Cause and Effect Essay: Precise Tips on How to Write It

Cause and effect papers are common assignments for college students. They are also common for middle school and high school. But if this is your first time getting such an assignment, you probably have questions to mind.

“How do I write a cause effect essay? Should I write about both causes and effects? What’s a cause and effect essay, anyway? Can someone please help?”

First of all, it’s important to calm down. Fortunately, the process of writing a cause and effect essay is not extremely challenging. You just need to understand the assignment and develop an action plan. We’re here to help with that.

We’ll give you step by step instructions on how to write a cause and effect paper.

What Is a Cause and Effect Essay?

Let’s start with the cause and effect essay definition:

A cause and effect essay assignment requires you to identify and evaluate the causal relationship between different factors related to the same situation or event.

Here are some examples:

  • If the cause and effect writing project is on the topic World War I, you will focus on the causes of this event, and then you’ll talk about the consequences it had over the entire world.
  • If you take alcoholism as a topic, you’ll first identify the causes that lead to such state, and then you’ll discuss the consequences it has over a person’s life and surroundings.

You don’t have a topic yet and you want the best ideas? Check out this list and you’ll easily choose a topic for cause and effect essay.

What’s the Cause and Effect Essay Structure?

In most cases when writing an academic paper, you’re faced with the same structure:

  • Introduction
  • Body paragraphs
  • Conclusion

You’ll structure the cause/effect essay it just like a usual paper.

In general, professors ask you to write a 5-paragraph essay. That means you’ll write three body paragraphs, plus an introduction and a conclusion.

General Tips: How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay

Before we get to specifics, here are few important writing tips to consider throughout the whole process:

  • Do your research! This is the type of essay that needs strong arguments supported by facts. If you’re writing about alcoholism, statistics and information from scientific studies will make it really good.
  • Write in a simple style. Most students will choose complex terms from a dictionary, thinking they make them look smarter. That’s not the case. Using words you don’t even understand make you look confused. You seem like you’re trying too hard. Plus, big words dilute your message and make it unreadable.
  • Always provide proper references! During the research stages, you will locate several sources of information. Keep track of these resources. When you use them in the content, make sure to include well-formatted references.
  • You’ll need to cover three stages: pre-writing, writing, and post-writing. Let’s get into those details, shall we?

How to Start a Cause and Effect Essay

First, it’s important to know how NOT to start: with writing. You never start writing a paper with the writing stage itself. The cause and effect assignment requires serious research, and its depth will depend on the topic.

Here’s step by step guide on how to start a cause and effect essay:

  1. Choose your topic. If your professor didn’t assign a precise topic, choose one you’re really interested in.
  2. Brainstorm! What do you know about this topic? Can you think of any essay cause and effects? Write them down and you’ll check them later.
  3. Now, it’s time for research. Use Google Scholar to find studies on the matter. Then search regularly, so you’ll find statistics and other important information. You don’t have to read all these materials. Just find the aspects that are important and go through them.

Once you’re done with these initial steps, you’ll be ready for the next one:

How to Write Cause and Effect Essay Outline

Once you have a topic and you’re done with the research stage, you’re ready for the outline. Here are few tips on how to write it:

  • Search for an example of outline. You’ll see that it’s just a structured presentation of what you plan to write.
  • As we said when we were talking about the essay’s structure, you’ll need an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Plan what you’ll write in each section. Use bullet points to make the outline clearer.
  • Use one of the body paragraphs to discuss the causes. The second body paragraph should cover the effects. In the third body paragraph, you’ll explain the connections between the causes and effects.

How to Write Cause and Effect Essay Introduction

The introduction is the first element of the paper that gets a reader’s attention. That’s why it’s important to start with a hook. That hook may be an anecdote, quote, or an unexpected statement.

The safest and easiest way to start an essay is with a quote. Just take your topic and search for a quote that tackles the causes and effects.

If you’re unable to find such a quote, you can always grab the reader’s attention by starting with a fact. Use statistics and results from scientific research.

How to Write Cause and Effect Essay Thesis Statement

The essay thesis is the spine of your essay. It’s what holds all elements together. It’s a single sentence that describes the connection between the causes and effects you identified.

For example, you may take the fact that depression can trigger addictive behavior and leads to alcoholism, so you’ll turn it into a thesis statement.

How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay Paragraph

Each body paragraph should contain a topic sentence.

In the paragraph about the causes, you’ll start with a topic sentence listing the causes of the event or situation. Then, you’ll use the remaining space in this paragraph to describe and discuss them. You’ll do the same thing with the paragraph about the effects. In the third body paragraph, the topic sentence will clearly describe the relation between the causes and effects.

The Important Thing Is to Try

It’s not easy to write a cause and effect essay. As any other academic assignment, it requires a lot of work. But the important thing is to start early and make the attempt.

As you keep practicing, you’ll be getting better.

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