Classification & Division Essay

A graphic image depicting the structure of a classification and division essay.

Classification and division is a rhetorical style that, in essay format, takes a whole and splits it up into parts and then places the divided information into various categories. While you may see this rhetorical style used within a single paragraph, it’s not uncommon to write an entire essay using a classification and division format.

A classification and division essay combines two different techniques. First, you would divide a complex and difficult topic into subtopics for clarity and explanation purposes. Next, you would determine what categories are needed and what information fits into those categories. Think of a newspaper. All of the information is divided into different parts: news, advertisements, and classifieds. Then the information is classified into different categories. For example, news may be categorized as sports, international, local, lifestyle, etc.

NOTE: You have to be very clear in a classification and division essay. Your reader needs to understand how you came up with your categories and why information fits into these categories. Therefore, be sure that you make the guidelines for your categories clear to the reader and that you don’t merge, confuse, or have superficial categories.

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