Comparing and Contrasting

Comparing and contrasting are ways of looking at objects, pictures, or concepts and deciding how they are alike and/or different. When you compare, you are pointing out the similarities. When you contrast, you are showing the differences.

Always use proven facts to either compare or contrast. You do not compare or contrast by using your own opinion.


Michael Jordan is the all time best basketball player.

Michael Jordan played for the Chicago Bulls.

George Washington was the greatest president.

George Washington was president of the United States from 1789 to 1797.

If you were comparing carrots, hamburgers, ice cream, candy, and apples you might say they are all food and they can all be eaten. Those would be how those five things are alike, or a comparison. You could not say that they are all great-tasting food because that would be how you feel but not necessarily how others feel.

Some of those things can be eaten raw and some cannot; some are considered "healthy" foods and some are not. Those would be how they are different, or contrasting. You could not say carrots and apples are awful to eat but ice cream, candy, and hamburgers are great to eat. That would be an opinion and not a fact.

Let’s make a list comparing and contrasting houses and nests.

Compare (Alike) Contrast (Different)
Both are homes Nests are smaller
Birds make their nests like people build their homes Nests do not have a roof while homes do
More than two people can live in a home; more than two birds can live in a nest Nests are made of twigs; homes are made of concrete, brick, and/or sturdy lumber
Both need care: people may repair a leak; birds may repair a hole A bird can live in a house as a pet; humans don’t live in nests as pets

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