Old Pueblo Academy

20 Powerful Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

Compare and contrast essays are all about analyzing differences and similarities. The idea is simple: take two subjects and explain how they are similar and how they are different. By doing so, you begin to see each subject in a new light. You learn far more about each subject than you would by looking at it on its own.

Depending on your topic, some essays might focus more on similarities than differences and vice versa. A compare and contrast essay should nevertheless discuss both similarities and differences. That being said, a good essay goes beyond simple lists of differences and similarities. Be creative. Analyze your subjects in depth. Pay attention to detail. Of course, part of the trick is choosing good subjects to compare and contrast.

Choosing a Subject for a Compare and Contrast Essay

When choosing your topic, pick subjects that are similar enough to be compared, but different enough to provide an interesting contrast. Think outside the box. From politics to food to art to popular culture, every area of life is ripe for comparison.

Indeed, there’s no end to the things you can compare and contrast: two world events, two cities, two countries, two historical periods, two people, two ideas, two theories, two foods, two restaurants, two diets, two poems, two novels, two movies, etc., etc. Find what interests you, pick two compelling subjects, and compare away.

20 Powerful Compare and Contrast Topics

Here’s a list of 20 powerful compare and contrast topics. Use it to spur your own creativity.

  1. Poverty to slavery
  2. Hitler to Stalin
  3. Popular culture in the year 1900 to popular culture in the year 2000
  4. American country music to Irish folk music
  5. The American Revolution to the French Revolution
  6. Sociology to Political Science
  7. Crocodiles to alligators
  8. The habits of domesticated cats to the habits of wild cats
  9. Los Angeles to New York
  10. The United States to the European Union
  11. The short stories Washington Irving to the short stories of Edgar Allen Poe
  12. The Godfather movie trilogy to the Godfather novel series
  13. Eating at home to dining out
  14. McDonald’s to Spago
  15. A high-protein diet versus a high-carbohydrate diet
  16. Working for an employer to being self-employed
  17. Muhammad Ali to Tiger Woods
  18. Patsy Cline to Miley Cyrus
  19. William Shakespeare to J. K. Rowling
  20. “Breaking Bad” to “Dexter”