Willing to write a winning classification essay that will catch the attention of your professor? Here on myeasypaper.com, you will find answers to all your questions about this type of essay and all the tips for getting an A. We have also prepared a free outline to follow — make sure to check it out at the end of the post. 


What is a Classification Essay?

 It is a type of essay that categorizes specific phenomena. You can classify anything - from sports types to the dishes in your favorite restaurant. What is important is to have clear criteria for categorizing. 


Why do we need to write this essay? It develops basic writing skills that you will need in almost any type of writing, including organizational skills, ability to categorize, and knowing how to order things. 


How to Write a Classification Essay: Steps that Will Help Every Student


Here are some useful steps you may take while writing a classification essay. 


  • First, come up with ideas of categories that you feel interested in writing about. For instance, if you are a bookworm, you would be glad to write about major literature genres. However, you should make sure that the phenomenon you choose can be categorized into 3-5 categories as you will have to describe each category. If you are not able to choose such a phenomenon, you can group the categories using different criteria. 


  • Secondly, choose a criterion for categorization. You can classify books by genre, main themes, time of writing, and even authors. The same can be done with any phenomenon. Dogs can be classified by their size, behavior, nature, etc. 


  • The third step will be creating an order of your categories. Try to make it logical. You can use chronological order or go from smaller to bigger if you are talking about sizes or importance. 


  • Then, you can develop a thesis statement for your paper. Enumerate the categories that you will describe in the essay. We have already written about how to write a strong thesis statement here. 


  • Finally, we suggest writing an outline for the essay. It will help you to see if your paper will be properly organized in terms of essay parts, order of categories, and description of them. You can find a sample of the outline below.


How to Start a Classification Essay

As usual, you will have an introduction here. What you need to write in the introduction is what you will categorize and why. Make sure to enumerate all the categories and state why you have used them. Don't forget to include a thesis statement here: as you don’t have any specific argument that you can present, you can mention your categories in it. 


Body Paragraphs of a Classification Essay

Each body paragraph in your paper will refer to a specific category. Paragraph 1 will explain category A and paragraph 2 will explain category B. You might explain your criteria here and give details about each category with examples. It would be a great idea to keep the same structure for each paragraph (as we have said before) and make them of the same length. In such a way, the structure of the paper will be perfect.


As for examples, for the vividness of the text, we advise using at least one example per each category. You can use personal experience for that; however, make sure that your examples are understandable and universal. When using examples from other sources, such as TV shows, real life, or books, make sure that they are popular enough to be recognized by the majority of your audience. 


Classification Essay Conclusion: Things to Know

Finally, in conclusion, briefly summarize each category. You may also choose one over the rest: for instance, if you are categorizing electric car manufacturers, you can state in conclusion why a specific producer should be chosen. However, make sure that you are not adding new arguments here — summarize what you have stated before. Finally, you can also state why your classification is significant — the well-known “so what?” question helps to create a perfect conclusion. 


How to Choose a Classification Essay Topic: How to Create Categories

It may seem difficult to choose suitable categories for the paper. For this reason, we have prepared a list of classification types. It would be easier for you to formulate a topic after viewing this list. 

  • Chronology: categories are built according to time periods. 
  • Features: paragraphs are created as per the characteristics of an object or a subject.
  • Parts: each paragraph refers to a specific part of an object/subject.
  • Types: different types are examined. 
  • Degree: essay is built based on a gradation from lower to higher/weaker to stronger etc. 


You can check the list of topics in a separate article here. 


Useful Tips for Writing a Classification Paper

Finally, let's talk about useful tips. 


  • First, don’t choose complex topics with lots of categories and parameters for choice. It will be too difficult to handle them in one essay. You will need at least one paragraph for each category, so the more categories you have the more paragraphs you will have to write, not to mention the need to set a connection between all these categories. 


  • Make sure to use specific criteria while defining categories. It would be strange to write about black dogs, huskies, and aggressive dogs. Your categories should have something in common — and that should be criteria.  


  • Describe your categories in the same way. Try to maintain the same order and the same length of paragraphs. For instance, you can write one sentence with a description, two sentences about benefits, two sentences about negative sides, and a sentence with an example. Don’t forget to add a concluding sentence for each paragraph. 


  • Use comparison and contrast tools to keep your categories connected. Readers will understand categories better if you explain how they are connected. You can write what they have in common or — which would be more convenient for you — highlight their differences. 


  • Don't forget to do some research while preparing the essay. The majority of classification essays have simple topics. However, you will save a lot of time if you do preliminary research. It will help you choose valid points for comparison and add valuable examples. 


Classification Outline Sample: Types of Friends


I. Introduction

  • What will be classified: Everyone had at least one friend in their life; those who had a few know that friends can be different. Therefore, in this paper, I will attempt to classify friends. 
  • Criteria: I will classify types of friends based on my personal experience.
  • Thesis statement: Based on their attitude to friendship, people can be divided into supporters, egoists, activity friends, and friends by circumstances.


II. Body

Category One: Supporting friends

A. Supporting friends are those who are ready to be there for you regardless of the situation. 

B. This type of friends treats friendship seriously, so they will not let you down if it is possible. 

C. Great example is Ron from Harry Potter: he is shy and silent, but will sacrifice everything for his friends. 


Category Two: Egoists

A. Unlike supporting friends, egoists do not like to listen — they speak instead.

B. Such people can be in good relationships with supporting friends; however, to other people they will seem too self-centered. 

C. I highly doubt someone would be glad to have such a friend as Tony Stark from Iron Men.


Category Three: Activity friends

A. Such friends are great to spend an evening with: they will meet you at any time and any place.

B. At the same time, they are too busy to support you during other moments of your life, so it would be difficult to see them as godparents of your child.

C. Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother is a perfect example of such a person. 


Category Four: Friends by Circumstances 

A. Parents of your child’s peers or people that you meet every day on your dancing classes can be perfect friends by circumstances.

B. They have a perfect benefit: you already have something in common with them, so there is always something to discuss. 

C. At the same time, such friendship is temporary; in addition, you might not wish to make things too personal. 



A. Four categories described above have specific traits: supporting friends will always listen to you, egoists will always keep your conversation interesting but may be too annoying; activity friends are fun but may be not serious enough, while friendship with those by circumstances may be convenient but temporary.

B. Still, any friend is a good friend as any type of relationship can bring valuable lessons. 



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