Sample Outlines - Comparison and Contrast


Essays which compare or contrast two subjects are common and may be organized in two fashions.

In an essay organized Subject by Subject, the writer first discusses one subject fully, then moves on to the second subject. In a short essay organized Subject by Subject, the writer would have four paragraphs: an introduction and thesis, two body paragraphs and a conclusion. This is illustrated in the first outline below. Longer essays would have additional paragraphs, but the basic organizational approach would remain: discuss one subject fully, then the second.

In an essay organized Point by Point, the writer takes a different approach. Both subjects are discussed simultaneously as the writer moves from point of analysis to point of analysis. If the writer has more than two points of analysis, the same material organized Point by Point would likely result in additional body paragraphs. In the example, there are four points of contrast, so there would be four body paragraphs resulting a total of six paragraphs. In longer essays a single point may be discussed in several paragraphs.


Subject by Subject

Thesis: While Subject One provides many benefits, Subject Two is clearly superior.

I. Subject One

A. Point One

B. Point Two

C. Point Three

D. Point Four

II. Subject Two

A. Point One

B. Point Two

C. Point Three

D. Point Four


Point by Point

Thesis: While Subject One provides many benefits, Subject Two is clearly superior.

I. Point One

A. Subject One

B. Subject Two

II. Point Two

A. Subject One

B. Subject Two

III. Point Three

A. Subject One

B. Subject Two

IV. Point Four

A. Subject One

B. Subject Two


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