What is a Comparative Analytical Essay?

A comparative analytical essay compares two things--perhaps two people, two texts, or two historical events, for instance--and explores the things that are similar and the things that make them different.

Writing a comparative analysis is great practice for writing other types of academic papers, so students can expect to write a good number of these during their school career. While it's called a comparative analysis, you will actually need to both ​compare ​and ​contrast​ in this type of essay.

3 Steps in Writing a Comparative Essay

1. Make a List of Similarities and Differences

  • After examining the list, develop a thesis statement for your paper. A thesis statement will be the hook which all your points will hang on, and a more complex thesis will incorporate both a similarity and difference.

2. Choose a Format for the Essay

  • The text-by-text format, or parallel-order comparison, is when you first make thesis statement in the introduction, then discuss a first similarity, in the first work then the second one. Then a second similarity, text by text. Next, do the differences. In a point-by-point format, thesis is followed by a first point, and how the two things differ on the point, then how they are the same on that point. Have two more sections or so organized that way.

3. Write a Conclusion

  • Your conclusion should refer back to the thesis statement while avoiding merely summarizing what's already been stated in the body of the paper.

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