Caleb S.
Caleb S.

Cause and Effect Essay - A Detailed Writing Guide

12 min read

Published on: Jul 1, 2018

Last updated on: Dec 16, 2022

cause and effect essay guide

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When you get enrolled in a middle school, high school, or college, the teachers usually assign different essays for you to write. The type of essay that includes multiple paragraphs to examine causes and effects is known as a cause and effect essay.

It is different from other kinds of essays as students have to explain a cause and its effects in detail. Moreover, understanding the basic structure, approach, and purpose is also necessary to write a perfect essay.

If you are also one of those students who find it difficult to write a good cause-and-effect essay. Then this is the right place for you. The following blog will help you master the art of writing amazing essays in no time.

What is a Cause and Effect Essay?

A cause and effect essay is based on defining a cause and its effects. These causes could either be negative or positive. Similarly, they are also known as result essays. However, there are certain things that all school students need to keep in mind for understanding cause and effect essay writing.

For example, whenever you face a stressful situation, it will make you sad. Similarly, joyous occasions will make you happy. This example might be simple. But, it will help you understand the connection that is between a situation and a person.

Thus, It is a twofold relationship as both the cause and the effect are dependent on each other. Moreover, causes may have widespread effects that could affect everyone, including humans.

As per the cause and effect essay definition,

“It is an essay that examines a reason (cause) and its consequences (effect). However, the reason could be an event, action, or decision made”.

To understand this type of essay better, consider the following example:

Cause: Social injustice is rife in the African States.

Effect: Social protests and freedom rallies are excessively occurring in Africa.

The following ways will help you arrange the cause and its effects in your essays.

  • Sequential Order
  • Reverse Sequential Order

It is not necessary to always work in a sequence when discussing causes and effects. Instead, you can start from the main effect as well.

Also, consider the below questions to evaluate the effectiveness of a cause and effect essay.

  • What are the causes and effects?
  • What elements should be emphasized?
  • Are there single or multiple effects and causes?
  • How to list causes and effects in an essay?

What is the Purpose of a Cause and Effect Essay?

In school, teachers give students cause-and-effect essays to teach them critical thinking and logic. These types of papers can be found in academic writing or any professional setting where people need persuasive skills with their research data.

The cause and effect essay is a common type of writing that explores how one thing affects another. In this format, an author will describe something in detail to find out its main causes and then identify those factors with help from other sources.

Cause and Effect Essay Format

A cause and effect essay outline usually follows the below pattern.


  • A hook statement.
  • Basic historical information.
  • A strong thesis statement indicating the causes, effects, or both.

Main Body

This section consists of 3-5 body paragraphs depending on the topic and scope of the essay.

Body Paragraph I

  • Topic sentence (indicates causes and effects).
  • Cause 1/effect with examples.

Body Paragraph II

  • Topic sentence (indicates causes and effects).
  • Cause 2/effect 2 with examples.

Antithesis Paragraph

  • Discuss the opposing side of the argument.


  • Restate the thesis statement.
  • Remind the reader of the main points.
  • Concluding sentence.

Font Type: Times New Roman, Arial.

Font Size: 12 pt for the essay’s text.

Line Spacing: 1.5 or Double Line Spacing.

Alignment: Justified.

How to Start a Cause and Effect Essay?

To start a cause and effect essay, follow the easy steps below. It will help you save time and write a properly sequenced essay.

  1. Brainstorming ideas
  2. Conduct research work to find relevant content
  3. Find credible and authentic sources
  4. Set the tone of your result essay
  5. Writing a strong introduction
  6. Begin with an engaging hook statement
  7. Making a brief and factual thesis statement

Refer to the example given below to understand how to start a cause and effect paper.

writing a cause and effect essay

The steps to writing a cause and effect essay are given below in detail.

1. Choose the Essay Topic

If the teacher has not assigned you a specific essay topic, it is your chance to choose it yourself. This step takes a lot of effort. Therefore, the best way is to make a list of topics.

Choose the one you already know something about or the one you are interested in. It will make it easy and fun to write and more interesting to read.

2. Brainstorm to Choose Cause and Effect

After selecting the topic, brainstorm to choose the angle you are going to write from. It can be either the cause or the effect angle.

Thus, for any topic, make two lists i.e, one for the cause and one for effect. Furthermore, write down all the possible causes and effects. Choose the list that seems more complete, familiar, and easy to you. That is the angle you will choose.

3. Conduct Thorough Research Work

Conduct in-depth research for your cause and effect essay. Make sure to choose credible sources and not personal blogs or unverifiable sources.

Moreover, this step will also discover common trends and questions about your topic. With this, you will also be able to find valid supporting arguments for writing a perfect thesis.

4. Craft a Strong Thesis

Write a strong thesis statement that should answer the essay’s question. It shows why you care about the topic, along with its significance. Similarly, it will also let readers know what they can expect to learn from reading your essay.

5. Develop a Cause and Effect Essay Outline

A cause and effect essay typically follows a standard outline. It is used to organize and discuss ideas in one place. The sections of the cause and effect essay outline are discussed below in detail.

5.1 Cause and Effect Essay Introduction

The introduction of the cause and effect essay gives detailed background information, a strong thesis, and its purpose. It also provides the relevancy of the topic to the modern period.

Similarly, this section must begin with a hook statement to grab the audience’s interest.

These elements will help in getting a clear picture of the topic under discussion. Moreover, it will also connect the reader with the main essay question.

5.2 Cause and Effect Essay Body Paragraphs

The main body provides supporting evidence about the causes that lead to the effects. Furthermore, each body paragraph must include a description of the causes and the effects.

This cause and effect relationship helps the readers to understand the impacts of the event. Also, a writer can suggest possible recommendations to deal with the situation.

5.3 Cause and Effect Essay Antithesis Paragraph

The antithesis paragraph of the cause and effect essay discusses the other side of the argument. It presents the major reasons for choosing a subject and the occurrence of cause and effect variables.

5.4 Cause and Effect Essay Conclusion

The conclusion gives a brief summary of the entire essay. It requires the writer to restate the thesis statement and the major causes and effects of an event.

Similarly, if your chosen topic has influenced the world, state a call to action to overcome the issue. Write a compelling concluding sentence that informs the reader about the outcomes of your research work.

Also, check out the available conclusion examples to get an idea about the vocabulary and structure used by other writers.

Here is a complete outline format of a cause and effect essay.

6. Create Your Essay Draft

Write your essay draft by following the above outline. Make sure to keep it simple by using easy and appropriate language. Moreover, it is better to stick to the essay’s structure and format. Also, use smooth transitions to connect ideas from one paragraph to another.

However, give enough time to edit between your first and second drafts. Take at least a day or two to write and revise your final draft. It will help you identify mistakes that may go unnoticed previously.

Typically, every cause and effect essay includes the following common errors.

  • Grammatical mistakes
  • Incorrect punctuation
  • Spelling mistakes
  • Illogical arguments
  • Unclear thesis statement
  • Irrelevant examples and evidence
  • Incorrect format

Thus, to avoid them, make sure to proofread your essay twice. You can also hire a professional proofreader or can ask your friends or colleagues to proofread it. This step is vital to creating a flawless essay that leaves a strong impact on readers.

Check out the below-given cause and effect essay samples to understand better.

Tips for Writing Cause and Effect Essays

Below are some useful tips for writing a perfect cause and effect essay.

  • Before starting an essay, choose the topic and make a list of 3 or more causes and their effects.
  • Add quotes, facts, examples, and personal experiences to make your essay convincing.
  • The main focus should be on the immediate causes and effects.
  • Phases of causation are important in maintaining the links between the elements.
  • Always keep in mind the purpose of your writing. It can be either to persuade or inform.
  • Use transitional words to understand the relationship between the two subjects. It will also increase the readability of your essay.

Cause and Effect Essay Topics

Below are some good cause and effect topics to write a perfect essay.

  • The relationship between alcohol consumption and bad health
  • Causes of divorce and its effects on children
  • The relationship between music and brain health
  • The negative effects of cloning in the United States
  • Effects of emotional support animals on mental well-being
  • The effects of social networks on modern kids
  • The pros and cons of the nuclear family system
  • The pros and cons of visual aids in classrooms
  • Video game and social media is a common reason for mental illnesses in teenagers
  • Reasons to homestead rather than following the mainstream housing

Topics on Education

  • The effect of online education on student’s academic performance.
  • Do prolonged school hours affect educational outcomes?
  • The effect of standardized tests on dropout rates.
  • Effect of standard grading system on student motivation.
  • Cause and effect relationship between students’ attention span and learning outcomes.
  • The effect of technology adoption on effective learning.
  • Effect of extracurricular activities and sports on students’ personalities.
  • The pros and cons of school uniform.
  • Impact of gap year on a student’s academic tenure.
  • Effects of learning fine arts in school.

Topics on Social Media

  • Reasons behind excessive usage of social media.
  • Effect of social media on domestic abuse.
  • Possible effects of social media on a child’s mind and thought process.
  • Why and how do social media platforms promote loneliness?
  • What are the primary causes of social media bullying?
  • Predict the effects of prolonged usage of social media.
  • Positive impact of social media on people’s skills.
  • Positive and negative impact of social media on interpersonal communication.
  • Why image-based social media platforms are popular than text-based platforms.

Topics About History

  • Ongoing effects of slavery on the American population.
  • Main causes behind the Civil War.
  • Reasons behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
  • Major causes for the Soviet Union collapse.
  • Effects of the Cuban missile crisis on American citizens.
  • Impact of the rise of Christianity on the Roman Empire
  • Main reasons behind the occurrence of Arab Spring
  • What are the causes and effects of the Salem Witch Trial?
  • The long-term impact of the Pearl Harbour attack.

Topics About Politics

  • Reasons behind the rise of democracy in America.
  • Why is politics a likely profession?
  • Main effects of illegal immigration on the natives of a society.
  • Major drivers of the British colonialism strategy.
  • Weigh the positive and negative effects of colonialism on the colonial states.
  • Reasons behind the American revolution.
  • Reasons behind the rise in immigration rates.
  • Negative and positive effects of drug legalization.
  • Effects of poor leadership on a country’s economy.
  • Assess the impacts of the Obama Healthcare program.

Have a look at our list of topic ideas to find more fun cause and effect essay topics.

Which Topic is Too Broad for a Cause and Effect Essay?

A broad topic is one that is very general and includes a lot of information. Similarly, the topic with many causes or effects is considered too broad for a cause and effect essay.

It is because such themes have various factors that contribute to one result. Nevertheless, it is not possible to discuss them in an ordinary 500 words essay as you will not be able to fit all the information in.

For Example:

What Causes Water Pollution In Third World Countries?


In this example, the writer is required to discuss water pollution in third-world countries. For this, various causes need to be analyzed, including unsafe water sources, lack of sanitation facilities, and poor hygiene.

As discussed earlier, themes with many causes that contribute to a single effect are said to be broad ones. Similarly, this example illustrates the different causes that lead to one major result, which is ‘water pollution.’ Thus, it is better to avoid such broad topics while writing a cause-and-effect essay.

Cause and Effect Essay Examples

Here are some good cause and effect essay examples for you. They will help you understand the basics, structure, and essay pattern properly.

This complete guide and tested tips will surely help you learn how to write a cause and effect essay step by step. Moreover, it will also refine your skills to get a better grade.

In case you are still struggling with your essay, then is your ‘PERFECT’ companion. Hire an essay writer online to get a great essay at affordable rates.

We are legit essay writing service that provide you with free essay samples, a topic for cause and effect essay, and direct interaction with the assigned author. It will help you track your work progress.

Thus, get in touch with us today and place your order to receive a well-written essay at affordable rates.

Caleb S.


Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)

Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.

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