As shown in this compare and contrast chart, comparing and contrasting are ways of exploring the similarities and differences between two things. 'Compare and contrast is a development strategy frequently used for essay assignments, but it is also a useful strategy for any important decisions you must make. In general, comparing shows similarities, while contrasting shows differences between two things that are related somehow. You wouldn't compare reading a book to driving a car, but you would compare reading a book to reading with an e-reader. If you have a compare/contrast essay assignment, choose a topic that interests you or one you've always wanted to learn more about, as shown in this compare and contrast chart.