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Classification Essay

Updated: Apr 19, 2016
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The Classification Essay generally requires the student to organize a particular item, subject, topic, term, etc., and break it down in several ways (therefore classifying it) into categories, and then expounding on what comprises each category.


The purpose of writing the Classification Essay is to see what characterizes a subject in order to better understand it as a whole.


Perhaps it’s best to have this example of a Classification Essay:


The three branches of the United States government – the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Branches – and explaining what those branches are comprised of, as well as their purposes, responsibilities and limitations.


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See also:


     Classification Essay Topics

     Infographics: Steps to Write a Classification Essay

     Free Classification Essay Sample




Steps to Write a Classification Essay

1) The Essay’s Content MUST be Appropriate to the Course


Once they understand the purpose of Classification Essay, the student can start considering ideas for their essay – as long as they remember that those ideas must be relevant to the information learned in the course; ultimately, the student is to classify a subject, topic, item, term, etc., that is pertinent to the course in which the assignment is given.


Though the Classification Essay assignment is mostly given in an English or writing composition course of some kind, it may be appropriately given in other courses, as well.


For example, a Government professor may have their students write a Classification Essay on the above example – the three branches of the United States government.


(Note: The topic that is being classified, like the above example, should be one that as a whole is broken down into several easily distinguishable sub-categories.)


2) Brainstorm, Then Outline the Essay


When brainstorming, and once they have chosen an item to classify, the student may want to first write down the number of ways the topic of their essay can be broken down.


In creating an outline, the student should keep in mind that the Classification Essay reads like other academic essays, in that it has a Thesis (the paper’s premise that is to be argued or maintained in the essay) and it follows the five-paragraph essay format – which includes:


An introductory paragraph easing the reader into the topic to be classified; it includes a Thesis Statement – which, in this case, explains that the item being examined can be classified into several categories, each one based on a set of shared characteristics and properties (this being the various ways the subject can be broken down, or classified).


• At least three body paragraphs supporting, evidencing, explaining and illustrating how the essay’s subject can be classified. Each body paragraph should illustrate one of the three or more categories that classify the overall subject of the essay, as well as the functions, properties and characteristics, etc., of those categories and why they are important to understanding the whole.


• Lastly, a conclusion paragraph tying the paper together and indicating the essay has come to a close; it rehashes what the essay sought to illustrate, ultimately finishing off its argument.


4) Write the Essay by Following the Outline


Using the outline as a guide, the student should write the paper the best they can, while illustrating the various classifications of the item being examined. It should be told in a confident, assertive tone, with enough evidence to support their Thesis.


5) Proofread, Edit and Submit for Evaluation


Once written, the essay should be void of improper grammar, misspellings and careless punctuation mistakes. Before submitting it for evaluation, the student should proofread and reread their essay to confirm that it makes a solid, well-defended argument – and that the subject of the essay can be broken down into various categories that help to provide a better understanding of the subject as a whole.



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