Classification Paragraph, Essay, Speech, or Character Study: 50 Topics

With Prewriting Advice

classification - students in library
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Classification allows writers to assemble thoughts in an organized manner, especially when writer's block may strike. It is particularly useful in identifying and illustrating different types, varieties, and methods. Classification pieces can become essays or articles in themselves, or they can also be useful as prewriting exercises for something longer, such as exploring a character being developed for a fiction piece.

"While classification has been a method for organizing essays and paragraphs, classification and other traditional methods of organization [also] have come to be used as tools of invention, of systematically exploring subjects in order to develop ideas for an essay." — David Sabrio

Prewriting: Brainstorming

Making stream-of-consciousness lists can be a useful way to explore a topic. Don't let yourself pause for a few minutes, just write down whatever comes into your head about the topic. Don't censor yourself, either, as tangents may come in handy as surprising details to include or lead you down a path to a discovery that you may not have found otherwise. 

If you prefer visuals, use the mind map method where you write the topic in the middle of the page and connect concepts to it and whatever else you write down, radiating outward.

These types of prewriting exercises get your brain working on the topic so you have less to fear from that empty white page, and the prewriting can be a resource to mine at times when you might feel stuck for a direction. Having a "scraps" document can also help you store paragraphs or turns of phrase that you like but don't really fit—it feels better to relocate them rather than just delete them—when you realize that getting them out of your draft file helps you move forward with the piece overall. 

Classification Paragraph

Start your classification paragraph with a topic sentence to let the reader know what the paragraph will be about. This will likely include a list of the items you are classifying. Follow up with sentences that show how the items in the group are similar, how they differ or give some kind of exposition about how they are used or are observed. Finish with a concluding sentence. If the paragraph is intended to be the introduction to an essay, make sure there is a smooth transition into the main body of the essay.

Classification Essay

When broadening a piece into a classification essay use the classification paragraph mentioned above as an introductory paragraph. Add three or more body paragraphs. Each of these will take a different category and explore its strengths and weaknesses. Finally, a conclusion paragraph will summarize the body paragraphs, and perhaps make a judgment over which is the better option.

Classification Speech

A classification speech is different than a paragraph or essay. In such a talk, the speaker is likely looking for ways to tell an audience something in an organized manner. Rotary advises its members to give such speeches as ways to introduce themselves to fellow members.

Some of its advice for organizing thoughts:

  • Why you chose your business or profession
  • Parts of your job you find most rewarding and most difficult
  • Advice you would give those entering your career

50 Topic Suggestions

These 50 topic suggestions should help you discover a subject that particularly interests you. If 50 isn't enough, try "400 Writing Topics."

  1. Students in a library 
  2. Roommates
  3. Hobbies
  4. Music on your phone or MP3 player
  5. Study habits
  6. Stand-up comedians
  7. Self-centered people
  8. Online educational resources
  9. Gardeners
  10. Drivers in a traffic jam
  11. Reality shows on television
  12. Sales clerks
  13. Fictional detectives
  14. Road trips
  15. Dancing styles
  16. Video games
  17. Customers at your workplace
  18. Ways of boring people
  19. Cheaters
  20. Shoppers
  21. Rides at an amusement park
  22. First dates
  23. Videos on YouTube
  24. Stores in the mall
  25. People waiting in line
  26. Churchgoers
  27. Attitudes toward exercising
  28. Reasons for attending (or not attending) college
  29. Baseball pitchers, football quarterbacks, or soccer goalies
  30. Styles of eating in the cafeteria
  31. Ways of saving money
  32. Talk-show hosts
  33. Vacations
  34. Methods of studying for a final examination
  35. Friends
  36. Comedians
  37. Ways of quitting smoking
  38. Attitudes toward money
  39. Television comedies
  40. Diets
  41. Sports fans
  42. On-campus jobs for students
  43. Ways of coping with a cold
  44. Note-taking strategies
  45. Attitudes toward tipping in restaurants
  46. Political activists
  47. Portable music players
  48. Different uses of social networking sites (such as Facebook and Twitter)
  49. High school teachers or college professors
  50. Ways of protecting the environment

Model Paragraphs and Essays

Some examples to get some inspiration on the form:


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Your Citation
Nordquist, Richard. "Classification Paragraph, Essay, Speech, or Character Study: 50 Topics." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Nordquist, Richard. (2021, February 16). Classification Paragraph, Essay, Speech, or Character Study: 50 Topics. Retrieved from Nordquist, Richard. "Classification Paragraph, Essay, Speech, or Character Study: 50 Topics." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).