Mla Cause And Effect Essay Format
The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.
Contributors: Jack Baker, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2013-03-11 10:04:15
What is an expository essay?
The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast, definition, example, the analysis of cause and effect, etc.
Please note: This genre is commonly assigned as a tool for classroom evaluation and is often found in various exam formats.
The structure of the expository essay is held together by the following.
- A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay.
It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay.
- Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion.
Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse.
- Body paragraphs that include evidential support.
Each paragraph should be limited to the exposition of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. What is more, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph.
- Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal).
Often times, students are required to write expository essays with little or no preparation; therefore, such essays do not typically allow for a great deal of statistical or factual evidence.
Though creativity and artfulness are not always associated with essay writing, it is an art form nonetheless. Try not to get stuck on the formulaic nature of expository writing at the expense of writing something interesting. Remember, though you may not be crafting the next great novel, you are attempting to leave a lasting impression on the people evaluating your essay.
- A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided.
It is at this point of the essay that students will inevitably begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and logical. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion; rather, synthesize and come to a conclusion concerning the information presented in the body of the essay.
A complete argument
Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. If I were to discuss the cause of the Great Depression and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time, there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. In fact, if I were to end the exposition in the middle of my second point, questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the Depression. Therefore, the expository essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.
The five-paragraph Essay
A common method for writing an expository essay is the five-paragraph approach. This is, however, by no means the only formula for writing such essays. If it sounds straightforward, that is because it is; in fact, the method consists of:
- an introductory paragraph
- three evidentiary body paragraphs
- a conclusion
How to Write a Cause and Effect Essay on any Topic
What is a Cause and Effect Essay?
A Cause and Effect essay essay is concerned with why things happen and what happens as a result (effects). Cause and effect is a common method of organizing and discussing ideas.
When writing your essay, remember your purpose. Decide if your are writing to persuade or inform. Focus on immediate and direct effects. Limit yourself to causes that are close in time and related, as opposed to remote and indirect causes, which occur later and are related indirectly.
Choosing a Topic for Cause and Effect Essay
In order to write a good Cause and Effect essay, you need to find a good topic for it, i.e. a topic that lets you easily demonstrate your writing skills and finally get a high grade without thinking too much.
Althrough choosing the essay topic for cause and effect essay type is not difficult, It’s important you choose the essay topic that is really important for you. Choosing the correct essay topic makes your essay more interesting and successful.
Here are some examples of pretty good Cause and Effect essay topics:
The Civil Rights Movement and the Effects
Causes and Effects of the Popularity of Fast Food Restaurants
Popularity of Sports in US Internet Influence on kids
Effects of Pollution
The Changes in the Ocean
Using the following links, you can find a lot of good topics for your Cause and Effect essay:
100 Cause and Effect Essay Topics
40 Good Cause and Effect Essay Topics – Students’ Choice
Cause Effect Essay Sample Topics
40 Writing Topics: Causes and Effects
Cause and Effect essay structure
Considering the right structure for your essay is one of the key points of success. Sticking to a recommended essay structure is the only way to properly outline and write it, paragraph by paragraph from the introduction to conclusion, without mistakes.
Depending on the kind of relation between causes and effects, your essay can be organized by one of the three patterns: "Multiple Causes, One Effect" pattern, "One Cause, Multiple Effects" pattern and "Causal Chain (Domino)" pattern
Multiple Causes One Effect pattern
This pattern deals with the situation when one effect is a result of multiple causes.
It contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, each one describing one of the causes, leading to the effect.
One Cause Multiple Effects
This pattern should be used when one cause leads to multiple effects.
It contains five paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and three paragraphs, each one describing one of the effects, the cause is leading to.
Causal Chain (Domino)
Sometimes a cause leads to a situation and that situation leads to another situation and so on.
This is called a causal chain or domino effect.
Causal chain pattern contains seven paragraphs: introduction, conclusion, and five paragraphs, each one describing one causal link.
After choosing an essay pattern, now all you need is to write your cause and effect essay, on any topic, according to your pattern’s structure. Also, be sure to read the A+ writing tips for a cause and effect essay on any topic below. Follow these instructions and you will write a high grading cause and effect essay.
Writing an A+ Cause and Effect Essay
In a Cause and Effect essay, the introduction is very important. It gives the reader his/her first impression of the text.
First of all, provide background information. Than state your essay’s thesis.
In "Multiple Causes, One Effect" pattern, enumerate the causes / causes groups leading to this effect. For example:
Hunger is a result of many reasons such as poverty, models of development and consumption, violence and militarism.
In "One Cause, Multiple Effects" pattern, enumerate the effects / effect groups of the cause. For example:
TV was also invented with positive thoughts in mind – there would be no national borders, education and communication would be worldwide, etc. However, we are now trying to overcome its physiological and psychological adverse effects on human beings.
In "Causal Chain (Domino)" pattern, state that the first cause in the chain leads to the final effect. For example:
Let’s see how the use of popular deodorants can bring the end of world.
Multiple Causes, One Effect – Cause Paragraph
Clearly state the cause
One of the main causes of hunger is poverty – lack of purchasing power and access to resources.
Support the cause by two supports – major and minor
Poverty is linked not only with poor national economic performance but also with an unequal distribution of income and a political structure that renders poor people powerless, whether in a democracy or a dictatorship.
While writing, these supporting ideas should be adequately explained and exemplified as well.
Globally, incomes and consumption differ starkly. Twenty percent of the world’s population – mostly in industrial countries – receives 85 percent of the world’s income and accounts for 80 percent of consumption, producing two-thirds of all greenhouse gases and 90 percent of ozone - depleting chlorofluorocarbons. This level of consumption is not sustainable at the global level.
Use appropriate transitions
To blend details smoothly, use the transitional words and phrases listed below:
because, due to, on cause is, another is, since, for, first, second
One Cause, Multiple Effects – Effect Paragraph
Clearly state the effect
One of the physiological effects of watching TV in excessive amounts is eye-strain.
Explain it in details
It is true that there are specifications for watching TV; TV should be 5 m. away from the eye, the room should be adequately lit, TV should be placed at the same height with our eyes, etc. However, these do not prevent our eyes from getting tired if we keep watching TV for a long time.
If it’s a group of effects consequently explain each effect:
Another effect is obesity, which is widely observed in people who like watching TV and eating snacks everyday (there is even a term “TV snacks” to refer to fast food that is suitable for eating in front of the TV). TV is such a powerful machine that people cannot get away from it – it is addictive.
Use appropriate transitions
To blend details smoothly, use the transitional words and phrases listed below:
consequently, as a result, thus, resulted in, one result is, another is, therefore
Causal Chain (Domino) – Causal Link Paragraph
Keep in mind the causal chain
deodorants contain chlorofluorocarbon gases ->
this gas destroys the ozone layer ->
unfiltered ultraviolet rays melt icebergs ->
the sea-level rises -> sea covers the land -> end of the world.
In each paragraph you deal with one cause / effect entry
Clearly state the cause and the effect
Chlorofluorocarbon gases cause the ozone layer to become thinner and finally disappear in patches
Explain the link in details
Years of deforestation and pollution have slowly but steadily damaged the atmosphere and depleted the ozone layer. Refrigerators and air conditioners, for example, emit harmful Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) which cause the depletion of the ozone layer, which results in Global warming.
Use appropriate transition terms
To blend details smoothly, use transitional terms, such as those listed below:
because, due to, on cause is, another is, since, for, first, second, consequently, as a result, thus, resulted in, one result is, another is, therefore
The conclusion of a cause and effect essay is one of the more important essay components. Without a solid ending, the earlier analysis could fall flat, no matter how well written the ideas were.
Restate (do not repeat) the thesis
Global warming is the result of human negligence. Years of deforestation and pollution have slowly but steadily damaged the atmosphere and depleted the ozone layer.
Consider the implications
Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and ask yourself what needs to be said to finish things up in a clear, concise way. What things need to be addressed in order to wrap things up?
You may explain how your conclusion should be practically used; express your hopes as you look to the future; issue a call for action, etc.:
To reduce Global warming we need to control the air pollution, the emission of the harmful gases and factory smoke. We need to respect and protect our environment so that we have safe and healthy air to breathe and we can live in a clean atmosphere.
Finalizing your Work
Pay attention that even though your essay is fully written, it still isn’t ready to submission.
There are some common and annoying mistakes which may significantly harm your grade. However, you can avoid those grade lowering mistakes by completing the following checklist:
- Check spelling and grammar
- Ensure that your essay is fully compliant with the required formatting standard
- Properly organize all the citations and the References / Works Cited page
- Ensure that your title page is done as required
- Take a final look at your paper to be certain that everything is indeed fine