A Guide to Writing a Classification Essay

A Guide to Writing a Classification Essay
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Classification essays are a common assignment among students who study social sciences and science. The chances are that you’ve already written such essays on sociology but just don’t know about that. If you need to write a classification essay, don’t panic and read this guide at college-writers.com blog.

First, let’s figure out what classification essays are.

What Is a Classification Essay?

Classification means dividing something into categories or types. For instance, orders in a pizza delivery can be classified as new, in process, waiting for a delivery, and delivered. A classification essay is a paper that focuses on classification, considering some things divided into categories according to a certain principle. Students need to sort and group their materials dedicated to a certain topic, selecting the right paragraphs. Classification assignments come in all shapes in sizes. For example, you might need to write a classification essay on the causes of World War I.

If you want to learn how to write such essays, check out the step-by-step guide below.


1. First, analyze your audience to determine the purpose of your essay. Is your audience familiar with the topic or do you need to provide some background information? Should you explain any terms?

2. Now start to brainstorm on your topic. Select an interesting topic and make sure that there’s is something you can categorize. Read the news, think about topics that you like, try freewriting, etc.

3. To write an essay, you need to collect the necessary information. Once you’ve got a topic selected, research it and make sure that you’re informed enough to select the right categories.

4. Divide your topic into categories to create a basis for your essay. The success of the entire essay will depend on the information you’re going to provide. Thus, make sure that you have enough information to describe each category in detail.

5. Write an outline. Think of how you will organize your text and choose the most effective way of organization. If you have no idea what structure your essay should have, we recommend that you just list your key points to see the overall picture. Get rid of the unnecessary points and arrange the remaining points logically. Usually, classification essays are organized chronologically, spatially, or by importance. Number your categories in a logical order so that the plan for your essay will look similar to this:

  • Introduction
  • 1st category
  • 2nd category
  • 3rd category
  • Conclusion

Writing Steps for Classification Essays

1. Start by writing an interesting title. Your title should directly refer to the subject or state it.

2. Now write the introduction. Explain the purpose of classification and tell your readers why your essay is useful or important. Your introduction should also have its main part, which is your thesis statement.

To write a thesis statement, introduce your subject and determine your point of view. After this, explain the organizing principle that you’re going to use and demonstrate, categorizing the information. The thesis statement must make it clear to your readers what is the meaning of your essay and what is the organizational structure that you use. Explain what your method is so that your readers can understand how you will categorize items in the body of the essay.

We recommend that you start your thesis statement with a topic, and then describe your organizing method, as well as the categories.

3. Now it’s time to write the body paragraphs. To do this, you should understand the structure of a classification paragraph. Most often, such paragraphs have two parts: the topic sentence and the classification basis. Make sure to follow a logical order in every paragraph, moving from the least important information to the most important, from the cheapest items to the most expensive, etc.

You might list different categories in one paragraph or write one paragraph for each category. When writing everything in the same paragraph, make sure to use numbered lists so that your text will be easier to comprehend. Similarly, you should select one category for each paragraph when using a multiple paragraph structure. For instance, you can categorize books in your library as follows:

  • The first paragraph is about prose;
  • The second paragraph is about poetry;
  • The third paragraph is about nonfiction;
  • The fourth paragraph is about drama.

Begin each paragraph with a topic sentence, focusing on the meaning of a certain classification. Make sure to explain every category and support it with examples. Keep in mind that some items from your list may belong to more than one category.

4. Once you’ve got the body of your classification essay done, write a conclusion. It should naturally complement the last body paragraph, moving to a summary of the ideas from the body. You should also restate the thesis statement and express your own opinion on the topic. Explain why categorization is important.


1. When your draft is ready, you should revise it and check the overall structure, coherence, and logic. Your essay should be easy to read. Different sections should content transitions, with your thoughts following each other naturally.

2. You should also proofread your text, looking for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and structure mistakes. Fix as many mistakes as you can to make sure that your writing is logical and interesting.

3. Ask your friends or parents to proofread your essay. However, the best approach is to order professional proofreading and editing on College-Writers.com.

A Checklist for a Classification Essay

  • Did you only use one principle of organization?
  • Do your categories actually serve their purpose?
  • Did you list all the categories in the thesis statement?
  • Are the body paragraphs well-organized and complete?
  • Did you define your categories clearly or they are easy to confuse?
  • Did you use transitions between paragraphs?
  • Did you write the body paragraphs in the right order?
  • Are your points clear and specific?
  • Did you support the categories with examples?
  • Did you explain the purpose of your categories in the conclusion?

Useful Tips

  • One of the most difficult tasks is to write a good thesis statement. Usually, a thesis statement explains a topic and the way the author is going to classify it. You might want to list all of the categories or you can just explain the classification principle. For example, you may write “There are three most common categories of jobs in Florida: a, b, c…” This way, your audience will quickly understand what you’re going to discuss.
  • Use transitions to make your text easier to read. Here are a few most common transitions: lastly, initially, in regard to, subsequently, etc.
  • Some students think that writing a lot of text can make their essay better. Another common mistake is to use too many elements. We recommend that you choose fewer elements but consider them in detail instead of writing about as many items as you can but saying a little about each one of them.
  • Don’t mix different classification criteria. It will only confuse your readers so they will need to read the same section, again and again, trying to figure out how you classified certain elements.
  • Announce the next categories to help your readers stay focused on each particular category.
  • To make sure that you have a good topic, prewrite before choosing it. Think of the purpose of the classification and try to come up with several examples.


We decided to provide you with a list of common phrases that will help you write transitions between different paragraphs. Such phrases will help your readers focus their attention on a certain idea and they will also make your writing more clear and logical.

  • can be divided…
  • kinds of sections…
  • can be classified…
  • on this kind…
  • types of headings…
  • the last type…
  • can be categorized…
  • category parts…
  • one of the classes…
  • different grouping…
  • the last type…
  • in the same branch…
  • a final subdivision…
  • a first/second/third element…
  • one of the partitions…
  • the most important piece…

Now you know a lot about classification essays so don’t hesitate to write your own essay! We hope that these tips from College-Writers.com will help you create an outstanding paper that will bring you an A+!

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