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A cause and effect essay serves to explain the connection between an occasion (cause) and its consequences (effect). Regardless of the name, there can be numerous causes leading to a single effect, and a single effect resulting from multiple causes.
If you decide to craft this type of essay, you should follow 5 basic guidelines:
- Do preliminary research on the topic.
- Make an outline with thesis and topic sentences.
- Write a draft of your essay.
- Proofread and edit the draft.
- Put the final version together.
Like most other types of essay, a cause and effect essay usually consists of 5 paragraphs. However, depending on the complexity of your topic, the structure can be altered if needed. This essay will also need to have an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Components of a Cause and Effect Essay
An introductory paragraph is meant to deliver necessary background information about the topic of the paper. It informs about the purpose of the essay and prepares the reader for the upcoming discussion. An effective introduction should have:
This is an introductory sentence, which is aimed at grabbing the reader’s attention from the very beginning. You can use a rhetorical question or tantalizing hint to hook the audience and lead it on.
- Background Information
Some topics might be rather difficult to grasp at once. Providing additional information about the issue, you ensure the readers fully understand both cause and effect events. Remember to keep your narration to the point so that it is still relevant to the main idea of your essay.
- Thesis Statement
The introduction should end with a solid thesis statement, which reveals the aim, topic, and main argument of the paper. Proving the thesis statement is the goal of the cause and effect essay.
It is common for all body paragraphs to have a topic sentence at the beginning and a conclusive sentence at the end. A topic sentence is the first sentence, which introduces the main idea of the paragraph. A conclusive sentence is the last sentence, which highlights the main aspects of the paragraph.
The body of the essay should include the discussion of causes and effects. It depends on you which pattern to choose among those available for a 5-paragraph essay:
- cause/effect – cause/effect – cause/effect
- cause – effect – effect
- cause – cause – effect
Remember, having chosen the pattern, you should stick to it and build your narration accordingly.
The concluding paragraph plays an important role as it is the last piece of information the reader gets. The main aim of the conclusion is to impress the reader and make a decisive point. To succeed in writing an efficient conclusion, make sure to include:
- Thesis restatement: Paraphrase the thesis statement to show how it has been proven in the body paragraphs.
- Summary of the main arguments: Use concise yet informative sentences to summarize major points of the essay and relate them to the thesis statement.
- Final statement: Make your case. Show why your argument is important. The reader has to realize the purpose of your essay and see the possible consequences of ignoring it.
After having written your essay, don’t forget to proofread it. It is also very useful to take a break and get back to your paper with a fresh look and new ideas.