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10.8 Cause and Effect
- Determine the purpose and structure of cause and effect in writing.
- Understand how to write a cause-and-effect essay.
The Purpose of Cause and Effect in Writing
It is often considered human nature to ask, “why?” and “how?” We want to know how our child got sick so we can better prevent it from happening in the future, or why our colleague a pay raise because we want one as well. We want to know how much money we will save over the long term if we buy a hybrid car. These examples identify only a few of the relationships we think about in our lives, but each shows the importance of understanding cause and effect.
A cause is something that produces an event or condition; an effect is what results from an event or condition. The purpose of the cause-and-effect essay is to determine how various phenomena relate in terms of origins and results. Sometimes the connection between cause and effect is clear, but often determining the exact relationship between the two is very difficult. For example, the following effects of a cold may be easily identifiable: a sore throat, runny nose, and a cough. But determining the cause of the sickness can be far more difficult. A number of causes are possible, and to complicate matters, these possible causes could have combined to cause the sickness. That is, more than one cause may be responsible for any given effect. Therefore, cause-and-effect discussions are often complicated and frequently lead to debates and arguments.
Use the complex nature of cause and effect to your advantage. Often it is not necessary, or even possible, to find the exact cause of an event or to name the exact effect. So, when formulating a thesis, you can claim one of a number of causes or effects to be the primary, or main, cause or effect. As soon as you claim that one cause or one effect is more crucial than the others, you have developed a thesis.
Consider the causes and effects in the following thesis statements. List a cause and effect for each one on your own sheet of paper.
- The growing childhood obesity epidemic is a result of technology.
- Much of the wildlife is dying because of the oil spill.
- The town continued programs that it could no longer afford, so it went bankrupt.
- More young people became politically active as use of the Internet spread throughout society.
- While many experts believed the rise in violence was due to the poor economy, it was really due to the summer-long heat wave.
Write three cause-and-effect thesis statements of your own for each of the following five broad topics.
- Health and nutrition
The Structure of a Cause-and-Effect Essay
The cause-and-effect essay opens with a general introduction to the topic, which then leads to a thesis that states the main cause, main effect, or various causes and effects of a condition or event.
The cause-and-effect essay can be organized in one of the following two primary ways:
- Start with the cause and then talk about the effects.
- Start with the effect and then talk about the causes.
For example, if your essay were on childhood obesity, you could start by talking about the effect of childhood obesity and then discuss the cause or you could start the same essay by talking about the cause of childhood obesity and then move to the effect.
Regardless of which structure you choose, be sure to explain each element of the essay fully and completely. Explaining complex relationships requires the full use of evidence, such as scientific studies, expert testimony, statistics, and anecdotes.
Because cause-and-effect essays determine how phenomena are linked, they make frequent use of certain words and phrases that denote such linkage. See Table 10.4 “Phrases of Causation” for examples of such terms.
Table 10.4 Phrases of Causation
The conclusion should wrap up the discussion and reinforce the thesis, leaving the reader with a clear understanding of the relationship that was analyzed.
Be careful of resorting to empty speculation. In writing, speculation amounts to unsubstantiated guessing. Writers are particularly prone to such trappings in cause-and-effect arguments due to the complex nature of finding links between phenomena. Be sure to have clear evidence to support the claims that you make.
Look at some of the cause-and-effect relationships from Note 10.83 “Exercise 2” . Outline the links you listed. Outline one using a cause-then-effect structure. Outline the other using the effect-then-cause structure.
Writing a Cause-and-Effect Essay
Choose an event or condition that you think has an interesting cause-and-effect relationship. Introduce your topic in an engaging way. End your introduction with a thesis that states the main cause, the main effect, or both.
Organize your essay by starting with either the cause-then-effect structure or the effect-then-cause structure. Within each section, you should clearly explain and support the causes and effects using a full range of evidence. If you are writing about multiple causes or multiple effects, you may choose to sequence either in terms of order of importance. In other words, order the causes from least to most important (or vice versa), or order the effects from least important to most important (or vice versa).
Use the phrases of causation when trying to forge connections between various events or conditions. This will help organize your ideas and orient the reader. End your essay with a conclusion that summarizes your main points and reinforces your thesis. See Chapter 15 “Readings: Examples of Essays” to read a sample cause-and-effect essay.
Choose one of the ideas you outlined in Note 10.85 “Exercise 3” and write a full cause-and-effect essay. Be sure to include an engaging introduction, a clear thesis, strong evidence and examples, and a thoughtful conclusion.
- The purpose of the cause-and-effect essay is to determine how various phenomena are related.
- The thesis states what the writer sees as the main cause, main effect, or various causes and effects of a condition or event.
The cause-and-effect essay can be organized in one of these two primary ways:
- Start with the cause and then talk about the effect.
- Start with the effect and then talk about the cause.
- Strong evidence is particularly important in the cause-and-effect essay due to the complexity of determining connections between phenomena.
- Phrases of causation are helpful in signaling links between various elements in the essay.
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Cause And Effect Essay Writing
Cause And Effect Essay Outline
Learn How to Create a Cause and Effect Essay Outline
Published on: Mar 19, 2020
Last updated on: Nov 29, 2023
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It is a universal fact that for every action, there is a reaction. To relate to this principle and discuss the multiple effects of a specific action, we write cause and effect essays.
This type of essay tends to enhance the analytical skills of analysis. Plus, they also help a student to understand the reason behind the occurrence of a specific event or action.
Cause and effect essays are written at nearly all levels of academic life.
For any type of essay, there are a few necessary elements. An essential piece of essay writing is creating an outline for the particular essay. An outline guides the reader through the essay and the significant parts of an essay and makes the reading process easy.
Creating an outline is time-consuming, and that is why most of the students consider it least essential and do not prefer creating one. This is the biggest mistake of the writer while writing the essay.
Significantly, while writing a cause and effect essay , a meaningful and solid outline must be created as there is the involvement of a lot of causes and effects. So, in order to keep everything organized, an outline is a must.
Creating an outline is an easy yet tricky thing to do and requires strong writing skills, but it is impossible. Read this blog and learn all the steps you need to follow to create a fantastic outline to support your essay.
Cause and Effect Essay Outline
Writing a cause and effect essay topic is easy if you create the outline. An outline is basically the plan of action for your essay.
The key element that makes an essay effective is its structure. And the basic component of the overall structure of an essay is its outline. Also, keep the effect chain and block structure in your mind.
It is a misconception about creating outlines for essays that it is a total waste of time and is of no use. It is true that it is time to take the task, but it is not useless. It saves a significant amount of time while writing the essay.
A good outline will highlight all the important sections and points of your essay and will let you write even a problematic essay with ease. You only write the important issues in the form of bullets and then elaborate late on in the essay.
Cause and Effect Essay Outline Template (PDF)
How to Create an Outline for a Cause and Effect Essay?
To create an outline for cause and effect essay, a standard format of the five-paragraph essay is followed. In that format, the introduction and conclusion are written according to the standard, whereas the body paragraph changes according to the essay type.
The topic you choose also has a role to play while you are creating the outline.
In the outline of the cause and effect essay, there are three body paragraphs, an introduction, and a conclusion.
Below is a detailed explanation of how to write the significant components of an outline.
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Cause and Effect Essay Introduction
All the parts of an outline are equally essential, but the introduction is the part that needs to be written with perfection and in an organized way.
This part gives the reader an overall of what your essay is about and what major elements you would be discussing. It must have the following features nicely explained.
A hook sentence is a sentence that is written to make the introduction eye-catching and exciting. This sentence can be a quotation, verse, or analytical question.
To make your topic more understandable, you need to add some of its background information. This information should tell the reader why you chose this topic and what is its scope.
This information will make your outline look more meaningful and logical. Also, it will give a more clear picture of your topic.
A thesis statement is the central element of the overall essay. This is the essence of the topic you have chosen and strong support for your essay and outline both. This element keeps your essay aligned and gives it a logic.
A thesis statement can be a single sentence or more than one sentence explaining your essayâs whole idea.
Cause and Effect Essay Body Paragraphs
The body paragraphs are written to explain the key points of your essay, one by one. This type of section starts with a topic sentence. This is an introductory sentence for the respective paragraph.
In a cause and effect essay outline, a topic sentence introduces the cause or effect discussed in the paragraph. You need to include all related information about the particular cause or effect you are talking about in that paragraph.
The information you add in the body paragraph needs to be organized. You might manage it according to the importance of all the causes and effects or depending on the nature of the topic you have selected. Plus, you can arrange the causes and effects in chronological order or reverse order.
To support your causes and effects, add some authentic facts and examples.
For a cause and effect essay, an antithesis paragraph is a vital element. This paragraph is written to discuss the other side of the issue. It explains all the causes and effects of that side.
Also, it explains the overall topic of a cause and effect essay as well. In other words, this paragraph shows the logic and foremost reason behind your topic.
Cause and Effect Essay Conclusion
The concluding paragraph is the most critical part of an outline. This section should give the reader a sense of completeness and not leave the reader in any confusion.
In conclusion, a writer should always summarize the key elements to remind the reader about them. The summarization should include the restatement of the thesis statement as well.
With the help of a couple of sentences, you must be able to prove that the body paragraphs are logically interconnected with the thesis statement from the introduction.
For a cause and effect essay, it is advisable to describe the essay outline in a couple of sentences. Make sure that these sentences are strong, consistent, and avoid containing any new information.
Write a concluding sentence just like you write the hook of the essay. Just like the beginning of the essay, your ending should also be exciting and catchy. In a couple of words, describe the consequences of your research and the importance of your arguments.
Cause and Effect Essay Sample (PDF)
5 Paragraph Cause and Effect Essay Outline
Traditionally, the outline of a five-paragraph essay has an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs, and at last, a paragraph for the conclusion. Because of these five elements, it is called a five-paragraph essay.
This paragraph must introduce the following elements:
- A hook statement.
- Introduction to the topic.
- Thesis statement.
Body paragraph I
This paragraph must include:
- A topic sentence to introduce the paragraph.
- Discuss the first Cause or effect.
- A transition sentence at the end to show a relation with the next paragraph.
Body paragraph II
- A topic sentence for the respective paragraph.
- A transitional sentence
Body paragraph III
This paragraph must have:
- Topic sentence for the paragraph.
- Information about the least important Cause/effect.
- A transitional sentence to show that the next paragraph is the conclusion.
The conclusion should have the following elements;
- Reiteration of the thesis statement with more convincing words.
- Restatement of the critical points.
- A concluding sentence
5-Paragraph Essay Outline (PDF)
Cause and Effect Outline Format
We follow different writing formats to compose essays. Similarly, to create an outline, there are certain formats to follow. It depends on the given instructions or on the writer.
Some common formats used for creating an outline for a cause and effect essay include MLA format and APA format. These formats only differ in the arrangements of the contents.
Cause and Effect Essay Outline MLA Format (PDF)
Cause and Effect Essay Format Example (PDF)
Always create an outline and make your writing process easy. Also, don't forget to add the negative effects of the topic in the outline.
Writing an essay outline is a critical thing to do. No matter how hard you try, you will still leave some gaps. To ensure that you have a strong strategy for your essay, the best option is to seek professional help.
At CollegeEssay.org , we provide the perfect solution for your essay-writing problems. Our cause and effect essay writing service is just what you need to craft an exceptional essay.
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