Essay Tips

Using Definition, Classification, and Process to Create Limit and Ordering in Your Paper, Essay, Report


The monotone professor needs the techniques of definition, classification, and process to clarify his lecture. You can use these techniques in your writing to limit information - that is, to outline its boundaries. You can use techniques to put information in order by categorizing or showing steps in a process. These techniques help you answer the questions, What is it? How many different types exist? and How does it work?


Most people think of a definition as a "dictionary definition" - a brief explanation of the meaning of a word and little else. But your definition paragraph goes beyond a bare-bones statement of a word's meaning because you give your reader your own personal definition of a term.

In a personal definition, the way you define a term reflects your own feelings about it. two dictionaries might have very similar definitions for the word love. Two people probably will not. A new parent might define love as a feeling that is tender but protective, while someone who has recently been disappointed in romance might define it as the quickest route to a broken heart.

Setting Up Your Definition Paragraph

The key element in a definition paragraph is the topic sentence, which presents your personal definition of the term you are defining. Look at he following examples, all defining the word vacation. Notice that some of the topic sentences employ personal terms like "for me" or "I can define." Although phrases such as these are not always s a part of a personal definition, they often help mark the definition as the writer's personal definition rather than a dictionary definition.

"To me, a vacation is a brief escape from my everyday responsibilities."

"I can only define a vacation as a living nightmare."


Whether you know it or not, classification comes naturally to you. From the time you are born, you explore, discovering that some things are pleasurable and others are painful, that some things are edible and others are not. Those are your first lessons in classification.

By the time you reach adulthood, you divide people, articles of clothing, words, teachers, and ways of behaving into different types or categories so automatically that you are barely aware of it. When you answer a classmate's question, "What kind of teacher is Dr. Burton?" or reply to a friend who asks what kind of day you have had, you are classifying.

When you write a classification paper, you must analyze this familiar process of classification to apply it to your writing. It is important that your classification have a single basis or underlying principle.


When you write a process paragraph, you describe how to do something or how it works. Process writing surrounds you. Recipes, instruction manuals, and any of the many self-help books that promise to tell you how to become fit, lose weight, save money, or lead a more satisfying life are examples of how-to process writing. A chapter in an American government text describing how a bill becomes a law, the page in your biology text on the life cycle of the fruit fly, and the fine print on the back of your credit card statement explaining how interest is applied are examples of "how it works" process writing.Pay someone to do my homework

Organizing the Process Paper

Some processes are fixed processes - that is, ones in which the order of the steps cannot vary. If you tell someone how to change the oil in a car, for instance, you can't place the step "add new oil" before the step "drain old oil." If you explain how a bill becomes a law, you can't place" goes to president for signing or veto" before "approved by both houses of Congress." If you are describing a fixed process, list the steps in chronological order.

Other processes are loose processes. They have no fixed, predetermined order. Loose processes include such activities as handling money wisely or becoming physically fit. In describing these processes, it is up to you to choose the most logical order.

Imagine that you are writing a paper on handling money wisely. You decide that the steps involved include paying down debt, developing a spending plan, and saving for the future. Developing a spending plan seems logical as a first point, but you can't decide whether to place "saving" or "paying down debt" next in the order. You may say, "It's hard to save until debts are paid. Therefore, paying debt before saving is logical." Or you may reason like this: "most people stay in debt for most of their lives. If it's not a credit card, it's a car loan or a mortgage. To save, pay yourself first, no matter what." Either order is logical what is important is that you have thought about it and chosen the order that best suits your own philosophy.

One important point to remember when organizing the how-to process paper is that many processes require tools or certain conditions. Usually, then, step one of your process will direct the reader to gather tools and make preparations. Whether you're telling how to make a cake or use a defuse bomb, your reader won't appreciate being led a crucial point and then being instructed to use a tool that isn't hand. Ideally, a how-to paper is written so clearly, and logically that the reader could carry out the process on the first read-through.