Answered By: James Whitmer
Last Updated: Jun 23, 2020     Views: 8

Please Note: These are only common assumptions and suggestions about writing a cause and effect essay. The requirements of such assignments often vary, so please follow your instructor's guidelines. 

When writing a cause and effect essay, it is important that your topic meet the following requirements:

  • There must be a definitive cause-effect linkage between the phenomena you are discussing. Be careful not to confuse correlation with causation: in other words, though one event may have happened before or after another, they might not have any actual connection.
  • Be sure that your topic is complex enough to have various causes and/or effects to fulfill the requirements of your essay. What this means is if a cause and/or its effects are too simple, you will not be able to write a very developed essay. Therefore, before committing to a topic, you should have multiple options, research each of them, and then eliminate the ones that do not have enough content until only one topic remains.

Regarding structure, a cause and effect essay will often, but not always, follow one of the following patterns:

  • Introduction of a cause then many paragraphs about its different effects, or
  • Introduction of an effect then many paragraphs about its different causes.

Regardless of structure, it is important that you use effective transitions to help your reader follow your ideas through your essay.

For more specific helpful information about how to write a cause and effect essay, please see the following linked handout: