Create categories that allow room for everyone or everything you are classifying
Classification is the process of grouping together people or things that are alike in some way.
A simple classification would be to classify cars in terms of their body size: full-size, midsize, compacts, and sub-compacts, or Portland Community College in terms of its different
campuses. These groups or categories, are helpful in letting you see relationships among
people or objects. They help you to organize information and compare it.
However, these categories often do not exist in the real world; they may exist only in your
mind. You create them using some criterion or organizing principle. For example, you can
classify college students by looking at their study habits: those who schedule study time,
those who cram before a test, and those who hardly study at all. The organizing principle for
classifying students in the example above is the different ways that they study. On the other
hand, you could just as easily have classified students according to their age, their grade
point average, or their religion. You could just as easily have classified cars according to
their cost, their gas mileage, or their body style.
If you want your categories to be clear and consistent when you create a classification, make
sure that you follow these two rules:
1. Use only one criterion or organizing principle so that everyone or everything fits
into only one category, for example:
Group people according to income, or intelligence, or industriousness– but
not according to income and intelligence, or intelligence and….
2. Create categories that allow room for everyone or everything you are classifying
Classification essays are commonly used in business, science, advertising, and editorials.
However, at this level, a classification essay can be subjective. Sometimes classification
essays are humorous or sarcastic. Choose a topic of interest to you and your audience. Use
your imagination. Have fun, be creative, and be original — the structure is straightforward.
You will have to write a thesis statement which you will then have to support in the details
of the essay. An example of an appropriate thesis statement might be:
Girls have various ways of choosing boyfriends based on their desire for
money, love or common interests.
The body of the essay should explore the qualities of each category, with clear examples and