Classifications always start with a group of things to be classified into subgroups/types: types of teachers, types of shoppers, types of houses, etc.
Any group of things can be classified by any of the characteristics or features displayed by the members of the group:
? A group of students can be classified by how they take notes, the clothes they wear, their behavior during class, etc.
? Movies can be classified by the audiences they are aimed at, their story lines, the quality of their actors, etc.
? Sports fans can be classified by the sports they are fans of, by the intensity of their support, by the behaviors they engage in as fans, etc.
1. Once you start classifying the members of a group, you are required to use only one principle as you classify the members:
? You can classify cats according to the length of their fur. ? You can classify Teachers according to their teaching style. ? You can classify lizards according to their habitats.
You can classify cars according to size: full-sized, mid-sized, compact, sub-compact, mini- compact.
However, if you start to consider luxury cars because they are usually large cars like Cadillacs, or Lincoln-Continentals, you violate the classification by moving to a second classification principle since luxury cars are being classified by the features being offered in the car rather than by their size.
2. The groups produced by the classification also cannot overlap. If you find your groups contain members which could fit into more than one of the groups you’ve created, your groups are too loosely defined. Your groups should be mutually exclusive.
3. The classification should reveal useful information about the groups themselves. Classifying teachers by the color of their eyes reveals nothing useful about those people as teachers.
4. As you describe/define each group in your essay, you must treat all your groups the same way. In a classification of cars, if you mention engine size when defining one group, you are obligated to discuss engine size in all the groups you define. Each group must be defined by the same set of criteria.
ENC 1101: College Composition I Classification 5. In your essay, each group/type will become a new body paragraph.
6. When you classify material and then compose an essay describing the classification, several important points need to be communicated by the thesis:
1. what is being classified (the group you started with) 2. the number of groups in your classification 3. accurately descriptive/informative names or labels for the groups 4. the principle of classification used to determine these groups
For example:
? Cars can be divided into five major categories: full size, mid-size, compact, sub-compact and mini-compact.
? Fires can be classified into five classes according to the materials being burned: common combustibles, flammable liquids/gases, electrical, metals, and oils/fats.
7. Common transitions or signal phrases used in classification are:
? this type of… ? several kinds of… ? in this category… ? can be divided into… ? classified according to… ? is categorized by…

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