How to Write aCause-Effect EssayShowing Why Something Happens
Are there kinds of causes? • There are different types of causes. • What we first see are often the superficial, contributing reasons. • Hiding just out of sight us the more basic and fundamental causes. • We call the single and most important one the Would a dog just rub primary cause. the thief’s leg?
What is the first cause?• To figure out what’s going on in cause and effect relationships, we especially must discover the single primary cause.• For example, if you are to write on why room mates fight, you have to sort out a lot of minor reasons from the major cause. What are the cell mates arguing about?
What are contributing causes? • Off hand, we know that roommates argue over – Sloppiness – Bad music – Staying up all night • But these are not the basic reason at all! • They are superficial and symptomatic of aWhat are the house mates much deeper, more arguing about? fundamental reason why roommates fight.
What is the real cause?• A basic cause of the roommates arguing can be their differences: – One’s messy; the other is neat. – One likes Snoop Dog; the other, Mozart. – One’s a morning person; the other is up all night.• And that might be it— but can there still be something even deeper Do we already know that as to why people fight? the couple will fight?
What is sufficient cause? • The differences between roommates are legally called sufficient cause. • Sufficient cause means it was enough to make something happen. • Yet it may not be the primary cause. • Roomies can cooperate How old are we when even with differences.we see our differences? • What about toleration?
What is the deep reason?• So maybe two people aren’t getting along just because they don’t want to – Cooperate – Compromise – Adjust• Example Thesis: Roomies can co-exist if they can adjust to each other’s differences. What are the house mates arguing about?
Can we write on effects? • Of course, not every cause-effect essay is about the causes. • In fact, some may center on the effects of a single cause. • Example Topic: What are the results of air pollution? • Example Thesis: What is the effect Air pollution negatively of caffeine? effects plants, animals, and humans.
What kind of essay is it?• In five-paragraph essays, we usually write about either the causes or the effects, not both.• It’s not so much a cause and effect essay as a cause or effect essay.• Then state it in the first paragraph if the essay is about causes or effects. Why will the parents quit drugs?
What should be avoided? • Don’t lose focus by covering too many parts of an issue. • You can’t cover all of the effects of air pollution: just pick three important ones to write about. • For example, use air pollution’s effect on Is there also plants, animals, and noise pollution? humans.
What is in the introduction?• The introductory paragraph includes:1. General background information on the topic.2. A lead-in to the thesis.3. The basic cause with contributing causes.4. Or a series of effects of a cause. Do introductions vary this much?
The Body• Begins with the first cause and follows the chain down to the last.• Or lists the effects in their order.• Uses transition words to analyze the process rather than describe it.• Remember, we’re telling WHY.
The Conclusion• Rewords the thesis and basis for the effects• Describes the primary cause or results• Speculates on the best solution to the problem, as with toleration solving roommate feuds.