The study of genre is not an exact science. Some texts may belong in more than one genre. For example: Romeo and Juliet is a drama, a tragedy, and an Elizabethan play. The idea of genre is open to discussion and there is good reason to discuss genre. Understanding genre will help you know what to expect from a text based on its genre; it will also help you notice when an author is playing with your expectations. Wouldn't you like to be in on the joke? First, you must learn some basics:
Some consider these to be the main genres of writing: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, and folklore. Every piece of writing can fall into one of these categories. Each main genre has a group of subgenres. Each subgenre has as set of characteristics that you must learn in order to identify them. This list does not contain all of the possible subgenres, but it should give you a pretty thorough overview.