How to Write Cause/Effect Essay

Posted by Splice, Essay Tips Chief Writer

How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay. Cause and effect essays explain an event by showing why the event happened [the cause] and what the results are of the event [the effects]. A cause and effect essay is an effective writing tool in explaining and discussing topics to readers who need information. Here are some tips on how to write a cause and effect essay.
  • Identify the problem or event. Start by knowing exactly the topic of your cause and effect essay. Ask yourself, "what is it that I want to write about?" Or, "what exactly is the problem or event that I want to discuss?" These are the fundamental questions that you need to resolve before starting your cause and effect essay. You may arrive at a long list, but cut down your possible topics by choosing the most specific. Concentrate on just one topic.

  • Determine why the problem or event happened. In other words, clarify the cause. To know the cause, ask yourself, "why is there a problem?" Or, "what could be the reasons behind this event?" An effective method is to think if the event will still exist even after you remove the possible causes. If the event changes or ceases to exist after removing a possible cause, then the "cause" you identified is not truly a cause of the event. It may be something else not relevant to your cause and effect essay. Here's a simplified formula: event - cause = no event. Thus, the cause is a cause of the particular event.

  • List down the effects of the problem or event. To do this, you need to ask yourself: "what happened after the event?". Do not simply include all the things that happened after the event because not all of them may necessarily be part of the effects. Rather, carefully choose the most relevant. How? Simple. If you remove the event and the effects continue to exist, then those "effects" are not really effects of the event. If they cease to exist, then they truly are part of the effects of the event. Here's a simplified formula: effect - event = no effect. Thus, the effect is indeed an effect of the particular event.

  • Synthesize the causes and the effects. It is not enough to simply write down the causes and effects. Otherwise, they will merely look like separate observations that have no relationship. To synthesize your causes and effects, use this formula: Causes -> Event -> Effects. Consider this basic example: "Due to the heavy rainstorm [cause], the streets flooded [event] which prompted local shops to close early [effect]."

  • Conclude your cause and effect essay. Do not limit your conclusion with a restatement of the causes and the effects of the event, or a synthesis. You may also try to suggest an alternative explanation or a brief commentary. Say whether you believe that the causes and the effects have a relationship with event, and provide a brief explanation why you say so.
In cause and effect essays, do not to confuse the cause with the effect and vice versa. The most fatal error a writer can do in writing a cause and effect essay is to mistake one for the other. It is not enough to simply know how to write cause and effect essays. What's more important is to understand the underlying relationships between the cause and the effect of a certain event or problem.

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