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Using specific examples when writing a classification essay


The nature of the classification essay demands that the writer classify something into categories. It is a sorting or organizing process. It’s essential to use specific examples to make this kind of essay clear and logical.

Here are the steps you should take to incorporate your examples:

    1. Sort things into useful categories. For example, if you are sorting tools or animals or native grasses.

    2. The categories should abide by a single principle of organization. For example, if classifying the animals you could have categories that are about strength. Strength of bite, strength of leg bone, strength of swimming etc.

    3. Give examples for each category. For the above strength categories you may list some of the animals with the strongest jaw closing force in the first category, like crocodiles, hyenas and hippos.

Because sorting and organizing is a key part of the classification essay, there should be a lot of emphasis placed on the process. The thesis statement should include both the topic and an explanation of how the classification was done. The categories could be named.

If you are using a category that should be exhaustive, make sure to list all the possibilities. For example if your topic is Tourists who visit Barbados can participate in beach sports: beach volleyball, sandcastle building and sand scapes, it wouldn’t make sense to mention three and then only describe two. If you are using the animal example above, it wouldn’t make sense to leave hyenas out of the bite strength when they are near the top of the list of all animals for bite strength.

Some common classification strategies are:

  1. The kind of something
  2. The type of something
  3. A group of something

When students use only general examples for their classifications, the essay loses the specificity it should have being a classification style of essay. The two go hand in hand. You can’t have a good essay without good examples.

Part of the strength of the essay that you will be graded on is the relevance of your specific examples. If you are having a difficult time finding enough examples to give the essay weight and authenticity, then it might be time to re-think either your topic or your categories. You must be able to firmly support your reasons for choosing this topic for your classification essay. It’s really that simple.

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