How to Write Cause and Effect Essays


Cause and Effect essays explain the order and links between events, situations, decisions, or trends.

Cause essays argue how things that happened in the past created:

  • An important one-time event (e.g., causes of Donald Trump's success as the presidential candidate).
  • An increasing trend (e.g., causes of the trend of addiction to cell phones).

It also explore the effects of that event, trend, or phenomenon.

Effect Essays explain what happened after a particular event, or the situations which stem from a particular decision, event, or cause (e.g., effect of Trump candidacy on the Republican party or effect of Prince on music).

Cause essays answer: "Why? What caused this?"

Effect essays answer : "What happened afterwards?"

Cause and Effect essays answer: "What is the chain of events?"

Other topics: What are the effects of stress? Why are more people using medications to combat stress?
Other topics: What are the effects of stress? Why are more people using medications to combat stress? | Source

Different Approaches

Cause Essay: This essay explains the different causes and either presents your view or asks the reader to decide at the end. The introduction describes the effects and ends with the question: "What has caused...?" The body paragraphs describe one or more possible causes and the evidence for this. Generally, you will argue strongly for the most important cause in this type of essay. You may argue against some of the other reasonings. The conclusion either restates the cause you think is most important and argues for why the reader should believe it, or it asks the reader to decide.

Speculating About Causes Essay: This essay presents all of the views on the issue. The introduction starts with the effects and asks "What has caused...?" The body then describes three or more different causes with the reasons why some people may believe them. The conclusion either asks the reader to decide or presents your own belief.

Cause Argument Essay: This essay argues for your own idea. The introduction presents effects and ends with the question "What has caused...?" The second paragraph presents the causes that other people argue for (e.g., "some people believe..." or "other people say the cause is..."). The body then presents your belief of the cause and argues why it is the best explanation. The body also refutes the other ideas. Conclude with why the reader should adopt your point of view.

Effect Essay: This essay focuses on the results of a certain cause. The introduction talks about one important event (such as the bombing of the World Trade Center or the introduction of chocolate to the Europeans). Then it asks the question: What are the effects of....? The body of the essay describes the different effects and gives evidence to support them. The conclusion can speculate on effects in the future, or give your personal opinion of the most important effect.

Introduction Tips

-Grab reader's attention

-Vividly describe effect

-End with your question: "What causes...?" or "What is the effect of...?"

Introduction Ideas

Describe Effect
Describe Cause
vivid story
series of questions
interesting description
describe movie plot
current event
what everyone believes

Body Paragraphs

The question you ended your introduction with should be answered in the first sentence of your body paragraph. This will be your thesis (if your instructor insists that you have your thesis in the introduction, you can move that answer to the last sentence of the introduction). Or, if you have several different answers to the question, then each one of your body paragraphs can use one of those answers as the topic sentence.

Body: Argue for your causes

This is the heart of the paper. You want to convince the reader that you are right by presenting arguments and evidence that your reasons are the best explanation for the trend or phenomenon. In presenting and explaining your causes, be sure to:

  • Present in a logical order. There are two ways to do this:
  1. Present in climactic order (minor causes first and then the most important one).
  2. Present the most important cause first and then backtrack to more minor, underlying ones.
  • Surprise reader. Mention but don’t spend a lot of time on obvious or predictable causes. (One tip for an effective introduction is to mention reasons that are expected and say why these are not the main causes).
  • Don’t mistake effects for causes. A cause happens before; an effect happens after.
  • Add good evidence. Provide support by using statistics, anecdotes, case histories, historical evidence, examples, description, expert opinion, quotes, and scenarios.

Why are men so competitive?
Why are men so competitive? | Source

Conclusion Ideas

In this essay you do not have to be dogmatic, so you can admit that it is possible to view the issue in a different light. But, you should use the conclusion to persuade your reader that your way of thinking about this issue is better. Here are some conclusion ideas:

  1. Present your idea on the subject. Explain why you reject the other ideas.
  2. Ask the reader to decide what they think is the best.
  3. Speculate on why the most popular cause is believed and then tell why you think this is wrong or right.
  4. Speculate on whether there is a cause not yet discovered.
  5. Imagine what would happen in the future in a similar situation.
  6. Anticipate the reader’s objections or preferred reasons and show how your ideas are better.

Why are color runs so popular?
Why are color runs so popular? | Source

Writing Tips

  1. Titles: Use the title to present your point of view or use the cause question.
  2. Audience: Think about your audience — what aspects of this issue would most interest or convince them?
  3. Topic Sentences: Each cause you suggest should be stated in a single sentence. These will be the topic sentences for each of body paragraphs. Usually, you will have three or more reasons why the reader should accept your cause. These will be your piece of evidence or support for that topic sentence.
  4. Thesis: If your instructor wants you to have a thesis sentence, then you can state all of these briefly in one sentence at the beginning. (Example: The main causes of the Civil War were: cultural differences between the industrialized North and agricultural South, the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, and the publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin).
  5. Choosing Unique Ideas: Don’t have your causes (or effects) be too obvious. Your paper should have interesting ones that the reader would not automatically think of when they hear about your subject. However, if your causes are more familiar, you can make them interesting by giving some unique supporting examples or evidence. You do not have to prove your causes conclusively.
  6. How to Support: Support each of these reasons with argument, examples, statistics, authorities, or anecdote. To make your reasons seem plausible, connect them back to your position by using “if…then” reasoning.
  7. Speculating About Causes: For this paper, the job is to guess the possible causes for something and to make your guesses seem plausible. You don't have to prove them absolutely, but give enough evidence to make them seem possible.

Topic Idea About Violence in the Community

More by this Author

Comments 4 comments

Hadeel 3 years ago

Thank you ..

It is a useful advice.

VirginiaLynne profile image

VirginiaLynne 4 years ago from United States Author

So true! I just graded a set of essays and it is so amazing how students just write "Essay 3" as a title! One other thing I'm starting to suggest my students do is to add Headers to their main points--like you would on Hubpages. I'm finding that the Headers help them to actually articulate their main points more effectively. What they really are is just putting their topic sentences into a short phrase. Although that is not part of formal classroom writing, I suspect most of my students will be writing online in much of their professional lives and headers work better in online writing.

divakar3368 profile image

divakar3368 4 years ago from Maldives

good thanks....

eztranslation profile image

eztranslation 5 years ago from NY, NY

"use the title to present your point of view" --so important! People overlook the title as a really great tool for framing their argument! If I don't love your title, I'm probably not going to read the essay.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article