No matter what field of study you pursue, you will probably be asked to write a compare and contrast essay. They provide a great way to highlight the similarities or differences between two or more things. If you want people to understand the differences between commonly confused things, they are a great way to highlight differences. On the other hand, if you need people to see the similarities between things that seem unalike, they can do that, too.

Your compare and contrast essay thesis helps tell the reader what to expect from your essay. Will you be highlighting similarities or pointing out similarities? Your thesis should let the reader know what to expect. Then, as you write your essay, you keep that thesis in mind. Does the supporting evidence in the paper bolster your thesis statement? You may need to structure your essay more tightly if the answer is no. So,  your comparative essay thesis is essential.

What is a Compare and Contrast Essay?

While we call them compare and contrast essays, comparative essays can compare, contrast, or both. You take two topics and look at their similarities or differences. You can exclusively contrast or compare. You can also do both. The biggest pitfall for students may be failing to follow their professor’s instructions. It is easy to get off track and focus on the wrong thing. So, remember to support your thesis.

How Do You Write a Thesis for a Comparative Essay?

Learning how to write a thesis for a compare and contrast essay starts with picking a topic. With pieces discussing more than one item, this means picking multiple topics. What will you compare and contrast?

Often, you will be given the topics to discuss in your essay. The essay prompt may tell you to compare and contrast two things. It could also ask you to compare them or contrast them. It is essential to read the essay prompt carefully. That is because it will tell you whether you are comparing, contrasting, or doing both.

Once you have your topics, you must determine whether you are highlighting similarities or differences. Even if you are discussing both, your thesis statement should conclude whether they are more alike or different.

So, your thesis statement needs to serve two purposes. First, it must let your readers know what you will compare or contrast. Next, it needs to let your readers know whether you conclude that they are more similar or different.

What is a Good Example of Compare and Contrast?

A great comparative essay begins by picking a great topic. To do that, you do not necessarily need to pick things that people naturally compare. However, you do need to choose items that make sense to compare.

Some topics to consider include:

  • Harry Potter and Harry Dresden
  • Religions
  • Social Media and Real Life
  • Electric Vehicles and Gas Vehicles
  • Organic Farming and Conventional Farming
  • Prejudice and Racism
  • Cultural Appropriation and Cultural Appreciation
  • Rights and Privileges
  • Psychology and Sociology
  • Man-Made Global Warming and Natural Climate Change Cycles
  • Types of Music
  • Types of Art
  • Communism and Socialism
  • Communism and Capitalism
  • Socialism and Fascism
  • Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Families
  • Nature and Nurture
  • Democrats and Republicans
  • Liberals and Conservatives
  • Parenting Types
  • Freedom of Religion and Freedom from Religion
  • Save or Spend
  • Men and Women
  • Renewable and Non-Renewable Energy
  • Historic and Modern Slavery
  • Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Evolution
  • Outer Space and the Ocean
  • Different Diets
  • Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Heart Attacks and Strokes
  • Soccer and Football
  • People (Comparing Two or More People)
  • Online and In-Person School
  • Gap Year or Going Directly to College
  • Chat CPT and Human Writing
  • Civil Rights and Women’s Rights Movements
  • Waves of Feminism

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What is a Strong Thesis Statement Example?

Given what we have discussed above, we know that a strong thesis statement for a compare and contrast essay needs to introduce the topics and make a conclusion. To understand how to write a strong thesis statement, we can look at a simple compare and contrast essay topic: comparing apples and oranges.

People frequently discuss comparing apples and oranges, and the point of that statement is that apples and oranges are two completely different types of fruit. Your essay could focus on why the fruits are not alike, or it could challenge that assumption by showing that the fruits have more in common than people think.

Weak Thesis Example:

Apples and oranges are alike because they are both fruits.

While this thesis statement is true, it is a feeble statement. Your reader begins the essay with that information. Plus, there are thousands of types of fruit. That two things are a type of fruit does not make them similar. You cannot build an entire essay supporting that statement.

Good Thesis Example:

Although people use them as an example of things that are not alike, apples and oranges are actually very similar. They are both easily portable, hydrating, inexpensive, and easy-to-find fruits.

This thesis statement lets the reader know you acknowledge the differences between the two things you compare. However, despite those differences, you have concluded that the two things have similarities. Then, it goes on to give the reader a preview of the similarities that you will discuss.

To see why the second thesis statement is more robust, it may help to see the compare and contrast thesis example as part of your introductory paragraph.

People often use “comparing apples to oranges” to describe comparing two things. However, I have always wondered about the origins of that statement. While apples and oranges have two different flavor profiles, they share several significant similarities. They are easy to carry, not requiring packaging or special tools to eat. They are both hydrating, making them a great snack when people are active. They are inexpensive, so most people can afford to purchase them. Finally, they are easy to find. You can find them at almost any grocery store when they are in season, and they have long growing seasons. Although people use them as an example of things that are not alike, apples and oranges are actually very similar. They are both easily portable, hydrating, inexpensive, and easy-to-find fruits.

compare and contrast essay examples

What is a Good Thesis for a Compare and Contrast Essay Example?

We can take some of the topics we suggested above to demonstrate how to approach a thesis statement example for a compare and contrast essay. We have selected a few topics and provided examples of thesis statements, concluding that they are similar and different.

Harry Potter and Harry Dresden

Although Harry Potter and Harry Dresden are both orphaned wizards named Harry, each targeted by a series of sociopaths, they are very different because Dresden takes voluntary actions to get involved in those situations.


Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are often depicted as very different religions. However, they have more similarities than differences.

Even though Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all three Abrahamic religions, they have essential differences that impact their followers’ culture and religious practices.

Social Media and Real Life

Many people like to draw a distinction between social media and real life. However, as social media becomes more of a part of everyday life, the two are becoming indistinguishable.

Electric Vehicles and Gas Vehicles

Many people fear the adoption of electric vehicles because they think they are inferior to traditional gas vehicles. Still, a side-by-side comparison suggests that electric vehicles are a better choice for most consumers.

Prejudice and Racism

Although many people use the terms prejudice and racism interchangeably, there are vital differences in the two concepts that are critical to understand when discussing race relations.

Cultural Appropriation and Cultural Appreciation

Some people think there is a bright-line distinction between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. However, there is a significant overlap between how different people describe the two concepts, suggesting that there is no bright-line distinction.

Man-Made Global Warming and Natural Climate Change Cycles

While the Earth has previously experienced climate change cycles, the dramatic speed of modern climate change and its correlation to increased carbon emissions have led scientists to believe that man-made global warming is real.

Socialism and Fascism

While the Nazis, the most infamous fascist organization of all, had socialist in their party’s name, socialism and fascism are at opposite ends of the political spectrum.

How Do I Write a Compare and Contrast Thesis?

We usually suggest that people begin their essays by deciding their thesis statement. That is a good step for compare and contrast essays, too. However, as you research and write your essay, you may find that the facts do not support your original thesis statement. You may find that two seemingly dissimilar things are more alike than you believed. You might also find that two similar-seeming things have significant differences. If that happens, you may need to revisit your thesis statement and change it to fit with the rest of your essay.

Check out our writing guides for writing pros and cons essays today!