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Compare and Contrast Paragraph Outline

Outline: Compare-and-Contrast Paragraph

As with the cause-and-effect essay, the name "compare-and-contrast" name is misleading. While some believe that such an essay must present comparisons and contrasts, the best compare-and-contrast paragraphs or essays focus on similarities or differences, not both.

Because of that, you have to decide which you will be doing, comparing or contrasting.

To make things more complex, the compare-and-contrast paragraph or essay comes in two forms, product-by-product or feature-by-feature.

The product-by-product paragraph or essay, also called the "block method," is arranged by the product, person, place or product.

In product-by-product organization, the paragraph or essay focuses on the three major features of one product, say the Samsung Galaxy (phone functions/screen resolution/camera) and then follow with the three same features of the iPhone:

  Samsung (Product 1)
    Phone Functions
    Screen Resolution

  iPhone (Product 2)
    Phone Functions
    Screen Resolution

In such an essay, you start with the least important feature and move to the most important. With this arrangement, you are making the phone function is the least important feature of a smartphone and that the camera is the most important.

In feature-by-feature organization, often referred to as the "point-by-point" method, you focus on the differences (or similarities) of each feature:

  Phone Functions (Feature 1)

  Screen Resolution (Feature 2)

  Camera (Feature 3)

Before you start a compare-and-contrast paragraph or essay, you have to decide whether you will be writing about similarities (comparisons) or differences (contrasts) and whether you will use product-by-product or feature-by-feature organization.

Below, indicate what you will be writing:

Block Method
Comparison (Similarities) Organized by Person, Place or Product
Contrast (Differences) Organized by Person, Place or Product

Point-by-Point Method
Comparison (Similarities) Organized by Similar Features of a Person, or Product
Contrast (Differences) Organized by Differences in Features of a Person, Place or Product


Topic Sentence -- the Top Bun

Your topic sentence goes here. If I say I love New York,
I want to add "for three reasons," because that limits the paragraph to those three reasons.


Try to limit your reasons to one word

The Most Important Reason -- the Meat

The Second Most Important Reason -- the Tomato

First (or Least Important) Reason -- The Lettuce

Conclusion -- Bottom Bun

The bottom bun looks a lot like the top bun.
A conclusion can be something as simple as, "Those are the reasons I love New York"