How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay?

A cause and effect essay describes why some things happen or how some things happen (cause) and what happens as a result (effect) of these things.

Sample cause and effect essay topics:

The influence of computer games on students.
The effects of sports on adults.
The results of alcohol consumption.
The effects of music on human psychology.



General organization of a cause and effect essay:

The general organization of a cause and effect essay may vary according to the topic or according to the preferences of the writer. The most important thing to do is to decide three main effects of the target cause. These three main effects will serve as the major ideas and each of them will be the main idea of a developing paragraph. These main effects should be classified as a positive effect or as a negative effect.



Sample essay topic: The influence of computer games on students
Sample main effects: learning languages (positive), critical thinking (positive), addiction (negative)

Sample main organization of a five paragraph cause and effect essay:

Introduction
1st developing paragraph (the main effect/major idea is learning languages - a positive effect)
2nd developing paragraph (the main effect/major idea is critical thinking skills - a positive effect)
3rd developing paragraph (the main effect/major idea is addiction - a negative effect)
Conclusion

The main organization of a five paragraph cause and effect may change according to the target essay topic or the preferences of the writer:

Introduction, positive effect one, positive effect two, positive effect three, conclusion
Introduction, negative effect one, negative effect two, negative effect three, conclusion
Introduction, positive effect one, positive effect two, negative effect one, conclusion
Introduction, negative effect one, negative effect two, positive effect one, conclusion

Planning the essay:

Before starting to write, it is always a good idea to create a general plan of your essay. To do this, it is crucial to state three main effects of the subject and specify at least three minor ideas for each major effect. If you do this, it will be much easier for you to write your essay. Also, your ideas won't get mixed up if you have an overall plan of your essay and of your major and minor ideas.

Sample essay topic: The effects of computer games on students.
Sample main effects: learning languages (positive), critical thinking (positive), addiction (negative)

Sample minor ideas:

Learning languages: learning vocabulary in story-based games, communicating by writing in online games, communication by using a microphone in online games.

Critical thinking: Solving problems individually in story-based games, solving problems as a group in online games, learning how to act as a team in multiplayer online games.

Addiction: Playing computer games for a long time, not studying for lessons due to computer games, not being able to focus on lessons at school due to online games

Writing the introduction paragraph:

The introduction paragraph should start with two or three introducing sentences. These sentences are up to the writer. The introduction should mention the major effects of the target cause briefly, by not going into detail. The final sentence of the introduction paragraph should be the thesis statement of the writer. A sample introduction paragraph:

Nowadays, computer games are an indispensable part of young people, especially students. Students play computer games at home, at school, at internet cafes and in any other suitable place they find. They play computer games to have fun, to relax or even to have a career as a professional gamer. Similar to most things, computer games have positive and negative effects on students. In my opinion, despite some negative effects they pose on students such as addiction, computer games are mostly beneficial for students in terms of learning languages and developing critical thinking skills. 

Writing the first developing paragraph (Second paragraph):

The first developing paragraph should mention the first main effect (e.g learning languages) by providing the minor ideas (e.g learning vocabulary in story-based games, communicating by writing in online games, communication by using a microphone in online games) that support the first main effect. The first sentence should state the first main effect. The following sentences should state the minor ideas and examples to support these minor ideas. A sample first developing paragraph:

To start with, computer games are really helpful for students in respect of learning foreign languages. First of all, students learn a lot of words in story-based computer games. They have to do this in order to carry out some tasks of a mission to complete the chapters in a story-based game. Secondly, students are able to communicate with other players by writing in most online games. This helps students learn new grammar structures and vocabulary items. Finally, nowadays students can communicate with other players via a microphone in an online game. This is quite beneficial for students who cannot practice a foreign language such as English in their home country. They can speak English with other players and improve their language skills.

Writing the second developing paragraph (Third paragraph):

The second developing paragraph should mention the second main effect (e.g critical thinking) by providing the minor ideas (e.g solving problems individually in story-based games, solving problems as a group in online games, learning how to act as a team in multiplayer online games.) that support the second main effect. The first sentence should state the second main effect. The following sentences should state the minor ideas and examples to support these minor ideas. A sample second developing paragraph:

Moreover, computer games are beneficial for students in terms of developing critical thinking skills. Students need to connect the pieces in a computer game to solve problems in computer games. This is a positive aspect of computer games with respect to developing critical thinking. Furthermore, solving problems as a group in online computer games helps students develop problem solving and critical thinking skills and it promotes their understanding of team spirit. 

Writing the third developing paragraph (Fourth paragraph):

The third developing paragraph should mention the third main effect (e.g addiction) by providing the minor ideas (e.g Playing computer games for a long time, not studying for lessons due to computer games, not being able to focus on lessons at school due to online games) that support the third main effect. The first sentence should state the third main effect. The following sentences should state the minor ideas and examples to support these minor ideas. A sample third developing paragraph:

In contrast with these, gaming may have a negative effect on students in terms of addiction. Some students play computer games for such a long time that they don't even stand up for hours. This causes serious health problems for students. Also, as a result of being addicted to computer games, some students cannot find enough time to study for lessons. Finally, some students are so addicted to computer games that they cannot even focus on their lessons when they are at school. 

Writing the conclusion paragraph (Last paragraph):

The conclusion paragraph should mention all three main effects. Also, it should restate the thesis statement in a different way. Finally, it should involve two or three concluding sentences.

 Although computer games might create addiction problems on students, they have positive effects on students in terms of learning languages and developing critical thinking skills. In my opinion, computer games are an undeniable part of students' lives. It is not possible to make students stop playing computer games but it is possible to try to reduce their negative effects and increase their positive effects on students. With an effective education on gaming, students can get more benefits from computer games while getting less harm.  









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