Best Compare and Contrast Essay Topics With Descriptions
For students especially, creating good compare and contrast essay topics can be a challenge. It’s important to pick the right topic, as the success of your essay will greatly depend on it. Once you have an understanding of what type of paper you need to write, the next best decision is to brainstorm around the topic that interests you the most and is familiar to you. Students frequently compare celebrities, gadgets, brands, and events, so be sure that your topic will stand out among others.
If you have reached the limits of your imagination, read this list of compare and contrast topics to write about and maybe it will give you some good ideas for your own essay. We hope our descriptions will help you make the right start!
- Facebook vs. Instagram: How are these social networks similar?
Both of these social networks are popular. On one hand, they both give the ability to share photos, videos, and text. Also, it is possible to create 24-hour stories and live-video broadcasting. On the other side, Instagram is more limited with word count and it tends to be a more visual social network with minimum functionality. Facebook has more features than Instagram: groups, games, and events. Since Facebook is an inseparable part of life for many people, this is a great topic to discuss in class.
- Diets vs. Healthy Eating: Compare and contrast their effectiveness for weight loss.
Both dieting and healthy eating are usually aimed at losing weight. On the other hand, a diet is a strict limitation of certain foods, and in the long perspective, may lead to problems with health or eating disorders. In healthy eating, there is no strict limitation and it’s aimed at the long-term perspective, and tends to bring only positive effects to a person’s health. Discuss when dieting and healthy eating are applicable.
- Homeschooling vs. Public School: Compare and contrast the benefits and prospects of these study systems.
Today more and more parents tend to think about homeschooling as a great alternative to public schools. On one hand, the public school is a traditional system of education that has certain program-learning plans, discipline, and is key to the socialization of children. Alternative school education may be good when a student needs an individual educational program tailored to them and a certain level of comfort. Both homeschooling and public schools have a lot of differences and prospects that you can discuss in your paper.
- Robot Vacuum Cleaner vs. Ordinary Vacuum Cleaner: Compare and contrast the use of these two kinds of vacuum cleaners. (You can pick certain models.)
Such great inventions like the vacuum cleaner and its younger brother, the robot vacuum cleaner, are both great helpers at home. Using a vacuum cleaner is a traditional way of cleaning the house, but still needs a human hand. A robot vacuum cleaner, however, has a special program that will clean one room or the overall house without any additional actions from a person. Describe the pros and cons of these vacuum cleaners from the point of quality of cleaning, price, and usability.
- Smoking Cigarettes vs. Vaping: Compare and contrast the safety of these two habits.
Vaporizers and cigarettes both relate to smoking. The process of smoking is similar, as a person takes in combustion smoke or vapor. Both cigarettes and vaping liquid consist of different chemicals, and still there is no proof that vaping does less harm to a person’s health than cigarettes. On the other side, cigarettes are safer in use, as many vape batteries tend to explode. Discuss the topic in the aspects of chemicals, safety, health, and cost.
- Marriage at a Young Age vs. Marriage at a Mature Age: What is better – to marry young, or wait until a more mature age?
On one hand, an early marriage is thought to be a rash decision or due to sudden pregnancy, but usually, it is actually a thought-out decision. For having a marriage at a more mature age, we can suggest the marriage is often due to loneliness and despair. At any age people may not be ready for marriage or break the marriage for certain reasons. You can discuss this question about what age is better to get married and the pros and cons of marrying at a certain age.
- Vegetarianism vs. Eating Meat: Compare and contrast the benefits for people who choose vegetarian food and those who eat meat.
Nowadays people frequently think about attitudes toward animals, so vegetarianism has become more popular. Along with ethical issues, vegetarianism is thought to be healthier than eating meat. On the other hand, meat eaters receive a full list of nutrients, while vegetarians can suffer from the lack of proteins and other components. Discuss this issue from the perspective of who tends to be healthier: the meat eater or the vegetarian.
- Plato vs. Aristotle: What are similarities and differences between these two philosophers?
On one hand, Plato had the poetic soul ascending into an invisible field of ideas, and considered philosophy as a means to purify the soul and inspire the desire for heaven. Aristotle, with his critical mind, was primarily concerned with an empirical (experimental) study of the world of phenomena, and studied the facts represented by nature, went by induction from particular to general, and set the goal of philosophy as knowledge of truth acquired by science. You can compare these philosophers according to their beliefs about philosophy.
- Claude Monet vs. Auguste Renoir: Compare painting style and technique between these two artists.
Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir were friends. They worked side by side for a certain period of time. As a result, their pictures are very similar in technique. This is especially evident in the 1873 painting by Renoir, “Claude Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil.” From the time when Renoir decided to go his own way, their techniques started to differ. Discuss in this paper how Monet influenced Renoir, analyzing several paintings.
- Goethe’s “Faust” vs. Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita”: Find similarities between these two books.
The Master in “Master and Margarita” is the author of the novel about Pontius Pilate. Goethe’s “Faust” translates the New Testament into German (an extract about Pilate). In “Master and Margarita” the main characters are carried by Woland in their last flight. Faustus, also, was carried by Mephistopheles in the “last flight.” There are a lot of similarities that you can find in these books, so discuss it in your paper if you are familiar with these two books.
- Homeopathy vs. Pharmacology: Find the differences in these treatment methods.
The fundamental difference between homeopathy and pharmacology is the absence of side effects in the former which certainly makes it more preferable. The first principle of homeopathy, originally stated by Hahnemann, is “let like be cured by like.” This distinguishes homeopathy from the official therapeutic method, which is based on an opposing principle. Discuss the difference of treatment and principles of homeopathy and clinical medicine.
- Christianity, Islam, and Judaism: What does Islam have in common with Christianity and Judaism?
The main branches of monotheism are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. These three branches of one tree appeal to the general picture of the world, to the same mythology, to the same personalities, to ideas of the world order, and have common historical roots. All these three religions arose in one region, which since ancient times has been a crossroads of cultures and civilizations. This topic has a lot to discuss, so you can arrange the most of information into a table.
- Online Dating vs. Real-Time Dating: What relationship method is better?
Dating on the Internet does not look like ordinary dating in reality. After all, in life, people first see each other, and only then they recognize the inner world of their acquaintances. On the Internet, it happens the other way around – at first people learn about the habits and traits of each other and only then decide whether to meet in reality or not. Discuss pros and cons of online and real-time dating.
- North Korea vs. South Korea: What differences do these countries have?
The public is usually under the impression that North Korea is the owner of an underdeveloped and stagnating economy, and is fully totalitarian, and South Korea has a modern, high-tech economy, and is an example of a sovereign democracy. Is it so? Look at the objective difference of the countries analyzing such indicators: external situations, geographic location, opportunities in foreign trade, military potential, and economical models.
- Karma vs. Fate: How does karma differ from fate?
People frequently cannot differentiate between karma and fate. Both karma and fate relate to people’s way of life. On one side, fate is something that is already predetermined or written in our lives before we are born. Karma is something that happens as a result of our actions. Discuss the differences of karma and fate in the context of relation to a person’s actions and the idea of “God’s will.”
- Fascism vs. Nazism: Are they the same?
Though many people confuse and interchange these terms, the reality is that these ideologies are not the same. However, similarities between them are undeniable. The history of these forms of nationalism is different as well as the countries in which they appeared. Which one is more radical and dangerous for democracy? Can such movements influence us today, and where? Discuss the differences and similarities between Fascism and Nazism and decide which one is more destructive for humanity.
- Online vs. Traditional Education: Which one is more efficient?
In the epoch of fast-paced technology development, many universities offer the ability to study online. Compare the benefits and flaws of each method of studying. Analyze which method is more efficient if you take into consideration such criteria as price, socialization, quality of knowledge, access to educational materials and to teachers, and a couple of other factors. Mostly, when we talk about online education, we mean universities or colleges; however, you can also think about the relevance of online school education.
- Greek vs. Roman Mythology: What are the similarities and differences?
Myths are not reliable historical sources; however, due to mythology we find out much information about the life of our ancestors. Each culture has its myths, but the most well-known are Greek and Roman myths. Though names of gods and fantastic creatures were different, their features were similar and the interesting question is how it happened. Compare these two mythologies and find out what similarities and differences they have. Try to explain why those mythologies have different features.
- Tea vs. Coffee: What is more useful?
Both coffee and tea are very popular drinks. What are the benefits and harms of each of them to health? Try to investigate the influence of both of them on people’s health overall and certain systems of the human body. Investigate which of these drinks is more popular for diverse age groups. When examining the impact of coffee and tea on health, don’t forget to explore their impact on mental health too.
- Apple vs. Microsoft: Which company is better?
Apple and Microsoft are two companies whose incomes are extremely high. Nevertheless, there are still discussions on which company is more successful and which products are better. When comparing these companies, you can focus on several criteria, such as marketing strategy, convenience in using products, the quality of products, prices, incomes abroad, and others. It would be better to make the topic more specific by defining the purpose for which a certain product is better. For example, you can decide which is better for business, education, or socialization.
- Sharks vs. Whales: Do they have much in common?
Though both these animals are ocean habitats and can stay under water for a long time, they are quite different from a biological point of view. Find out to which animal types and classes these animals belong and what their distinguishing physiological characteristics are. Also, you should mention how these characteristics influence the way these ocean habitats act. Examine the differences in several systems in their bodies and find out what is similar.
- Extroverts vs. Introverts: Which type performs better in school?
All people are partly introverts and extroverts, but most of them have one dominant type. So, when we are talking about extroverts, we mean people who mostly get energy from socialization, and when we are talking about introverts, we mean people who mostly find their inner world as a source of energy. Introverts and extroverts usually perform in society differently, and typically it influences their personal success. Your task is to investigate the specificities of each type and explain which factors affect the performance of these types. We suggest that you focus on the performance at school.
- Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: How do the approaches to the consumer differ?
Since the appearance of social media, digital marketing has become extremely popular. What are the differences between digital and traditional marketing in their approach to the audience? What tools are appropriate for both types of marketing and what are not? Can digital marketing substitute traditional marketing or can they exist simultaneously? Analyze which type of marketing is better for a certain segment, such as education, for example.
- Churchill vs. Stalin: Do they share something in common?
At first sight, both leaders are totally different, starting from their appearance and finishing with their war strategies. However, if you look at those political figures more closely, you might find something in common. Try to compare their internal and external policies, war strategies, relations with Hitler, and the attitude to their nations. Also, you can talk about their personal traits and habits and how they influenced the way these politicians performed.
- Books vs. E-books: What is more effective for studying?
Discussions on what is better – physical books or e-books – doesn’t stop. On the one hand, e-books allow us to save trees and paper; on the other hand, they urge people to buy electronic devices for reading books, such as tablets that don’t serve for a long time and get outdated. In their turn books help to cause mass deforestation, but they can live for a long time in one family, libraries, or schools. Also, some people prefer books because they feel more natural reading physical books. The issue is controversial and it’s almost impossible to decide what is better. However, you can conduct research on whether physical books or e-books are better for studying.
- Mozart vs. Beethoven: Can one of them be called a greater genius?
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven are considered some of the greatest composers of all time. They lived approximately at the same time and they were even acquainted with each other. Each of them acknowledged the talent of the other. However, their life stories and professional lives were different. Compare and contrast personal and professional lives, public acknowledgment, number of works, genres, and the musical styles of Mozart and Beethoven. Try to find the answers to the questions: “Is one of them more talented?” and “Whose contribution is more significant for the development of music?”
- Japan vs. China: Define the commonalities and differences in these cultures.
For people who live in the Western part of the world, some traditions of Chinese and Japanese people can appear unusual and sometimes even weird. What do these cultures have in common and what are distinguishing characteristics? What is the approach of each of these cultures to breeding, to career, to gender rights, to education? Examine the way they celebrate holidays and the common priorities, such as family, friends, career, and so on.
- Drinking Alcohol vs. Smoking: What brings worse harm?
Both alcohol and tobacco have negative effects on the human body. However, there’s a question many scientists ask: “What is worse for us?” Investigate the impact of each of these materials on cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems. Analyze which habit is more addictive and what the effects on mental health alcohol and tobacco have. Also, try to evaluate the harm that drinking alcohol and smoking exert on society in general.
- Roman Catholic vs. Eastern Orthodox: One religion, different customs.
Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox are both Christian churches that base their faith on the gospel of Jesus and the Bible, but these churches are different. Compare the customs and traditions of these churches and find out why there was a division in the Christian church. Pay attention to such characteristics as the language they use to conduct services, the place in the hierarchy of institutions, the ability of priests to marry, the distinguishing features to the buildings of churches, and the number of members.
- Psychologists vs. Psychiatrists: Whose treatment is more effective to overcome depression?
Everyone knows that psychologists and psychiatrists help people with mental problems. Discuss what similar and different characteristics of the treatment of psychologists and psychiatrists are. Find out in what cases psychologists can help better and in what way psychiatrists can. Explore whose approach is better to overcome depression.
- Vincent van Gogh Analysis: Compare early and late paintings.
Many well-known artists have changed their style or method throughout life. Is van Gogh one of them? How has his manner changed and why? What did he do to develop his skills? Van Gogh’s late paintings are brighter than his early ones, but are they more optimistic? How did his state of health affect the way he performed as an artist?
- Reading Books vs. Listening to Audiobooks: How to memorize information better?
Audiobooks are pretty popular nowadays as they are handy to use in public transport or while doing some daily tasks such as washing dishes or anything of this nature. However, some people say that they can’t understand information from the first listen despite the fact the speaker read it slowly. Other people say that audiobooks help them to memorize information better compared to reading them. Does it depend on the type of person which way of perceiving information is more efficient for memorizing? Try to find out.
- Mary Shelley’s Victor Frankenstein vs. Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray: What similarities do these characters have?
You can start your essay with a short description of the novels. Both Victor Frankenstein and Dorian Gray go against nature and create “monsters.” Frankenstein is cursed by his monster when he tells it what it is. Dorian experiences the same feelings when he understands that he has sold his soul for endless youth. On the other hand, Dorian Gray is surrounded by people that enjoy his youth and beauty, while Dr. Frankenstein’s creature only scares everyone. Discuss more situations in stories that have a similar context.
- “Pride and Prejudice” vs. “Anna Karenina”: How do the leading characters differ?
Start with comparing the overall atmosphere of the books. Then move to the description of Anna Karenina and Elizabeth Bennet. Both characters are the most complex and captivating heroines of world literature. Elizabeth Bennet is young, fragile, lively, cheerful, mocking, intelligent, sharp-tongued, proud, and full of prejudice, and she is rapidly moving towards her love and happiness through inevitable mistakes and errors. In some moments Elizabeth is very similar to Anna, but Lizzie “honors” to be not only smart, but also ironic, daring, and adamant. What similarities do they have at the beginning of the story? How different were their lives at the end?
- “A Song of Ice and Fire” vs “Lord of the Rings”: Present the themes of good and evil in the fantasy genre.
Both “The Lord of the Rings” and “A Song of Ice and Fire” (also known as the television series “Game of Thrones”) categorically refer to one genre – fantasy. Characters live in a fantasy world that has a place for dragons and other fantasy creatures. Tolkien has depicted the world where everything is clear: there is evil and good, and there is a purpose for the heroes. Good deeds are rewarded, and the bad ones eventually lead to a bad end. However, the world Martin created tries a more realistic fantasy approach to the Middle Ages, with appropriate relationships and blurred notions of morality. There is no good or evil in its pure form (with a rare exception). There is a standard power struggle in which all means are good. Martin’s characters develop under the influence of circumstances, good characters can do bad things and vice versa. Martin’s story is interesting in its more realistic take, despite the unusual scenery. Delve deeper into this comparison.
- Poets Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg: Compare the effectiveness and differences in their techniques.
You can start with describing what kind of poets they were. What are the most popular poems? On one side, concentrate on how Walt Whitman depicts the nature and his inner world. What techniques does Whitman use to express himself? What can be read between the lines of his poems? Analyze your favorite one. Allen Ginsberg addresses the issues that were expressed in Whitman’s poems, but in other ways. Continue the thoughts.
- “American Psycho” by Bret Easton Ellis vs. “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk: What similarities do these books have?
Both of these books were written in the 90s and represent consumerism that was boosted after the Cold War. How have the two authors described materialism in their novels? How did their characters react to it? Both writers approach this topic with violence and extremity. Madness is the main theme both for Palahniuk’s and Ellis’ books. Describe the topic from the prospective of materialism.
- Coffee vs Energy drinks: How do energy drinks differ from coffee?
Both coffee and energy drinks provide energy to people, as the active ingredient is the same – caffeine. But an energy drink, unlike coffee, consists not only of caffeine, but also other vegetable alkaloid stimulants like amino acids and vitamins (to replenish body reserves). Also, energy drinks usually contain high levels of sugar, when even sweetened coffee will contain less. On the other hand, instant coffee can be harmful for the stomach. Discuss how coffee and energy drinks badly influence people’s health.
- US President vs. The Pope: Who has more power?
From one side, presidents and popes have a certain kind of power, but this power is different. The pope has a great influence on religious minds all over the world. On the other hand, a pope has a lack of military power that a US president has. The pope can freely use the name of Jesus to rule or manipulate people, while a president will be followed by believers and non-believers. Who is more likely to succeed in invading other countries? Who will be more powerful in shaping people’s ethics and general thinking? Think about this topic in the direction of power and religion.
- War in Iraq vs. War in Vietnam: What are the main differences?
Today many people suggest similarities of the war in Vietnam and the war in Iraq. The only thing that is similar is society’s mood about wars in general. But what is different? What sort of enemy is the army fighting? What countries supported the Vietnam struggle? What are the costs of wars? How does the media depict conflicts in Iraq? What scandals occurred on the basis of these wars? Analyze the past and present war on the basis of the latest news.
- American English vs. Hinglish: What are the main differences?
Start your essay with telling how English remains a language of business, national media, and education in India. Why is Hinglish not recognized in New York? Indian English still has a lot of words and phrases from British English. What words are usually misunderstood? What pronunciation is used in Indian English? Why it is a problem for Indians to learn plain English?
- Hulk vs Beowulf: What similarities do these heroes have?
In modern days, we can easily see that some modern superheroes like Hulk have qualities of the epic hero Beowulf. Start your essay with quick descriptions of characters. How does Hulk show bravery? Can Beowulf be named as a superhero? How does Beowulf show generosity? What can you say about Beowulf’s and Hulk’s strength? Describe Beowulf’s traits that can be comparable not only to Hulk, but to other modern superheroes.
- Compare “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” as a book and a movie: What are main differences?
Usually movies that are adapted from books have many differences. Start with describing differences at the beginning and missed details in the movie that you think are important. What characters were missing? What difference exists between the physical appearance of the actors and the characters that were described in the book? Describe in detail what the differences were in the scene with the sorting hat. How accurately was the book screened?
- Compare MIR and the International Space Station (ISS).
MIR and ISS are space stations that were built in different years and have many differences, as the progress never stops. The size of ISS is bigger than MIR. MIR was built by Soviet scientists, while ISS was developed by a consortium of nations. The capacity of MIR was three cosmonauts, while ISS can hold six. The construction of ISS can be extended with modules. The ISS serves as a research laboratory equipped with microgravity conditions, where the crew conducts experiments in the fields of biology, medicine, physics, chemistry, and physiology, as well as astronomical and meteorological observations.
- Sigmund Freud vs Carl Jung: What are the main differences of their psychological theories?
In 1914 Jung left the International Psychoanalytic Association and stopped using the method of psychoanalysis in his practice and this year can be considered as the beginning of Jung’s new theories. One most significant difference was Jung’s refusal to accept the exclusively sexual interpretation of the motivation of human actions, thoughts, and aspirations. According to Freud, the libido ultimately determined everything – including the mental disorders that developed because of man’s suppression of his own sexuality and the transfer of erotic interest from the external to the internal. According to Freud, dreams and hallucinations have a clear connection with the real life connected only with unfulfilled desires. Jung considered dreams to have more broad meanings and acted as channels of communication with the unconscious.
- Yoga vs. Pilates: What activity is better for health?
Yoga goes back to ancient times and is more than simply fitness techniques. It includes the knowledge of the inner world, and the development of harmony in the human soul. Pilates doesn’t have a philosophy and is aimed to strengthen the body through moderate physical routines. Both these types of exercises practice correct form of breathing, though they do it with different goals. In Pilates you saturate the lungs with oxygen by breathing in a certain way, and in yoga – you try to achieve a state of appeasement. Tell the history of these activities and how regular practice of yoga and Pilates influences the body.
- Nazi Germany vs. Stalin’s Soviet Union: What are similarities of these two totalitarian systems?
Before you start, you should mention that Soviet Union and Nazi Germany can be treated equally only in the period of Stalin’s rule. Among similarities you can discuss: collectivization, cult of personality, militarization, state monopoly, and totalitarian system. One of the main distinctive similarities is cult of personality. Any dictator in the light of propaganda is irrevocable, great, an excellent speaker and writer, brilliant thinker, etc. The ideology of state is built around one person that personifies the current power and authority. Discuss other similarities that were listed above.
- Physical vs. Psychological abuse: What is more harmful?
Frequently people say that physical abuse is more harmful than psychological. Physical abuse usually implies the presence of reminders in the form of scars or bruises and sometimes leads to severe mental trauma. Mental abuse is about regular psychic effects on one person by another for a long period of time. The main difference is that physical abuse can be proved, while psychological abuse usually has little evidence. Women are usually thought to be the victims of physical and mental abuse, but men are suffering from this too. What types of families are more exposed to domestic violence?
- Seneca vs. Epicurus: What are the differences between the principles of these two historical figures?
Seneca and Epicurus lived in different times. Epicurus considered ethics as a “medicine for the soul,” helping to get rid of suffering and gaining inner balance. Seneca’s works are referred to stoicism and are also devoted to ethical problems. The basic principle of Seneca’s ethics is to realize the dominant need in the world and obey it, without losing any sense of self-worth. This principle has various forms of expression: to live in harmony with nature; to live virtuously; to live reasonably. Stoics preach detachment from passions and external goods as a condition of inner freedom.
- Online Shopping vs. Shopping Malls: What type of shopping is better?
The Internet has changed lives of many people for the better. Shopping is not an exception. With online stores, you can buy nearly everything with a click. On the internet, it is much more convenient and faster to compare products and take advantage of the most advantageous offer. But if you need to test a product or you have some peculiarities in your physical appearance, you will need an offline store to try the product. Also, you need to wait for the delivery of the product, and if you are ordering an item from the other side of the world, you need patience. What are other differences? What type of shopping do you prefer?
- “House MD” vs. “Grey’s Anatomy”: Show the differences of plot and overall atmosphere.
On one side, “House MD” stands out with the great performance of Hugh Laurie. But this television series is very predictable. Almost all episodes have the same plot sequence: the patients arrive at the hospital, they are quickly diagnosed, then comes time to discharge, but the patient is getting worse and only House (the eponymous doctor) gives the right diagnosis. In most cases the episodes end well. In “Grey’s Anatomy,” everything is different. You never know how an episode will end. The plot is full of tragic scenes, and is more like a real hospital. Discuss other differences between these TV series.
- Anime vs. Disney Cartoons: What is the main difference between these forms of animation?
On one hand, the technology for the production of anime doesn’t differ from traditional cartoons. However, there are differences related to culture, style, and content. Anime has hundreds of genres. From historical moments, to militants, horror, melodrama, genre for children, adventure, mystical, psychedelia, pornography, detectives, music, punk, space operas, etc. Unlike Disney cartoons, much of anime is directed for adult or teenage audiences. Anime uses more complex characters and plots that require careful consideration. While Western animation companies are already using 3D technologies, their Eastern colleagues are in no hurry to make similar transitions. Try to describe in detail other differences of anime and traditional cartoons.
All presented compare and contrast essay topics for college students can be directly used for your writing. All you need is to create a list that is divided into two columns: similarities and differences. This will be a good basis for your further writing and will greatly facilitate the writing process. Use your critical thinking skills and our topic descriptions to boost your potential. And don’t forget about proper planning!
If you want to discuss other issues related to these topics, go for it! You are limited only by your imagination, knowledge, tutor, or college requirements.