A great topic to use for a compare and contrast essay are two cities that you have been to and that you can either compare in terms of similarities or contrast in terms of differences. You will want to be careful what kind of cities to pick, however, if you are writing a short essay—say 500 to 1,500 words, because if you pick two large cities—say Tokyo and New York, you will have quite a lot to discuss in such a short paper, because the cities are so vast that the differences alone would be overwhelming.
Approaching a Comparison Essay About Cities—How to Focus
View some sample essays on the Internet to get some general ideas about how to compare two cities paragraph by paragraph. One thing you want to avoid is a see saw effect. Do not discuss one city, then another, then back to the other city, devoting one paragraph to each one or the essay will be a. too long and b. too choppy.
How to Write Compare and Contrast Essays on Two Cities
First, think of three distinct things you can compare or contrast about two cities—for example, their history, their culture, or the kind of people that live there. You might even want to discuss two neighborhoods within a larger city, if that is okay with your professor. Perhaps one city or neighborhood is very trendy, with a lot of independently owned stores while a larger city will have more chain stores.
Organizing Your Essay on Two Cities
When writing any type of compare or contrast essay, the first thing you want to make certain of is that you have a clear thesis statement to guide your essay. For example, if you were going to focus on three aspects of differences between two cities, you could say just that in your thesis statement, like this: “In this essay, I am going to discuss three major aspects of differences between Santa Monica and Compton: the kinds of people, their culture, and the visual differences between the cities.
This thesis statement will help you to guide the essay and keep it on track.
The outline of this type of essay should move from an introduction, to the thesis at the end of paragraph one, to body paragraphs devoted to one of the three aspects, to a conclusion that says something ultimate about what you have learned about comparing cities in general.