Essays that ask the writer to compare and contrast ideas, texts, events, and so on are very common in academic settings. Writing a compare and contrast thesis statement can be one of the more challenging aspects of such an essay, but there are several ways to write a solid thesis statement, which will then set the tone for the rest of the essay. To begin, one must first read the question carefully and decide which aspects of the topic are important and must be included in the essay. This step will guide the writing of the thesis statement.
A good essay writer will consider what the person asking the question wants to hear. These types of essays are common in college, so a professor will often be posing the question. When reading the question, consider what the professor will be looking for: an understanding of main ideas, an analysis of complex relationships, and so on. This may sound complicated, but basically, the idea is to capture what the question is asking and analyze your perception of it. For example, if the question asks the writer to compare and contrast a high calorie diet with a low calorie diet, the writer should be sure to first understand the advantages and dangers of each. Then, the writer must make a determination of what's important.
An example of a compare and contrast thesis statement that takes into account both sides of the argument while still giving specifics might look like this:
"While a high calorie diet may be appropriate for athletes or people whose jobs and daily lives require them to be exposed to prolonged physical exertion, a low calorie diet is sufficient for most people and can, in fact, improve health and prevent disease."
The above thesis statement lends credence to both sides of the argument and uses a key word that a good compare and contrast thesis statement should contain: while. This conditional word indicates to the reader that there are two parts to the statement, and the writer has outlined specific arguments for one or the other, or both. Words like while, whereas, although, or even though can convey this idea.
Like any other thesis statement, the writer must be sure to include specifics without becoming too verbose. A compare and contrast thesis statement should be only one sentence, but it is important to avoid being too broad; the more specific the thesis statement is, the easier supporting that thesis will become.