To compare is to examine how things are similar, while to contrast is to see how they differ.
A compare and contrast essay therefore looks at the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences.
It’s the part where you introduce the overall subject of the piece and specific items, situations, or events you have to compare and/or contrast.
As seen in diagrams, the introduction should feature: Once you’re done with the intro, you’re ready to move on to the body paragraphs.
Take a blank piece of paper and write the first item in the left corner, the second item in the right corner. REMEMBER: Typically, you don’t need more than three aspects to cover, unless otherwise noted.
This type of structure is similar to the block structure used for cause and effect and problem-solution essays.
For the point-by-point structure, each similarity (or difference) for one object is followed immediately by the similarity (or difference) for the other. The former is easier to write, while the latter is generally clearer as it ensures that the similarities/differences are more explicit.
Compare and contrast is a common form of academic writing, either as an essay type on its own, or as part of a larger essay which includes one or more paragraphs which compare or contrast.
This page gives information on what a compare and contrast essay is, how to structure this type of essay, how to use compare and contrast structure words, and how to make sure you use appropriate criteria for comparison/contrast.