6 Rules For Writing a Compare and Contrast Essay Outline

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Writing a compare and contrast essay outline is not an easy task. In fact, it’s one of the most challenging writing assignments because it requires a set of analytical skills and the ability to make logical connections between two different subjects. The best way to stay on track of the subject and keep the point clear and precise is to carefully plan the contents of the essay in the detailed outline.

Requirements for compare and contrast essays

If you have never written this type of essay before, familiarize yourself with the peculiarities of the task. As paper writing service professionals, we talk to students who have these issues all the time. So, the logical thing to do is to summarize this experience in a comprehensive guide – like this one. Let’s take a closer look at what is expected from students for writing a highly-graded essay.

  1. Covering both subjects explicitly

A common mistake, often overlooked by students, is focusing on one subject too much and ignoring another one. In the end, a text that’s supposed to be objective ends up as an opinion essay.

To avoid that, plan your points and divide the information equally. Develop criteria and make sure that both subjects will be evaluated by the same methods.

  1. Understanding the purpose of comparison.

Simply describing both subjects and underlining common and diverse characteristics is not enough. You need to understand the hidden message behind a subject, the scope of the task. Let’s take a look at the example.

Topic: Weeds and flowers: why can’t they exist without one another?

The right strategy here would be not only to analyze the main characteristics of weeds and flowers separately but also answer the deeper aim of the question. Most likely, your professor expects you to describe why flowers and seeds are connected in nature and show examples of real cases. If you just give a couple of reasons without providing the bigger picture, the text will be too narrow and not specific enough.

  1. Being impartial and analyzing both subjects without prejudice.

This is arguably one of the most problematic traits of this essay. Being used to writing argumentative essays and picking between different subjects. We tend to choose the favorable subject between the two.

For example, if a student is asked to compare Galileo and Bruno, he might start expressing his opinions about who was right from a scientific and historical perspective. However, it’s not what the task is about. You only need to say what makes them similar and different and make the conclusion about both, not choose one of them. Whatever your personal opinion is, your goal is always an impartial essay writing.

Creating an outline is the optimal way to fully cover the topic

We’ve discussed while writing a compare and contrast outline is quite a complex task. Planning is just as important as writing is, if not more. Do it in the right way.

6 tips for creating a perfect outline for a compare-contrast essay

Outlining seems confusing at first. Basically, you need to prepare the foundation for the entire essay. The end result will be just as good as your outline is. So, let’s take a look at how to write a strong compare and contrast essay outline and improve the end result.

  • Do research first. Many students prefer to first note the main points and then look for the factual information, thinking that it’s going to make the process faster. After finding out that there is no information for the defined points, they have to re-write the plan. To avoid this frustration, start with research and then summarize what you’ve found in a concise plan.
  • Make it detailed. The outline is often associated with the word ‘brief’. It’s really tempting to describe each point just with the few sentences but it’s actually not the right way to go. After some time passes by, you can forget about the initial intention for the text and get side-tracked. Your plan should cover all your main research points.
  • Balance the information. Prepare equal criteria for each subject and spread the information evenly.
  • Time yourself. When you do research, it’s so easy to get carried away. Youtube videos, advertising, articles – it can all consume your time. Research is important but you should write all of that down as well. Make time for that. Even if it seems like you have no time, you still can make it happen if you know the basic time-management methods.
  • Stick to the basic structure. Introduction, the body of the text, and conclusions – it’s classics. Then take this basic ‘skeleton’ and put your factual information.
  • Combine order and creativity. Even though sticking to the classical outline is highly advisable, you still can keep it fresh. Use quotes, interesting references, little-known facts. Write something that you would like to read yourself.

The example of the outline

Let’s take a look at the example of the plan for one of the compare essays. It’s not much detailed but just enough to keep you on track.

London and Washington – similar or different?

Introduction: describe the general perception of both cities in culture and society, using literature and art for references.

Comparison – by different criteria

  1. History. Describing the history of London and Washington, starting with similar characteristics and then moving on to differences.
  2. Museums. Both cities have a lot of big museums that are similar but also have a lot of differences. Describing the examples and main collections, both similar and different (Tate Modern, the British History of Art, the National Gallery of Art).
  3. Social-economical factors. Cost of living, the labor market, the possibilities for career development. Statistics and cases.
  4. People. Age, race, profession etc. Statistics of national statistical institutions.

Conclusions

Even though both cities are capitals of major English-speaking countries, they are not as similar as they might seem although they definitely share some common characteristics.

Now, after you’ve gone through the outline, take a look at the ready compare-contrast essay that corresponds to the outline we’ve created.

Let’s wrap things up

Congratulations, now you are a pro in writing a good compare-contrast outline. Sure, it’s just the beginning but now you know where to start. And if you don’t have time, you can always ask writers on dedicated services: ‘Hey, can you write my essay for USA requirements?’ – having a ready outline will improve the cooperation. This way, you’ll save your time and still have good grades. See, there are a lot of options.

Anyway, it’s time to write. Go ahead and make that great essay happen. You can do this.

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