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.
How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay on any Topic
What is a Cause and Effect Essay?
A Cause and Effect essay essay is concerned with why things happen and what happens as a result (effects). Cause and effect is a common method of organizing and discussing ideas.
When writing your essay, remember your purpose. Decide if your are writing to persuade or inform. Focus on immediate and direct effects. Limit yourself to causes that are close in time and related, as opposed to remote and indirect causes, which occur later and are related indirectly.
Choosing a Topic for Cause and Effect Essay
In order to write a good Cause and Effect essay, you need to find a good topic for it, i.e. a topic that lets you easily demonstrate your writing skills and finally get a high grade without thinking too much.
Althrough choosing the essay topic for cause and effect essay type is not difficult, It’s important you choose the essay topic that is really important for you. Choosing the correct essay topic makes your essay more interesting and successful.
Here are some examples of pretty good Cause and Effect essay topics:
The Civil Rights Movement and the Effects
Causes and Effects of the Popularity of Fast Food Restaurants
Popularity of Sports in US Internet Influence on kids
Effects of Pollution
The Changes in the Ocean
Using the following links, you can find a lot of good topics for your Cause and Effect essay:
100 Cause and Effect Essay Topics
40 Good Cause and Effect Essay Topics – Students’ Choice
Cause Effect Essay Sample Topics
40 Writing Topics: Causes and Effects
Cause and Effect essay structure
Considering the right structure for your essay is one of the key points of success. Sticking to a recommended essay structure is the only way to properly outline and write it, paragraph by paragraph from the introduction to conclusion, without mistakes.
Depending on the kind of relation between causes and effects, your essay can be organized by one of the three patterns: "Multiple Causes, One Effect" pattern, "One Cause, Multiple Effects" pattern and "Causal Chain (Domino)" pattern
Multiple Causes One Effect pattern
This pattern deals with the situation when one effect is a result of multiple causes.
It contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, each one describing one of the causes, leading to the effect.
One Cause Multiple Effects
This pattern should be used when one cause leads to multiple effects.
It contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, each one describing one of the effects, the cause is leading to.
Causal Chain (Domino)
Sometimes a cause leads to a situation and that situation leads to another situation and so on.
This is called a causal chain or domino effect.
Causal chain pattern contains seven paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and five paragraphs, each one describing one causal link.
After choosing an essay pattern, now all you need is to write your cause and effect essay, on any topic, according to your pattern’s structure. Also, be sure to read the A+ writing tips for a cause and effect essay on any topic below. Follow these instructions and you will write a high grading cause and effect essay.
Writing an A+ Cause and Effect Essay
In a Cause and Effect essay, the introduction is very important. It gives the reader his/her first impression of the text.
First of all, provide background information. Than state your essay’s thesis.
In "Multiple Causes, One Effect" pattern, enumerate the causes / causes groups leading to this effect. For example:
Hunger is a result of many reasons such as poverty, models of development and consumption, violence and militarism.
In "One Cause, Multiple Effects" pattern, enumerate the effects / effect groups of the cause. For example:
TV was also invented with positive thoughts in mind – there would be no national borders, education and communication would be worldwide, etc. However, we are now trying to overcome its physiological and psychological adverse effects on human beings.
In "Causal Chain (Domino)" pattern, state that the first cause in the chain leads to the final effect. For example:
Let’s see how the use of popular deodorants can bring the end of world.
Multiple Causes, One Effect – Cause Paragraph
Clearly state the cause
One of the main causes of hunger is poverty – lack of purchasing power and access to resources.
Support the cause by two supports – major and minor
Poverty is linked not only with poor national economic performance but also with an unequal distribution of income and a political structure that renders poor people powerless, whether in a democracy or a dictatorship.
While writing, these supporting ideas should be adequately explained and exemplified as well.
Globally, incomes and consumption differ starkly. Twenty percent of the world’s population – mostly in industrial countries – receives 85 percent of the world’s income and accounts for 80 percent of consumption, producing two-thirds of all greenhouse gases and 90 percent of ozone - depleting chlorofluorocarbons. This level of consumption is not sustainable at the global level.
Use appropriate transitions
To blend details smoothly, use the transitional words and phrases listed below:
because, due to, on cause is, another is, since, for, first, second
One Cause, Multiple Effects – Effect Paragraph
Clearly state the effect
One of the physiological effects of watching TV in excessive amounts is eye-strain.
Explain it in details
It is true that there are specifications for watching TV; TV should be 5 m. away from the eye, the room should be adequately lit, TV should be placed at the same height with our eyes, etc. However, these do not prevent our eyes from getting tired if we keep watching TV for a long time.
If it’s a group of effects consequently explain each effect:
Another effect is obesity, which is widely observed in people who like watching TV and eating snacks everyday (there is even a term “TV snacks” to refer to fast food that is suitable for eating in front of the TV). TV is such a powerful machine that people cannot get away from it – it is addictive.
Use appropriate transitions
To blend details smoothly, use the transitional words and phrases listed below:
consequently, as a result, thus, resulted in, one result is, another is, therefore
Causal Chain (Domino) – Causal Link Paragraph
Keep in mind the causal chain
deodorants contain chlorofluorocarbon gases ->
this gas destroys the ozone layer ->
unfiltered ultraviolet rays melt icebergs ->
the sea-level rises -> sea covers the land -> end of the world.
In each paragraph you deal with one cause / effect entry
Clearly state the cause and the effect
Chlorofluorocarbon gases cause the ozone layer to become thinner and finally disappear in patches
Explain the link in details
Years of deforestation and pollution have slowly but steadily damaged the atmosphere and depleted the ozone layer. Refrigerators and air conditioners, for example, emit harmful Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) which cause the depletion of the ozone layer, which results in Global warming.
Use appropriate transition terms
To blend details smoothly, use transitional terms, such as those listed below:
because, due to, on cause is, another is, since, for, first, second, consequently, as a result, thus, resulted in, one result is, another is, therefore
The conclusion of a cause and effect essay is one of the more important essay components. Without a solid ending, the earlier analysis could fall flat, no matter how well written the ideas were.
Restate (do not repeat) the thesis
Global warming is the result of human negligence. Years of deforestation and pollution have slowly but steadily damaged the atmosphere and depleted the ozone layer.
Consider the implications
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and ask yourself what needs to be said to finish things up in a clear, concise way. What things need to be addressed in order to wrap things up?
You may explain how your conclusion should be practically used; express your hopes as you look to the future; issue a call for action, etc.:
To reduce Global warming we need to control the air pollution, the emission of the harmful gases and factory smoke. We need to respect and protect our environment so that we have safe and healthy air to breathe and we can live in a clean atmosphere.
Finalizing your Work
Pay attention that even though your essay is fully written, it still isn’t ready to submission.
There are some common and annoying mistakes which may significantly harm your grade. However, you can avoid those grade lowering mistakes by completing the following checklist:
- Check spelling and grammar
- Ensure that your essay is fully compliant with the required formatting standard
- Properly organize all the citations and the References / Works Cited page
- Ensure that your title page is done as required
- Take a final look at your paper to be certain that everything is indeed fine