To write a cause and effect essay, you’ll need to determine a scenario in which one action or event caused certain effects to occur. Then, explain what took place and why! This essay allows us to identify patterns and explain why things turned out the way that they did.
How do I choose a topic and get started? Try choosing a major event, either in your own life or an event of historical significance. For example, The Great Depression.
Cause of The Great Depression: stock market crash
How would we elaborate? We'd discuss the behaviors, carelessness, errors, and even cultural attitudes that led to the crash—explaining why it was devastating.
Effects of the Great Depression: joblessness & poverty
What should we say about the effects?
- Businesses went under—explain HOW the crash caused this
- Describe poverty in detail—explain how this could’ve been handled more efficiently or even avoided
Narrowing a Large Topic
In a short essay, it might be difficult to tackle the cause and all of the many effects of a big event like the Great Depression. To narrow a cause and effect topic down to a manageable size, ask yourself…
- What's the main (most important) cause? Most people attribute it to the stock market crash, so that's a good place to start.
- Can I break the different types of effects down into categories? Yes! I'll break my ideas down into categories like: economic, social, employment, practical, and morale effects. (example below)
- Which category interests me the most? "Practical effects" is the most interesting. I'll narrow the topic of my paper down so that my essay will now be about how the stock market crash affected the practical ways that people lived their lives during the Great Depression.
Can that category be broken down even further to make the topic more manageable? I'm actually interested in the ways that the Great Depression affected the farming industry. I want to talk about the new skills and methods that farmers were forced to learn and implement, as a result of their difficult situation.
Narrowing a Large Topic - Example
Can I break the different types of effects down into categories? Yes! I'll break my ideas down into categories like: economic, social, employment, practical, and morale effects.
money loses value
public resourcefulness increases
companies lose value
employers pay lower wages
farming techniques change
men emasculated by job loss
banks lose the public's trust
orphanages fill up
forced to work longer hours
public wastes less, finds creative ways to save
Student Sample: The Desired Look: Nothing But Bones
What is a Cause and Effect Essay?
With every action comes a certain reaction. To understand how a cause and effect essay works let’s break down its definition. A cause and effect essay is a format of writing where the paper writers describe the reasons and actions that lead to certain consequences or results. Even though the essay can have a variety of different structures, the primary goal is to show a logical consequential correlation between Point A (an action, event, etc.) and Point B (a result, outcome, consequence). However, there are a few steps you need to complete before jumping into writing.
Table Of Contents
The Cause and Effect Essay is one that asks you to explain what reactions come from certain actions and why. Normally, you would be given a certain scenario in which an action occurred. From there, using things such as logic and analysis, outcomes (reactions) must be carefully crafted and explained.
Where Do I Begin?
When you receive your assignments, whether it is for college, university or high school, make sure to read the directions to identify the requirements thoroughly. More often you will have to choose your own cause and effect essay topics. Therefore, brainstorming is a must.
In most cases, the information you already have will not be sufficient to write a detailed, captivating paper, that is why you will be required to perform research to acquire as much additional information as you can. If the format of your essay allows you to include visuals, then the following will help you to support provided information:
- Cause and Effect Venn Diagram
- Cause and Effect Graphic Organizer
- Cause and Effect Anchor Chart
If you are sure that you have acquired enough material and selected one of the cause and effect topics, then it's time to build an outline.
- Pollutions effects on society
- Internet’s influence on youth development
- Drugs impact on the human body
- Uber effect on taxi companies
- Causes and Effects of Lying
- Causes and Effects of Natural Disasters
The cause and effect essay outline is going to serve you as a guide for the rest of the paper. It will help you to stay on track and include all the ideas you have initially pinned down. This paper is commonly written in a 5 paragraph style, but it allows a variation. Depending on the topic of analysis and the depth of the content, cause and effect essays will vary in length. However, the general format will still stay the same. Just like all papers have an introduction, body and a conclusion, the cause and effect essay is no exception.
Before you begin writing, create a cause and effect chart which has two sections. It should include the main points and details relating to Point A and Point B. It will help you to see the bigger picture and to create logical transitions between the two sides
Furthermore, you can create a cause and effect graphic organizer. Not only does it make the process smoother, but getting that visual allows for the creation of even more ideas and analysis!
The main purpose of the introduction is to inform the reader of the topic of conversation, giving if needed. The highlight of the introduction is to provide a relevant thesis statement, explaining the cause and its effect.
Hook: The sentence that grabs the reader’s attention. Since we are doing cause and effect, this could be some foreshadowing or some rhetorical question. Its main purpose is to serve as an appetizer for the reader to get a sense of what's to come!
Background Information: In this case, background information is very important. Not only does it give more insight towards the cause, but sometimes can help explain some of the effects. This is especially true if we are talking about a historical topic such as World War 2 or some Natural Disaster. Another key point is to make sure that this information follows a linear path. State information that helps understand the cause(s), instead of just filling up space. It should also be applied towards the main point (thesis) of the essay.
Thesis Statement: The thesis statement is the main point of the entire argument in one sentence. Along with the setting of the situation, it should state the general point of your entire essay in a few words. The goal of the essay is to prove the thesis statement, so make sure that it flows accordingly with what you plan on writing about in your main body paragraphs.
Also, it's super important to base your essay around the thesis statement. The type of content that you provide depicts what kind of thesis statement you should have. Make sure they match!
All body paragraphs should always have some kind of introductory sentence and an assertive concluding sentence. However, the “meat” of the paragraphs isn’t absolute.
Great news, this is the part of the essay where variety is in abundance! Unless we are specifically writing a 5-paragraph essay, there are a lot of options in turns of forming the paper. Assuming we are using the 5 paragraph style, there are 3 options to pick from.
Obviously, these should be picked according to the subject of discussion. Sometimes there are situations where one thing creates mass chaos, or many small parts create one big problem. Depending on the situation, it’s important to pick the paragraph style accordingly.
If we aren’t using the 5 paragraph style, then you are free as a bird when it comes to choosing your approach. The options come from as simple as one cause and one effect body to having multiple paragraphs that each contain a cause-effect style.
Being meticulous in these paragraphs is super important. For example, if you are using the Cause-Effect-Effect style, the first paragraph should specifically be focused on the causes. It’s also incredibly important to make sure that there is an evident correlation between the initial cause and the duel effects. Once again, depending on the content you have to provide, the essay should be organized to suit your information efficiently and neatly.
Just like the introductory paragraph, this paragraph has 3 parts that practically follow the reverse order of the intro. The highlight of the conclusion is to create an impact upon the reader before fully concluding, emphasizing the strength of your argument!
Restatement of Thesis: Now would be a good time to check if your thesis statement was actually proven by your body paragraphs. After confirming the following, the paraphrased sentence should assertively state that the thesis has been proved.
Summarizing Main Argument: You should use this section to simplify your argument into a couple concise sentences. Explain the general outline of the cause and effect from one to three sentences. The strength of this sentences is incredibly important. The manner in which the main argument is summarized shows the reader the proficiency of the content. Also, make sure these summaries come back to that core thesis statement.
Overall Concluding Statement: Just like your hook gave a thrilling intro to your essay, you must know provide a meaningful conclusion. This argument was developed for a specific purpose, whether an essay for college or a presentation at work. Just like in a court case, it’s necessary to provide the importance of your argument. In other words, explain why your argument should be taken seriously and present the consequences if ignored. You wrote this essay for a purpose, not just to get a good grade. (Or at least I hope so….)
Additional Writing Tips
In the preparation stage, it is always a very good idea to read other cause and effect essay examples to understand the structure better. Not only it will allow you learn more about the outline, but help you to distinguish between good and bad papers.
If the project is quite substantial and important, then you will need an in-depth understanding of the topic. One of the things that our writing service always recommend is to involve yourself in extra activities. Cause and effect games will help you understand the concept of action - reaction system and cause and effect worksheets can give you a detailed perception of your topic.
Finally, you have to review the paper on multiple occasions.
- Print out a hard copy and edit it yourself with a red pen. Watch the flow of your transitions. Make sure there is a logical connection between different ideas.
- Send your paper to someone who is more experienced in writing than you are and more aware about your theme. Let them give you professional feedback.
- Send your paper to someone neutral, to receive impersonal, straightforward reader review.
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Essay Writing Advice From Our Professional Team
Jeff M.from EssayPro
Selecting the right topic for your cause-and-effect essay is very important. When selecting the topic, make sure that the events you’re writing about definitely have a cause and effect relationship. Sometimes things are statistically significant, but remember the golden rule: correlation is not causation. If you’re not assigned a specific area of study for your essay, then write about something that has a proven link between it. A good topic would be “smoking and insomnia” or “fast food and obesity”. The article mentions several types of the cause-and-effect essay, but you some effects have more than one cause. This is another good type of cause-and-effect essay to explore writing about. A good example of a topic like this would be “causes of amnesia”. In an essay like this, my advice is to try your best to not veer off of your topic. Be brief when branching on to other areas of expertise and stick to your outline while writing.
If you still have any doubts about the quality of your essay, make sure to check out our essay writer service to find the most highly-trained writer that can proofread or write your essay for you.
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