Nova A.
Nova A.

How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay in 7 Simple Steps

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Published on: Apr 22, 2020

Last updated on: Dec 25, 2022

how to write a cause and effect essay

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Do you have an assignment in school that requires a cause and effect essay? Do you want to ace it but don't know where to start? If so, this blog post is for you.

If you're in high school, college, or grad school, your goal will be to score high in the essay. Find a list of ways that will help you improve your essay and examples that can help you understand this essay’s structure and requirements.

Read on and learn how to write a great cause and effect essay in 7 simple steps.

What is a Cause and Effect essay?

A cause and effect essay tells the readers how one thing, the cause, can result in another thing, the effect. Sometimes there is only one cause and its effect, and other times, there could be one cause resulting in multiple effects.

This essay describes the relationship between the two subjects. In simple terms, it shows a direct relationship between two objects or ideas. It is an argumentative type of essay and, usually, the writer describes how a person, event, or idea has influenced other things.

This kind of essay has several types, and the writer can choose any structure to format his essay.

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Purpose of Cause and Effect Essay

‘Why do teachers assign such essays?’

Instructors usually assign cause-and-effect essays to students to instill the ability of critical analysis in them. When you brainstorm about the possible causes behind an event and its outcomes, you analyze the event.

Furthermore, since you draw links between the causes and effects and understand how they influence one another, it helps you think critically and analyze an event or idea.

How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay Step by Step?

Follow the below-mentioned 7 easy steps to write a good cause and effect essay.

1. Choose an Essay Topic

The first step in writing an essay is choosing the topic. You are lucky if your instructor has already assigned you one, but luckier if you can choose it yourself.

There's a technique called 3-2-1 that may help you choose a good topic for your essay. It's simple and flexible enough to suit any situation.

  • First, make a possible list of topics that you have either found online or brainstormed yourself.

    For example:

    • Smoking and health
    • Deforestation and Global Warming
    • Internet and Child Grooming
    • WWII
    • Globalization
    • Education Systems
  • Scan the list to find 3 such topics that you think you can write about. For instance, you chose these three topics:
    • Smoking and health
    • WWII
    • Deforestation and Global Warming
  • From the three topics, choose two that seem the most suitable for your essay. Then, sketch a rough outline of these two topics in your mind.
  • Finally, select the one topic that you can write an essay on.

2. Map the Possible Causes and Effects

Brainstorm about your chosen topic. Think about the possible causes and effects relating to the topic. The old-school way of doing it is to take a pen and paper and write the topic on top. List down all the possible causes and effects.

This way, you will know what things you can cover in your essay.

For example, have you ever seen a conflict in the TV show Friends? Recalling it already? Thinking about the events that lead to it? Well, this is what brainstorming does for an essay.

You take your topic and think about all of the possible causes relating to it. The order of your essay depends on the type that you have chosen. There are majorly three types.

types of cause and effect essay

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3. Create a Thesis Statement

“How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay Thesis Statement?”

A thesis statement has 2-4 sentences that briefly describe the crux of your essay. Your thesis statement should clearly define the major cause and its major effect. It could be a single cause and effect, and it could also be multiple causes resulting in multiple effects.

Some examples of cause and effect thesis statements are as follows:

  • “The Internet is the most eminent invention of the 21st century. But, how has it affected the upbringing of the children? Though there are some harmful effects, the discovery of the internet remains majorly beneficial for children’s upbringing. It has made the parents more informed about the dos and don’ts. Moreover, children are being raised according to the era of information and technology.”
  • “Climate Change is one of the major threats to human survival. There are many anthropogenic causes behind it. They include deforestation, urbanization, pollution, etc. Some natural disasters like volcanoes and floods have also contributed to it. Climate Change will majorly affect the lives of all living organisms on land, air, and water.”

4. Structure the Outline

Your thesis statement will guide you to produce an outline of your essay. The outline is a point-wise description of the essay that gives an overview of the whole essay.

The outline structure varies according to the type of cause and effect essay you are writing. Think about what's important to your argument and ensure it is included in at least one main point under each heading for easy reading.

For example, you are writing a cause and effect essay on climate change. It would have the following outline:

  • Introduction paragraph - overview of the topic and the thesis statement
  • Cause # 1- Deforestation
  • Cause # 2- Urbanization
  • Cause # 3- Air Pollution
  • Cause # 4- Land Pollution
  • Effect # 1- Habitat Destruction
  • Effect # 2- Specie endangerment and extinction
  • Effect # 3- The ozone hole
  • Effect # 4- Health issues
  • Antithesis Paragraph - Some people think Climate change is only a natural phenomenon.
  • Conclusion Paragraph - Summarizing the essay.

A complete cause and effect essay outline guide will help you learn further about the outline.

5. Write an Initial Draft

Begin with the first draft of your essay. Any standard essay has an introduction, body, and conclusion, and here is a short guide for writing them.

    • Introduction: Start your essay with an attention-grabbing sentence or piece of information. There are different hook examples that you can check and use for your essay.

      Next, the introduction paragraph should describe the topic briefly. Here, you can define the key terms used in the essay or provide the background of the issue.

      Lastly, end your introduction paragraph with a thesis statement that you wrote earlier.

    • Body Paragraphs: The body of an essay usually has 3 paragraphs, but you can increase it based on the scope of your topic.

      A quick tip! Write only a single cause or effect in each paragraph. Mixing the causes and effects will make your essay inconsistent.

      It is very important to emphasize the importance of transition words in your essay. This is because a cause and effect essay depends on the link between the causes and effects.

      These transition words and phrases include: consequently, due to, therefore, implying that etc.

      Another important highlight of the essay’s body is the order of the paragraphs. You can opt for any one of the following orders:

      • Chronological Order: Write the paragraphs as the events occurred.
      • Order of Significance: In this type of order, the causes or effects of major or important are written first, and the rest are added later.
      • Category-wise: You can also categorize the causes and effects and write them accordingly. For instance, there are anthropogenic and natural causes of global warming. These can be two categories.
    • Conclusion: The conclusion is the last part of an essay but is more important than the introduction.

‘How to write a cause and effect essay conclusion?’

Start by rewriting your thesis statement to create an impactful conclusion. Support your thesis with some evidence from the essay. Summarize all of the causes and effects to draw connections between them.

A strong essay has a strong conclusion. Make sure your conclusion leaves an impact on the readers.

6. Proofread your Initial Draft

Some writers overlook this step. Are you one of them? Well, don’t be. This is a very important step in the writing process.

Everyone makes mistakes. Reread the essay yourself or get it read by another expert. Proofreading will help you identify those mistakes before your instructor points them out. So, proofreading helps you in the long term by ensuring good marks.

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7. Create the Final Draft

Once you know your mistakes, rectify them. Then, make the necessary revisions and create the final draft of your essay.

These seven steps would have given you a detailed idea of writing a good cause and effect essay. Follow them to write a great essay and avoid crucial mistakes.

Cause and Effect Essay Structure

Something that makes these essays so interesting is that you can structure them in 3 different ways. Here are some cause and effect structure examples.

Cause and effect essay with multiple causes and single effect:

  1. Introduction
    • Hook
    • Introduce your topic, the main effect
    • Thesis statement
  2. Body of the Essay
    • Cause #1
    • Cause #2
    • Cause #3
    • Cause #4
  3. Conclusion
    • Rewrite the thesis statement
    • Describe the effect
    • Description of the possible causes
    • Closing line

The structure of an essay with a single cause and multiple effects is as follows:

  1. Introduction
    • Attention Grabber
    • Introduce your topic, the main cause
    • Thesis Statement
  2. Body of the Essay
    • Effect #1
    • Effect #2
    • Effect #3
    • Effect #4
  3. Conclusion
    • Restate the thesis
    • Describe the cause
    • Description of the effects
    • Conclude in a few lines

An essay with multiple causes and effects will have a slightly different outline from the other two types of cause-and-effect essays.

  1. Introduction
    • Attention Grabber
    • Topic Description- define major terms
    • State the major causes and effects
    • Thesis Statement
  2. Body of the Essay
    1. Body Paragraph I and II
      • Cause 1
      • Effect 1
    2. Body Paragraph III and IV
      • Cause 2
      • Effect 2
    3. Body Paragraph V and VI
      • Cause 3
      • Effect 3
    4. Antithesis Paragraph:
      • This paragraph states the contrary argument. You will write what the opposing party might argue. For instance, if you are writing an essay about the anthropogenic causes of climate change, the opposing party can say that climate change is a natural process not caused by human activities.
  3. Conclusion
    • Restate the thesis statement
    • Write all the causes and effects briefly
    • Link the causes and effects to the topic
    • Broader Message or conclusion

Another cause and effect essay outline template for this type of essay is as follows:

  1. Introduction
    • Attention Grabber
    • Definition of major terms
    • Description of the major causes and effects
    • Thesis Statement
  2. Body of the Essay
    1. Section 1 of the Body - The Causes
      • Para 1: Cause # 1
      • Para 2: Cause # 2
      • Para 3: Cause # 3
      • Para 4: Cause # 4
    2. Section 2 of the Body - The Effects
      • Para 5: Effect # 1
      • Para 6: Effect # 2
      • Para 7: Effect # 3
      • Para 8: Effect # 4
  3. Conclusion
    • Rephrased thesis statement
    • A brief discussion of the causes and effects
    • Discuss how they are related to the main topic
    • Broader message in the conclusion

While writing the essays, make sure that all paragraphs have topic sentences. These sentences tell the particular cause or effect that is discussed in that paragraph.

Cause and Effect Essay Examples

Here are samples that you can check to perfect your cause and effect essay.

Cause and Effect Essay Topics

How will an essay guide help you if you can’t decide on a topic? Are you thinking about what is a good cause and effect essay topic? We have got you covered.

Here are some cause and effect essay prompts:

  • Effects of Smoking on Behavior of Smokers
  • The Possible Influence of Social Media on a Child’s Personality
  • What Causes Domestic Violence and How Does it Affect Families?
  • Racism: Origin and Outcomes
  • How are Globalization and Capitalism Interlinked?
  • Why is Freelancing becoming Common? What will be the Effects?
  • How are Humans Accelerating Climate Change?
  • How will Artificial Intelligence Affect Human Employment?
  • How does Poverty cause a High Crime Rate?
  • Effects of Music Genres on Human Mood

These were a few topics that you can select from. Don’t forget to use the 3,2,1 technique mentioned above.

Tips to Improve your Cause and Effect Essay

Here are some quick tips to improve your essay:

  • Structure the causes and effects properly. Read the different types of cause and effect essays and structure your essay accordingly.
  • Start with an interesting but relevant attention grabber.
  • Try to write causes and effects from multiple dimensions.
  • Add transition words or link the causes and effects with each other.
  • Do not add any new information to the conclusion paragraph.
  • Make sure that your conclusion is impactful and summarizes the essay accurately.

Do check your essay against all these points after writing and make the necessary changes if needed.

We hope this guide has given you valuable insight into writing a cause and effect essay. It's important to remember that it is always better to be too specific than vague with any type of writing.

If you're looking for help in improving your essays' structure or tone, feel free to contact WriteMyEssay.help . We offer professional ‘write my essay’ services for essays and academic papers. They are tailored specifically for each client's needs, so don't hesitate to reach out.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you write an introduction for a cause and effect essay?

You can write it in three simple steps. 

Step 1: Write a good attention grabber. 

Step 2: Describe the topic or its background. 

Step 3: Add your thesis statement. 

What is an example of a cause and effect essay paragraph?

An example of a cause and effect essay paragraph is: 

Topic sentence: I got a warning at the office for being late. 2nd sentence (cause): I slept late at night. 3rd sentence (effect): I woke up late and got late for the office. Concluding sentence: Thus, I was issued a warning.

How do you write a cause and effect sentence?

A cause and effect sentence can be written in the following three ways: 

  1. Discuss the cause before, followed by the effect. 
  2. Discuss the effect, followed by its cause. 
  3. Use conjunction, then write a cause, followed by the effect. 

What three things make up a cause and effect paragraph?

The three things are:

  1. Topic sentence
  2. Cause and effect sentence
  3. Concluding sentence

What is an example of an effect?

An effect is the outcome of some action or event. For example, I followed a strict diet (action), so I lost 10kg (effect).

How do you explain cause and effect to students?

A thing that makes other things happen is called a cause. What happens next as a result of the cause is its effect. So, the reason is the cause, and the outcome is the effect.

How many paragraphs should a cause and effect essay have?

There should be at least 3 paragraphs. But, the number can vary according to the number of causes and effects that you are discussing.

Nova A.

WRITTEN BY

Nova A., Literature, Marketing

Nova Allison has eight years of experience writing both technical and scientific content. As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova focuses on developing online content plans that engage audiences. She strives to write pieces that are not only informative but also captivating.

Nova Allison has eight years of experience writing both technical and scientific content. As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova focuses on developing online content plans that engage audiences. She strives to write pieces that are not only informative but also captivating.

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