Suppose there is a form like this, describing a book:

Title: Farming in the Alps
Author: C. Chaplin
Year: 1995
_______: non-fiction

Which term belongs in the blank?

  • 4
    Genre, genre category, division, super-genre – emsoff Feb 3 '14 at 1:42
  • Or you could also use Classification or Class. The Dewey Decimal System used by libraries is made up of Classes, Divisions, and Sections. – JLG Feb 4 '14 at 6:48

Type. Anything more specific is too specific. Eight of the ten classes of the Dewey Decimal System are categories of non-fiction, doing away with division as well. (A ninth, Literature, is mainly fictional. The tenth, Philosophy, isn't truly either one.) Genre is usually a smaller grouping, whether fictional (e.g., murder mysteries) or non-fictional (e.g., military history). Classification suggests a taxonomic system of some kind, and that's not the case here. The distinction is binomial: between fiction and non-fiction, variously understood as narrative and expository work, literary and informational, invented and discovered, fanciful (or, harshly, false) and true, imaginative and prosaic. Except in U.S. elementary and secondary public education, where "non-fiction" is to represent 50% or more of the assigned reading from now on in most states, it's hard to imagine a situation when one would want or need to identify a work as non-fiction rather than history, science, anthropology, business, or some similar category.

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