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Classifications Of Paragraph Essay

A classification paragraph begins a main idea and discusses the subcategories of that topic, comparing and contrasting them with each other. Following are some examples of classification paragraphs. Here are a couple of short classification paragraphs, in order to get you started with learning about how they should be formed and what they are. Remember: Classification paragraphs start with a main idea, using the rest of the paragraph to explain a series of secondary ideas. First Dates – A first date can end up being categorized as successful, a clingy, a boastful or awkward. Successful first dates include both parties expressing information about what they like, who they are, and so forth. Usually, these dates will end in tentative plans for a second one. Clingy dates end up with one of the parties practically begging for information about the other. However, the non-clinger is not interested. On boastful dates, one member of the duo talks about all of his or her skills, talents, and abilities.

The listening end of the pair is never asked about his or her life. Awkward first dates generally involve lots of silence or one or both of the partners not knowing how to act appropriately. While many dates occur every day, they can generally fall into one of these categories. Schools- Different students attend various types of schools; however, they can usually be classified as either public, private religious, private non-religious, or alternative. Public schools are funded by the state, and the majority of students in the United States attend them. Private religious schools are based around a particular faith, such as Catholicism, Judaism, and so forth. The religion is part of the every day lives of the students and they also learn about the faiths. All types of private schools do not receive state funding. Therefore, private non religious schools are simply just that: schools which do not receive state funding and have the ability to make their own rules.

Alternative schools can be made up of a variety of different categories, such as the Montessori program or technical schools. Most students who attend class in an actual school building go to one of these types of institutions. Weight Loss-People looking to lose weight have a few options: exercise, diet, weight loss pills, and surgery. Exercising involves going to a gym, working out at home, or joining some sort of class or sports team. Those who are dieting can talk to a doctor about a plan for them. Weight loss pills can be taken, if proper precautions and directions are followed. Individuals who are severely overweight can talk to a doctor about having surgery to lose the weight that they need. Rock Music-The genre of rock music encompasses many distinct styles under the same umbrella.

While the genre began with guitar – and piano-driven popular songs, today there are literally hundreds of variations on the original. Electronic rock contains elements of computer-generated or synthesized instruments, including drum machines and electronic guitars, in addition to some of the elements from the original movement. Heavy metal focuses less on melody and more on heavy guitars, while folk-rock typically uses a much more acoustic sound with instruments like banjos and harmonicas. Emerging in the late 1970s were glam rock and punk rock, which share a stripped-down sound and emphasize aesthetics, while punk rock tends to be more aggressive and glam tends to be more theatrical. Even today, rock music tends to share a distinctive beat with electric or acoustic guitars.


Although friendship is something that most people enjoy, friendships are not all the same. Some friendships are forged from a long-term familiarity with one another, and other friendships can spring up just by spending one fun evening together. Not all friendships result in daily or even weekly time spent together; long-term friendships can be kept afloat using communication tools like the Internet and telephone, while other friendships result in sporadic get-togethers sometimes months or even years apart. People seek different things in friendship, meaning certain friendships result around trips to a diner or video games while other friendships may occur due to a work relationship or general common interests.


The word “literature” evokes the image of a book-lined shelf, or an evening spent in a chair with a novel. While written literature has been around since the advent of print, it has always taken on different forms. At its most basic, literature simply means written work, although some would argue that the term refers specifically to published works, or even to works that have garnered some critical acclaim. High literature connotes literature that has been accepted as academically beneficial. “Low” literature, like some young adult fiction, doesn’t always have the intellectual value of high literature, but there is some crossover- the novels of Stevenson and Twain were originally written to a young adult audience but are considered classics today.


The beliefs and practices known as religion can cause unity or contention, can hold many things in common while promoting very different values, can be as simple as the Golden Rule or complex as tradition allows. The Abrahamic religions- Islam, Christianity, and Judaism- all share a common father, Abraham. Nevertheless, the teachings of each religion vary to such a degree that many wars and conflicts have been fought between them. Nevertheless, most religions, from the Abrahamic beliefs to eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, promote loving others, living moral lives, and working toward the benefit of humanity.


A method of paragraph or essay development in which a writer arranges people, objects, or ideas with shared characteristics into classes or groups.

A classification essay often includes examples and other supporting details that are organized according to types, kinds, segments, categories, or parts of a whole. Dogs
Dogs are domesticated animals that have been living with humans for generations. Dogs can be classified in a number of different ways. For example, they can be classified by breed. Examples of different breeds include beagles, basset hounds, poodles and countless others as defined by the American Kennel Club (AKC). They can also be classified by their role in the lives of their masters and the work they do. For example, a dog might be a family pet, a working dog, a show dog, or a hunting dog. In many cases, dogs are defined both by their breed and their roll. For example, a dog could be a beagle that is a family pet.

Understanding Classification Paragraphs
Each of these different classification paragraphs illustrates how a classification paragraph is put together and the key information that the paragraph contains. Classification paragraphs can be written on almost any subject where there are different categories, groups or genres.

Examples and Observations

“The primary support in classification consists of the categories that serve the purpose of the classification.

“The categories in classification are the ‘piles’ into which the writer sorts a topic (the items to be classified). These categories will become the topic sentences for the body paragraphs of the essay. . . .

“The supporting details in classification are examples or explanations of what is in each category. The examples in classification are the various items that fall within each category. These are important because readers may not be familiar with your categories.” (Susan Anker, Real Essays With Readings, 3rd ed. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009)

Introductory Paragraph to a Classification Essay

“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)

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)

“Cybercriminals generally fall into one of three categories, he [Michael DeCesare, president of McAfee] says. First there are the ‘Anonymouses of the world’ or the hacktivists–people who expose information about a company or government they morally oppose. Second is organized crime. ‘They’re realizing there’s far more money in cybercrime than prostitution,’ Mr. DeCesare says. ‘You can buy somebody’s I.D. for less than $10 online.’ Third are activities funded by states and other political groups. ‘Every government has a cyber division,’ he says, including the U.S. But cyber dangers now stretch beyond state lines to groups such as al Qaeda. ‘Cybercrime is a lot like that—[the country is] almost not relevant anymore,’ making it difficult to hold governments accountable.” (Alexandra Wolfe, “Michael DeCesare.” The Wall Street Journal, December 14-15, 2013)

“Local TV interviewers come in two varieties. One is a bulimic blond person with a deviated septum and a severe cognitive disorder who went into broadcasting because he or she was too emotionally disturbed for telephone sales work. The other variety is suave, sagacious, grossly overqualified for the job, and too depressed to talk to you. Good local TV people are always depressed because their field is so crowded.” (P.J. O’Rourke, “Book Tour.”
Age and Guile, Beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut. Atlantic Monthly Press, 1995)

“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)

“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)

Paragraph Development – Division and Classification

If you were doing the laundry, you might begin by separating the clothing into piles. You would then put all the whites in one pile and all the colors in another. Or you might classify the laundry not according to color, but according to fabric-putting all cottons in one pile, polyesters in another, and so on. Classifying is the process of taking many things and separating them into categories. We generally classify to better manage or understand many things. Librarians classify books into groups (novels, travel, health, etc.) to make them easier to find. A scientist sheds light on the world by classifying all living things into two main groups: animals and plants.

Dividing, in contrast, is taking one thing and breaking it down into parts. We often divide, or analyze, to better understand, teach, or evaluate something. For instance, a tinkerer might take apart a clock to see how it works; a science text might divide a tree into its parts to explain their functions. A music reviewer may analyze the elements of a band’s performance-for example, the skill of the various players, rapport with the audience, selections, and so on.

In short, if you are classifying, you are sorting numbers of things into categories. If you are dividing, you are breaking one thing into parts. It all depends on your purpose-you might classify flowers into various types or divide a single flower into its parts.

In this section, you will be asked to write a paragraph in which you classify a group of things into categories according to a single principle. To prepare for this assignment, first read the paragraphs below, and then work through the questions and the activity that follows. Underline the topic sentence, specific examples, and transitions in each paragraph before answering the questions.

Essay Topics:

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