In compare and contrast essays, writers show the similarities and differences between two things. They combine descriptive writing with analysis, making connections and showing dissimilarities. Remind students that in this type of writing, they’re not necessarily trying to sway the reader to one opinion or another—they’re just presenting and analyzing facts. These compare and contrast essay topics will give them plenty of practice.

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School and Life Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  • Public and private schools
  • Online school and in-person school
  • Any two schools or colleges
  • Going to college vs. starting work full-time

Going to college vs. starting work full-time

  • Working your way through college as you go or taking out student loans
  • Parents and grandparents
  • Elementary school and high school
  • Learning to read vs. learning to write
  • The importance of any two school subjects
  • Wearing glasses vs. having braces
  • You and your best friend
  • Friendship vs. romantic love

Friendship vs. romantic love

  • Group work and individual work
  • Only child vs. having siblings
  • Nature vs. nurture
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Old friends and new friends
  • Your teacher vs. your parent/guardian
  • Car ownership and public transportation

Car ownership and public transportation

  • Learning to ride a bike vs. learning to drive a car

Entertainment Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  • iPhone vs. Android
  • Instagram vs. Twitter (or choose any other two social media platforms)
  • Xbox vs. PlayStation

Xbox vs. PlayStation

  • Any two sports, like American football vs. soccer
  • Cooking at home and dining out
  • A movie based on a book and the book it was based on
  • Reading and watching TV
  • Opera music and pop music (or any two music genres)
  • Vegetarian and vegan

Vegetarian and vegan

  • Giving and receiving gifts
  • Going to a play vs. going to a movie
  • Playing a video game and watching a movie
  • Horse racing vs. NASCAR
  • Laptop vs. tablet
  • Sprint vs. marathon
  • Poetry and rap music
  • Ping-Pong vs. tennis
  • DC vs. Marvel
  • Netflix and YouTube
  • Shopping online and shopping in person

Shopping online and shopping in person

History and Politics Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

  • Capitalism vs. communism
  • Socialism vs. communism
  • Monarchy/dictatorship and democracy
  • Two political candidates in a current race

Two political candidates in a current race

  • Spanish flu pandemic vs. COVID-19 pandemic
  • World War I and World War II
  • American pioneers vs. first space explorers
  • Gen X vs. Gen Z
  • Abraham Lincoln vs. Barack Obama (or any other two presidents)
  • Any two U.S. states

Any two U.S. states

  • Any two historic eras
  • Queen Elizabeth I vs. Queen Elizabeth II
  • Republicans and Democrats
  • Hitler and Stalin
  • The first airplane flight vs. the first manned spaceflight
  • American president vs. U.K. prime minister

American president vs. U.K. prime minister

  • Fox News vs. CNN
  • Legislative branch and executive branch and/or judicial branch
  • Equality and equity
  • Elected politicians vs. lobbyists

Just for Fun Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Dogs vs. cats as pets

  • Paper books or e-books
  • Hot dogs vs. tacos
  • Summer and winter
  • Fall and spring
  • Big Mac vs. Whopper
  • Coke vs. Pepsi
  • Chocolate shake vs. hot chocolate
  • Any two superheroes or villains
  • Mondays and Fridays
  • Mornings vs. evenings

Mornings vs. evenings

  • First day of school vs. last day of school
  • Christmas vs. birthdays
  • Hurricane vs. tornado
  • Birthday as a kid and birthday as an adult
  • Going barefoot vs. wearing shoes
  • Appetizers and desserts

Appetizers and desserts

  • Phone calls and texting
  • Pants vs. skirts
  • Electric cars vs. gas-powered cars

What are some of your favorite compare and contrast essay topics? Come share your prompts on the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, check out The Big List of Essay Topics for High School (100+ Ideas!)





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