50 Compare and Contrast Essay Topics

It’s not just a black-and-white question — or is it? We’ve rounded up 50 intriguing compare and contrast essay topics to fuel students’ curiosity and analytical skills. Our topics are designed to spark critical thinking and can be modified for students in elementary, middle and high school. They are grouped by topic for easy student and teacher reference. Feel free to print the entire list for plenty of inspiration for your next compare-and-contrast essay assignment!

Would You Rather…

  1. Go on a luxurious vacation or build your dream home?
  2. Run a restaurant or a clothing store?
  3. Travel to outer space or the bottom of the ocean?
  4. Play on an Olympic team or compete as an individual athlete in a sport such as running or skiing?
  5. Eat nothing but dessert for the rest of your life or nothing but vegetables?
  6. Know how to sing or know how to dance?
  7. Have a lot of money or have a lot of friends?
  8. Use only computers and no cell phones or use only cell phones and no computers?
  9. Have the super power of flight or invisibility?
  10. Live in a house made of glass or a house made of cotton?

Tough Questions

  1. Compare and contrast America’s approach to democracy to another country’s approach to democracy.
  2. Compare and contrast the feeling of being afraid with the feeling of being bored.
  3. Compare and contrast life as an elderly person with life as a small child.
  4. Compare and contrast the impact of hurricanes and blizzards.
  5. Compare and contrast the experience of being the president of the United States with the experience of being an average homeless person in an American city.
  6. Compare and contrast the influence of parents and celebrities on the opinions of an average teenager.
  7. Compare and contrast the experience of being stranded in a lifeboat with that of being lost in the Alaskan wilderness.
  8. Compare and contrast the experience of being famous but friendless with the experience of being well-loved but unknown by anyone other than your friends and family.
  9. Compare and contrast homeschooling with public school.
  10. Compare and contrast going to jail with paying a large fine.
  11. Compare and contrast physical beauty with strong character.
  12. Compare and contrast the demands of working as a surgeon and working as a miner.
  13. Which is harder: living up to other people’s expectations or following your own dreams?
  14. Which is easier: being a boy or being a girl?
  15. Compare and contrast interactions via social media with face-to-face interactions.
  16. Compare and contrast the convenience and environmental impact of commuting by public transportation or by bicycle versus commuting by car.
  17. Compare and contrast the cost and health benefits of eating organic foods versus eating conventional foods.
  18. Compare and contrast the effectiveness of detention versus additional academic assignments for school discipline.
  19. Compare and contrast the importance of speaking well versus listening well.
  20. Compare and contrast the challenges of being a baby to those of being a teenager.

Which Is Better?

  1. Traveling in a plane or a train?
  2. Having a cat or a dog?
  3. Having a small family or a large family?
  4. Being intelligent or being happy?
  5. Summer or winter?
  6. Savory foods or sweet foods?
  7. Movies or television?
  8. Math or science?
  9. Art or music?
  10. Camping or staying in a hotel?
  11. Paper books or e-books?
  12. Cars or trucks?
  13. Computers or smartphones?
  14. Small towns or big cities?
  15. Traveling alone or staying home with family?
  16. Visiting a museum or visiting a library?
  17. Giving or receiving?
  18. Watching sports or playing sports?
  19. Flowers or trees?
  20. Walking or bike riding?

Looking for more essay topics?
Descriptive Essay Topics
Cause and Effect Essay Topics
Narrative Essay Topics
Persuasive Essay and Speech Topics