Writing a Classification Essay

Table of contents

What is a Classification Essay

What is a classification essay? Some parents are permissive. Some parents are authoritative. Still, other parents are authoritarian. Each parenting style gets different results, and the choice parents make can impact their relationship with their children as they become adults. This makes parenting a good choice for writing a classification essay. This is an essay where people, concepts, events, and things are sorted into predetermined categories.

How to Write a Classification Essay

A classification essay can be assigned to any class. They aren’t the most common essay type. In fact, you may not encounter one of these assignments at all. Still, it’s good to be prepared. In this piece, we’ll go over all of the important steps required to write a classification essay. This includes topic selection, writing your classification essay outline, writing your rough draft, and finishing your final draft. We will close with some other writing tips. If you follow the guidelines we’ve laid out here, you should be able to write a classification paper fairly easily.

Defining Categories For Your Essay

The first thing that you have to do is create your different classifications, and to define those. It’s important that you are consistent in the criteria that you use, and that your criteria are clear. Remember that it doesn’t matter if another writer would choose different criteria. What matters is that yours are well defined. 

Here are some ideas for sorting things:

  • Observe how similar objects are used differently.
  • Observe how people with similar interests approach those interests differently.
  • Look for categories according to personality traits.
  • Look for similarities based on physical traits.

Consider making a simple list of things that interest you. Next, think about how you can create categories within each subject.

For example, if you have a favorite television show, you could research online to learn more about the different people who watch the show as well. You may notice that there are ‘shippers’ who only care about a particular pair of characters. There may also be ‘spoilers’ who run to social media at the end of every episode to blab about the plot. Another group of fans might be the ‘newbies’ who just started watching, and have constant questions about the backstory and characters.

Classification Essay Topic Ideas

Here are some good classification essay topics:

  • Animated Television Shows
  • Movie Theater Patrons
  • Weight Loss Plans
  • Online Daters
  • Styles of Dance
  • Extracurricular Activities at School
  • Christmas Gifts
  • Ways to Stop a Bad Habit
  • Coworkers
  • Friends
  • Sandwiches
  • Restaurants
  • Teaching Styles
  • Coaching Styles
  • Political Views
  • Sibling Relationships
  • Late Night Snackers
  • Television Advertising
  • Charitable Giving

This classification essay topics list shows just a few of your options. As you can see, the possibilities range from simple topics that you can define off the top of your head, to serious and complex topics that would require research.

Crafting an Essay infographic

Writing a Classification Essay

Classification Essay Research

Depending on the nature of your essay topic, you may need to do some research. For example, if you selected parenting styles, you might read up on those. It would be important to have a clear definition of each. 

In any case, you will also need to write out the different characteristics that each item will need to fall into the classifications you’ve created. A spreadsheet will work well for this. If you are more of a visual or tactile learner, try graph paper, a whiteboard, or a bullet journal.

Classification Essay Structure

Writing Your Thesis Statement

When you write your paper, your introductory paper will lead up to your thesis statement. This will clearly state the topic along with the classifications you have created. For example, ‘Parents may borrow from each style, but most parents fall into one of three categories: permissive, authoritative, and authoritarian.

Classification Essay Outline

Nearly every good essay will begin with an outline. An outline will help you to organize your thoughts, and determine how you will present each of your classifications. Here’s a brief example of a classification essay example.

  1. Introduction: There Are Three Parenting Styles
    1. Hook: Everyone is responsible for the type of adult they become, but your parents play a major role in that. 
    2. What type of parents were yours? What type of parent will you be?
    3. There are three types of parenting styles, authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive.
  2. Authoritarian parenting focuses on rules and punishment
    1. Examples of authoritarian parenting.
    2. Statistics on the impact of authoritarian parenting.
  3. Permissive parenting focuses on making the child happy and comfortable
    1. Examples of permissive parenting.
    2. Statistics on the impact of permissive parenting.
  4. Authoritative parenting focuses on helping kids make better choices
    1. Examples of authoritative parenting.
    2. Statistics on the impact of permissive parenting
  5. Conclusion

In this outline, you can use parenting examples to classify different parenting behaviors. You could even find some real-life examples. Perhaps you could find a good or bad parenting story from the news that you think exemplifies each parenting style.

Classification Essay Rough Draft

Your outline is a great starting point. The next step is to turn that outline into the beginnings of a classification essay. The first thing to do is create a rough draft. Just like you imagine, you’ll be turning the outline into a rough draft by creating paragraphs, sentences, and a powerful introduction and conclusion. 

You may follow a standard three paragraph structure. However, you don’t have to. For example, you could use the first body paragraph to get deeper into the definition of each of your categories. Then follow up with one body paragraph for each. You could also write two or more paragraphs for each of your classifications.

Here you should focus on backing up your points, making good use of your sources, and transitioning easily from one point to the next. Remember that your body paragraphs should have a clear, main idea sentence.

Classification Essay Final Draft

Once it’s time to write your final draft, most of the hard work should be done. Now, focus on polishing things. Fix any spelling and grammar mistakes. Go back to your assignment, and make sure you have followed all of the instructions. Check your word count, and your citations. With a bit of work, your paper should be absolutely ready to turn in.

Best classification paper topics

  • Animated Television Shows
  • Weight Loss Plans
  • Online Daters
  • Christmas Gifts
  • Late Night Snackers
Send topics by mail?

Additional Classification Essay Writing Tips

Here are some additional tips you should follow when writing your classification essay.

  • Avoid stereotyping or slamming any groups of people. You could offend the person grading your paper.
  • Focus on one set of classifications, and don’t add new classifications as you go.
  • Run your classifications by someone else to get a second opinion.
  • Make sure your classifications are relevant to your course.
  • Clearly define your criteria to your audience.
  • Find and use interesting examples of each classification.
  • Use anecdotes to help your audience understand.
  • Back any statements you make with data.
  • Only use academic sources to support your points.
  • Double check your citation format. Be certain that you are adhering to the criteria.


Do You Still Need Help?

We created this guide to provide students with a step by step format to follow along with some examples. We understand that you may need additional assistance on top of this. If that is the case, we are always here to help. Do not hesitate to contact us with additional questions, or to check out our other writing tools. Our experts are available to you 24/7.

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