Stephanie Wong Ken holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University. The authors of this article cited 12 references, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Compare and contrast essays are often assigned to students because they promote critical thinking, analytical reasoning and organized writing. A compare and contrast essay should look at a subject in a new way, with fresh insight, using the similarities and the differences between two topics or two perspectives on one topic. Understand the structure of a compare and contrast essay.
Most compare and contrast essays bring one or both subjects into sharper focus, lead to a new way of viewing something, or show that one subject is better than the other. To compare and contrast effectively, your essay should make new connections or distinctions between two subjects. Make a list of similarities and differences. Take out a piece of paper or start a new document on a word processor. Create two columns for each subject for the similarities and and two columns for each subject for the differences between each subject.