How to Write a Classification Essay
The classification essay is frequently assigned both in science and social studies. Maybe you had already written such essays, but had no idea what they were called. If you were assigned to write a classification essay, there is no need to panic. First, let’s figure out what sort of essay it is and learn from the best classification essay examples.
What Is a Classification Essay?
To classify means to gather something into appropriate categories, kinds, or types. For example, orders in a restaurant can be divided into: incoming, in process, ready, and delivered. A classification essay is a kind of paper that presents information divided into certain categories according to a unified basis of division. Students need to sort certain material related to a topic into categories and write it in appropriate paragraphs. For example, your classification essay assignment can look like this:
“State and discuss the significant causes of World War I.”
If you are ready to dig deeper into the matter of classification essay writing, the following step-by-step guide will show you how to write a classification paragraph.
Classification Essay Pre-Writing Steps
Step 1. Analyze your audience. To understand the purpose of your classification essay, you need to know for what kind of public you need to write it. Do you need to define certain terms or is your audience familiar with this topic? Do you need to provide background information?
Step 2. Brainstorm on the topic. You need to pick a topic that is not only interesting, but also can be easily divided into categories or types. Freewrite, read the news, think about your favorite topics that you have already learned in this subject, etc.
Step 3. Collect information. As soon as you pick the topic, start collecting more information about it. Without proper information, you won’t be able to pick categories.
Step 4. Divide the topic into categories. This will be the basis for your essay and everything will depend on what kind of information you want to deliver. All categories should be logically connected and relate to the topic. Make sure that you have enough information to cover each category equally.
Step 5. Create an outline. Briefly think how you will arrange the text and choose the method of organizing information. If you don’t know how to write a classification essay outline, start with writing down all key points on the list. As you finish you will see the overall picture, and you will be able to arrange them in logical order and remove unnecessary points. Classification essays are usually organized by importance, chronically or spatially. Create a plan numbering the classification categories in specific order. Take a look at this example:
- Category 1.
- Category 2.
- Category 3.
Classification Essay Writing Steps
Step 1. Write an interesting title. Keep in mind that your title should clearly state the classification subject or directly refer to it.
Step 2. Write the introduction. Start with writing the purpose of the classification and value of your essay. The core of your introduction is the thesis statement.
How to write a thesis statement for a classification essay? Here you need to announce the subject, state your attitude to the topic, and tell about the organizing principle that you will follow through the entire essay, separating one piece of information from another. A thesis statement will map the content of your essay and make organizational structure clearer both for you and your reader. Clearly state the method you are using to divide the subject into parts and list the categories that you will be describing in the body paragraph (three or four will be a good choice).
The formula for a classification thesis statement is as follows: topic + organizing method + categories. For example: There are four levels of vegetarianism – vegan, lacto vegetarian, ovo vegetarian, and lacto-ovo vegetarian.
Step 3. Write the body paragraph. Before writing the body paragraph of this essay, let’s learn what is a classification paragraph. It is the part of the classification essay that describes one of the categories. Usually a classification paragraph consists of two parts: the topic sentence and basis of classification. Every paragraph should have a logical sequence: from most to least important, most to least harmful, most to least expensive, etc.
You can create a particular paragraph for a certain category or make one body paragraph. For one single paragraph, you should consider numbering each type, as it will be easier for readers to remember and understand your classification. If you have decided to use several body paragraphs, you should focus on one category of which the topic is divided. For example, the body structure about categorizing books in your home library may look like this:
- The first body paragraph will be about drama.
- The second body paragraph will be about prose.
- The third paragraph will be about poetry.
- The fourth paragraph will be about nonfiction.
Start every category with a topic sentence that will highlight the essence of the particular classification. Each category should be supported with an explanation of how this category identifies among others. Don’t forget to support your categories with detailed examples to explain each category.
Note: Indicate if some items from the list can change their classification or whether they can belong to more than one category at the same time.
Step 4. Write a conclusion. A classification essay conclusion should naturally flow from the body paragraph. Once you have finished describing your categories, jot the main ideas from all paragraphs and write your final thoughts about the subject. Restate the thesis statement and express you own thoughts about the subject. Describe how it’s important to separate the subject into categories and underscore the importance to look on this issue afresh.
Classification Essay Post-Writing Steps
Step 1. Revise your text. Check your writing for logic, unity, support, and coherence. Make sure that the text is easy to read, all parts have transitional phrases, and one thought flows into another.
Step 2. Proofread the text. Look for mistakes in punctuation, grammar, spelling, mechanics, and sentence structure. Make at least five changes in your draft to be sure that your writing is coherent and logical.
Step 3. Ask someone for help. Ask your parents or friends who are good at writing to read and evaluate your essay. Even if you are a skilled writer, you still can miss some mistakes.
Classification Essay Checklist
- Have you used only one organizing principle?
- Does your thesis statement list all categories?
- Do the categories you have chosen serve the purpose?
- Does your essay establish clear categories or can they be confused?
- Are body paragraphs complete and well organized?
- Are your paragraphs properly ordered?
- Have you supported categories with examples that clearly express the idea?
- Have you used transitions between paragraphs?
- Are your points concrete and forceful?
- Does your conclusion explain the purpose of the categories?
Classification Paragraph Sample
Here you can see the example of a classification essay. Our specialist has picked one of the classification essay samples and analyzed it. As you read, pay attention to structure and how the correct format helps to create a clear and easy-to-read message.
Click the images to see their full size.
Classification Essay Tips
- One of the most challenging activities in essay writing is producing a thesis statement. Usually, a good thesis statement consists of the topic of your essay and how you are going to classify it. You do not have to name all of the classified elements: it would be enough just to indicate the principle you use in your essay. For example, you may say: “The citizens of Guatemala involve themselves in three types of jobs: a, b, c…” This format will make it clear for your readers what exactly you will be discussing in the essay.
- Also, it is important to use transitions when writing body paragraphs. Here are the most popular ones: subsequently, firstly, initially, lastly, in regard to, in terms of, etc.
- A lot of students forget that writing a lot of content does not guarantee them success in the completion of their essays. Another popular mistake is using too many elements of a classified object. It’s always better to choose less, but describe them properly, than to choose five or seven aspects, but say little about them.
- Avoid mixing various classification criteria. It is not good to start to write about part-time jobs and freelance jobs, and then move onto to describing creative jobs.
- To help your readers be more focused on separate categories and announce upcoming categories, you can use the following phrases for transition between paragraphs: the first group, the last category, are classified.
- Prewrite before selecting a topic. This exercise will help you make sure that you are going to pick the right topic. Select a topic, decide on the purpose of your classification, and generate several examples.
The list below provides common phrases that can be useful to create transitional expressions between classification paragraphs and connect related ideas. Adding such phrases to your text will help you to keep the readers focused on a specific paragraph or category and control the idea. Combine these key words to make your text more logical and clear:
kinds of sections…
types of headings…
can be divided…
can be classified…
can be categorized…
in this section…
a final subdivision…
one of the partitions…
one of the classes…
on this kind…
in the same branch…
a first/second/third element…
the most important piece…
the last type…
Now we can say that you have read much information about classification essay writing. It is time to set up your own ideas and start writing your classification essay. We hope our advice will be at hand and we wish you luck. Live long and prosper!