How to Write a Classification Essay

If you have been tasked to write a classification essay and you have no idea what it means, don’t panic. You more or less already have an idea on how to write it. The reason is because students learn how to write a classification essay before they even know it, even before they arrive at the lesson proper. Through the teaching methods employed by a teacher in the formative years of school, students unknowingly learn about it. Professors rarely require students to write a classification essay, but you surely have done it, or at least a version of it, in connection with a particular schoolwork. Classification essay is also practical when you are tasked to write a research paper. One thing is certain: you will actually find it enjoyable, engaging, and quite easy to write. It will definitely boost your creativity and writing skills.

A classification essay aims to help readers decide about something, make a distinction between similar concepts, and acquire a better understanding of a complicated subject. A classification essay is best used when trying to explain a subject that has multiple points. The difficulty of writing a classification essay depends on your chosen topic, so be realistic in choosing what you can write about. A classification essay, due to its purpose to classify, should never be complicated, and instead must be as interesting as possible. If you are eager to learn how to write a classification essay, you will learn how to write an effective one as you continue reading this article.

Tips on how to write a classification essay

Before you write a classification essay, there are three things you must remember when choosing a topic:

Choose interesting and relatable topics 

There are lots of topics you can use when writing a classification essay. For example, you can write about social media and categorize it according to its uses (e.g. business, entertainment, and information dissemination). This is also perfect for topics in the field of science; for example, classifying animals according to their physical characteristics, skills, or diet. If you are looking for fun and more laid back topics, you can write about different types of alcoholic beverages or you can write about music genres and state their differences and similarities.

Avoid obvious topics 

There are subjects that no longer need to be differentiated because their classifications are already given (e.g. gender and age.) Look for topics that are somewhat confusing to the readers, then try to clarify it to them by categorizing your topic accordingly. For example, if you want to clarify the different types of clouds or if you want to inform the readers that there are different kinds of clouds, a classification essay is perfect for it. You can also write about topics with clear distinctions such as different age brackets and gender, but readers will be less engaged to these topics, their distinctions are common knowledge. If you were to write about such topics, make sure to give readers a deeper analysis of their differences.

Have a reason why it is imperative to write about the topic you have chosen

Discuss why the readers must learn the classifications of the topic you have chosen. This will help you establish your thesis statement, keep the interests of the readers, and make them more engaged in reading your essay. Remember, the main goal of a classification essay is to inform readers of distinctions that exist on several sub sections of a topic. This is also another reason why you should avoid obvious topics, because it will seem like you are only restating facts instead of informing them of facts they don't usually encounter about a certain subject.

Three major steps in drafting an effective classification essay

Prior to writing your classification essay, it is recommended that you do these three steps for your classification essay to be effective:

Major steps in writing a classification essay

Classify - Find common denominators among ideas surrounding your subject. If you were to write a classification essay about animals, you can classify them according to their attributes, skills, or diet. If you have chosen to write about their diet, you can choose which animals you will include in your essay, and proceed to grouping them according to the type of food they eat such as plants, meat, and both plants and meat. 

Divide - Break ideas into parts. This is the part where you identify the categories you will include to differentiate ideas from one another. Using the same facts from the previous example, you can classify animals who eat plants as herbivore; animals who eat meat as carnivore; and animals who eat both plants and meat as omnivore.

Make an outline - Break the essay into parts. This is the best way for you to identify the information you will put in your introduction, body, and conclusion. Creating an effective outline will also help you create a better flow and a better transition for each paragraph. 

Elements of a classification essay

Here are the requisites of an effective classification essay:

Introduction - Your introduction must contain a thesis statement and an overview of your essay. If there is a need to contextualize the subject, you must include it in the introduction. Following the previous example, you can discuss how you came up with the idea, like what motivated you to write about the classification of animals, followed by briefly discussing about the history of the categorization (e.g. who coined the terms herbivore, carnivore, and omnivore?) 

How to write a classification essay iintroduction

Body - For a classification essay, two to three body paragraphs are required in order to provide readers variations. Following the previous example, it is best that you discuss the three categories separately. You can write one paragraph for each category. 

How to write a classification essay body

Conclusion - The conclusion shall contain the summary of your essay and the restatement of your thesis statement. Following the previous example, you can gently remind or inform the readers of the general idea and the importance of classifying animals according to their diet. 

How to write a classification essay conclusion

Process of writing a classification essay

These steps will teach you how to write a classification essay effectively:

  1. Compose a good thesis statement, state what will be analyzed and make sure that it is written concisely. Your thesis statement shall be written in the introductory part of your essay because this is where you will state the categories that will be described in the body. 
  2. Layout the topic in the introduction so that the readers can have a better understanding as to why there is a need for you to categorize your chosen topic.
  3. For the body of your paragraph, create a strong topic sentence. Note that thesis statement and topic sentence are two different elements. The topic sentence is written at the beginning of each paragraph, so make sure that you introduce the next idea properly and make a good transition from one idea to another.
  4. Each body shall be comprised of one category. This will help the readers see the distinction between ideas.
  5. In writing the conclusion, you can summarize your essay, and you must emphatically restate your thesis statement. Always remember to rephrase your thesis statement, and avoid retyping it.
  6. Close your essay with a remarkable statement. This isn’t really necessary, but it is recommended that you do this so that your essay will make a lasting impression to the readers.

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