Cause and effect essay
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Cause and Effect Essay. Cause and Effect Essays. A cause-effect essay serves one of two purposes 1. It shows the effects of a thing or event 2. It explains the causes of a thing or event

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Cause and Effect Essay

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Cause and effect essay

Cause and Effect Essay

Cause and effect essays

Cause and Effect Essays

  • A cause-effect essay serves one of two purposes

    • 1. It shows the effects of a thing or event

    • 2. It explains the causes of a thing or event

  • Cause effect essays deal with the action/result relationship. They explain why things happen (causes) and what happens as a result (effects). 

Cause and effect essays basic structure

Cause and Effect Essays:Basic Structure

There are two types of Cause and Effect Essays.

  • A cause with multiple effects

    • Ex) Effects of watching too much TV

      • The cause is watching too much TV – explain the effects

  • An effect with multiple causes.

    • Ex) Causes of air pollution (multiple factors leading to air pollution)

      • Air pollution is the effect

  • Each of the Causes or Effects listed in the thesis statement will correspond to a paragraph in the body of the essay.

Multiple causes effect

Multiple causes-->effect

Multiple causes effect1

Multiple causes-->effect

  • Topic: Causes of air pollution

    • (Air pollution is the effect)

  • Intro

    • Thesis Statement: Air pollution is caused by the following factors: exhaust gases from cars, uncontrolled factory releases, and burning of low-quality coal for heating.

  • Body

    • Exhaust gases from cars. (Explain how this causes air pollution)

    • Uncontrolled factory releases. (Explain how this causes air pollution)

    • Burning of low-quality coal. (Explain how this causes air pollution)

  • Conclusion

Cause multiple effects

Cause-->Multiple effects

Cause multiple effects1

Cause-->Multiple effects

  • Topic : Effects on society of watching too much TV

  • Intro

    • Thesis: Watching too much TV is one of the major sociological issues of this century, which has many effects on the physiology and psychology of people.

  • Body

    • Eating disorders (Explain how watching too much tv causes eating disorders)

    • Communication problems

    • Obesity

  • Conclusion

Getting started

Getting Started:

  • What is the very first step in the writing process?


  • Take a couple minutes to come up with as many cause and effect topics as possible.

Sample topics

Sample topics

  • The positive effects of quitting a harmful habit

  • Causes of teenage depression

  • The effect of a parent, teacher, or friend on a child’s life

  • The effects of cramming for an exam

  • The effects of peer pressure

  • Why some students cheat

  • The effects of growing up with a personal computer

  • The effects of poverty on an individual

  • Why more and more students are taking online classes

  • The effects of racial, sexual, or religious discrimination

  • Why people exercise

  • Why people have pets

  • The effects of computers on our everyday lives

  • The environmental effects of bottled water

  • The effects of pressures on students to get good grades

  • The effects of a coach or teammate on a student’s life

  • The effects of not keeping a personal budget

  • The causes of noise pollution

  • The effects of noise pollution

  • Why so few students read newspapers

  • The effects of moving to a new town or city

  • Why sales of DVDs are declining

  • Why growing numbers of people shop online

  • The effects of the steady increase in the cost of going to college

  • Why students drop out of high school or college

  • Why so many people eat junk food

  • Why many children run away from home

  • The long-term effects of unemployment on a person

  • The influence of a book or a movie on a person’s life

  • The effects of music downloading on the music industry

Choosing a topic

Choosing a topic…

  • Once you have done some brainstorming, take a look at 1 or 2 of the topics you like most.

  • Remember, try not to choose topics that are too broad or too narrow.

    • Too broad: The Causes of Poverty

    • Better: The Causes of Poverty in the Dominican Republic

    • Too narrow: The effects of taking English 322

    • Better: The effects of becoming a good writer

    • Better: The effects of learning a foreign language

  • In partners, discuss the topics you have selected and come up with a list of ALL the possible causes or effects for your topics.

Cause and effect essay

Narrowing down your topic. Now that you have a list, narrow down or group your causes or effects into 3 main categories.

Effects of Air pollution in Mexico City

  • Necessity to stay indoors

  • More sitting in front of the tv

  • Destruction of wildlife

  • Negative world attention

  • Decrease in tourism

  • Allergies

  • Emphysema

  • Headaches

  • Poor visibilty

  • Shorter life span

  • Runny eyes and nose

  • Lower quality of life

Effects of Air pollution in Mexico City

  • Health problems

    • Runny eyes and nose

    • Shorter life span

    • Headaches and emphysema

    • allergies

  • Lifestyle changes

    • More sitting in front of tv

    • Necessity to stay indoors

    • Lower quality of life

  • Economic issues

    • Negative world attention

    • Decrease in tourism

Create a thesis statement

Create a Thesis Statement

  • Definition of your issue followed by its causes or effects.

    Ex: A recession, which is a nationwide lull in business activity, would be detrimental to American society in the following ways: it would A, it would B and it would C.

Thesis statement examples

Thesis Statement Examples

  • Principal reasons for worker dissatisfaction in the field of customer service are low wages, hostile environment conditions, and boredom.

  • The beneficial effects of annual active family vacations include reduced stress, increased fitness, and improved family relationships.

Support your thesis and topic sentences with details

Support your Thesis and Topic Sentences with Details

  • Research your topic.

  • Use specific details, facts, and statistics to support your causes and effects and to create a strong argument.

  • Be sure to properly cite all of your information using APA citation.

Avoid generalizations

Avoid generalizations

Generalization: The reason why Americans are overweight is that they love fast food.

  • Not ALL Americans are overweight and not ALL Americans love fast foods.

    Better: One of the main reasons behind the obesity epidemic in the United States is the prevalence of Fast Food in the American diet. According to a survey by the Food and Drug Administration, 90 percent of Americans report eating Fast Food at least once a week.

Use the 3 rd person avoid using i or you

Use the 3rd PersonAvoid using I or you

Incorrect: I believe that the death penalty is wrong because it is a form of murder.

The removal of the “I believe that” makes the sentence more forceful. The purpose of a cause and effect paper is to be as convincing as possible and to convince readers to accept the cause and effect as plausible.

Correct: The death penalty is wrong because it is a form of murder.

Incorrect: You can’t give the government the power to determine who lives or dies.

Who is “You?” This pronoun is not referring to anybody in particular, and therefore, the sentence sounds confusing.

Correct: The government should not have the power to determine who lives or dies.

Avoid negative statements and bias

Avoid Negative Statements and Bias

  • Avoid biased statements or make negative statements to the reader

    Too Negative: The American public is too blind to see that the death penalty is wrong. Voter ignorance is one contributing factor that allows policies like the death penalty to come into law.

    Better: More death penalty education is needed to provide the voting public with the information they need to make informed decisions.

Transition words


Transition words

  • As a result,

  • As a consequence,

  • Consequently,

  • So,

  • Since

  • As,

  • Because

  • Due to

  • If… then

  • Leads to

  • Therefore

  • Thus

  • One reason why ...

  • One of the most important reasons why ...

  • The main reasons why ...

  • There are other reasons, too, ...

Important questions to ask

Important Questions to Ask

  • Have I assumed only one cause when many causes may be appropriate?

  • Have I incorrectly assumed a causal relationship between two events that immediately follow each other?

  • Did I distinguish between long-term and short-term causes and effects. A short-term cause or effect is a single, immediately identifiable event; a long-term cause or effect may be less easy to pinpoint but in the long run more important?

  • Did I distinguish between primary (most important) and secondary (ancillary) effects?

The Cause and Effect Essay. Mount Hebron High School. 27 May 2008 <>.

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