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
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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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Remember when that annoying light came on while you were driving home last night? Turns out it really did serve a purpose—to tell you one of your tires was low.
Unfortunately, you ignored the warning light. Unfortunately, you missed class because of your flat tire this morning. Because you missed class, you failed a quiz.
This is a perfect example of cause and effect.
The problem: Another light appeared on your dashboard.
The cause: Low air pressure in a tire.
The effects: You missed class. Because you missed class, you didn’t realize there would be a quiz next week, and you failed the quiz.
Writing an effective cause and effect essay isn’t that different from the facts of this scenario. You’ll outline the causes, the effects, or both the causes and effects of a specific problem or issue.
To better illustrate this, let’s take a look at the basics of this essay type before we dive into two cause and effect essay examples.
Basic Training: Cause and Effect Essays
In order to understand how to write a good cause and effect essay, you need to know four basic points.
#1 Know the purpose of the assignment
In order to write an effective essay, you need to follow your professor’s guidelines.
If your topic is childhood obesity, are you supposed to write about the causes, the effects, or about both the causes and effects of childhood obesity?
Paying attention to guidelines really does make a difference in your grade! Know what you’re supposed to be writing before you begin.
#2 Draft a thesis statement
The thesis statement will establish the focus for your paper. In a cause and effect essay, your thesis should let readers know if you’re writing about causes, effects, or both.
Check out these examples:
Thesis statements about obesity might look like one of these.
If the focus of your paper is the causes of obesity, your thesis statement might be something like this:
Children today are increasingly overweight primarily due to overconsumption of highly processed foods.
If the focus of your paper is the effects of obesity, your thesis statement might be something like this:
The recent increase in childhood obesity has resulted in children suffering from numerous health problems, including high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
If the focus of your paper is both causes and effects of obesity, your thesis statement might be something like this:
Due to overconsumption of highly processed foods, childhood obesity is becoming epidemic and leaving children with numerous health problems, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
#3 Organize evidence
If you start writing with a jumbled mess of thoughts in your head, your paper is likely going to end up a jumbled mess.
Organize your ideas by starting with a simple chart like this (fancy colors optional, of course). It’s a quick way to list information before you actually begin writing.
You may not end up using all of the causes and effects listed in your chart. But by listing as many as you can think of, you’ll be able to choose the best options for your paper.
#4 Use transitions
Readers need to be able to see how you’re connecting ideas. Move from one idea to the next by using the right transitions and transition sentences.
Here’s a list of transitions you might use in your own cause and effect paper:
- due to
- as a result
And for nearly endless transitional possibilities, check out 97 Transition Words for Essays You Need to Know.
With basic training complete, let’s take a look at two cause and effect essay examples. Then you can see what these elements look like in an actual paper.
2 Cause and Effect Essay Examples That Will Cause a Stir
Essay Example #1: Examining Childhood Obesity
This essay causes a stir not because it’s an amazing paper but because it’s still in need of some revision.
It’s a good start to a cause and effect essay but struggles to get it right.
The essay does provide an overview of the topic, lists causes and effects, and uses transitions. But it has its share of concerns too.
One of the key problems in the introductions is the lack of a thesis statement. At the end of the first paragraph, it does have a broad overview. However, it lacks the specificity of a strong thesis statement.
The body of the paper struggles with organization. It does includes a lot of ideas and research. But it doesn’t quite organize and develop them.
While the paper uses transitions to link ideas, it goes overboard. It includes transitions to link lists of statements rather than introduce fully developed arguments.
Finally, the conclusion is almost non-existent. A Works Cited is also missing.
Hopefully that helps you avoid some of these issues in your own essay. Now let’s dive into the second of our two cause and effect essay examples.
Essay Example #2: The Negative Effects of Technology
Though this paper struggles a bit with organization, it does include a clear thesis, use of transitions to link ideas, and a basic discussion of the negative effects of technology.
Note that this paper uses evidence from sources to support ideas but doesn’t always use proper in-text citations and does not include a Works Cited. Both of these are required in MLA format.
Congratulations! Your basic training using cause and effect essay examples is complete.
Now that you know the basic components of a cause and effect essay and can spot them in a sample essay, it’s time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
Remember the weak elements in the cause and effect essay examples as you write your own essay to make yours shine.
If you’ve drafted some causes and effects to your topic but are stumped as to how to put them into essay format, try outlining. (Read How to Write a 5-Paragraph Essay Outline.)
After you’ve outlined and have a complete draft, send your paper to a Kibin editor to make sure your paper is in good shape!
Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.