Published 13 Jun 2022

How to Write a Classification Essay

Master the skill of composing a structured classification essay with our expert guidance and essential insights on categorizing and organizing your thoughts.
3 min read

a giel is writing

At the high school and university levels, a classification essay is a typical assignment. It essentially divides objects, concepts, people, and other subjects into distinct groups based on a set of shared qualities. Writing one is a research-intensive procedure that can be difficult for pupils who have never written a classification essay before. Even students who have written classification essays before find it hard to come up with a topic to write about.

This tutorial is intended to assist students of all levels in comprehending the steps involved in producing a solid classification essay. This contains advice on how to conduct research as well as how to structure a good essay that will please both instructors and students.

A Classification Essay: Researching and Planning

A successful classification essay requires extensive research and planning. It’s not the kind of essay where you sit down and wait for inspiration. Breaking down the research and planning into steps that lead to and assist the writing process is beneficial.

Ideas for Brainstorming

If your instructor hasn’t given you a concept, you’ll need to put in extra time thinking potential ideas. This could be a collection of people who have common connections, artifacts, or thoughts that can be logically allocated to a group theme. It aids in the development of distinct categories that aid in comparisons during this process. At the same time, you should stay away from topics that have too many subcategories. It’s ideal to stick to 3 – 5 common categories, which should be enough to create comparisons without overwhelming the topic.

Choosing the Categories

Once you’ve decided on a broad topic, you’ll need to consider how those categories might be separated. You may need to come up with an approach that highlights a curious pattern or defining quality for particular themes. You could sort a group of persons by age, looks, or political platform, for example, in the case of US Presidents.

Organizing, Prioritizing, and Dividing

It can be difficult to organize all of the material you’ve acquired, but it’s an important step in creating a great classification essay. It aids in the establishment of priorities and the subsequent classification of the categories from strongest to weakest. This may also come in handy when it’s time to write your thesis.

You should have a good idea of how you want to divide your chosen subjects inside your topic at this stage. You could choose FDR, Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Theodore Roosevelt as the most influential presidents of the twentieth century if this is your topic. You can then categorize them based on their achievements, time in office, or political party. The purpose of these categories is to highlight the important similarities and differences between each subject.

Creating a Thesis

Your introduction paragraph’s thesis statement will serve as a driving factor throughout your classification essay. It will have a significant impact on the overall tone of your essay. Developing your thesis statement throughout the research phase is generally beneficial. This can be used as a guide to help you focus your research and writing as you go.

When you’re preparing your thesis, start by explaining what you’re categorizing and making a list of the distinct categories. To pique the reader’s attention, you might then describe what traits or criteria are utilized to classify them. The thesis statement can also be used to clarify why certain items or ideas are being classified.

As you continue to research and prepare for your paper, you may discover that you need to revise your thesis statement. This is entirely understood, and it’s one of the reasons why thesis generation is part of the classification essay prewriting process.

Writing Process

When writing a classification essay, a detailed approach to the conventional five-paragraph structure employed in many traditional essays is beneficial. This consists of an introduction with a thesis statement, three body paragraphs, and a strong conclusion that refers back to the original thesis statement.


A compelling thesis that highlights the topic matter should be included at the opening of a classification essay. This is where you describe the classification or categorization process as well as the essay’s overarching goal. The thesis statement, which should be no more than one or two words long, should be the final step. It should also set the tone for the first three paragraphs of your body.

Main Paragraphs

Each of your body paragraphs will focus on one of your categories’ subjects. Each will explain how the subject fulfills the criteria, as well as its strengths and weaknesses, as well as the distinction that distinguishes it from the other subjects in the category. If at all feasible, use real-life instances. Make a point of citing all of your sources.


The classification essay’s conclusion should provide a brief description of each subject or category. Then you should create a clear distinction between a preference for one over another or a special strength of event that distinguishes one subject from the others in the category.

Karen Palmer Karen Palmer
I am an only child (and not spoiled, really) who spent twelve years in Catholic schools and seven more off-and-on years in college, but my education largely took place at the Cahuenga Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. Decades later, not much has changed. I again live in L.A. and I still spend a lot of time at the library — if I had to choose between reading and eating, I’d be dead in a week.
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