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140 Amazing Compare and Contrast Essay Topics – The 2024 Student Guide

Comparative and contrast essay topics are hard to come up with on your own in college. Check out these best essay topics!

Tiah Shepherd



college student writing a compare and contrast essay

Picture this: It’s 9 p.m. on a weeknight and you’ve finally sat down to grind out that essay you’ve been putting off for a week. You load up your laptop, open up a blank document, and lay out your task description on the desk.

All you need to do now is write the essay. The only problem? You have absolutely no idea where to start.

What you do know is that the assignment is asking you to compare and contrast, which is where this comprehensive guide to all things on the subject comes in.

From tips on constructing your essay to suggested topics for a compare and contrast essay, as well as a reminder on the essential features that make up this type of paper, we’ve got you covered on your latest college assignment.

Check out these best compare and contrast essay topics!

In this post:

What Is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

The compare and contrast essay is a staple in a long list of essays that most university students are expected to produce.

Not only does this exercise push students to examine a given subject from multiple angles, but it also teaches them how to form well-rounded, informed, and notably balanced arguments.

Put simply, and as the name suggests, this essay focuses on comparing and contrasting two or more subjects.

In other words, it aims to explore the similarities and differences between multiple topics, identifying perceptive and subtle commonalities or divergences that exist between the two.

It goes without saying that these papers encourage thought provoking and engaging discussions that will push writers toward a more robust and comprehensive style of learning and evaluation.

In fact, just as is the case for other kinds of papers, compare and contrast essays are said to aid cognitive growth — even more reason to get on with that essay!

What Am I Expected To Do in a Compare and Contrast Essay?

First and foremost, it is essential that both topics are explored thoroughly and in relation to one another; this means identifying the negative and positive aspects of each given topic.

For example, if you are writing about real life dating in comparison to online dating, it would make sense to highlight that the nature of online dating means that users don’t always know who might be on the other end of a conversation.

However, considering the sheer number of dating platforms that are now available, as well as the staggering number of people who use them, it is likely that people will connect with a greater number of people through online dating as opposed to traditional forms of dating.

It simply is not enough to consider just your own viewpoint; on the contrary, this essay pushes you to look at the bigger picture, establish similarities and differences of any scope between the various topics, and evaluate a range of arguments — regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

The ability to juxtapose subjects and effectively assess their strengths and weaknesses within a range of arguments are invaluable skills that will not only make you a better student, but also a more desirable candidate when seeking employment.

What Should I Write About in a Compare and Contrast Essay?

While there are no hard or fast rules as to what should be the focus of this kind of essay, it is important to choose your topics wisely. That is, you should pick topics that are related closely enough so that similarities can be drawn.

However, the chosen topics of the essay should be distinctly separate, so that contrasts can be found between them.

In many ways, the trick to producing an excellent compare and contrast essay is to select two or more subjects that connect in a meaningful way.

For example, a comparison between the painting styles of two renowned artists would form the ideal basis for such an essay, while comparing an artist to an athlete perhaps would not.

That being said, two seemingly unrelated topics can make for a more compelling essay, since more astute, shrewd, and perceptive observations can be made. In any case, you must ensure that your essay does what the title says: compare and contrast.

Related: 20 Sites That Pay You To Actually Do Homework – The Ultimate 2024 Guide

How Do I Write a Compare and Contrast Essay?

Hopefully, you’ve been doing this for a long time with every essay you are assigned, but if you haven’t, I have one word for you: plan.

When you open a new document, start writing, or even put your name in the header. Take the time to outline your essay — you’ll thank me for it later!

There is no one method of planning that fits everyone; however, for this kind of essay, Venn diagrams offer a clever way to map out all commonalities and differences between the topics that you will be discussing.

Alternatively, a brainstorm or table would also suffice. From there, you should determine which of the comparisons made between your topics are most interesting and, of course, relevant.

Ask yourself which similarities and differences are significant and why?

These can then be used to frame your essay and develop your overriding argument, which should be linked throughout the paper; notable points of contrast and similarity should provide the foundations for creating strong thesis statements and leading paragraph topic sentences.

It’s important to demonstrate to readers why these comparisons are important. For instance, something to consider may be if there is a positive aspect to one of your topics that makes it superior in some way to the other topic.

As mentioned in the earlier example, the fact that online dating sites present users with a larger pool of people to communicate with is something that real life dating lacks, and is an advantage of online dating.

Overall, you really want to avoid listing off your comparisons; thinking about the relevance of each comparison and assessing them carefully should help you stay clear of making this mistake.

Of course, deciding on some kind of clear structure should also prevent you from falling into this common habit.

Now, it goes largely without saying that an essay’s structure is largely contingent on its PAF — that is, its purpose, audience, and form.

Nevertheless, there are fundamental elements that make up any college level essay, as well as a series of ways in which compare and contrast essays are usually organized.

  • Introduction

You should begin by introducing the topics that will be explored in your essay and explain why you have decided to compare and contrast them.

Remember, an introduction should engage readers immediately by establishing a tone for the essay that follows and reveals your central thesis.

  • Main Body

This section —which should be divided into suitable paragraphs — should explore the principal similarities and differences that exist between your essay’s topics.

For each point made, evidence should be cited to support your ideas, and any counterarguments should also be tackled.

Be sure to transition logically between each paragraph, signaling to your reader that a transition is being made as you move from point to point.

Of course, the way in which you go about this can vary. You could opt for the block, or what is known as the subject-by-subject method.

This entails discussing all of your points that relate to your first topic, and then all of your points that relate to your second topic.

Notably, this doesn’t always make comparisons and contrasts clear to the reader. It runs the risk of you listing your ideas rather than crafting a coherent essay.

If you’d prefer not to structure your essay like this, then choose an alternating or point-by-point method. For this approach, you would choose one idea that you are comparing and contrasting, such as the cost of different forms of public transportation.

This would be discussed in relation to each topic; this may be in regards to the cost of taking the bus, followed by the cost of taking a train.

  • Conclusion

A strong conclusion will voice any final insights and reinforce the thesis of your overall paper. It should succinctly summarize your paper, highlighting what your essay has shown readers about the two subjects.

All that remains at this stage is to then proofread, edit, and submit your essay! What Should I Write About in a Compare and Contrast Essay?

Whatever your major, whatever class you’re enrolled in, and whatever obscure assignment your professor has given you, we have topics for every kind of compare and contrast essay that is bound to inspire your next paper!

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics for College Students

  • Reading a Book or Listening To an Audio Book: Which Is better?
  • What Were the Focus Points of First-Wave vs. Second-Wave Feminism?
  • City Living vs. Country Living
  • Freelance or Office Jobs: Which Working Conditions Are Better?
  • Only Child Households vs. Multi-Sibling Households: Which One Is Better for Children?
  • Real-Life vs. Online Dating
  • Reading vs. Watching: Which One Is Better for Getting New Information?
  • The Elderly vs. the Youth: What Are the Differences in a Lifestyle?
  • TV or Newspapers: Where Is the Best Source To Get the News From?
  • Computer Games vs. Board Games: Which Are More Entertaining?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Health

  • Medicine vs. Natural Remedies: Is One More Effective?
  • Should Surgical Procedures Be Favored Over Therapeutic Protocols When Treating and Curing Cancer?
  • Public Healthcare vs. Private Healthcare
  • Diets vs. Healthy Eating: Compare and Contrast Their Effectiveness for Weight Loss
  • Smoking Cigarettes vs. Vaping: Compare and Contrast the Safety of the Two Habits
  • Morning Exercise vs. Evening Exercise: Which Is Better for Our bodies?
  • Modern Medicine vs. Traditional Medicine for Treating Anxiety
  • Sugar Free Soda vs. Regular Soda: The Effects of Both Drinks on Your Health
  • Compare Different Methods of Treating PTSD
  • The Differences and Similarities Between Osteopathic and Allopathic Medicine

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Religion

  • Comparison of Abrahamic and Dharmic Religions
  • Islam: The Shia Denomination vs. the Sunni Denomination
  • Religion in Africa: Before and After the Coming of the Missionaries
  • Atheism vs. Creationism: Which One Should Be Considered True?
  • Life After Death in Christianity vs. Life After Death in Hinduism
  • Comparison of Religious Festivals in Islam and Hinduism
  • The Origins of Christianity vs. the Origins of Islam: What Are the Similarities and Differences?
  • Fundamental Differences and Similarities Between an Anglican Bishop and Catholic Priest
  • Pope Francis vs. Dalai Lama.
  • Religious Prophets: Moses and Muhammad

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Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Arts

  • Comedy vs. Tragedy in Theater
  • The Differences and Similarities Between Mozart and Beethoven Compositions
  • The Baroque Epoch vs. the Renaissance Era
  • The Painting Styles of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci.
  • Greek vs. Elizabethan Theater: Comparison of the Playwriting Styles of Shakespeare and Aristophanes
  • Italian Renaissance Sculptors: Donatello vs. Michelangelo.
  • Differences and Similarities Between Surrealism and Expressionism
  • Oil Paint and Acrylics: Which Painting Medium Is Best?
  • Differences and Similarities Between Dada and Cubism Movements
  • Digital Photography vs. Film: Which Style of Photography Is Best?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Sports

  • Winter Sports vs. Summer Sports
  • The Most Effective Workout: A home Workout or a Gym Workout?
  • American Football vs. Rugby: Which Is More Physically Challenging and Demanding?
  • The Playing Styles of Roger Federer and Rafeal Nadal
  • The English Premier League Compared With the Bundesliga
  • Which Sport Is Better for Weight Loss: Swimming or Running?
  • How Does Beach Volleyball Differ From Water Volleyball?
  • Formula One vs. Off-Road Racing: Which Driving Sport Is Safest?
  • Brady vs. Manning: Which American Football Star Will History Remember?
  • Performance Enhancing Drugs: Stimulants vs. Steroids.

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Economy

  • Macroeconomics vs. Microeconomics.
  • Democracy vs. Dictatorship: What Do Countries Need To Fare Best Economically?
  • Real Currency vs. Cryptocurrency: Which One Will Remain in Society Longer?
  • Expansionary Monetary Policy vs. Contractionary Monetary Policy
  • China vs. the United States: Comparison of Their Economic Policies and Economies
  • Privatization vs. Nationalization: Which Method Should Be Favoured?
  • Owning a House vs. Renting a House
  • GDP vs. GNP: What Is the Difference?
  • Economic Growth or Per Capita Income: Which Is the Most Important?
  • Free Market Economy vs. Command Economy

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Entertainment

  • DC vs. Marvel
  • Comparison of American Cinema To Chinese Cinema
  • Differences Between the Horror Genre and the Thriller Genre
  • Radio vs. TV: Which Form of Media Is Superior?
  • Hollywood vs. Bollywood
  • How Does a Producer’s Role Differ From the Director’s Role?
  • Anime vs. Disney Cartoons: What Are the main Differences Between These Forms of Animation?
  • Spiderman vs. Batman: Who Is the Ultimate Superhero?
  • The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones: Which Is the Most Successful Fantasy Franchise?
  • Rock vs. K-Pop Music

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Academics

  • Do Students Fare Better Academically When They Receive Online Teaching or in Person Teaching?
  • The Private School System vs. the Public School System
  • Regular Students vs. Honor Students: Who Will Succeed in Life?
  • Homeschooling vs. Traditional Schooling
  • Boarding Schools vs. Day Schools: What Are Their Advantages and Disadvantages?
  • British Higher Education vs. U.S. Higher Education
  • SAT or ACT: Which One Is the Best Tool To Assess Students’ Skills and Knowledge?
  • Customized vs. General Class Curriculums: Which Should Be Favoured?
  • Studying Abroad vs. Taking Local Courses: What Is more Advantageous?
  • Seminar and Lecture Style Classes: Which Method of Teaching Is Most Effective at a University Level?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Ethics

  • Which Method of Testing Should Be Preferred When Developing Drugs and Medical Treatments: Human Trials or Animal Trials?
  • Should Prisons Be Sites of Rehabilitation or Punishment?
  • Euthanasia: Right To Life vs. Right To Die
  • Selfishness vs. Altruism: Which One Drives Human Evolution?
  • Is Happiness Derived From Helping Others or From Getting Material Goods?
  • Death Penalty vs. Life Imprisonment: What Is the Best Way To do Justice?
  • Meat-Eating vs. Vegetarianism: Is It Ethical To Eat Animals?
  • Pro-Choice vs. Pro-Life: What Is the Right Decision?
  • Physical vs. Mental Needs of Humans: What Is More Important To Us?
  • Freedom of Expression and Restraints on Freedom: Which Should Be Favoured?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on the Environment

  • Forms of Renewable Energy: Wind vs. Solar Energy
  • The Planets: How Is Saturn Different From Jupiter?
  • Recycling vs. Landfills
  • Air Pollution vs. Water Pollution: What Should We Address First?
  • Earthquakes vs. Hurricanes: Which One Should We Be More Prepared For?
  • Fracking vs. Alternative Sources of Energy
  • What Separates the Milky Way From the Andromeda Galaxies?
  • Traditional vs. Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
  • Life on Earth vs. Life on Mars: Where Is the Future Taking Us?
  • Electric/Hybrid Cars Vs. Diesel Or Petrol Vehicles: Which Type of Vehicle Is Truly More Environmentally Friendly?

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Fashion

  • Compare the Fashion Trends of the ‘90s and ‘20s
  • Comparison of the Styles, Techniques, and Designs of Christain Dior and Louis Vuitton.
  • South Asian Bridal Wear vs. Western Bridal Wear
  • Is It Better To Shop Online or To Go Shopping in Stores?
  • Fashion Trends in Arab Countries vs. Fashion Trends in European States
  • What Is Beauty? American vs. Chinese Concepts of Beauty
  • Chanel vs. Gucci: Battle of the Designer Brands
  • The Ultimate Pair of Jeans: Skinny or Flare?
  • Leather vs. Synthetic Alternatives: Should Leather Products be Produced, Sold, and Purchased?
  • Comparison of 1950s Fashion Trends With Noughties Fashion

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Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Motivation

  • Material and Non-Material Factors of Happiness
  • Is It Better To Be a Realist or a Dreamer?
  • Finding Motivation Through Friends vs. Through Family
  • Which Kind of Meditation Is Most Effective: Mindfulness or Yoga?
  • Wisdom vs. Intelligence: What Is the Difference?
  • Short-Term Goal Setting vs. Long-Term Goal Setting.
  • Important and Urgent Matrices vs. Traditional Lists: Which Method of Day-To-Day Planning Is Best?
  • Mindsets: Fixed vs. Growth
  • Visualizing Goals vs. Verbalizing Goals
  •  Relieving Stress: Exercising vs. Relaxing

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Travel

  • City Breaks vs. Countryside Retreats
  • Latin America vs. Europe: Which Continent Is the Ultimate Destination for Foodies?
  • Must-See Natural Sites of Beauty: Comparison Between Angel Falls and Iguazu Falls
  • The Future of Public Transport: Buses or Railways?
  • Booking Your Holiday Online vs. Booking It With a Travel Agent
  • Similarities and Differences Between Boracay and the Faroe Islands
  • Comparison of the New York Metro System and the London Underground
  • Beach Resort vs. Ski Resort: What kind of Holiday Is Most Enjoyable?
  • Plane vs. Ferry: Which form of Transport Is Most Reliable?
  • Compare the Eiffel Tower With the Berliner Fernsehturm

Compare and Contrast Essay Topics on Technology

  • SEO vs. Traditional Marketing: Which Yields More and Greater Results?
  • Science and Technology: Are They Interdependent?
  • The Rise of Self-Driving Cars: Should We Stick To Human Operated Cars or Replace Them With Self-Driving Cars?
  • Xbox vs. Playstation: Which Is the Better Gaming Console?
  • Apple vs. Microsoft: Which Company Is Superior?
  • Compare MIR and the International Space Station
  • Utility of Touch Screen Versus Cellular Phones
  • Laptops vs. Tablets: Which Kind of Device Is the Most Popular and Widely Used?
  • Facebook vs. Instagram
  • Advanced AI Workers or Human Workers: The Future of Manufacturing

I hope this list of compare and contrast essay topics was helpful and gives you ideas on what to write for your own essay!

For more tips and tricks on all things concerning compare and contrast essay writing, check out this video!




140 amazing compare and contrast essay topics

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