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What Are the Main Points Used to Write a Comparison Essay?

by Jake Shore, studioD

Comparisons are done in everyday life, but in college or high school, they're assigned to promote critical thinking. Before writing a comparison essay, there must be a basis for comparison -- an appropriate reason to be making the comparison. Knowing the main points of a comparison essay is important, and once you do you can write a successful comparison essay.


If your instructor assigns a general topic, you should have some degree of freedom when deciding exactly what to write your essay about. Pick two subjects that you’re able to see strong similarities and differences. For example, if your teacher assigns a comparison essay and stipulates that the topic is colleges in contemporary America, it would be effective and efficient to compare colleges with large campuses and colleges with small campuses.


Context is one main point of a comparison essay. The first paragraph introduces the central comparison and outlines what the body of the paper will focus on. If appropriate, provide a brief overview of your topic’s historical significance. For example, if you’re comparing Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, putting each text into historical context in your introductory paragraph will inform your reader about their cultural and historical significance.


In order for your comparison essay to be successful your reader must have a clear and concise idea of everything that you’re presenting. Even if your ideas and claims are strong and well developed before you begin writing your comparison essay, if they aren’t clear in the body of your essay, the essay won’t be strong. Choose economy over complexity in sentences and analysis construction to ensure your reader has a clear idea of what you’re comparing.

Claims and Evidence

Each body paragraph provides an opportunity for you to present claims that support your central thesis. Each claim will be strengthened if you provide cutting and relevant support from either the text or a credible external source. For example, if a claim you make in the first body paragraph of your essay states that a small college allows a student to receive more professional attention than a large college, evidence showing the advisor-to-advisee or teacher-to-student ratio would offer support for that claim.

About the Author

Jake Shore is an award-winning Brooklyn-based playwright, published short story writer and professor at Wagner College. His short fiction has appeared in many publications including Litro Magazine, one of London's leading literary magazines. Shore earned his MFA in creative writing from Goddard College.

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