Cause/Effect Essay

Purpose:  To demonstrate our ability to write an effective cause or effect essay.

Audience:  This class, as a community of writers

Format:  typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, original title, name and date in upper left-hand corner, indented paragraphs, 1 inch margins all round.

Essay:  Choose ONE of the following topics in which to write a 2 to 2 and half page cause or effect essay:


1.  The effects of increased college costs on students.

2.  The effects of pressure on students to get good grades in college.

3.  Reasons why many couples are choosing to have only one child, or none at all.

4.  Reasons why someone may choose a military career or may choose to enter a religious order.  (Choose ONE of these two options)

Things to Remember:

A.  The Introductory Paragraph

Like other introductory paragraphs, a cause or effect introductory paragraph engages readers and prepares them to understand and consider the ideas that the writer will present.

A cause/effect introduction

1.  mentions the causes or the effects of the situation;

2.  makes it clear why the topic is important;

3.  provides background information on the situation;

4.  states the causes and effects in the thesis statement. 


B.  Body Paragraphs

Each body paragraph develops a main point, in other words, a single cause or a single effect.  The topic sentence of each cause/effect body paragraph:

1.  states the cause or effect idea;

2.  connects the idea to the thesis statement.

Remember to use connecting words such as One cause of … is ….; Another effect of …. is ….;

One reason why ……

Each body paragraph contains supporting ideas and details that make the ideas clear and interesting to the reader. 


C.  The Concluding Paragraph

A concluding paragraph for a cause/effect essay summarizes the thesis and ends with a final comment.  This comment can be an observation, prediction, or recommendation.

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  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

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