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10 Great Essay Writing Tips

write a essay on classification

Knowing how to write a college essay is a useful skill for anyone who plans to go to college. Most colleges and universities ask you to submit a writing sample with your application. As a student, you’ll also write essays in your courses. Impress your professors with your knowledge and skill by using these great essay writing tips.

Prepare to Answer the Question

Most college essays ask you to answer a question or synthesize information you learned in class. Review notes you have from lectures, read the recommended texts and make sure you understand the topic. You should refer to these sources in your essay.

write a essay on classification

Plan Your Essay

Many students see planning as a waste of time, but it actually saves you time. Take a few minutes to think about the topic and what you want to say about it. You can write an outline, draw a chart or use a graphic organizer to arrange your ideas. This gives you a chance to spot problems in your ideas before you spend time writing out the paragraphs.

Choose a Writing Method That Feels Comfortable

You might have to type your essay before turning it in, but that doesn’t mean you have to write it that way. Some people find it easy to write out their ideas by hand. Others prefer typing in a word processor where they can erase and rewrite as needed. Find the one that works best for you and stick with it.

write a essay on classification

View It as a Conversation

Writing is a form of communication, so think of your essay as a conversation between you and the reader. Think about your response to the source material and the topic. Decide what you want to tell the reader about the topic. Then, stay focused on your response as you write.

write a essay on classification

Provide the Context in the Introduction

If you look at an example of an essay introduction, you’ll see that the best essays give the reader a context. Think of how you introduce two people to each other. You share the details you think they will find most interesting. Do this in your essay by stating what it’s about and then telling readers what the issue is.

write a essay on classification

Explain What Needs to be Explained

Sometimes you have to explain concepts or define words to help the reader understand your viewpoint. You also have to explain the reasoning behind your ideas. For example, it’s not enough to write that your greatest achievement is running an ultra marathon. You might need to define ultra marathon and explain why finishing the race is such an accomplishment.

write a essay on classification

Answer All the Questions

After you finish writing the first draft of your essay, make sure you’ve answered all the questions you were supposed to answer. For example, essays in compare and contrast format should show the similarities and differences between ideas, objects or events. If you’re writing about a significant achievement, describe what you did and how it affected you.

write a essay on classification

Stay Focused as You Write

Writing requires concentration. Find a place where you have few distractions and give yourself time to write without interruptions. Don’t wait until the night before the essay is due to start working on it.

write a essay on classification

Read the Essay Aloud to Proofread

When you finish writing your essay, read it aloud. You can do this by yourself or ask someone to listen to you read it. You’ll notice places where the ideas don’t make sense, and your listener can give you feedback about your ideas.

write a essay on classification

Avoid Filling the Page with Words

A great essay does more than follow an essay layout. It has something to say. Sometimes students panic and write everything they know about a topic or summarize everything in the source material. Your job as a writer is to show why this information is important.


write a essay on classification

How to Write a Classification Essay

High school and college students alike are likely to encounter classification essays at some stage in their education. They are commonly assigned in order to help tutors evaluate a student’s ability to categorize data based on certain properties. It can seem like a daunting prospect if you have never approached this type of assignment, but once you learn how to write a classification essay you will come to realize that it really isn’t so bad after all.

Let’s take a look at some of the tips and tricks you can use to properly structure a classification essay.

What is a Classification Essay

If you are going to learn how to write a classification essay, then you will first need to understand what it actually is! The easiest way to explain a classification essay is that it is a formal piece of writing designed to showcase your skills in categorizing and generalization.

You will be required to organize things into groups and offer up examples that fit into each. It is up to you to decide on the criteria for classification, but you must be able to explain your reasoning.

How to Structure Your Classification Essay

One of the first things to think about when learning how to write a classification essay is the structure. For the purpose of this guide we will go with the popular ‘five paragraphs’ method, but when you come to actually write your assignment you can add in additional paragraphs as appropriate.

  • Introductory Paragraph – As with any type of essay, your starting point is the introduction. You will want to clearly identify your subject, so explain what you are going to be categorizing. It is also a good idea to offer readers an explanation of the purpose of your essay. Why are you categorizing these items? Finally, you will want to close your introduction with your thesis statement. This will identify your groups and perhaps offer a brief explanation of the criteria for each of them.
  • Body Paragraphs – The body of your essay will be 3 or more paragraphs. Each paragraph should deal with a different category. Start by explaining the criteria for each of them and perhaps discuss the strengths or weaknesses. You should also offer relevant examples. Depending on the length of your paragraphs you may wish to break them down into shorter ones. This is fine, but you will need to make sure you have clear transitions when moving to a new category.
  • Conclusion – The final paragraph is where you will pull together the various categories that you have examined in the body of your classification essay. It is usual to offer a brief summary on each of them. Depending on the subject matter, you may also decide to recommend the particular one over the others, but if you do so make sure you emphasize why you have come to that conclusion.

Structure Classification Essay

Planning How to Write a Classification Essay

Now that you have a grasp of how your essay is going to be structured, it is time to sit down and plan how to write a classification essay. This is not the type of assignment where you can just sit down and start writing a first draft without a clear plan of action.

There is some initial planning that has to be done in order to produce a coherent classification essay. Here are a few of the essential planning steps you will need to consider:

Brainstorming Ideas

If you haven’t been allocated a topic then your first step is going to be to brainstorm a few potential ideas. You need to settle on a group of people, things or ideas that can be logically divided up and brought together into groups. You will want to come up with something that has definite categories to allow for comparison, but you will also want to avoid topics with too many categories.

As a general rule of thumb, you should aim for 3 to 5 categories depending on the word count requirement of your assignment. This would be enough to make comparisons, but not so many that you can’t go into depth with your criteria for classification.

Choosing Your Categories

Once you have your topic chosen, you will need to think about what categories they will be split into. Some topics may have multiple options, so you will need to decide which angle you are approaching it from.

For example, if it is about a group of people, would you sort them by age, appearance, job or something else entirely. Each of your categories should have a single basis of classification.

Getting Things in Order

It is important to consider which order you are going to place the categories in when it comes to discussing them. It can be helpful to make bullet point notes on points you wish to discuss for each category as this may highlight similarities which will help you to write linking sentences and transitions to make your essay flow smoothly.

It is good to refer back to previously discussed paragraphs for comparison, so it makes sense to order categories in a way that best suits this approach. Within each discussion itself you will also want to order your points appropriately. A common choice is to go from most important to least important or vice versa.

Develop a Thesis

Your thesis is going to form part of your introductory paragraph and it will shape the entire approach of your essay. It is important to develop this at an early stage as it can help keep your writing on track. Start off by stating what you are dividing into classes, list the different categories and explain what properties or criteria are used to classify them.

Your thesis may also explain the purpose of classifying these items or ideas. Are you going to determine if one group is superior? Start with a basic thesis statement to guide you, but be aware that you may have to refine it as your essay begins to take shape.

Only once you have gone through these initial pre-planning steps are you ready to crack on with actually writing your classification essay. Don’t expect to knock it out in one sitting, you will likely need several drafts to get it right and your plans may change slightly along the way.

General Tips for How to Write a Classification Essay

So, now that you have the structure down and have come up with a plan of how to approach your essay it is time to get started. Here are a few quick tips that will also help with how to write a classification essay.

  • Make sure you describe or define each of your categories. Start by making a list of their main characteristics and then discuss them.
  • You will need to provide several illustrative examples. Look for examples which offer a typical representation of the class. Have an equal number of examples in each of them.
  • Use the comparison and contrast technique you will have developed in other essay formats to point out the various similarities or differences between each of your categories.

These are just a few guidelines to help you get started with how to write a classification essay. The key to succeeding with this type of assignment certainly comes down to preparation. Spend time planning your essay and figuring out your categories and you will find that the rest of the assignment falls into place much more easily.

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Classification Essay

Caleb S.

Classification Essay - Outline, Topics & Writing Tips

Published on: Jan 2, 2022

Last updated on: Jul 21, 2023

Classification Essay

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Most high school and college students are often assigned to write a classification essay at some point in their academic life. Teachers assign this task to evaluate the student’s skills to categorize things. It can be a daunting task, but with the help of basic techniques, you can make the writing process easier.

Here are a few tips and guidelines that you can use to structure your classification essays properly. You have to plan your essay and figure out the categories beforehand to complete this assignment easily.

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Classification Essay Definition

A classification essay is a formal piece of writing used to evaluate your categorizing and generalization skills. It mainly aims to arrange various subjects and objects with similar characteristics.

For this, a writer needs to categorize and classify things into different groups and mention examples that fit into each. Similarly, you are also required to follow a single categorizing approach throughout the content. However, it is up to you to decide on criteria for classification to explain the reasoning and logic.

The entire process of classification essay writing is not very different from any other type of essay. Like other academic papers, the principles of essay writing remain the same, but it requires extensive research and analysis.

How to Start a Classification Essay?

Here are some important steps that you should follow to start a classification essay.

Most professors assign you a specific topic to write your classification essay. If you are not assigned, brainstorm different ideas and come up with an engaging topic. Decide on a group of things that can be logically divided into groups. Also, come up with something that has definitive categories for comparison.

After choosing a topic, decide on classification criteria. Think about all the possible categories in which the topic can split up. Some topic ideas have several options; thus, you will have to determine the exact angle to approach the essay’s theme. Furthermore, make sure that none of the categories is overlapping.

A  thesis statement  is the main argument of the writer on the topic. It is the stance that supports your entire essay, including the main body. Therefore, it is important to draft a strong statement. Also, use examples and evidence to make your essay effective and persuasive.

The next step is to conduct thorough research to gather interesting information for the audience. However, make sure to collect data from credible and authentic sources. It will further strengthen the content of your essay by making it more convincing and logical.

After collecting relevant information, you are now required to structure and organize it properly. Thus, write down the main ideas and present a logical connection between them. Eliminate unnecessary ideas if there are any.

Check out the following template outline that you can use for your division and classification essay.

  • Introductory paragraph - (A hook statement and thesis)
  • Body paragraph 1/Category number 1
  • Body paragraph 2/Category number 2
  • Body paragraph 3/Category number 3

How to Write a Classification Essay?

After planning out the basic structure, start the writing process. Follow the below-given steps to write a perfect classification essay.

The introduction is the first and the most important section of the classification essay. Here, you have to identify the subject and mention the objects to be categorized.

State an interesting hook statement to make your introduction appealing. Such as strong opening line will grab the reader’s attention towards the essay. After this, provide the purpose of the essay and explain the reason for categorizing the items.

Lastly, write a strong thesis statement to highlight the subject matter in the discussion. Develop this statement early during the writing process as it will help the writer stay in the right direction.

The body section of the classification essay comprises three or more paragraphs depending on the categories. All the paragraph provides relevant information, examples, and evidence to justify the thesis statement. Also, start each paragraph with a topic sentence.

The right approach is to discuss the most important category in the last paragraph. Use classification essay transition words to ensure that the data flows logically from one paragraph to another.

The following are some common transition phrases. Apply them each time you arrange things into groups and provide examples related to each class.

  • The 1st kind, the 2nd kind, the 3rd kind
  • The 1st group, the 2nd group, the 3rd group
  • The 1st category, the 2nd category, the 3rd category

It is the last section of a classification essay where you put together all the categories mentioned in the main body. Here, a writer will summarize all the central arguments and restate the thesis statement.

Also, mention the various types and approaches that you have examined in your classification essay. Recommend the particular one over the others, depending on the subject matter. However, make sure to emphasize why you have come to that conclusion.

The first draft of your classification essay is full of mistakes, but you can fix it up by editing and revising. For this, read your essay twice or thrice and ensure that it includes all the important points highlighted in the outline.

Eliminate all the language, punctuation, and spelling mistakes to give it a professional look. Similarly, get rid of all the unnecessary and overly complex words and phrases before the final submission.

Classification Essay Examples

Have a look at the following classification essay examples to understand writing a good one in no time.

Classification Essay Sample

Classification Essay Example About Students

Classification Essay About Food

Classification Essay Topics

Not all ideas can be good topics. Here we have mentioned some of the best topics for a classification essay divided into several categories. It will help you choose a unique one for your essay.

  • Olympic games
  • Different genres of modern music
  • Rare species of animals
  • Types of dogs
  • Ways to treat obesity
  • Types of human relationships
  • Common phobias
  • Psychological disorders
  • Movies about memory loss
  • Meals that may lead to diabetes

ips for Writing a Classification Essay

Keep in mind the expert tips given below while writing a good classification essay. It will make your essay stand out and draw the reader’s attention.

  • It is better to avoid choosing complex topics because extremely narrow or broad topics are hard to deal with.
  • Conduct extensive research to gather factual data for the essay.
  • Make sure to define and describe all the categories.
  • Provide authentic evidence and examples for each classified group. Make sure it offers a typical representation of the class.
  • Use credible sources of information.
  • Draft a perfect outline to organize the data properly.
  • Use a comparison and contrast technique to point out various similarities and differences between each category.
  • Proofread and revise your essay to make it perfect.

These are a few guidelines that will help you write an A-worthy classification essay. Planning out the assignment early and figuring out the categories is the key to success.

However, if you are still unsure about your research or writing skills, get quality help from our AI writing tool .

We provide the best essay writing services for your  college essay , research papers, and other types of academic assignments.

Similarly, highly qualified and experienced writers aim to deliver original and plagiarism-free content within the given deadline. Thus, contact us now and get a classification essay at affordable rates.

Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has extensive experience in writing and holds a Masters from Oxford University. He takes great satisfaction in helping students exceed their academic goals. Caleb always puts the needs of his clients first and is dedicated to providing quality service.

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How to Write a Classification Essay Easily

The classification essay is frequently assigned both in science and social studies. Maybe you had already written such sociology 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.

how to write a classification essay

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. Check out our topics for classification essay as well.

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:

  • Introduction.
  • Category 1.
  • Category 2.
  • Category 3.
  • Conclusion.

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 Essay 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.

how to write a thesis statement for a classification essay

You may also be interested in other classification essay examples .

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… different grouping… types of headings… category parts… 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’s time to create your own ideas and pay for help with term paper . We hope our advice will be at hand and we wish you luck. Live long and prosper!

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  • Classification Essay

What is a Classification Essay?

In a classification essay, a writer organizes, or sorts, things into categories.

Three Steps to Effective Classification:

  • Sort things into useful categories.
  • Make sure all the categories follow a single organizing principle.
  • Give examples that fit into each category.

Finding Categories

This is a key step in writing a classification essay. To classify, or sort, things in a logical way, find the categories to put them into. For example, say you need to sort the stack of papers on your desk. Before you would put them in random piles, you would decide what useful categories might be: papers that can be thrown away; papers that need immediate action; papers to read; papers to pass on to other coworkers; or papers to file.

Thesis Statement of a Classification Essay

The thesis statement usually includes the topic and how it is classified. Sometimes the categories are named.

(topic)...(how classified)...(category) (category) (category)

Ex: Tourists in Hawaii can enjoy three water sports: snorkeling, surfing, and sailing.

How to Write an Effective Classification Essay

  • Determine the categories. Be thorough; don't leave out a critical category. For example, if you say water sports of Hawaii include snorkeling and sailing, but leave out surfing, your essay would be incomplete because surfing is Hawaii's most famous water sport. On the other hand, don't include too many categories, which will blur your classification. For example, if your topic is sports shoes, and your organizing principle is activity, you wouldn't include high heels with running and bowling shoes.
  • Classify by a single principle. Once you have categories, make sure that they fit into the same organizing principle. The organizing principle is how you sort the groups. Do not allow a different principle to pop up unexpectedly. For example, if your unifying principle is "tourist-oriented" water sports, don't use another unifying principle, such as "native water sports," which would have different categories: pearl diving, outrigger, or canoe racing.
  • Support equally each category with examples. In general, you should write the same quantity, i.e., give the same number of examples, for each category. The most important category, usually reserved for last, might require more elaboration.

Common Classification Transitions

  • The first kind, the second kind, the third kind
  • The first type, the second type, the third type
  • The first group, the second group, the third group

Remember: In a classification essay, the writer organizes, or sorts, things into categories. There are three steps to remember when writing an effective classification essay: organize things into useful categories, use a single organizing principle, and give examples of things that fit into each category.

Below are some sample classification essay topics:

  • Classification of historical events in US
  • Countries classification (territory, popularity, etc)
  • Sport Cars Classification
  • Most Popular TV Shows in America
  • Classification of Physiological Diseases

You can choose essay topic for your classification essay you are familiar with.

write a essay on classification

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How to Develop and Organize a Classification Essay

Basic Approaches to Drafting a Five-Paragraph Essay

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Classification is a method of developing an essay by arranging people, objects, or ideas with shared characteristics into particular classes or groups. After you have settled on a topic for a classification essay * and explored it through various prewriting strategies, you should be ready to attempt a first draft . Here is how to develop and organize a five-paragraph classification essay .

Introductory Paragraph

In your introduction , clearly identify your subject — in this case, the group you are classifying. If you have narrowed your subject in any way (for example, types of bad drivers, rock guitarists, or annoying moviegoers), make this clear from the start.

You may also want to provide some specific descriptive or informative details to attract the interest of your readers and suggest the purpose of the essay .

Finally, include a thesis sentence (usually at the end of the introduction) that briefly identifies the main types or approaches that you're about to examine. 

Intro Paragraph Example: Baseball Fans

Here's an example of a short but effective introductory paragraph to a classification essay:

It's a warm evening in July, and all across the country Americans are gathering to watch a game of professional baseball. Armed with hot dogs and cold drinks, they stroll to their seats, some in grand stadiums, others in cozy minor-league parks. But no matter where the game is played, you will find the same three types of baseball fan: the Party Rooter, the Sunshine Supporter, and the Diehard Fan.

Notice how this introduction creates certain expectations. The specific details provide a setting (a ballpark on "a warm evening in July") in which we expect to see the various fans described. In addition, the labels assigned to these fans (the Party Rooter , the Sunshine Supporter , and the Diehard Fan ) lead us to expect descriptions of each type in the order they're given. A good writer will go on to fulfill these expectations in the body of the essay.

Body Paragraphs

Begin each body paragraph with a topic sentence that identifies a particular type of approach. Then  illustrate each type with specific details.

Arrange your body paragraphs in whatever order strikes you as clear and logical — say, from the least effective approach to the most effective, or from the most common type to the least familiar (or the other way around). Just make sure that the order of your body paragraphs matches the arrangement promised in your thesis sentence.

Body Paragraphs Example: Types of Fans

Here, in the body of the essay on baseball fans, you can see that the writer has fulfilled the expectations set up in the introduction. (In each body paragraph, the topic sentence is in italics.)

The Party Rooter goes to games for the hot dogs, the gimmicks, the giveaways, and the companionship; he's not really that interested in the ballgame itself. The Party Rooter is the sort of fan who shows up on Buck-a-Brew Night, often with a gang of fellow partiers. He cracks jokes, hurls peanuts at the team mascot, applauds the exploding scoreboard, blasts an electronic horn whenever he pleases—and occasionally nudges a companion and asks, "Hey, who's winning?" The Party Rooter often wanders out of the park in the sixth or seventh inning to continue his celebrations in the car on the way home. The Sunshine Supporter, usually a more common type than the Party Rooter, goes to the park to cheer on a winning team and bask in its glory. When the home side is on a winning streak and still in contention for a playoff spot, the stadium will be packed with this sort of fan. As long as her team is winning, the Sunshine Supporter will be roaring at every play, waving her pennant and shouting out the names of her heroes. However, as the name implies, the Sunshine Supporter is a fickle fan, and her cheers quickly turn to boos when a hero strikes out or drops a line drive. She will stay around until the end of the game to celebrate a victory, but should her team fall a few runs behind, she's likely to slip out to the parking lot during the seventh-inning stretch.​ Diehard Fans are also strong supporters of the local team, but they go to the park to watch good baseball, not just to root for a winner.  More attentive to the game than other fans, Diehards will study the stance of a power hitter, note the finesse of a quick fielder, and anticipate the strategy of a pitcher who has fallen behind in the count. While the Party Rooter is chugging a beer or dropping wisecracks, Diehards may be filling in a scorecard or commenting on a player's RBI tally over the past few months. And when a Sunshine Supporter boos an opposing player for tagging out a local hero, Diehards may be quietly applauding the expert moves of this "enemy" infielder. No matter what the score is, Diehard Fans remain in their seats until the last batter is out, and they may still be talking about the game long after it's over.​

Comparisons Ensure Cohesion

Notice how the writer uses comparisons to ensure cohesion in the body of the essay. The topic sentence in both the second and third paragraphs refers to the preceding paragraph. Likewise, in the third body paragraph, the writer draws explicit contrasts between the Diehards and the other two types of baseball fans.

Such comparisons not only provide smooth transitions from one paragraph to the next but also reveal the sympathies of the writer. He begins with the type of fan he likes the least and ends with the one he most admires. We now expect the writer to justify his attitudes in the conclusion.

Concluding Paragraph

The concluding paragraph gives you an opportunity to draw together the various types and approaches you have been examining in the body of the essay. You may choose to offer a final brief comment on each one, summarizing its value or its limitations. Or you may want to recommend one approach over the others and explain why. In any case, make sure that your conclusion clearly emphasizes the purpose of your classification.

Concluding Paragraph: Only the Diehard Fans Remain

In the concluding paragraph to "Baseball Fans," consider whether the author has been successful in his effort to tie his observations together.

Professional baseball would have trouble surviving without all three types of fans. The Party Rooters provide much of the money that owners need to hire talented players. The Sunshine Supporters bring a stadium to life and help boost the morale of the home team. But only the Diehard Fans maintain their support all season long, year in and year out. By late September in most ballparks, enduring chilly winds, rain delays, and sometimes humiliating losses, only the Diehards remain.

Connecting the Conclusion to the Introduction

Notice how the writer hooks his conclusion back to the introduction by contrasting the chilly night in September with the warm evening in July. Connections such as this help to unify an essay and give it a sense of completeness.

As you develop and organize your draft , experiment with various strategies, but keep this basic format in mind: an introduction that identifies your subject and the different types of approaches; three (or more) body paragraphs that rely on specific details to describe or illustrate the types; and a conclusion that draws your points together and makes the overall purpose of the classification clear.

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To classify means to divide something into groups or categories. The classification is normally made according to one or more criteria. It is often necessary in academic English to classify something you are writing about in order to make comparisons and draw conclusions. This could be done in one or two sentences, a paragraph, or even a whole essay. This page gives information about how to classify , language for classification , and essay structure (if the classification is used for a whole essay).

How to classify

When classifying something, it is important to understand what criterion (or criteria , if there is more than one) that you are using to divide the thing into different groups. There may be more than one way to classify, and you will need to choose the criteria which make most sense for what you are writing about. For example, if you were to classify students in a university class, they could be divided according to any of the following criteria:

  • nationality
  • favourite colour

Classifying according to gender would divide the students into 'male' and 'female'. Dividing according to age is more complex, as you may need to specify age ranges, for example 'between 18 and 21', 'between 22 and 25', etc.

Language for classifying

The language used for classifying depends on whether you are describing the criterion or the result of applying the criterion. Compare the following examples.

  • The students in the class can be classified according to gender. [ criterion ]
  • The students in the class can be classified into male and female. [ result ]

The phrase 'according to' shows that you are talking about the criterion, while the word 'into' shows you are talking about the result. The following are further examples of language for classification using a criterion.

  • The students in the class may be classified on the basis of gender. [ criterion ]
  • The students in the class can be classified depending on gender. [ criterion ]

The following are further examples of language for classification showing the result.

  • Economics consists of two kinds: micro-economics and macro-economics. [ result ]
  • Economics consists of micro-economics and macro-economics. [ result ]
  • Economics comprises micro-economics and macro-economics. [ result ]

It may be necessary to classify when there is no name for the criterion you are using. For example, you may wish to divide a group into Asian and non-Asian students, but there is no category 'Asian-ness' which you can use as your criterion. In this case, you can use the construction 'according to whether... or not' to define the criterion. The language for stating the result is the same. See the following examples:

  • The students in the class can be classified according to whether they are Asian or not . [ criterion ]
  • The students in the class can be classified into Asian and non-Asian. [ result ]

Finally, it may be necessary to sub-divide, that is, to divide something which has already been divided. In this case, use 'sub-divided' for the second classification, and 'further sub-divided' for the next. See this example:

  • The students in the class can be classified according to gender. They can be sub-divided according to whether they are Asian or not . They can be further sub-divided according to age, into those who are below 25 years of age and those who are above 25.

According to this classification, we will end up with eight groups: Asian males under 25, Asian males over 25, non-Asian males under 25, etc. This is summarised in the following diagram.


There are two main ways to structure a classification essay. The first way, shown in the diagram below (left), is when a single criterion (or single way of categorising) is used, resulting in distinct categories. The purpose of this type of structure is to show understanding of the categories, or justify the method of classification, by giving the categories and describing their characteristics. Sometimes the categories may be sub-divided into sub-categories, which may be listed or described. For the single-criterion classification essay, the criterion (if there is one) should be given in the general background of the introduction, and the thesis statement should list the categories which will be described in the main body. Each body paragraph will usually describe one category in detail.

The second way, shown in the diagram below (right), is when multiple criteria are used to classify the topic in different ways. The purpose of this type of classification is to show understanding of how the topic can be categorised, or justify the criteria for classification, by giving the criteria and showing examples of groupings using these criteria. For the multiple-criteria classification essay, the thesis statement should list the criteria which are described in the main body. Each body paragraph will usually describe the criteria and the groups it leads to. Depending on the level of detail, the examples might be broken down into separate paragraphs.

The two types of structure are shown in the diagram below.

Academic Writing Genres


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Below is a checklist for classification. Use it to check your own writing, or get a peer (another student) to help you.

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Author: Sheldon Smith    ‖    Last modified: 31 October 2019.

Sheldon Smith is the founder and editor of He has been teaching English for Academic Purposes since 2004. Find out more about him in the about section and connect with him on Twitter , Facebook and LinkedIn .

Compare & contrast essays examine the similarities of two or more objects, and the differences.

Cause & effect essays consider the reasons (or causes) for something, then discuss the results (or effects).

Discussion essays require you to examine both sides of a situation and to conclude by saying which side you favour.

Problem-solution essays are a sub-type of SPSE essays (Situation, Problem, Solution, Evaluation).

Transition signals are useful in achieving good cohesion and coherence in your writing.

Reporting verbs are used to link your in-text citations to the information cited.


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