classify vs categorize
What's the difference between classify and categorize when we use them to divide things?
According to Cambridge Dictionary,
categorize, UK USUALLY categorise verb [T]
to put people or things into groups with the same features:
The books are categorized into beginner and advanced.
I would categorize this as a very early example of Tudor art.
classify verb [T]
to divide things into groups according to their type:
The books in the library are classified by/according to subject.
Biologists classify animals and plants into different groups.
Even with the above commentaries and examples, I cannot figure out the difference now.
Thanks in advance.
Re: classify vs categorize
classify (e.g. species) = to assemble by order
Originally Posted by wpqin
categorize (e.g. species) = to divide into groups
Offhand, I don't see much of a difference except perhaps in usage. I would more readily use classify, and I believe that is the more commonly used of the two. (I would only use categorize if I were going to put something in categories, but that obviously isn't much of an explanation.) In my opinion, you can't go wrong using classify in any case.
Re: classify vs categorize
Here's a simple way to differentiate between the two terms.
Each "thing" (i.e., noun) possess recognizable attributes. Sometimes one "thing" shares similar attributes with other things. In order to simplify the process of referring to each individual thing (which shares similar attributes) we group them and refer to them using a generalized term. Thus, we "type" them.
Moreover, the term "type" can be considered synonymous with the term "class." Thus, you can have "types" or "classes" of things (with similar attributes).
For example: you can have types or classes of people (e.g., brown people, talk people, gay people, smart people, rich people, etc).
Following this logic, if there are things which share similar attributes there must be things which share different attributes (in the same context).
For example: If there are Brown people, then there must be people of other colors such as White, Yellow, and Black people; if there are rich people, there then must be people of other economic levels such as middle class and poor people.
Following this example you can place each of these "types" or "classes" of people (with similar and differing attributes) into categories.
For example: Brown, Yellow and White people could be placed into the category of "color" or "ethnicity" or "race"; Short and talk people can be placed into a category termed "height"; while gay and straight people can be placed into a category term sexuality or sexual orientation.
Class/type= terms used to group "things" with similar attributes, as opposed to things with different attributes.
For example: Brown people vs. White people; Smart people vs. Dumb people; iPhones vs. Black Berrys
Category= a generalized term used to identify the context in which things have similar or differing attributes.
For example: Ethnicity or race; education or IQ; mobile devices or cell phones