Writing a Cause and Effect Essay
Have you ever been given a task to identify the correlation between two or more objects, concepts, ideas or processes, and explain it at length? Knowingly or not, you've been writing a cause-effect essay in some form.
But, do you know how to write cause and effect essay?
A cause and effect essay is an expository format which allows the author to argue a point based on the perceived causal relation between two or more concepts. By using careful language, structured writing, chronological argumentation and balanced rhetoric, the author reveals the logical connection between two things which is not intrinsically evident.
How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay?
All forms of essays adhere to the same structure - an introductory paragraph, a number of body paragraphs and a summary. What distinguishes one type from another is the approach towards the topic.
When writing a cause and effect essay, the author must consider the subject matter, the topic, the intended audience, the purpose of the essay, the level of causality involved, the thesis statement and the conclusion.
How to Start a Cause and Effect Essay?
The first thing you need to do before even thinking about writing not just a cause and effect essays, but anything in general, is brainstorming. It is always advisable to adhere to a few steps when brainstorming. Consider this: which of the following is not a way to brainstorm for a cause-and-effect essay topic?
- consider the requirements of the task - they help to narrow down the wide range of possibilities that the preparations might elicit;
- focus on why something happened and what happened because of it;
- come up with as many possible causes for certain issues and their possible effects;
- analyze the possibilities - one cause might have multiple effects or more than one cause might result in a single effect;
- research - there is always a chance that the analysis and critical thinking might be wrong;
- narrow down the list - there might be many causes and effect for a single issue, but the task of the writer is to single out the most important ones.
You've guessed it - the task requirements and the research are not integral parts of the brainstorming process. The requirements of the task are the fundamental rules for your writing and you should be familiar with them before you start brainstorming. And you might want to research what others have to say about the issue, since the main point a cause and effect essay is not to come up with groundbreaking ideas, but to provide sound arguments from a personal perspective. However, save the research part for only after you'd done your work, since it might overshadow your perspective and judgement. After all, researching for cause and effect essay examples and critically analyzing them might help you distinguish between good and bad takes on this interesting format.
The next step towards writing your essay is writing a thesis statement.
How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay Thesis Statement?
The thesis statement is a crucial part of the cause and effect essay, since it is the pivotal point which drives the argumentation of the essay.
The thesis statement is directly linked to the title of the essay. It could be presented in more sentences, although the best option is to use one. A good thesis statements needs to have the following elements:
- powerful point
- the authors opinion
- clear and concise structure
Depending on whether the causes or the effects are the focus of your essay, start the thesis statement with the issue raised by the title of the essay, then proceed towards providing the causes/effects of that issue, and finish with a great hook.
How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay Outline?
The structure of the cause and effect essay is not set in stone. It follows the general rules for essays, but the number of body paragraphs may vary based on the requirements of the task. Nonetheless, there is a general formula for cause-and-effect-essays structure which will help you create an outline, rendering your task a lot easier:
- captivating hook/opening sentence
- the importance of the topic
- general data
- thesis statement
First Body Paragraph
- opening sentence - list possible causes and single out the most important
- organize the causes - order of significance/chronology/category
- first cause, explanation, supporting fact; second cause, explanation…
Second Body Paragraph
- opening sentence - list possible effects and single out the most important
- organize the effects - reflect the order of the causes
- first effect, explanation, supporting fact; second effect, explanation…
Third Body Paragraph
- opening sentence - list possible solutions
- explain how they affect the issue
- provide facts/statistics/projective data
- summarize key points
- reassert thesis statement
How to Write a Cause and Effect Paragraph?
Every paragraph of a cause-and-effect essay brings its own challenges, but nothing is too difficult if you bear in mind the goals of each part.
The introduction is the most important part of your essay. Make sure to start with a captivating opening statement which will entice the audience. The introduction needs to state the topic of the essay, its importance, the issues regarding the topic and the needed background information. The last sentence of the introductory paragraph is usually the thesis statement.
The first body paragraph usually introduces the causes of the topic presented in the introduction. Make sure to be concise - there is no need to burden the reader with unnecessary info. Depending on the word count of the assignment, the most common practice is to provide at least 3 causes related to certain issue. Make sure you support each cause with reliable data.
In the second body paragraph, the effects are introduced and explained. Make sure to present each effect in chronological order, i.e. in the same order in which the causes were presented. Once you present an effect, make sure to explain the correlation with the appropriate cause. Supporting data is a must!
In this paragraph the author traditionally provides possibilities for a future course of action. By underlying the importance of the topic, the author provides a number of solutions and explains how they could affect the causes and the effects of the central issue. Make sure to state the correlation with the causes and the effects of the topic.
Conclusion - keep it short and simple! Don’t introduce new ideas. In few sentences, summarize the key points and your personal outlook about the development of the issue in the future.
Most importantly, make sure you use linking devices. Not only will they improve conciseness, but they are crucial for coherence and cohesion. Linking devices help the writer's argumentation and, moreover, help the reader to follow the causality.
Interesting Cause and Effect Topics
This type of essay is probably the most interesting to work on, since there are endless possibilities for topic. However, if you struggle with finding a topic, here's a list that might help:
- Racism and its spread
- AI and future of humanity
- Technology and the changing lifestyle
- Being a single child
- Recreational drugs - pros and cons
- Global warming
- Capital punishment - pros and cons
- Right to keep and bear arms