How to Write Classification Essays

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A classification essay is a highly specific genre of essay because it covers the organization or classification of the arguments within an essay, often according to their logic, and putting them into categories. Therefore, this is the task the writer must accomplish. It is important to note that the logical categories should fully reflect the essence of the topic of the essay. 

Tips for Writing Classification Essays

If one is to write an effective essay of this type, having first chosen suitable subject matter from the many classification essay topics available, there are three things the writer should bear in mind. In the first instance, the way the categories are organized should clearly reveal the essay’s theme and the groupings should be useful to the reader. Even though the categories should be presented separately, each one must adhere to one single logical principle. Additionally, the writer should provide supporting examples for each category.   

Outline for a Classification Essay

This guide offers a condensed version of how classification essays should be written. It essentially describes the key elements and rules as they relate to this form of writing. It is a good idea to put in as much practice as you possibly can in order to perfect your classification writing skills.

The Structure of Classification Essays

It is hoped that the above information answers your initial question, “what is a classification essay?” And now we come to the structure. An essay of this type is developed around the categories and how these are constructed.

The Introductory Paragraph

The most basic component of an introductory paragraph, and undoubtedly the most important, is the thesis sentence or statement. How strong this statement is can be gauged on how effectively it tells the reader what the essay is about and its classification. It should justify the particular categories the writer has chosen.
A thesis should be structured in a logical and purposeful manner – the theme, the classification and the selected categories, which it is recommended be limited to three in number so that the classification does not lose its clarity.
For example, students on foreign exchange programs can benefit in three ways – culturally, educationally and generally.

The Body Paragraphs

  • The first and least important category
  • The second essay category
  • The third and most important category, which should be supported with good examples.  

In any well-written classification essay, each separate category should adhere to a single organizational principle. Categories may be developed and organized according to different argument groupings.


The concluding paragraph should reiterate the essay’s thesis and summarize the chosen categories.

Classification Essay Format

By now, you should have a good idea how to write a classification essay, but the formatting needs a mention. The most common formatting styles for any type of essay are APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA or Turabian. The style largely depends on the chosen topic and the requirements of the assignment. However, it is important to select one style and apply it consistently to every part of the essay e.g. in the title page, headings, font size/style, individual paragraphs, emphasis, page numbering, footnotes, endnotes, reference pages and so on.  

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