Writing Cause and Effect Essays for English Learners

Writing Cause and Effect Essays
Writing Cause and Effect Essays. James McQuillan / Getty Images

One of the most common tasks on important tests is writing cause and effect essays or paragraphs. Here are some tips to help you write a cause and effect essay. 

  • Remember that causes come first, effects follow.
  • Learn multiple forms (also known as equivalencies) so that you can vary your writing style.
  • Use an effective hook to catch the reader's attention.
  • Always use examples to provide evidence.
  • Use linking language such as conjunctive adverbs, or listing words to organize your paragraphs.
  • Use a hamburger essay form (introduction, three body paragraphs, conclusion) for cause and effect essays.
  • Begin by brainstorming (example below). Next, write a quick outline using ideas created by brainstorming. 
  • Use your outline as a map to writing your essay. It may take a few minutes to develop an outline, but having an outline results in a much clearer essay.

 

Step 1: Brainstorming 

Brainstorm your essay. Brainstorming is used to create as many ideas as possible. Don't worry whether your ideas are good or bad, just come up with as many as possible. Here is some brainstorming for essays on four different topics:

 

Issue

Causes

Effects

Students speak their own language at school

Many students have same language in class

Don’t care to learn language

Afraid of making mistakes

It’s easier to understand each other

It happens automatically

Other people can’t understand me

Bad grades

Waste of money

Waste of time

You make closer friends

People have fewer babies

Cost of education

Health issues

Lack of time

Don’t like children

Babies cost a lot of money

People don’t want body changes

People are having children older

Old people can’t be helped

Better relationship

Population decrease

Spoilt children

 

People eat too much fast food

Time

Price

Easy

Not interested in cooking

Advertising

Not healthy

Waste money

Not share with other people

Obesity

More free time for fun

Get annoyed / bored

Globalization

Technology

Apple

Fashionable

Cinema / Entertainment

Social media

Education

Countries opening borders

Easy to travel

Easy to travel

Need to speak English / Chinese

Connected to the whole world

Losing your own culture

More competition

Synergies

 

 

Step 2: Write an Outline

It's important to create a map of your essay. There's no need to write out full sentences, just take ideas from your brainstorming and use them to fill out the outline. Next, come up with a hook and a topic sentence for your introductory paragraph. Here's an example:

Introduction:

Statistic about obesity

Topic sentence: 

Obesity has become the number one threat to good health in developed countries.

Body I - Causes

Cause 1: Price

Cause 2: Advertising

Cause 3: Time

Body II  - Effects

Effect 1: Poor health

Effect 2: Less time for family, more time for work

Effect 3: Stress

Body III - Possible Changes

Change 1: Education

Change 2: Don't eat at chains

Change 3: Choose fruit and vegetables 

Conclusion

Step 3: Use Forms for Showing Cause and Effect

The final step is to write your essay or paragraph. Use the following language formulas for showing cause and effect in your essays and paragraphs. Make sure to use a variety of sentences including compound and complex sentences.

Causes

Effects

There are several reasons for XYZ … (First, … Second…, Finally, …)

There are several reasons for obesity. First, nowadays many people eat too much junk food. Second, ...

There are two main factors. The first factor …, Another factor …

There are two main factors that account for increasing obesity. The first factor is the increase in junk food. Another factor is ...

The first cause is… / The next cause is …

The first cause is too little exercise. The next cause is ...

This / XTZ leads to …

Smoking leads to heart disease.

One possible cause is …

One possible cause is a lack of sleep.

Another possible cause is …

Another possible cause is too much stress.

ABC may lead to XYZ …

Increased smart phone use may lead to addiction.

 

 

Before… Now…

Before, people used to eat at home. Now, many eat on the run.

A second result / outcome

A second result of too little exercise is apathy.

One effect is … Another effect is …

One effect is a decrease in appetite. Another effect is general laziness.

Another result is …

Another result is students feel pressure to get good grades at any cost.

They may feel / think / purchase …

They may think that without good grades there are fewer chances in the workplace.

As a consequence of ABC, XYZ occurs / happens / etc.

As a consequence of too little sleep, stress related diseases occur.

Also,  / Too, / In addition,

Also, students take too little time to relax.

Thus, / Therefore, / Consequently

Consequently, there is a shortage of possible jobs.