Compare and Contrast

When we compare, we examine the characteristics or qualities of our subjects to discover similarities. When we contrast, we look for differences. You may want to write a list, make a Venn diagram, or make a table of your comparisons and contrasts. This organizes your thoughts and makes writing a summary easier. When writing a compare and contrast summary, use complete sentences. Often, the first sentence is the comparison and the second the contrast sentence.

Example 1: Compare and contrast apples and oranges.
Compare (alike) Contrast (differ)
Apples and oranges :
  1. they both grow on trees
  2. both are juicy
  3. both have vitamin C
  4. have white flowers
Apples :
  1. are red
  2. grow best in colder climate
Oranges :
  1. are orange
  2. freezing weather damages them
  3. have more vitamin C

Both apples and oranges, grow on trees, are juicy, have white flowers, and have vitamin C. However, apples are usually red, but oranges are orange. Apples grow best in colder climates, while oranges grow better in warmer lands. Oranges have more vitamin C than apples.

Example 2: Compare and contrast cats and dogs.
Compare (alike) Contrast (differ)
Dogs and cats :
  1. mammals
  2. eat meat (carnivores)
  3. make good pets
Dogs :
  1. often larger than cats
  2. social, pack animals
Cats :
  1. eat mostly meat (hyper-carnivores)
  2. sleep a lot (80%)

Dogs and cats are mammals that eat meat and make good pets for humans. Dogs can be much larger than cats, eat less meat and can make better pets because they are social pack animals.


On a separate sheet of paper, make a table and write a summary for these compare and contrast:

  1. Day and night.
  2. The grass of a lawn and a tree in a pine forest.
  3. A quart of whole milk and a quart of reduced-fat 2% milk.