75 Dynamic Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

, Staff Writer
Updated June 24, 2020
Scale of Compare and Contrast Concept
    Scale of Compare and Contrast Concept
    drogatnev / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Whether you’re in middle school, high school, or college, these compare and contrast essay ideas will help you get inspired to write some great work. With 75 compare and contrast essay topics on this list, you’re guaranteed to find an idea that interests you!

Social Studies Compare and Contrast Essay Ideas

If you need a history, geography, or other social studies topic for a compare and contrast essay, one of these may be ideal:

  1. 1920s vs. 1960s American culture
  2. Childhood in the 1980s vs. childhood today
  3. Great Depression vs. coronavirus pandemic
  4. Pioneers vs. first people in outer space
  5. Abraham Lincoln vs. Barack Obama
  6. World War I vs World War II
  7. Baby Boomers vs. Millennials
  8. Rural life vs. urban life
  9. Barack Obama vs. Donald Trump
  10. American Civil Rights vs. Women’s Lib
  11. Concepts of beauty today vs. concepts of beauty in the Victorian era
  12. American politics today vs. American politics during the Civil War

Language Arts Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

You can easily write an essay for language arts comparing and contrasting different aspects of writing and reading. Try one of these ideas:

  1. Reality vs. fiction in tall tales and legends
  2. Women in 1800s literature vs. women in literature today
  3. Autobiography vs. memoir
  4. Mightiness of the pen vs. mightiness of the sword
  5. Email communication vs. hand-written letters
  6. Speaking vs. writing
  7. British English vs. American English
  8. Formal writing vs. colloquial language
  9. Book vs. the movie version
  10. Reading assigned books vs. choosing your own
  11. Poetry vs. prose
  12. Science fiction vs. historical fiction

Science and Technology Compare and Contrast Essay Ideas

From new technological advances to medicine and outer space, there are lots of great ideas for compare and contrast essays involving science and technology. Try one of these:

  1. Earth vs. Mars
  2. Alternative medicine vs. traditional medicine
  3. Photos posted online vs. photos kept private
  4. Meeting people online vs meeting in real life
  5. Video chat etiquette vs. in-person meeting etiquette
  6. Genetic testing for diseases vs. traditional diagnostic methods
  7. Nuclear power vs. coal-fired power plants
  8. Planting more trees vs. cleaning up water systems
  9. Alternative energy vs. traditional power plants
  10. Hurricanes vs. tornadoes
  11. Driver-operated trucks vs. self-driving trucks
  12. E-readers vs. traditional paper books

Compare and Contrast Essay Ideas About Daily Life

Many topics involved in daily life, from school and work to the kind of foods we eat, offer great ideas for compare and contrast essays. Try one of these:

  1. Homeschool vs. attending public school
  2. Spring vs. fall nature walks
  3. Fast food vs. home cooking
  4. Working at home vs. working in an office
  5. Buying food vs. growing your own food
  6. Video games vs. movies
  7. Movies in the theater vs. movies at home
  8. Standardized testing vs. grades
  9. Cat people vs. dog people
  10. Going away to college vs. staying local
  11. Getting married vs staying single
  12. Flying for travel vs. road trip
  13. Family vacation vs. summer camp
  14. Vegan vs. gluten free
  15. Popularity vs. independence
  16. Getting gifts vs. giving gifts
  17. Having siblings vs. being an only child
  18. Buying apples vs. planting an apple tree
  19. Camping vs. staying in hotel
  20. Reality vs. your childhood dream
  21. Fast food hamburgers vs. grilled at home
  22. Movie with subtitles vs. movie in your language
  23. Beach vacation vs. adventure trek
  24. In-person job interview vs. phone interview
  25. Hotel vs. vacation rental house
  26. Cars vs. public transportation
  27. Dying your hair vs. natural color

Pick Two to Compare and Contrast

You can also pick two of anything in a category and write a compare and contrast essay about these items. Since they are similar in many ways, juxtaposing the two will make the differences stand out. Here are a few ideas for inspiration:

  1. Two types of soda
  2. Two schools or colleges
  3. Two books in a series, such as Harry Potter
  4. Two villains in books or movies
  5. Two ways to get to school
  6. Two ways to spend the weekend
  7. Two people in your family
  8. Two Shakespearean plays
  9. Two Victorian novels
  10. Two superhero movies
  11. Two world leaders
  12. Two US states

Get Excited About Your Topic

No matter what topic you choose, it’s a good idea to brush up on how to write a compare and contrast essay. You’ll find that having a great topic makes it easy to get excited about your work, and with some basic skills to help you get started, you’ll be on your way to a great grade.