A compare-contrast essay examining similarities or differences between objects, people or concepts can be organized in two formats: point-by-point or block. The point-by-point structure establishes a body paragraph for each comparison or contrast point, while the block method uses one paragraph for each object being compared or contrasted. A block outline sets up the paper to use this block organizational method.
Block Outline Example
The block outline begins with an introduction and ends with a conclusion. As most compare-contrast essays examine the similarities or differences between two ideas, each of those concepts appears in a body paragraph between the start and finish. For instance, a block outline for an essay about the differences between a movie and its remake would have one body paragraph section for each movie. The points to be covered within each paragraph should mirror each other, as in this example:
I. Introduction II. Original "The Thing" A. Special effects B. Acting C. Story III. Remake of "The Thing" A. Special effects B. Acting C. Story IV. Conclusion
Each Roman numeral is a full paragraph in the completed essay. A point-by-point outline, by contrast, would compare both versions of the movie in an introduction and do the same in a section on special effects, a section on acting and a section on the story, followed by the conclusion.