The name "compare-and-contrast" name is misleading. In such an essay, you are focusing on similarities or differences, not both.|
Compare-and-contast writing is often used in advertising, to compare two cars or telephones. If you are comparing cellphones, say the Samsung and the iPhone, you might include the categories of screen resolution, camera and price. Following the format of the hamburger paragraph or essay, these essays focus on the least important feature first and then build to the most important feature.
The compare-and-contrast paragraph or essay come in two forms, feature-by-featurer or block method.
In the feature-by-feature compare-and-contrast essay, each paragraph focuses on one difference of similarity. If you're comparing two cellphones, for instance, the first paragraph might focus on the screen resolution, the second paragraph might focus on the camera and the third paragraph might focus on the price, which many consider the most important feature.
The product-by-product essay is arranged by product, person, place or thing. In the case of the cellphones, the first paragraph would focus on the Samsung's screen resolution, camera and price. The second paragraph would focus on, say, an iPhone screen resolution, camera and price.
If the essay is about differences, the introduction must start with a hook and briefly mention the similarities. The thesis statement, using a contrast statement, then makes it clear that the essay will focus on three key differences. If the essay focuses on similarities, the introduction must briefly highlight the differences before moving on to the similarities.
With the compare-and-contrast essay, you do not have to argue that one product, place or person is better than the other. If you do believe one if better than the other, the essay should feature the best one in the final paragraph.