Cause and effect essay. Writing tips

A few tips to write a cause and effect essay

In plain words a cause and effect essay can be defined as a writing showing a consequential (causal) connection (relation) between a certain Event C (cause) and Event E (effect).

In a cause and effect essay, the author describes both Events C and E (in any sequence) and derives (and proves) consequential relations between them. The cause event may be somebody’s action or a phenomenon (like CO2 emission) and the effect event may be some result (consequence) due to the cause event (like environment pollution caused by CO2 emission). In many cause and effect essays, both event C and E are more or less known to the reader. The author’s mission is to emphasize and/or show their logical connection (“you know that industrial facilities emit some amount of CO2 and you know that there is air pollution around industrial centers, but I will prove that it is exactly the CO2 emission that is responsible for that air pollution”). In other cases event C may be well known and event E not (“you know how industrial enterprises work, and I will tell you about air pollution, which is a consequence of their work”) and vice versa.

Certainly neither the cause nor the effect need to be single phenomena, because sometimes one factor may lead to changes in many spheres (for example, multiple dangers of fast food) and a series of factors may lead to a single consequence (excessive hunting and a disease jeopardize an animal species).

Whatever the type of a cause and effect essay, the sense and value of your essay are determined by the novelty and/or significance of the relation between the two events whereby the author conveys the readers an important knowledge. And the above mentioned essay types are after all subject to the paper’s main purpose.

No doubt, the quality of a cause and effect essay depends on the author’s abilities to find an impressive topic, and display the connection between the two (or more) events in the most convincing way, but certain rules and hints of the essay structure also matter. Here we offer a few tips on writing a good cause and effect essay.

What to begin with

Unless the essay topic is assigned to you, first you should define the topic. A good choice is when the topic is sufficiently urgent for the readers or otherwise appeals to them (because it is interesting or curious at least for some group of potential readers, e.g. some historic mysteries are not so urgent for now, but still arose interest). When selecting the topic, make sure that the events you’re writing about definitely have a cause and effect relationship and not just coincide or correlate.

But for your topic to be really successful, you have to meet more requirements. One of them is the size. An essay is not a normal research project, so its size has to be limited. Being of limited volume, an essay cannot be a very profound investigation, so don’t try to make great discoveries. However, even for a limited research goal, your essay should rely on a sufficient proof base. Make sure you have such a base or you are able to create it within the time allotted for you to write the essay. Usually the data you already have is not sufficient for a detailed paper, so you have to undertake a research to collect as much additional info as you can. If the project is quite substantial and important, then you will need an in-depth understanding of the topic.

It may be a big help to make a two-section cause and effect chart. It will include the main points relating to Event C and Event E.

In the preparation stage, it is a fine idea to read other cause and effect essays. It not only will help you understand their structure but will also teach you to distinguish between good and bad examples.

Depending on the content, cause and effect essays may vary in length. But the overall format remains the same. Like for most paper types, it includes introduction, main part (body) and conclusion.

Writing the introduction

The main purpose of the introduction is to present the essay’s topic and provide a necessary background.

It may be helpful to formulate the essay statement in the introduction.

The statement highlights the main point of your essay in one phrase. As a shortened outline, it may serve you as an anchor throughout the rest of the paper. This introduction statement is like a question to be answered in the conclusive part of your essay.

The main part

The main part of a cause and effect essay is where you actually prove the consequential connection between the C and E events. Its structure varies in accordance with the above mentioned essay types. This is the place for the information you have gathered in order to convince readers that the effect is really due to the cause.

Being the biggest part of your paper, the main part or the body requires the strictest organization. Stating your arguments, you should remember that correlation is not causation so prove that there is a real link between the events  not just a mere coincidence. Ensure the logical connection between different ideas. Also do your best not to veer off of your topic, but be brief and follow the outline. And meticulousness is welcome! It usually looks nice, when a paragraph in the main part has an introductory sentence and an assertive concluding sentence. But certainly it is not a must. The structure of the main part depends on the content of the entire essay.


Here the following three-paragraph model is recommended.

First you repeat, in one form or another, your statement no matter if it is explicitly formulated or implied. It is like checking whether your statement has been completed in the course of your paper and like an answer to the previously asked question.

Then it would be good to place a short summary of your main arguments. Here you make sure the summarized argument convincingly proves the implicit hypothesis of your essay statement.

And the general concluding paragraph should confirm the fact that your paper has succeeded in proving the causal relationship between the cause and effect events. It would be nice if you could provide some prospects of the future use of your result here.

Finally, have you essay revised in various ways:

  • Print out a hard copy of your essay and edit it.
  • Show your paper to an experienced essay writer for assessment.
  • Show your paper to a friend or someone neutral to get a straightforward reader feedback.

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