How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay with Sample Outline

In the course of solving problems, it is common for us to ask ‘how’ and ‘why’ an event happened. For example, as a student, you may ask why you failed a test. In this case, failing the exam is an effect, while the reason for failing is the cause.

Cause and Effect Essay Writing
Cause and Effect Essay Writing

A cause is what produces a condition or occurrence, while an effect is the consequence of the condition or occurrence. 

We will be discussing how to write a cause and effect essay in terms of its purpose, tips to employ, and the steps to follow as you compose it. With these instructions, you will be able to pen a great cause and effect essay.

Read on to have a deeper understanding.

The Purpose of a Cause and Effect Essays

A cause and effect essay determine the relationship between different phenomena in terms of sources and results. At times, this relationship is clear, but often discovering the connection between the two, i.e., sources and results is very difficult.

For instance, pinpointing the cause of an illness can be quite challenging because there are many possible reasons for sickness. In such a case, there may be a combination of two or more causes leading to the illness.

Due to the complex nature of the cause and effect, a lot of debates come up when discussing it. You should use strong backing for your essay, like facts from reliable sources.

Cause and Effect essays

Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

Step 1: Brainstorm

Think about the topic and generate ideas before writing. Write the ideas down on a paper for a quick consultation to avoid getting stuck while creating your essay. 

If you are to choose the topic you will write about, select one that you are interested in. Brainstorm the reasons and results, i.e., the causes and effects of the subject that you are writing about.

Make sure that you follow your idea’s lead to build a well-founded argument. It will help you avoid wasting time writing something out of topic.

Here is an example of how to generate ideas for your paper:

Job  Work to get tuition fees Prioritize job over social life Increase the working hours    Miss classes due to conflicting work and school schedule Challenge maintaining relationships with friends Fail exams due to a few hours of studying  

Step 2: Create an Outline

Write a framework. It will give you direction to write an excellent paper. Some instructors may ask you to make an outline while others will not. Nevertheless, making an outline is essential before writing any type of paper.

Utilize the ideas from the first step to direct you, how you will write your cause and effect essay progressively. The framework will also help you write your paper in order but do not feel fixed. You can make changes if some new ideas pop up.

Here is a brief example of an outline.

Title: How Reducing Entertainment Time Can Help Raise Students’ Grades.


  1. Hook: statistics of the time spent by students in entertainment, such as gaming, watching television or movies, etc
  2. Thesis statement: excessive entertainment is a threat to students’ academic excellence.

Body paragraph I: Availability and binging

  1. Availability 
    1. Entertainment is easily accessible in many gadgets
    2. It’s impossible to ignore
  2. Binging 
    1. Students overdo entertainment
    2. Prioritization of entertainment causes fewer hours of study and low grades
  3. Plan
    1. Schedule your time to avoid indulgence
    2. Prioritize studies over entertainment

Body paragraph II: Affordability, Overspending

  1. Affordability 
    1. Entertainment is affordable e.g., movies, music, etc.
  2. Overspending
    1. Redirect those funds to learning online, buying books, among other options.
  3. Engage in productive activities
    1. Spend your time doing activities like working out, studying, among others.


End your essay with ways that can reduce entertainment indulgence to boost students’ grades

Step 3: Use the Cause and Effect Language

The words and phrases you use in writing your paper are significant for the reader’s understanding. You should choose them carefully to give flow and clarity to your essay.

The nouns you can use in this paper include cause (of) and reason (for). For example, one cause of stress is overworking. Another reason may be financial constraints. 

You can also use verbs + prepositions like, flow from, arise from, result from, spring from, caused by, etc.

Another option is to employ subordinating conjunctions such as, since, because, if, as, among others.

Use these expressions correctly to create an effective essay. Here are more examples.

Step 4: Revise and Edit Your Essay

Don’t rush to hand in your cause and effect essay. Take your time to double-check the clarity and the flow of your essay. If your paper has a flow, proofread, and edit any spelling or grammatical errors.

You can give your essay to a third-party to review and provide you with feedback. In case they find any mistakes correct your paper again.

When you are through with all these steps, you can confidently give the essay to your instructor!

Tips for Writing a Cause and Effect Paper

Tip 1: You should not resort to invalid speculations. It is easy to be trapped into this due to the complexity of the cause and effect arguments. You need to have valid evidence to back all the claims you make.

Tip 2: Utilize the complex nature of this essay to your advantage. Though you have many causes and effects, your thesis statement can entail one main cause and effect.

Tip 3: Use the cause and effect language properly. Some of the words do not fit in some sentence structures, and they can be confusing to your reader. 

You have to use the correct words and phrases as you express the reasons and outcomes. Make sure that your paper is readable.

You can read some of the cause and effect essay examples to learn how to incorporate all these elements. 

Final Thoughts

An exceptional cause and effect essay has a purpose. It determines the relationship between the origin and the result of a specific subject.

Before you compose your essay, brainstorm and come up with ideas that you will use in the writing process. Jot them down and use them to make an outline. It is vital for creating a paper that is organized.

Using your outline, employ the correct cause and effect language to write your essay for readability. After writing your essay, revise it, and edit mistakes that appear. Ask for third-party help to review and give you feedback.

Cause and Effect Essay- Sample

Since you’ve learnt how to write a cause and effect essay, use tips such as strong backing of your claims to perfect your essay.

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