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Cause and effect essays are concerned with why things happen (causes) and what happens as a result (effects). Cause and effect is a common method of organizing and discussing ideas.

Cause and effect essays are among the most common (and among the most fun to write) papers in a composition course. It is intriguing to explore the causes of some event that you always took for granted or to chronicle the effects of some phenomenon in society or nature. The two strategic points you have to consider are:

  1. whether you’re exploring causes or effects or both
  2. what is the order of the causes or effects you’re going to pursue — from least to most important or vice versa

Helpful strategy for writing cause and effect essays

A cause and effect essay includes some elements of essay writing that might be considered more professional than those a descriptive or narrative essay might include. It is very important, for instance, that your tone be reasonable, and that your presentation be factual and believable. Sources are often required in a cause & effect essay, and your choice of these sources is important as they reflect on the validity of your paper. Additionally, the first-person point of view does not work as well in professional cause and effect essays.

How to check if your cause & effect essay is effective

To evaluate the effectiveness of a cause and effect essay, ask the following questions: 

  • What are the causes?
  • What are the effects?
  • Which should be emphasized?
  • Are there single or multiple causes?
  • Single or multiple effects?
  • Is a chain reaction involved?


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