A method of paragraph or essay development in which a writer arranges people, objects, or ideas with shared characteristics into classes or groups. See also:
- 50 Writing Topics: Classification
- Developing and Organizing a Classification Essay
- Draft Classification Essay
- Revised Classification Essay
- Revision and Editing Checklist for a Classification Essay
Classification Paragraphs and Essays
- Classification in Richard Ford's Independence Day
- "Conversation," by Samuel Johnson
- "The Difference of Wits," by Ben Jonson
- E.B. White's New York
- "Give Her a Pattern," by D.H. Lawrence
- "Of Studies," by Francis Bacon
- "On Various Kinds of Thinking," by James Harvey Robinson
- "The Pleasure of Quarreling," by H.G. Wells
- "Shaking Hands," by Edward Everett
Examples of Classification Paragraphs:
- "Each of Jamaica's four great gardens, although established along similar principles, has acquired its own distinctive aura. Hope Gardens, in the heart of Kingston, evokes postcard pictures from the 1950s of public parks, gracious and vaguely suburban and filled with familiar favorites--lantana and marigolds--as well as exotics. Bath has retained its Old World character; it is the easiest to conjure as it must have looked in Bligh's time. Cinchona of the clouds is otherworldly. And Castleton, the garden established to replace Bath, fleetingly evokes that golden age of Jamaican tourism, when visitors arrived in their own yachts--the era of Ian Fleming and Noel Coward, before commercial air travel unloaded ordinary mortals all over the island."
(Caroline Alexander, "Captain Bligh's Cursed Breadfruit." The Smithsonian, Sep. 2009)
- "The English-speaking world may be divided into (1) those who neither know nor care what a split infinitive is; (2) those who do not know, but care very much; (3) those who know and condemn; (4) those who know and approve; (5) those who know and distinguish."
(H.W. Fowler and Ernest Gowers, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, 2nd ed. Oxford Univ. Press, 1965)
- "Americans can be divided into three groups--smokers, nonsmokers and that expanding pack of us who have quit. Those who have never smoked don't know what they're missing, but former smokers, ex-smokers, reformed smokers can never forget. We are veterans of a personal war, linked by that watershed experience of ceasing to smoke and by the temptation to have just one more cigarette. For almost all of us ex-smokers, smoking continues to play an important role in our lives. And now that it is being restricted in restaurants around the country and will be banned in almost all indoor public places in New York State starting next month, it is vital that everyone understand the different emotional states cessation of smoking can cause. I have observed four of them; and in the interest of science I have classified them as those of the zealot, the evangelist, the elect and the serene. Each day, each category gains new recruits."
(Franklin Zimring, "Confessions on an Ex-Smoker." Newsweek, April 20, 1987)
- "There are three kinds of book owners. The first has all the standard sets and best sellers--unread, untouched. (This deluded individual owns woodpulp and ink, not books.) The second has a great many books--a few of them read through, most of them dipped into, but all of them as clean and shiny as the day they were bought. (This person would probably like to make books his own, but is restrained by a false respect for their physical appearance.) The third has a few books or many--every one of them dogeared and dilapidated, shaken and loosened by continual use, marked and scribbled from front to back. (This man owns books.)"
(Mortimer J. Adler, "How to Mark a Book." The Saturday Review of Literature, July 6, 1941)