How to write a Cause/Effect essay

On May 15th, 2015, Posted by admin

One of the most common kinds of essays you may encounter in academic life is the cause and effect essay. As the name says, it refers to the kind of essay in which a problem or scenario is written out in terms of its cause and effect: how it originated and what were its consequences.


This kind of essay is amongst the many kinds of essay you may write in your college and is often used to rationalise or reason out why something happened the way they did. It has to follow particular order and patterns and has to display logical sequencing of facts and information.

The first thing you would need to do is to write a thesis for your essay. This statement will explain what your essay is about- the premises, and the conclusion. You need to select an important topic for this essay: it could be any significant event in history or a significant process or disease.

 Structure of the essay

The essay structure would need to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the effects or results you would be discussing in this essay?
  2. What are the categories of the effects? This could help in cataloguing them better.
  3. Highlight the categories and the effects which are the most critical for the event described in the essay.
  4. What are the causal factors/incidences which has led to these effects?

There are different ways of organising the text for an essay. You can write the essay leading from the focus of how multiple causes leads to an effect; or multiple effects arise from a cause; or a sequence of events leads to an effect. Either ways, the essay has to detail the implications of the effects and causes and interweave it into the whole discussion. Such essays are asked for in history, economics, business and humanities where you need to trace back or relate to certain events.

How to write

The causes can be ascribed to anything: human, political, economic, social, biological or accidental. Effects can include details about what were the effects? Could they have been avoided? What if the similar situation had happened in a different context? Were the effects long lasting? How have the effects affected the world or life as we know it today? The consequences have to be detailed. Lastly, the summary of the whole thesis has to be given. Each point made in the essay with respect to effects and causes should be supported by evidence to make the essay convincing.

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 Language and grammar

As this essay is about detailing cause and effect, the sentence linkages must be good and clear. Transitional phrases can be used to point out points of action in the essay.

Image courtesy: [Stuart Miles] FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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