‘What is a cause and effect essay?’ – this is a good question to start. This type of essay is very common in high school and college. If you look at the definition, it will tell you that in these academic papers students look at the reasons why certain things happen and explore their effects.
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Cause and effect essay: how to write a perfect essay
As an international student, you may be assigned to write a cause and effect essay for your English class, as well as scientific disciplines like history, ecology, social sciences, psychology and even nursing. In the upcoming paragraphs, you will find out how to write a cause and effect essay step-by-step!
Step 1: Determine the topic
Be sure to select the topic that you are interested in. Use Google search or talk to your professor to make the right choice. Here are some popular topics of cause and effect essays you may consider:
- Topic #1: Causes and effects of terrorism
- Topic #2: The influence of world wide web on teenagers
- Topic #3: Virtual reality and its consequences
- Topic #4: Potential consequences of cloning humans
- Topic #5: Factors that affect developing countries
- Topic #6: Effects of pollution
- Topic #7: How globalization affects economy
Step 2: Think about the thesis statement
Just like in persuasive essays, this sentence is the main part of your introduction, which states the focus of your research. In this type of essay, your thesis should explain if you are writing about effects, causes, or both. Here are some examples of thesis statements for a cause and effect essay:
- ‘The continuing increase in eating disorders among teens has resulted in the increasing number of deaths among teenagers in the USA’
- ‘Ongoing technological advancement has led to the increased dependence on new technologies’
- ‘Video games have resulted in the reduced physical activity for kids and teenagers’
Step 3: Decide on the outline of your paper
There are two ways you can structure your cause and effect essay: the ‘chain’ and the ‘block’ models.
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The ‘chain’ model looks like this:
- Cause 1 & Effect 1
- Cause 2 & Effect 2
- Cause 3 & Effect 3
The ‘block’ model looks like this:
- Cause 1
- Cause 2
- Effect 1
- Effect 2
Cause and effect essay: important!
Step 4: Use transition signals
Transition signals are linking words or collocations that link your ideas and improve cohesion of your writing. They show the relationships between sentences and paragraphs and make it easier for the reader to grasp your ideas.
There are several transition signals for causes and effects – use these prompts to make your essay shine:
- Because of
- Given that
- The initial cause is…
- As a result
- A causes B
- A is related to B
- A has an effect on B
- B is the effect of A
Cause & effect essay: TOP 3 writing mistakes
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If you still choose to craft a cause and effect essay on your own, then take a look at these top 3 frustrating mistakes below:
|Mistake 1: Mixing causes and effects. |
This is one of the most common mistakes when working on your essay. Remember that the cause-effect relationship is when one event (this is the cause) makes another event happen (this is the effect)
Let’s take an example:
When the ocean is extremely polluted (cause), coral reefs die (effect).
|Some fairly recent technological developments have been caused by the shocking rise in child obesity rates.|
In this sentence, the cause-effect relationship is mixed up: here ‘some fairly recent technological developments’ are the effect, or the consequence, of the ‘shocking rise in child obesity rates’, which is wrong.
|Some fairly recent technological developments have led to the shocking rise in child obesity rates.|
In the revised sentence, the cause-effect relationship is correct: ‘shocking rise in child obesity rates’ is the effect of ‘some fairly recent technological developments’.
|Mistake 2: Lack of transition signals.|
In a cause and effect essay, it is crucial to use transition signals to show relationships between parts of the sentence.
|Some taxes make people happier. They improve the overall quality of people’s lives.|
Both sentences are too short for academic writing, so you should connect them with a transition signal.
|Some taxes make people happier because they improve the overall quality of people’s lives.|
|Mistake 3: Stylistic mistakes.|
Writing well stylistically is essential for crafting a successful cause and effect essay, though, it is not always easy.
|Such new technologies can also be the cause of|
bad results, and we must do everything to diminish these negative results.
|Such innovations can also be the cause of|
unintentional results, and we must strive to diminish these consequences.
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