Cause and Effect Essay: How-To, Structure, Examples, Topics

Posted: June 20, 2017 - to Guide
Content how to write a cause and effect essay

Cause and effect essays aren't commonly assigned, so if you need to write one you could be feeling somewhat lost. This guide will help you get yours written with ease.

What is a cause and effect essay?

A cause and effect essay is much simpler than it appears. It's an essay that looks at the causes of an event, or why it happened, and the results of the event, or the effects. These essays help you look in detail at events, and how they can be repeated or avoided.


There are two different ways you can structure a cause and effect essay. These methods are called the 'block' and 'chain' models. The Block model will look like this:

  • Introduction
  • Cause 1
  • Cause 2
  • Transition sentence
  • Effect 1
  • Effect 2
  • Conclusion

A 'chain' essay will look like this:

  • Introduction
  • Cause and effect of cause 1
  • Cause and effect of cause 2
  • Cause and effect of cause 3
  • Conclusion

As you can see, a 'block' essay deals with all the causes first, and then the effects, while a 'chain' essay deals with cause and effect separately. It's up to you which model you choose.

Steps for writing

  • First, research the topic at hand. Get as much evidence as you can on the causes and their effects. These will help back up your points in your final essay.
  • Write an outline. Pick one of the models listed above, and think about what argument you want to put forward. Write your outline with the topic sentences, so when you come to write you'll know how to link everything together.
  • Write your essay. Find a quiet place to write and start using your essay outline. Make sure to cover every point you need to make, and that all your arguments are backed up by research.
  • Proofread and edit. Before your essay is handed in, take the time to proofread it. This will ensure you'll get the highest marks possible for your work.


When given a cause and effect essay, you'll be given a statement as a topic. This could be something like 'Parents' attitudes affect sibling rivalry' or 'Cell phone use can bring families closer'. It's up to you to dig into this topic, and find why this is so. For example, you could find evidence that people who use cell phones have more opportunities to communicate with relatives, so as a result their relationships improve.

Examples of a cause and effect essay

If you want to try writing some essays of your own, here are some example topics you could try:

  • Video games can boost IQ.
  • The fear of possible side effects makes people avoid vaccinations.
  • The glaciers melting in Antarctica cause floods.

Give these a try, and get some practice in before you have to write the real thing.

Now you know what makes a great essay. Use this guide to get good marks on yours.

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