Spoken languages like English are linear--they are expressed one word after the other. ASL, however, is a spatial language and is expressed in the space around you. Classifiers create depth as well as add clarity, movement, and details to conversations and explanations.
Classifiers are written like this: CL:1 (person) "walking slow". The CL indicates that a classifier is being used, the 1 indicates the handshape, the parenthesis indicate what the classifier is representing, and the quotes indicate the inflection being used.
Here are some examples of handshapes and how they can be used for different types of classifiers:
Classifiers are a very important part of ASL. There isn't a sign for every English word and classifiers are able to fill those gaps and create more visual clarity.