How to Write a Classification Essay in English: Research, Structure, Write & Edit

Writing guide
Posted on September 5, 2019

Classification is a type of technique that you apply in order to develop an essay by arranging things, issues, notions, people, or ideas with shared features into certain groups or classes.
Writing a classification essay demands proper preparation and planning. The author is expected to prewrite the classification essay at least once. Taking into account the fact that you have to provide categories for a classification essay, you have to ensure you have enough time to prewrite and group your issues together in order to see what categories will make sense for your purpose. It is important that you can see the variety of ways that you can group your items and never get stuck with just one way. In other words, the author of a classification essay needs to prewrite the paper in order to ensure he or she has everything required in place.
It is important to provide you essay with signal words or transitions like several types, can be divided into or categorized by. Once you use the phrases, you are basically informing your target readers about your future intentions. Plus, it helps to sort things out, as well as keep your content organized.

Look for Ideas

Classification essay in English can be written just about anything. We have created a list of possible areas where you can go looking for interesting and popular topics.

  • Food
    If you’re looking for the easy ways to write a classification essay in English, think about writing about food. You have an opportunity to classify food into Dinner, Breakfast or Lunch foods. Or you could do that but with national cuisine categories like Indian, Italian, Chinese, Swedish and so on. Among the other approaches one should mention the classification of food into the categories like Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates. Besides, there are also Spicy, Salty and Sweet types of foods. If you choose food as your main category, be ready to face limitless options!
  • Animals
    Just like in case with food, animals are the category that is easy to classify because the diversity of species is very impressive. For instance, you can write your classification essay about animals according to the existing classes like reptile, mammal and bird. There are many things to choose from, especially if you use sources like National Geographic or Animal Planet.
  • Music
    The variety of genres that exist today are giving you a chance to choose marvelous topics to write an essay about. How about classifying American music in accordance with historical epochs? Classical, Modern and Renaissance eras. Or the author can classify music in accordance with the existing genres like jazz, grange, hip-hop, rock and dub-step. What is more, music enables you to classify the item that you choose into the sub-categories like diving the pop category into disco, chanson, Christian pop and lounge music.

Once you are in a classification state of mind, you will see a clearer picture of what you’re going to write about and will be ready for the next step that is writing an introduction.
At this stage, you’re done with the topic choice and explored the chosen title through different prewriting strategies. It means that time to write your first draft has finally come.
Here is how you can develop and organize a common 5-paragraph classification essay in English.

Introductory Paragraph

Introduction is the opening paragraph of a classification essay (and the rest of the essays as well). In this paragraph you’re supposed to identify the subject of your essay – the items you’re classifying. If you’ve managed to narrow your subject (for instance, types of English literature, international students’ organizations or types of students that professors encounter), make it clear from the very beginning.

The author may also want to write down some specific informative or descriptive details in order to attract readers’ attention and suggest the purpose of the project.
Finally, there should be a thesis statement in your introduction. The writers usually put it at the end of the introduction paragraph and use it to identify the main approaches or types that they’re going to examine in the paper.

Take a look at one of the possible examples of the classification essay’s introduction paragraph:

‘It’s a warm autumn evening, and all Brits all over the country are gathering to watch a game of professional rugby. Armed with hot drinks and festive food, they head on to their seats, some in small parks, others in huge national stadiums. However, no matter where the rugby game is played, you’re going to see five categories of rugby fans: mister know-it-all fans, passionate female fans, the loud ones, costumed characters, and walking encyclopedias.’

Take a look at how the introduction we provided above create some particular expectations. The author has given certain details about the setting (‘warm autumn evening’, ‘small parks’, ‘huge national stadiums’) where the readers see the different types of fans. What is more, the labels that these fans are provided with (mister know-it-all fans, passionate female fans, the loud ones, costumed characters, and walking encyclopedias.) lead the readers to expect the descriptions of every type in the same order. If you’re a good writer, you will carry on to meet the expectations of your readers.

The Body Paragraphs

Ask yourself – how many categories have you provided? That is how many paragraphs the body of your classification essay will include. Usually the starting number of paragraphs is three.
It is important to remember that a classification essay in English doesn’t necessarily includes the standards five paragraphs. The author formats the essay body part according to the number of categories that he or she researched. As we have already said, it is pointless to give many categories because they will make your classification hard to understand. Your number one task is to remain on-point and specific about every single thing that you write.

Every body paragraph deals with a different category. Start every paragraph of the body part with explaining the criteria of it and discuss the possible weaknesses or strengths. Provide relevant examples to get into the specifics of the category. Depending on the paragraphs length the author may want to break them down into the shorter paragraphs. There’s nothing wrong with it, but remember that there must be a logical connection between the paragraphs, when you want to move to a new category.

Organize the paragraphs properly, with the use of transitions so one paragraph will lead to another. It is recommended to begin to write with the most common approaches and proceed with the ones that are less familiar. Or you can begin with the least effective category and write on to the most effective one. It doesn’t matter which way you choose. What is really important is to keep things in logical progression.

The Concluding Paragraph

The concluding paragraph is the essay part where the author draws together all the types and approaches that he or she has been examining in the classification essay’s body. You may choose to give a final short comment on every approach or type, summing up its limitations or its value.
As an option, you can recommend some type or approach over the rest and give your explanations of why exactly. In any case, you have to make sure that the conclusion of your classification essay clearly and precisely emphasizes the purpose of the paper. Look at the sample of the conclusion part of the college classification essay:

‘Linguistics can be divided into three main fields: Morphology, Syntax and Lexis. Each of these sub-fields provides a range of exciting possibilities for the potential students who are interested in Linguistics. Nevertheless, before students apply to graduate school, they should research every of the career categories in order to make correct decisions.’

Dos & Don’ts in Classification Essay Writing

  • Make sure you know what categories you’re going to work with. Never leave any critically important categories out.
  • When you classify, use a single principle. When the author knows what categories he or she is going to use, he or she needs to ensure that they fall under the main principle of organizing.
  • Provide every category with the same number of examples.
  • Make sure your classification essay looks complete. But don’t write too many categories because this will make your paper look blurred.
  • Leave the most critical category for last. Concentrate on it more than on any other category.
  • Check if your essay doesn’t have different principles appearing here or there, where they seem to unnecessary.

Revise Your Classification Essay

When you write an essay of any type, the hardest part is to research facts and write the text. That is why when it is time to edit and proofread the essay, the majority of students feel relaxed and don’t really care about correcting their mistakes. But that is a huge mistake. You shouldn’t skip editing and proofreading of your classification essay because this is how you will deprive yourself from the chance to get the highest grade. You must never skip the revisions!
If you are lucky to have a day or two before it’s time to give your work to the professor, make sure to put the sample aside and have some rest. Then get back to it and start reading. If you fail to read it in order to revise, you risk submitting a classification essay full of mistakes and weaknesses. You don’t want that. Not after all the research that you did and text that you wrote.

  • Begin the editing process with a general review. Right now, you have to read the classification essay from the start to the end. Read out loud in order to see if there is any gap in the text. If you find any gaps, decide what kind of information could cover them. Do all the body paragraphs look the same in length? Do they lack transitions?
  • Get back to your plan to remind yourself of the message of your paper. Is it clear? Will your target readers understand what you wanted to say? Make sure to delete all overly complicated or unnecessary details such as phrases, sentences and words.
  • Finally, don’t forget to proofread your paper. Read and re-read every single sentence, check unknown words, and make sure every term is grammatically correct.

As you organize and develop the draft of your classification essay, don’t hesitate to experiment with different strategies. However, it is important to keep in mind the basic format, such as the introduction (the part that specifies your subject and various types of approaches), the body paragraphs (this part includes three or more paragraphs that include specific details or expand on the types) and the concluding part that the author should use to bring all points together and make it clear to the readers what the overall purpose of the paper is.

We have provided just a few recommendations in order to help you get started with your classification essay in English. The key to writing a successful paper for college is definitely closely related to the preparation. Do not be in a hurry. Instead, spend your time planning your classification essay, as well as figuring out the basic categories or types. Once you’re ready with this part, you will see that the rest of the assignments turns out to be not that difficult.

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