance vs. Ballroom Dancing
  • American Idol vs. The Voice
  • Reality TV vs. Sitcoms
  • Picard vs. Kirk
  • Books vs. Movies
  • Magazines vs. Comic Books
  • Antique vs. New
  • Public vs. Private Transportation
  • Email vs. Letters
  • Facebook vs. Twitter
  • Coffee vs. an Energy Drink
  • Toads vs. Frogs
  • Profit vs. Non-Profit
  • Boys vs. Girls
  • Birds vs. Dinosaurs
  • High School vs. College
  • Chamberlain vs. Churchill
  • Offense vs. Defense
  • Jordan vs. Bryant
  • Harry vs. Draco
  • Roses vs. Carnations
  • Poetry vs. Prose
  • Fiction vs. Nonfiction
  • Lions vs. Tigers
  • Vampires vs. Werewolves
  • Lollipops vs. popsicles
  • Summer vs. Winter
  • Recycling vs. Landfill
  • Motorcycle vs. Bicycle
  • Halogen vs. Incandescent
  • Newton vs. Einstein
  • . Go on vacation vs. Staycation
  • Rock vs. Scissors
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  • Comparison in Composition
  • Teaching Comparative and Superlative Forms to ESL Students
  • Binary Fission vs. Mitosis
  • Cause and Effect Essay Topics

Home — Essay Samples — Literature — The Great Gatsby — “The Great Gatsby”: Comparison of The Movie and The Book


"The Great Gatsby": Comparison of The Movie and The Book

  • Categories: Film Analysis The Great Gatsby

About this sample


Words: 745 |

Published: Dec 16, 2021

Words: 745 | Pages: 2 | 4 min read

Works Cited:

  • Furuhata, Y. (2011). Beyond Boundaries: Genre, Narrative, and the Liminal Experience in Miyazaki's Spirited Away. Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema , 3(1), 23-39.
  • Lissauer, G. (2015). The Name Game: Spirited Away and the Power of Identity. In A. McMurray & R. Barton Palmer (Eds.), Dreams Rewired: Romanticism , Modernism, and the Cinema of Dreams (pp. 157-173). Amsterdam University Press.
  • Matsunaga, K. (2010). Miyazaki's Spirited Away: Film of the Fantastic and Evolving Japanese Folk Symbols. Journal of Religion and Film, 14(2), 1-20.
  • Penney, M. (2009). Spirited Away and the Conventions of Japanese Coming-of-Age Narratives. Japanese Studies, 29(2), 239-249.
  • Rosenberg, A. (2014). Spirited Away and the Art of Surrender. The Washington Post.
  • Shingler, A. (2018). Spirited Away: An Interpretation of Its Symbolism. Mythlore, 36(2), 153-168.
  • Stroud, S. R. (2013). Good and Evil in Miyazaki's Spirited Away. In M. J. Valdivia (Ed.), The International Handbook of Children, Media, and Culture (pp. 281-298). John Wiley & Sons.

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