The world exists not in our feelings and senses, but in our perception and mind. Human intellect discriminates between different species, objects, animals, and plants; on the basis of the available data, it draws logical conclusions. The collective body of all of these conclusions, which seem evident, is usually called knowledge.
Hence, it may be maintained that our ability to discriminate and to distinguish is the cornerstone of our civilization.
Unlike other types of essay, the classification essay deals with different species or classes of objects which must be described one by one and then compared. The task, which the writer has to accomplish, consists of observation of various groups of objects and finding logical connections associated with them. While specifying the differences between them, the author also needs to find common ground upon which to carry out a comparison. To write a classification essay is not as hard as it seems at first sight, but it requires more logical skills. Here you will find some recommendations and pieces of advice on what to do and what not to do while writing a classification essay.
How to write a classification essay – essential tips
What you should avoid:
- Do not compare incomparable objects; for example: wild animals and mountain herbs. Here you need to use your logical skills. These will help you to find an appropriate group of objects (people, cars, cities, etc.).
- Do not merely describe; you should rather draw inferences, and thus to present new knowledge.
- Do not violate the rules for definition of a given object; avoid circular definitions (“biology is a branch of science dealing with biological issues”), “wide” definitions (“man is a living being”), “narrow” definitions (“man is a rational being, Homo Sapiens, inhabiting Great Britain”).
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What is recommended to do:
- Choose a theme of your classification essay carefully (if you are free to decide on that). Collect some preliminary data and analyze them for yourself. Write down your own impressions and insights (you can also make a plan of the essay).
- In the introduction explain the context of your classification paper. What is its fundamental question? What is your thesis? What is your method?
- Analyze the groups of objects one by one. Define them well; justify your classification. For example, you are writing about different types of drivers. Explain why you have chosen only three, four, five types of drivers.
- Try to find similarities and differences between the groups described. Is there any hierarchy, or all these groups are equal? Are the groups constant or in transition? Is it possible to belong to two groups at once?
- Set forth your thesis (it may be in the beginning). You should put emphasis on some regularity or principle, which explains a given phenomenon. Or you can say that it is better to belong to the first group of drivers than to the second one; justify your thesis.
A good classification essay demonstrates some important differences between classes or subclasses of objects. It must be coherent and very well ordered in a logical manner. Its author should employ special terminology and use it properly throughout the paper. Classification and division are characteristics of human mind only, thus helping human beings to order and classify various phenomena and to find regularities in the world. The good classification essay must correspond to this picture.