Classification-Division Text Structure: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:04 Writing With Structure
  • 0:34 Text Structure
  • 1:19 Classification-Divisio…
  • 1:54 Process for…
  • 3:10 Classification-Divisio…
  • 4:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kristen Goode

Kristen has been an educator for 25+ years - as a classroom teacher, a school administrator, and a university instructor. She holds a doctorate in Education Leadership.

When students write, there are several different types of structure they might follow. This lesson explores the classification-division text structure and also provides an example of how it works.

Writing With Structure

Let's say that your friend Calvin has just been asked to write a brief essay on different types of animals. He has decided that the best way to format his piece will be to divide the topic of animals into three subtopics that include mammals, reptiles, and birds. From there, Calvin plans to further divide each subtopic into categories that highlight attributes and examples of each type of animal. With this type of plan in place, Calvin prepares to write his essay using classification-division text structure.

Text Structure

Text structure refers to the way an author arranges information in his writing. Text structure enables authors to organize their thoughts as they write. It also helps the reader in that it provides a structure in which information can be found and understood while it's being read. There are several different types of text structure, including:

  • Chronological: discussing things in order
  • Cause and effect: explaining a cause and its results
  • Problem and solution: presenting a problem and offering a solution
  • Compare and contrast: discussing similarities and differences
  • Classification-division: sorting information into topics and categories

For the purpose of this lesson, we will focus on the classification-division text structure.

Classification-Division Definition

Classification-division text structure is an organizational structure in which writers sort items or ideas into categories according to commonalities. It allows the author to take an overall idea and split it into parts for the purpose of providing clarity and description. Sorting can take place on many levels with topics, subtopics, categories, subcategories, and so on.

For readers, a classification-division piece can be identified by looking for use of certain words, such as: first, finally, to begin, next, in addition, on the other hand, for example, or then.

Process for Classification-Division

For writers, there are several steps to be followed in the process of developing a written piece that follows a classification-division text structure:

  1. Decide on a main topic.
  2. Divide the main topic into two or more subtopics.
  3. For each subtopic, provide information and details to clarify and explain, or divide each subtopic further by creating categories for each subtopic.
  4. If categories have been developed, provide information and details to clarify and explain each category.
  5. Begin writing following the proper format.

Now, here's that proper format:


Including a thesis statement, a description of the topic as a whole, and an explanation of the process and purpose for dividing the main topic into subtopics and beyond.


  • Least important subtopic first, most important subtopic last
  • Subtopic One followed by categories if needed
  • Subtopic Two followed by categories if needed
  • Subtopic Three, etc.


A basic summary of each subtopic and category followed by a restating of the original thesis statement.

Here is a handy diagram that shows a visual representation of this proper format being broken down. You can refer back to this diagram the next time you're working on a persuasive paper or essay.

A sample format for use of classification-division text structure.
text structure

Classification-Division Example

Your hypothetical friend Calvin is ready to begin working on his essay. Belowis an example as to how he might organize his thoughts with his main topic being divided into subtopics and categories for a product that uses true classification-division text structure. Let's move through each of these one at a time.

Main Topic = Animals

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