Caleb S.
Caleb S.

A Beginner’s Guide to Classification Essay + Examples, Topics, & Tips

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10 min read

Classification Essay

Have you ever tried organizing your wardrobe, and separating clothes by color or style to make your mornings smoother? Well, imagine doing the same with your thoughts and ideas.

This is what a classification essay does. It offers a way to understand a topic or idea by categorizing and classifying it.

This type of essay is assigned to evaluate students’ critical thinking skills and their ability to define and categorize things on a specific basis. 

In this guide, we will learn how to write a classification essay step by step. Plus, you will also get to read some good essay examples and interesting topics to write about. 

Let’s read on!

On This PageArrow Down

  • 1. What is a Classification Essay?
  • 2. How to Write a Classification Essay?
  • 3. Classification Essay Examples 
  • 4. Classification Essay Topics
  • 5. Tips for Writing an Effective Classification Essay

What is a Classification Essay?

A classification essay can be defined as an essay that aims to arrange its subjects in categories based on their characteristics. In other words, it's about grouping things together that share common traits.

For example, imagine you're at a library, and each book is a unique idea. The classification essay is your way of creating distinct shelves and arranging those books in an orderly fashion. It is a mixture of expository and analytical essays, as it seeks to establish, discuss, and analyze a subject’s properties and characteristics. 

Moreover, it is also related to definition essays. Things are defined by their characteristics and categories to which they belong, and so the boundaries between a classification and definition essays are often blurred.

How to Write a Classification Essay?

Here are the steps you need to follow to write an excellent classification essay.

Following are the steps that should be taken to start an impressive classification essay:

Step 1: Choose a Topic

The first crucial step is selecting a topic that provides an opportunity for useful classification. Whether it's types of movies, learning styles, or modes of transportation, your topic sets the stage for a well-organized exploration.

Here's how to navigate this crucial first step:

  • Breadth and Relevance: Select for a topic that is broad enough to offer multiple categories but specific enough to maintain focus. For instance, instead of "sports," consider "types of outdoor recreational activities."
  • Consider Your Audience: Think about who will be reading your essay. Tailor your topic to their interests and knowledge level. A topic that resonates with your audience ensures that your classifications have a meaningful impact.
  • Room for Exploration: Look for a topic with room for exploration. A good classification essay not only categorizes but also highlights nuances within each category. This adds depth to your writing and keeps your readers engaged.

Step 2: Conduct Research 

Now that you've chosen a compelling topic, it's time to delve into the world of research. Gather information to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the categories you plan to explore. With good research, you will have solid foundations for your classifications.

Here's how to gather the necessary information to enrich your classification essay:

  • Consult Reliable Sources: Start by consulting reputable sources such as books, academic journals, and credible websites. The information you gather should be accurate and up-to-date.
  • Diversify Your Sources: Get a well-rounded understanding by exploring a variety of sources. The more perspectives you study, the more comprehensive your classifications will be.
  • Take Detailed Notes: As you conduct your research, take detailed notes on relevant information, examples, and any noteworthy details. This will help in outlining and drafting your essay later.
  • Stay Organized: Keep your research organized. A systematic approach will save you time when you start outlining your essay.

Step 3: Brainstorm Ideas About Your Subject

To start writing a classification essay, it is important to first decide on a clear and specific criteria for classification. With credible information in hand, let your creativity flow. 

Jot down all the possible categories related to your chosen topic. This brainstorming phase is about exploring various angles and finding the most meaningful ways to categorize your subject matter.

This essay’s purpose is to define and discriminate between subjects, so make sure that the categories are well-defined and clear. 

Step 4: Develop a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement establishes the writer’s stance on the topic and their central argument. It is important to draft a strong thesis statement for an effective and persuasive classification essay. 

Once you’ve researched and established your categories, it's time to distill your focus into a concise thesis statement. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Your thesis should clearly state the main categories you will explore in your essay. Avoid vague or overly broad statements. The reader should have a precise understanding of what to expect.
  • The thesis statement is the central idea around which your entire essay revolves. It should convey the main point or purpose of your classification. 
  • It should also provide a roadmap, indicating the organization of your upcoming arguments.

Step 5: Draft an Outline

Now that you have a well-crafted thesis statement, it's time to organize your thoughts and create a roadmap for your classification essay. A classification essay outline should include these points:


  • Start with a captivating hook to grab your reader's attention.
  • Introduce your topic and provide some context.
  • Present your thesis statement, outlining the main categories you'll explore.

Body Paragraphs

- Paragraph 1 (Category 1):

  • Introduce the first category of your subject and its defining characteristics.
  • Provide examples or details that illustrate this category.

- Paragraph 2 (Category 2):

  • Move on to the second category of your subject, following a similar structure.
  • Draw clear distinctions between this category and the previous one.

- Paragraph 3 (Continue with Category Arguments):

  • Repeat the process for each subsequent category.
  • Ensure a logical flow between categories, showing relationships and differences.


  • Summarize the main categories without introducing new information.
  • Reinforce the significance of the classifications and their collective impact.
  • End with a thought-provoking statement or a call to action.

Step 6: Write Your First Draft

Once you have the necessary information and an organized plan, it is time to start writing your classification essay. To draft an effective and flawless essay, follow the writing steps given below:

  1. Write an Essay Introduction

The introduction is the first part of the essay. In this part, you need to catch the reader’s attention and introduce them to your topic. To make your introduction appealing,

  • Start with a catchy hook statement. A hook statement is the opening line of the introductory paragraph that attempts to draw the reader’s attention. 
  • Provide sufficient background and context for your topic.
  • Close your introduction with a strong thesis statement that highlights your central point. 
  1. Draft the Body Paragraphs

The body section will contain three or more paragraphs depending on your arguments. The body paragraphs follow and justify the thesis statement made earlier in the introduction. Here’s how to write your body paragraphs:

  • Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that presents the main point of that paragraph.
  • Provide examples, arguments, and relevant information in each paragraph to establish your argument. 
  • Provide a detailed analysis of your subject to justify your categorizations.
  • Connect body paragraphs to each other through transition words and phrases. This is important for maintaining a logical flow.
  1. Write a Strong Conclusion

The conclusion is the last paragraph, where you put together all the arguments made in the body paragraphs. Follow these tips to write a good conclusion:

  • Summarize the main categories without introducing new information.
  • Reiterate the significance of your classifications and their impact on understanding the topic.
  • End with a memorable closing statement that leaves a lasting impression.

Step 7: Revise, Edit, & Improve Your Draft

Congratulations on completing your first draft! However, your work is not done just yet. Your first draft could be full of mistakes and weaknesses, so you need to elevate it through the revision, editing, and improvement process. Here’s what you should do to ensure that your final draft is perfect:

  • Review the Overall Structure: Ensure that your introduction sets the stage effectively, each body paragraph is coherent, and the conclusion ties everything together without introducing new information.
  • Check for Clarity and Consistency: See that your language is clear and your ideas are presented logically. Check for consistency in tone and style throughout.
  • Refine Thesis Statement: Revisit your thesis statement. Does it accurately reflect the content of your essay? Make adjustments if needed to ensure it aligns with the final draft.
  • Trim Unnecessary Details: Trim any redundant or unnecessary details. Keep your writing concise and focused on the defining characteristics of each category.
  • Proofread for Errors: Thoroughly proofread your essay for grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. A polished essay enhances your credibility as a writer.
  • Get Feedback: Consider seeking feedback from peers, professors, or writing professionals. Fresh perspectives can identify areas for improvement that you might have overlooked.
  • Final Polish: Give your essay a final polish. Ensure that it aligns with your original vision and effectively communicates your ideas.

Classification Essay Examples 

Before starting the writing process, it is better to look at some of the classification essay examples. This way, you will get a better understanding of how these essays are written. 

Here are some classification essay examples to help you get started.

Classification Essay Topics

Choosing the right topic is the cornerstone of creating a captivating classification essay. Here's a short but diverse list of classification essay ideas to spark your imagination.

  • Types of Social Media Users
  • Genres of Music
  • Learning Styles
  • Forms of Government
  • Types of Movie Endings
  • Modes of Transportation
  • Gaming Genres
  • Personality Types in a Workplace
  • Human Responses to Stress
  • Various Kinds of Study Habits

Expert Tip

Need more ideas? Head to our classification essay topics blog and get a list of interesting ideas to choose from!

Tips for Writing an Effective Classification Essay

Mastering the art of classification essays requires more than just following a set of steps. Consider these tips to enhance the quality and impact of your classification essays:

  • Choose a Niche Topic: Opt for a topic that allows for meaningful categorization. A focused and specific subject ensures a more in-depth exploration of categories.
  • Provide Clear Criteria: Clearly define the criteria used to categorize items. Whether it's characteristics, functions, or behaviors, explicit criteria add depth and clarity to your classifications.
  • Ensure Balanced Categories: Strive for balance in the depth and coverage of each category. Avoid spending disproportionate time on one category, as it can disrupt the overall equilibrium of your essay.
  • Use Consistent Characteristics: Maintain consistency in the characteristics you use to define each category. This ensures a coherent and logical progression throughout your essay.
  • Think About Your Audience: Consider your audience's interests and knowledge level. Tailor your classifications to resonate with your readers, making the essay more engaging and relevant to them.
  • Include Vivid Examples: Illustrate each category with vivid and relevant examples. Concrete examples provide a clearer understanding and make your classifications more compelling.
  • Stay Objective: Maintain objectivity in your classifications. Avoid biases and ensure that your categories are based on observable and verifiable characteristics.
  • Read Widely: Expose yourself to a variety of classification essays. Knowing other points of views can provide inspiration, insights, and a deeper understanding of effective categorization.

In conclusion,

A classification essay is a unique and interesting kind of writing with a few special requirements. Having read its definition and writing steps above, you now know what they are: It requires you to categorize your subject based on its features and argue for its validity. 

Following the steps and tips above will allow you to craft an A-worthy classification essay. The key to success comes down to pre-writing preparation and meticulous editing and revisions. Start early, plan your essay, figure out the categories, write, and rewrite until you’re satisfied.

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Caleb S.


Caleb S.

Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

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