How to Write a Classification Essay: Definition, Outline, Topics, & Tips

It is easy to define a classification essay. It is an academic piece where a student arranges, organizes, classifies, or sorts different topics into separate categories to compare and contrast them or simply describe. Another question is how to write a classification essay, and it sounds more complicated. Unlike many other types of essays, this one has a more complicated structure with many variations. To effectively categorize things, one has to take such steps as:

  1. Classify topics into categories that make sense.
  2. Ensure that the classes that you came up with stick to a common principle of organization.
  3. Provide examples for each of the categories

As an example, you may look at the way different online stores filter items (e.g., by size, price, color, type, etc.) It will give you a clue about how to write a classification essay.

Selecting Categories for Your Classification Assignment

Start with deciding on your classes for an essay. If you aim to sort topics logically, think about the proper categories carefully so that they will somehow unite all of your points. People frequently need to sort various types of documents. First, they come up with the categories to arrange the stack of papers in a logical way to avoid chaos. Those categories could include documents related to insurance, identity, ownership/property, criminal records, financial records, etc. You may do it another way:

  • Documents that are outdated;
  • Those that can be dismissed;
  • Docs that require immediate action;
  • Not an emergency;
  • Files to archive or give to other people.

See what we mean? That is how you typically sort things in everyday life, and this principle works for the classification paper as well. If you have done that, note down the categories somewhere. However, we are just starting to explain how to write a classification essay.

Building a concise and clear thesis statement

The thesis statement is the main argument of an essay. It is different when it comes to writing a classification paper. It should state the topic, as well as the approach to classifying it, with the name of the specific categories (like in the examples above).

How to Write a Classification Essay: Brief Writing Guide

Before you start writing a classification essay, you should choose the topic or several issues to cover. We will discuss how to do that later. Now, here is how to write a classification essay in a simple way:

  • Define the clusters
    Never leave out a critical class; for instance, if you admit that types of questions include general, special, and choice, but forget to mention disjunctive, your task will be incomplete. Some people can name eight or even more categories of questions in English. Try to include only the basic four in your work as you have to obey the word limit, and too much information may be overloading. But if you talk, for example, about famous genres of rock music, you won’t have to add hip-hop to hard rock, gothic, and heavy metal.
  • Sort by a common principle
    You should choose a single rule to classify your subjects into different categories while writing your essay. Don’t let another principle show up without any sign or a good reason. If you decide to use “based on a true story” as a unifying rule, exclude a category, like “based on a fiction piece.” They will have absolutely different films in them.
  • Try to add an equal amount of examples
    For your every choice, think about the same amount of examples to make the essay look more-or-less balanced and objective. However, the most significant class, which usually pops up in the end, may need more elaboration.

Using Transition Words and Phrases

One more rule from any guide on how to write a classification essay is using transitions. Any essay requires some, but here the reader might easily get lost if they cannot see the link between different categories and subjects. Mind these transitions that should be present in your piece:

  • The 1st type, the 2nd type, the 3rd type;
  • The 1st kind, the 2nd kind, the 3rd kind;
  • The 1st class, the 2nd class, the 3rd class.

Those are just some possible examples. As for the rest of the possible transitions, such as “additionally,” “to conclude,” “as mentioned above,” “moreover,” and others, you can insert them based on your preferences and story development. In the classification essays, the author structures or classifies topics into various categories or clusters. Once you manage to learn how to write a classification essay, it would be way easier for you to cope with statistics assignments in the future. There, students have to work a lot with clusters.

You should memorize the three basic rules for crafting this type of task. You must organize topics into meaningful groups, apply one organizing rule, and provide valuable, credible examples of subjects from every category.

Outline Your Classification Paper to Make It Clear

That is not all yet! Just like any other academic task, a classification essay should have an outline, meaning a detailed explanation of what you plan to include in your work. This plan schematically shows the major ideas of a text. An outline must describe the essence of every theme in a single sentence or even a phrase. It may remind you of a table of contents from your textbooks with a single difference: you should not enumerate the sections. Use bullet points to create a clear outline for your task. It will look this way:

  1. Introduction with a thesis statement;
  2. Body paragraph 1 (category 1);
  3. Body paragraph 2 (category 2);
  4. Body paragraph 3 (category 3);
  5. Conclusion.

You might also have to add a works cited page in MLA if you cite any sources. Even if you somehow recall the source, specify it in your list of references.

Good Classification Essay Topics for College Students

So, before you begin your work, you should come up with a list of ideas that have some common features so that you can place them in the same category. If you don’t see a connection between “a tree” and “running,” those words should not go together. If you lack inspiration, here are some classification essay topics for college students:

  • Teaching techniques for college professors.
  • Top traveling ideas for students.
  • The origins of rap music.
  • Major motives to start a career in finance.
  • The traits of a true business leader.
  • Effective ways to complete homework overnight.
  • Main categories of football fans.
  • Books written by the famous authors of the XX century.
  • The main classes of mobile apps and games.
  • Most popular communication channels used today.
  • Different genres of video games.
  • Top clothing and accessories brands for women.
  • Types of television shows in the United States.
  • Unique qualities of the successful physician.
  • Effective therapies used to minimize stress levels.
  • Various mental disorders and their consequences.

You can come up with a couple or more useful categories for each of these classification essay topics. On the whole, you should pick something that you know a lot about, ensuring that credible, up-to-date information is present.

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