Compare and Contrast Essay Outline. A Brief Guide

The goal of this article is to assist students in composing an outline for a standard cause and effect essay. The advice given in this article is optional. In the article, we provided basic guidelines, and it’s up to you to apply them as you consider it to be necessary.

Before you start writing your compare and contrast assignment, you will have to choose a suitable topic and look through credible sources to choose the necessary information. After that, you will have to craft an outline for your impeccable compare and contrast essay.

This essay is a typical academic assignment and should contain the following aspects:

  • An argument. Your teacher wants to see the outcomes of the research.
  • A critical analysis that expresses your point of view.

If you want to get the highest grade for your assignment, your first and the utmost task is to write down your ideas it in a perfectly logical way. If the information of your essay is presented in an organized way, that adds value to the argument.

In a typical cause and effect essay, you usually need to describe the causes, effects or both, that occurred as the result of a particular event. In this essay, all links between events, conditions, actions are analyzed. You can use various approaches depending on what aspect you are going to dwell upon: effects, causes, or both.

We can distinguish three types of such essays:

  1. These essays explain how a particular event happened and what consequences it had.
  2. These essays write about things that caused an effect; they are about causes.
  3. These essays focus on the effects and concentrate on the number of effects that happened after the event.

If you are not sure of the causes or effects of a particular event, find out whether you write about the real causes and sequences. For example, if you ate too much ice-cream on a cold day, that is the real cause of the flu.

Outline for Your Compare and Contrast Paper

An outline in an essay performs the function of a skeleton providing the framework upon which the whole essay is based. If the outline is written flawlessly, it will result in a high-quality essay. If there are any substantial mistakes in the outline, that will most likely harm the essay structure. A good structure is something that is always highly appreciated by teachers and is one of the first steps towards the highest grades. When you write an outline for you compare and contrast paper, you should pay attention to the peculiarities it will have. Remember that this type of outline differs from outlines for other types of essays due to its compare and contrast structure.

Simple Steps to Write an Outline for a Compare and Contrast Essay Correctly

Being a standard essay, a compare and contrast essay has a typical structure. The introduction, body, and conclusion are its compound parts. This type of essay differs from another type by the organization of its paragraphs of the body. Usually, when the structure of such an essay is described, more attention is paid to the body then to the introduction and conclusion of the essay outline. Anyway, when you write an outline, you will start with an introduction. Make sure; your strong argument is persuasive enough and logical.

Start Writing Your Outline

  • Specify the topic of your compare and contrast essay in the following way: ‘Comparison of A to B’ or ‘Contrasting C to D’ or ‘Contrasting/Comparing E with F.’
  • Reveal the purpose of your essay. ‘Analyzing the discrepancies between A and B,’ ‘Describing similarities between C and D,’ ‘Describing similarities or differences between E and F.’
  • Explain the significance of your essay’s subject. This information is included in the introduction to make it stronger. Underline why it is important to know the similarities and the differences of the objects under discussion. Explain what value does this knowledge have?
  • Write a thesis. It should contain a powerful argument. To say that the two things are alike or differ is not enough. You should make it clear how in what way they differ or are alike. In the thesis, you should present specific ideas and thoughts that give a detailed description of the features that make the two things similar or different.

If you are not at all sure how to write a typical contrast and comparison essay consisting of five paragraphs, you can use the following template: ‘C and D may differ in several aspects, but they have common aspects g, h, j too.’ In such an essay, you need to evaluate compared issues.

Write the Outline for the Body of a Compare and Contrast Essay

You can use two methods to organize ideas. If you like to write long detailed essays and want to make your ideas easy for your readers to follow, you might want to use the Point-by-Point Arrangement. Using this pattern means analyzing paragraph by paragraph, particular traits of both subjects under the question.


Paragraph 1: Analyzing feature 1

  • Object A (how important is feature 1 in A?)
  • Object B (how important is feature 1 in B?)

Paragraph 2: Analyzing feature 2

  • A (how important is feature 2 in A?)
  • B (how important is feature 2 in B?)

Paragraph 3: Analyzing feature 3

  • A (how important is feature 3 in A?)
  • B (how important
  • is feature 3 in B?)

The number of paragraphs may vary, though, depending on the topic.

To choose Block Arrangement is better when your compare and contrast assignment is not too long, or it’s difficult to analyze. If your paper is long, this pattern won’t suit, it suits only short texts.

Block Arrangement pattern

Paragraph 1: Object A

  • Feature 1
  • Feature 2
  • Feature 3

Paragraph 2: Object B

  • Feature 1
  • Feature 2
  • Feature 3

You need to start any paragraph of a compare and contrast essay with a topic sentence. In it, you will have to briefly write what the paragraph is about. Some professors demand including strong topic sentences in every paragraph. The use of such sentences is a step to get a better grade for your work.

Conclusion of a Compare and Contrast Essay

When you write your outline for the conclusive part, it will be sufficient to restate a thesis. It is recommended for you, though, to expand your conclusion and describe the significance of the acquired conclusions.

You will probably spend some time writing an outline for your compare and contrast unique essay. You can’t write a really good essay in an hour or two. It might take quite a bit of time, but the time will not be spent in vain. This outline will be a useful tool in writing the essay. It will help you to pay attention to principal questions. In an organized way, you will write your views and ideas that you planned to present in your compare and contrast paper. Hopefully, the tips from this article will help you to write a flawless A-grade essay!