OBJECTIVE To study the sub-classification of temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and clinical and etiological characteristics thereof. METHODS The clinical data of 190 patients with TLE, aged 1.5 approximately 67, were analyzed. The sub-classification was based on clinical manifestations and electroencephalographic recording. The etiology of TLE was mainly concluded from both clinical history and neuroimaging. RESULTS 172 patients were subclassified as with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE), of which 62.2% had auras such as epigastric abnormal sensation and 67.4% had automatism, especially oroalimentary automatism. The electroencephalography recording of the MTLE patients showed interictal epileptic paroxysm discharges over the anterior or mid-anterior temporal areas. The main etiological factors related to MTLE were hippocampal sclerosis, intracranial infection, tumor, cerebrovascular disease, and trauma. Ten patients were subclassified as with lateral temporal lobe epilepsy (LTLE), all presenting auras such as acoust. The electroencephalography recording showed interictal epileptic paroxysm discharges over the posterior or mid-posterior temporal areas. The main etiological factors were trauma, tumor, and atrophy in the LTLE group. Eight patients were unable to be sub-classified. CONCLUSION Electroencephalography is the main base for classification of TLE. Subclassification of TLE is important in the selection of treatment strategies.