The cause and effect essay is exactly what the name implies...

A cause and effect essay is all about why and what.

That is, why things happen (cause) and what happens as a result (effect).

These essays are typically found in advanced level exam situations. You can excel on this type of essay once you learn some of the basics of good essay writing.

First, you need to recognize a cause and effect essay. Many times students score poorly for lack of understanding as to what kind of essay is being asked for in the rubric.

  • Pay special attention to the instruction words!

These essays needn’t be that difficult to spot once you learn the language they're hiding behind.

Examples:

  • What are the causes and principal effects of the increase in automobile traffic in the city center?
  • List the major reasons for, and results of, the increased literacy rate.

NOTE: The instruction words clearly indicate the need for a cause and effect essay. Notice the following are not as clearly stated.

  • Examine the reasons for the decline in production capacity at the xyz plant.
  • Discuss the consequences of the austerity measures introduced by the former government.

NOTE: The first essay title asks you to concentrate on 'causes' while the second is asking you to concentrate on 'effects'.

How to recognize a cause/effect essay using context clues:

  • Explain the gradual disappearance of what was once known as the family farm in the heartland of America.
  • Describe the process through which computers have gone from being used by a handful of techie types to being found in nearly every home worldwide.

NOTE: These essay situations require you to provide 'reasons' or 'causes.'

  • Is there an essential relationship between the increase in violent crime and the increased incidence of divorce in our society?

NOTE: The question asks whether there is a link between the cause and the effect.

Here, you would identify which aspect is the cause, which aspect is the effect, and say to what extent you agree or disagree.

To learn more about the cause and effect essay click on the preceding link. You will be taken to a page containing an outline with additional help plus step by step instructions.


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