The five-paragraph compare/contrast essay


1.   Introduction

Your introduction should open generally (with a quotation, anecdote, generalization), and lead into the thesis statement.

2.   Topic 1

This next portion of your essay (which may consist of one paragraph or several) should cover only the first topic of the comparison and contrast. Compare/Contrast essays take two topics and illustrate how they are similar and dissimilar. Do not mention topic 2 in this first portion.

3.   Topic 2

This next portion of your essay (which may also consist of one or more paragraphs) should cover the second of the two topics. Do not discuss Topic 1 in this section. Since you have already gone into great detail about it, you may allude to Topic 1 briefly; however, do not analyze Topic 1 in this section. This portion of the paper is to discuss Topic 2 in great detail.

4.   Topics 1 and 2 Together

Now that you have analyzed both Topic 1 and Topic 2 independently, now it is time to analyze them together. This section may also be one or several paragraphs.

5.   Conclusion

The conclusion like the introduction should be a generalization of the thesis. This paragraph should express your certainty and absolute knowledge on the subject matter. You should reaffirm your thesis (essentially restate it in new words) and show how you've proven it.