Cause/Effect Essay Description
Cause/Effect is any argument that uses the term because in it. If you argue “I got a bad grade because…” then you are emphasizing
the Causes. If you argue “Because I got a bad grade, these things happened” then you are emphasizing the effects. Most cause/effect
essays will reflect one side or the other of the equation, not both. Trying to explain both causes AND effects for an argument can
become quite lengthy, quite quickly.
To produce an acceptable cause/effect essay, the writer should:
— use grammatically appropriate sentence structures
— Organize the essay around a cause/effect argument utilizing direct evidence
— Use appropriate paragraph breaks to control the flow of information
— Use transitions both within and between the paragraphs
— Develop and explain the essay content completely
— Communicate a clear and specific purpose to an audience
— Incorporate evidence from outside sources ethically, effectively, and appropriately
Find something that has either currently become popular or just lost its popularity: Pokemon, Super Hero movies, Latin music, Fidget
Spinners, gameshows, etc. Explain your theory on either what made that particular subject popular in the first place or what caused
it to fall out of favor. Or you can explain what the effects of this trend might be or have been on American culture.
Remember that you are writing this essay to explain WHY something happened, or WHAT has or will happen because of the original
situation. Your subject itself is either the end point of the causes or the starting point of the effects. The reader needs to know
how this information will help them understand things better. You are NOT just proving that these situations or circumstances are
connected. Somehow knowing that connection has to be usable by the audience. Even if it’s just understanding the subject as more
complex than the reader originally thought, there needs to be some value added to the subject.
Always remember that you are presenting us with A cause or An effect, the THE cause or THE effect. There are always more ways to
interpret the situation. You are simply presenting us with your best understanding/interpretation of the situation.
Be aware of the difference between immediate and remote causes and effects. The farther away from the subject you get with remote
causes and/or effects, the more carefully you have to explain the connections or links between your subject and the cause/effect.
You can choose to emphasize one cause or effect if you wish, but realize that it will require much more development and explanation.
If you choose to deal with several causes or effects, make sure that you indicate which ones are the most significant, and organize
Try to remember that your audience does not know as much as you do. Even if they know more facts about the subject, they don’t know
YOUR understanding as well as you do. Your job is to explain to the reader how YOU interpret the information and how YOU see things
Be careful of what is called a faulty cause/effect argument. You MUST have evidence that there is a connection. Simply indicating
that the factory is by the river, and the river is polluted, therefore the factory caused the pollution is not good enough. Just
because things happen in the right time sequence doesn’t mean that they are connected. You MUST have direct evidence showing the
cause/effect relationship, not just circumstantial geographic or chronological connections.
This is why it is necessary to have at LEAST three sources for this paper. These sources can come from anywhere, but should be the
most trustworthy sources that you can find. You are writing a college level paper; make sure that you are using college level
sources. For this assignment, cite your sources using the “according to John Smith, ” method of citation.