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Cause and Effect Essay


"A cause and effect essay deals with why something occurs and the results of this. This seems easy but it requires clear thinking and the ability to express that in straight forward language, syntax and presentational structure."

When writing a cause and effect essay, the writer should initially question why something happened and then identify and evaluate the effect. A simple example of this would be that a pan of milk is left unguarded with the immediate effect that it boils over. However, there may be subsequent, connected effects, like damage to utensils and, perhaps, injury to whoever resolves the situation which will also need to be taken into account. (Clearly, this is a very simple example and most cause and effect essays will deal with much more complex issues.)

After the initial statement, the cause and effect essay will develop the thesis expanding on whether the essay intends to focus on cause or effect. The essay should then go on to provide evidentiary support and to evaluate terms used, specifying the way in which these are particularly applicable to the cause and/or effect under discussion and again clarifying where the emphasis is being placed.

As with all essays, there are key points to be borne in mind, especially purpose. In this case, that will be to decide whether the emphasis is to be on informing or persuading your reader. You should focus on direct and limited causes and effects so that the essay does not become fragmented or appear inconclusive. Facts and statistics should be implemented where appropriate, as should the definition of terms used. It is perfectly acceptable to introduce opinions and personal reflections where relevant.

The conclusion should leave room for manoeuvre by the use of qualifying statements such as ‘the evidence suggests’, as this will facilitate future evaluation based on subsequent research.

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