How to Write a Cause-and-Effect Essay

Sep 12, 2021

How to Write a Cause-and-Effect Essay

A cause-and-effect essay is an argumentative essay exploring the relationship between why things happen and the results (effects). In a standard academic cause-and-effect paper, the writer shows how one person's idea, event, or something directly influences another thing, person, idea, or event.

The primary purpose of cause-and-effect essay assignments in a school environment is to teach learners the art of critical thinking through logic and persuasive writing. The essay can take the following formats;

  • A lab report
  • Scholarly research paper
  • Scientific case study

The author explores a phenomenon in the above formats and attempts to connect it to the main causes. Students should exercise critical thinking and follow a specific outline when writing a cause-and-effect essay. Are you stuck with your cause-and-effect essay? Follow these steps;


On one hand, there is the cause, which a writer needs to explore before understanding the effects. Without the cause, an effect cannot exist. Our Essay Experts are ready to handle your short deadline papers anytime.

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Brainstorm Essay Topics

Start by observing the world around you and think about possible causes and effects from what you see. It could be a real-life situation or what you've watched in a movie or TV show or read about in books. Consider things such as natural phenomena, development of ideas, or cultural; movements. You may also write a cause-and-effect essay based on a given work literary work and highlight the connection between the characters, events, and setting.

Differentiate between a cause and effect. Determine the cause by asking what happened and the effect by asking what happened due to the action. Check the following example.

Your car is grounded. (Cause)

You won't make it to an adventure road trip. (Effect)

The main reason you won't make it for the road trip is that your car is grounded. – Can you see the connection?

Sometimes, a single effect may emanate from several causes. For example;

  • Causes

  • You like soccer
  • You’re a good soccer player
  • Professional soccer players earn high salaries
  • Your uncle is a professional soccer player
  • Effect

  • You train to become a professional soccer play
  • In other cases, a single cause can result in several effects. For example;


You were involved in an accident.


You couldn't go to work; hence you lost your job

You couldn’t pay your bills

The insurance reclaimed your car and auctioned your mortgaged house

Learn more about the situation to determine the cause(s) and effect(s) because some cases can be complex.

Develop A Clear Thesis Statement

 The thesis should highlight the relationship between a single cause-and-effect, one event resulting in multiple effects, or several events leading to a single effect. It depends on the direction that you want your essay to take.

  • Body Paragraphs

The body paragraph can be divided into two parts where you separate the causes and effects or integrate them. If you divide the causes and effects, begin with primary causes and back them up with evidence before discussing secondary causes. Advance your writing to effects paragraphs and follow a similar structure as the causes by beginning with the prominent effects. Here are sample paragraphs from a cause-and-effect essay titled "Homelessness."

  • Cause Paragraph

Homelessness refers to people who lack shelter or do not have a permanent place to call home. These individuals seek shelter in ATM vestibules, old car parks, pavements, and subway stations, among others. If cities and other urban management authorities provided sufficient shelter and affordable housing plans for town dwellers, there could be no homeless people in towns. However, more people continue sleeping on the streets because the relevant authorities have not taken active measures to curb homelessness (Cummings, 2020). As long as more people move to towns without taking steps to accommodate them or improve their economic standards, the problem of homelessness is far from over in the U.S.

  • Effect Paragraph

Homelessness situations can result in complex effects ranging from individual problems to social issues. For instance, studies have revealed that homeless persons are ten times more likely to get into drugs than people with shelters and stable economic conditions (Lee, 2019). Most homeless persons are jobless, and life frustrations push them into stress and depression, making them resort to drugs. Drug abuse can sink a person further because one needs money to purchase drugs that one may not have. Homeless persons, especially children, are exposed to several physical and health risks as lack of shelter increases such vulnerabilities.

  • Conclusion

Your conclusion should reiterate the thesis besides summarizing the main cause and effect points. You can decide whether to discuss the effects before the causes or vice versa depending on where you emphasize.

Cause-and-effect Essay Topic Ideas

Are you having a hard time crafting a working cause-and-effect topic essay? These ideas can begin you off.

  • Bullying in schools
  • Social media addiction Climate change
  • Legalization of marijuana
  • Childhood obesity

Always have an outline to determine what you’d like to talk about before beginning your cause-and-effect essay. Arrange your thoughts and by highlighting the main points and conduct research to support your arguments with evidence. Cite the sources and add a work cited or reference page at the end of your essay.


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