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Humanities LibreTexts

11.3: Writing a Classification Essay

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  • Start with an engaging opening that will adequately introduce the general topic that you will be dividing into smaller subcategories. Your thesis should come at the end of your introduction. It should include the topic and the reason you are choosing to break down the topic in the way that you are.

    The organizing strategy of a classification essay is dictated by the initial topic and the subsequent subtopics. Each body paragraph is dedicated to fully illustrating each of the subtopics. In a way, coming up with a strong topic pays double rewards in a classification essay. Not only do you have a good topic, but you also have a solid organizational structure within which to write.

    Be sure you use strong details and explanations for each subcategory paragraph that help explain and support your thesis. Also, be sure to give examples to illustrate your points. Finally, write a conclusion that links all the subgroups together again. The conclusion should successfully wrap up your essay by connecting it to your topic initially discussed in the introduction.

    key takeaways

    • The purpose of classification is to break a subject into smaller, more manageable, more specific parts.
    • Smaller subcategories help us make sense of the world, and the way in which these subcategories are created also helps us make sense of the world.
    • A classification essay is organized by its subcategories.

    Examples of Essays

    • “Why I Want a Wife,” by Judy Brady
    • “Petophilia,” by Jon Katz
    • “But What Do You Mean?” Deborah Tannen
    • “The Plot against People,” by Russell Baker
    • “Deadly Mind Traps,” by Jeff Wise
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