Division and Classification as Modes of Paragraph Development

When dealing with complex and somewhat messy topics, authors turn to the mode of paragraph development of classification and division to create an air of systematization and order in their writing. Division works hand-in-hand with analysis, wherein one breaks down a concept into its constituent parts. This process necessitates separating items—creating demarcating lines or clear distinctions between or among the little things that make up the whole. Classification entails categorization which enables one to group together items according to their similarities. To further organize data that have already been divided and classified, label each subtopic so as to lessen the clutter. 

To give an example, a book is usually divided into chapters. The title of each chapter dictates what the similarities of the items are classified in each of the chapters. Novels usually follow a chronological division, while seminal, academic works are usually divided according to subtopics.

Classification and division are essential not just in writing but also in everyday concepts. These two processes enable us humans to have some sense of order and predictability in an otherwise chaotic and unpredictable life. A university system is one big place for a single person to govern. This is why a university is divided into constituent campuses, a campus further divided into colleges, college into departments, and departments into committees. Each of this division has its own set of leader and subordinates to maintain effective communication and governance.

There is this danger in categorizing that might sometime be prejudicial; for example, grouping people according to their skin color: the white race signifies the Caucasians, the red race the Native American Indians, the yellow race the East Asians, the black race the Negroes, the brown race the Filipinos, etc. In our attempt to understand the world and also the people around us, categorization might even fail us in terms of accuracy. Not all Caucasians have white skin, the same way that not all brown-skinned people are Filipinos. This type of division and classification is not a be-all solution to the attempt of grouping the myriad of skin color the human race has produced. In fact, it only promotes prejudice and racism. 

When dividing and classifying things to make your writing more orderly and systematized, consider following these principles: consistency, exclusiveness, and completeness.


Consistency is characterized by having parallel similarities in the divisions you make in your writing. Let’s have A History of Geek Civilization as an example. In the third paragraph, the author elaborates her tastes in literature when she was young. At this point the reader is already given an idea as to which organizing principle the author would use in the rest of the essay: that is to say, a chronological approach in defining what geek is. After mentioning what had happened to her when she was young, she goes on with the rest of her childhood, and then grade school—focusing on the sixth grade, then all four years of high school in another educational institution, and last, a brief mention of her relationship with literature in college.


Exclusiveness means there is no overlapping between or among the items divided and classified together. In the case of A History of Geek Civilization, the author did a strict chronological writing of her relationship with literature from her early age until college without anything in between interrupting the flow.


Completeness means that no important part is omitted from the writing. To give an already familiar example, when one discusses the different systems of the body, one should not leave out the rest of the systems if you are only focused on discussing one. All systems in the body are somewhat and somehow connected to each other. So when you decide to just focus on the digestive system—that cannot be as it is also connected to the respiratory and excretory systems. Mention and discuss each and every human body system to achieve this principle called completeness. 

To summarize this lesson, the concepts of classification, division, categorizing, and grouping save us from the chaos of having to identify every other unique and unusual thing we encounter. Without these processes aimed at systematizing, there would be no point of comparison for us to study the world. We would have no way of predicting or preparing for impending future unknown experiences.