How to Start a Compare and Contrast Essay: Build the Framework

It is not always easy to perform the initial introduction part in the college writing tasks. To fulfill that, you need to have a complete understanding of what the main topic is about.  A compare and contrast essay needs to discuss in regards to the similarities and differences between the two subjects.

This type of essay is a frequent form of academic writing. It may be in the form of academic writing or as part of a broader writing task. When writing about the comparison, we need to examine how things are similar. In contrast part, we need to see how they differ. 

There are two main types of structure of the compare and contrast essays. In the case of block structure – the information about one of the objects being compared or contrasted is provided initially. It uses the cause and effect and problem-solution tasks. 

In this case, set up a particular idea or research – death, love, nature, country, population etc. Then, describe those ideas while contrasting at the same time. For example, the love affair in the era of Romans or the modern period. How to decipher the similarities and differences? Apply a Venn diagram. This chart may help to draw certain overlapping circles – while in the central diagram the common traits will be placed. For example, you may start your thesis with ‘’This paper will compare and contrast on two Roman emperors… ‘’

Certain words may aid to outline the most important subjects: like, similar to, also, in the same way, likewise, again, compared to, in contrast, in like manner, contrasted with, on the contrary, however, although, yet, even though, still, but conversely, at the same time, regardless, despite, while, on the one hand…on the other hand, etc.


For a start, if the essay consists of 500-600 words, plan the length of paragraphs and their number.  In the case of an essay of 5,000 words, the splitting is a bit more difficult.   Another important factor is the type of audience. Is the essay being prepared for the scientist, broader population, or for commercial purposes?

  • The Introduction

The initial introductory paragraph is of the utmost importance. It needs to be captive and to engage a reader into the rest of the essay.  The introduction is a general outline of the essay. It should describe what the compare and contrast essay is about. In case you analyze the similarities and differences among certain topics – for example living in a city or a town, it needs to be clear. 

  • The Body 

In this part, it is necessary to start with a detailed distinctive description of each topic. The most important sentences are to provide information about what is already known about the subject and what the research is really about.

  • The Conclusion

The conclusion summarizes the entire essay – it concludes the described research thesis. It needs to be written in a concise and detailed manner.

How Long is an Essay? – a Data-Driven Answer

Nowadays, there are a lot of online educational platforms to aid in developing a thesis or essay. Depending on the type of college essay, there are several basic recommendations.

In the majority of cases, the usual length of an essay is approximately  500-600 words. Certain college admission essays are 200-650 words in length, high school essays are 300-1000 words, graduate school admission essay 500-1000 words, undergraduate college essay 1500-5000 words and graduate school essays are 2500-6000 words.

The length of an essay depends on the chosen topic. It is important to acknowledge the type of essay and its structure. The most common types of essays are narrative, research paper, and a reflective essay

During certain exams, it may be provided with the desired length and/or structure of a paper task.

The essay definition

An essay is a writing paper with 5 or more paragraphs. It is usually written about one topic that explains several main points. 

The main thesis is elaborated in the introduction paragraph, the body paragraph and  the conclusion. The introduction provides general statements and information about the topic. The body paragraphs support the main idea of the thesis statement. The conclusion provides a brief summary of the main points of the essay. 

The essay length

Prior to any writing, plan thorough research to get all the answers in a detailed manner. In order to improve the writing – use the lexicon or a dictionary to improve your vocabulary. Identify more words to demonstrate the thesis in a more informative way. The more vivid examples used, the higher quality of the paper will be. 

In the principal body paragraph, ensure that each thesis is presented with the use of words or expressions that will demonstrate the fundamental thoughts. So, prior to any academic writing, make sure you are familiar with basic concepts. The sentence is a set of words that contain a subject and a predicate. A subject is what the sentence is about, the topic of the sentence. A predicate describes the subject. 

A paragraph is a collection of connected sentences. The clincher is the last sentence of the paragraph. 

The simple essay length is approximately 200 words and may vary from 200 to 650 words. The majority of colleges have a word limit. In case you write less than indicated – the possibility of a lower score or rejection of the writing paper is higher. 

In certain essay prompts, there is no word limit. 

There  are guidelines provided in certain educational courses such as the length of an essay may not be of utmost importance. Thus, the requirements may be to write by the paragraph number, etc.

How to Start a Narrative Essay

Good writing skills are necessary to have a narrative essay done. Such a school task requires a lot of practice and knowledge of English grammar. A narrative essay has to be engaging, worth reading and grammatically correct. Each sentence has to be carefully structured, not too complicated, yet not too simple. The first introductory paragraph is of utmost importance. 

The Characteristics of a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is a type of essay with a central point and the remaining narrative story. For this kind of paperwork, the highest form of students’ creativity and imagination is required. The story needs to be captive and follow the same format. A narrative essay consists of an introduction, a plotline, an atmosphere, a climax, and a conclusion.

How to start a narrative essay? The most common suggestion would be to include a quote. There are several quote platforms such as Brainy Quotes, Wisdom Quotes, Goodreads, and

  • An Anecdote

There is often the possibility to start an essay with an anecdote that is defined as a short amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person. It is a brief, revealing paragraph of an individual or a person or an incident. If written at the beginning of a narrative, it helps us to understand certain points of the narrative in general. Their point may be funny, sad or melodramatic.

The main idea of an anecdote is to set up the right track of the whole paper. It has to be captive and introductory.  In certain cases, an anecdote may resemble real-life traits.

  • Statistics

Depending on the story itself, certain essays may begin with statistics. Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable. It is used in the majority of research papers, but as well in narrative essays. When using numbers, 99% of all statistics only tell 49% of the story. Teachers appreciate a lot of these kinds of statistical sentences due to the complexity and more detailed information they provide.

  • A question

“What was there so enchanting and mysterious that made me sit there in silence with my eyes wide open? I didn’t know then and neither I know now. But this was the day when I discovered the hypnotic power of nature.”

When you start your essay with a question instantly makes your reader wonder what the answer to this question is. This is one of the most commonly used literary devices that help to establish contact with your readers and engage them.

Finally, these are the major examples of how to start an essay – it is up to the writer and the topic to carefully plan the overall structure of the essay.