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How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay

How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay

Table of contents

How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay

Tables of Content

  1. Cause and Effect Essay Examples

Any situation, event, or problem has its reasons and impact. People need to understand the cause and effect relations of events or phenomena to be able to develop a solution or prevent a certain unwanted outcome. For this reason, cause and effect essays serve as a useful exercise for students as they allow them to investigate a particular issue within such a frame. Let’s have a look at the structure, outline, topics, and examples of cause and effect essays.

What is a Cause and Effect Essay?

A cause and effect essay is a type of academic writing that explores the causes of a particular issue and its consequences. It includes researching available evidence and developing sensible claims regarding the topic. Students should demonstrate a good command of critical thinking skills throughout the writing process and the ability to build cause-effect reasoning. As a type of expository essay, a cause and effect essay should rely on clear facts and research. A writer should stick to neutral tone, vocabulary, and formal style.

How to Structure Your Cause and Effect Essay

A cause and effect essay should be well-structured. Otherwise, your claims will not be clear to the reader. Let’s find out what structure your essay should have and how to prepare each part of your paper.

How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay Outline

Let’s look at the outline of a cause and effect essay. It includes the obvious parts, such as introductory and concluding paragraphs, but the body of this essay type may vary depending on the task and your preferences. You can structure body paragraphs using one of the three schemes. However, the first column represents the most common way to discuss your claims:

1. Introduction

2. Body:

Variant 1

  • Cause 1
  • Cause 2
  • Effect 1
  • Effect 2

Variant 2

  • Cause 1
  • Effect 1
  • Cause 2
  • Effect 2

Variant 3

  • Cause & Effect 1
  • Cause & Effect 2
  • Cause & Effect 3

3. Conclusion


The introductory paragraph of a cause and effect essay lays the foundation for the whole piece. It needs to be short but precise. Before getting to writing, you need to plan your paper and figure out what your argument is. This will help you to introduce your topic effectively. See what you can use to attract the attention of your audience, for example:

  • Statistics
As Mohsin (2020) reports, approximately half of the world population uses social media websites every day.
  • Quotation
As Malay Shah says, “social media sites create an illusion of connectivity.”
  • Rhetorical Question
Do social media platforms replace real life?

Once you are done with the hook, outline the general information about the topic and its context. Use this part to orient the readers in the discussed field and focus their attention on your argument. Last but not least, develop a good thesis statement at the end of the introductory paragraph. It should say something about the topic instead of simply announcing it. Use it as a base. Each claim you make should support the thesis statement. Once the paper is ready, check whether you have managed to do this.

Body Paragraph (Causes)

Typically, you will need to present several causes of the problem. It will show your teacher that you have analyzed the issue from different angles. You may single out one reason as the most important and discuss it first and move on to describing the secondary causes. Do not forget that each paragraph should be focused on one particular idea. Thus, each distinct cause should have a separate paragraph.

To introduce and develop your idea, use a traditional paragraph format:

  • Topic sentence
  • Evidence
  • Support
  • Concluding sentence

Such an organized structure is the key to effective writing. It allows the text to run smoothly and convey the idea effectively. It should be applied to present both causes and effects being discussed.

Body Paragraph (Effects)

When writing body paragraphs focused on effects, you need to make a logical connection to the already mentioned causes. Focus only on the direct consequences of the problem as your message needs to be clear to the audience. It will help you keep the claims coherent.

Introduce the effects you want to discuss in a topic sentence. It would be a good idea to conduct research and cite some reputable sources that will prove your point. Cite them according to the required referencing format: APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago, etc. Make sure you make the necessary comments to explain your evidence. It is crucial to add your own interpretation of the problem without simply paraphrasing someone’s thoughts. For instance, see the example of the effects of social media addiction and note the expressions you can potentially use in your paper:

social media addiction infographic


The conclusion is the final element of your cause and effect essay structure. You need to restate your thesis statement. However, do not copy it directly. The aim is to remind the reader of your argument. Look at the following examples to see what it means to restate your thesis.

  • Your thesis: “Children’s drawings are not just simple doodles; they show kids’ psychological state and concerns.”
  • Restatement: “Drawings that children create provide the insight into their emotional condition.”

Another important element of a concluding paragraph is the summary of the main points. Figure out what your main findings and claims are and compile them into a short paragraph.

The Best Cause and Effect Essay Topics

The topics for a cause and effect essay can be diverse as this type of writing is suitable for any subject: history, languages, sociology, arts, technology, and even physics. If you are free to choose the topic, select the one that matters to you, and prove its relevance. This way, the interest in the subject-matter will drive your motivation to complete the task successfully. Some interesting examples of cause and effect essay topics include:

  1. Causes and results of WWI
  2. Reasons for burnout
  3. Potential threats to online education
  4. Literature and the human brain
  5. Climate change
  6. Consequences of peer pressure
  7. Causes and effects of natural resource depletion
  8. Causes and impact of the #MeToo movement
  9. Low self-esteem
  10. Causes and results of the Industrial Revolution

Cause and Effect Essay Examples

Let’s look at the example of a cause and effect essay, which discusses the reasons for and impact of social media addiction. First, we need to come up with the title and create an introduction. It will provide some statistical data, which is used as a hook. Then, we familiarize the reader with general information about the topic. Finally, we develop a thesis statement that will summarize our argument clearly and concisely and focus on the effects of social media overuse.

The Overuse of Social Media: Causes and Consequences

Interactions via social media impact our life and behavior. As Mohsin (2020) summarizes, approximately half of the world population uses social media websites every day, and the number of active users keeps growing. This has already turned into an addiction for some people. Addiction because of the overuse of social media does not only take a lot of time and become an annoying habit but also may lead to grave mental health problems, including behavioral, emotional, and anxiety disorders.

As our outline suggests, we move on to the discussion of the causes of social media addiction. This takes separate paragraphs as we discuss two different claims: biochemical reasons and poor awareness. As always, both paragraphs start with a distinct topic sentence. The paragraphs include indirect quotations from reputable sources, which serve as evidence that our claims are correct. In addition, we provide supporting ideas that underpin the claim introduced in the topic sentence. The paragraph ends with a concluding sentence that gives a summary of the main points.

People are always excited to get a notification about a new like, comment, or message. Why is it so? There is an actual biochemical reason for it: the human brain releases dopamine. According to Ahmad (2018), this makes people feel happy. It is attributed to the fact that “likes” give people the impression of social validation. Thus, they feel accepted by the group of their peers and get a sense of belonging. In the long term, the pleasure and excitement from virtual interactions become addictive and make people spend a great deal of their time online, rejecting to do other tasks and duties.  

Another reason for social media addiction is poor awareness of the problem among the public. Compared to other forms of addiction, checking the Facebook feed does not seem that harmful. However, as Ahmad (2018) reveals, it requires more effort to resist social media accounts than alcohol or smoking. As people have a very low degree of awareness regarding the long-term effects of constant social media use, they do not acknowledge the seriousness of the problem. As a result, more and more users live their life in smartphones and disregard real-life interactions, which has its consequences.  

The last sentence of the previous paragraph includes a transition to the effects of the discussed addiction. Thus, we follow the same paragraph structure to introduce and develop our claims. This entails using a specific topic sentence, several pieces of evidence that support the idea, comments regarding it, and a concluding sentence.

The negative effects of such addiction are numerous, but mental health is a top concern. Zagorski (2017) states that social media provoke anxiety disorder, a sense of isolation, and depression. People are likely to develop insecurity, poor self-esteem, and distorted body image, comparing their appearance to unrealistic and photoshopped photos. If people do not get the desired appreciation and recognition from others on social media, it lowers their sense of self-value. Therefore, people become vulnerable to mental health issues.

Social media becomes an unwanted distraction from work, education, and home shores. Notification from apps can easily interrupt your life and lead to procrastination. It impedes progress and makes people less effective. Humans are likely to lose focus and spend their productive hours in vain. Therefore, if people use messengers or other apps all the time, they get distracted from important assignments.

After the discussion part is done, we need to summarize our ideas in a concluding paragraph. We restate our thesis statement and mention our most important findings.

To conclude, because of poor public awareness regarding the impact of social media on psychological wellbeing, people are vulnerable to psychological problems. What is more, the excitement of virtual interactions makes people addictive. In the long term, people become less productive and less motivated to reach their goals.

Writing a concluding paragraph may seem like a final step, but there is also a need to format the reference page. Follow the requirements of your professor and use one of the styles. We use APA for this particular sample paper.


Ahmad, I. (2018, July 27). Why are we addicted to social media? [Infographic]. Social Media Week.

Mohsin, M. (2020, February 7). 10 social media statistics you need to know in 2020 [Infographic]. Oberlo.

Zagorski, N. (2017, January 17). Using many social media platforms linked with depression, anxiety risk. Psychiatric News.

To Sum Up

As you can see, writing a good cause and effect essay requires proper organization in the first place. You should clearly state the reasons for a particular problem and discuss its impact. Although the outline may have some variations in the body, you still need to write a compelling introduction and a thoughtful concluding paragraph.

We are sure that if you invest enough time and effort into preparation, your professor will grade it correspondingly. However, if you find such tasks confusing or too time-consuming for your current schedule, you may easily hire a professional writer to help you. Just drop a note to “do my essay for me” and have some precious moments free from academic assignments and related stress. Our writers will observe your requirements and deliver the essay strictly on time.

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