Free Cause And Effect Essay Sample

What Is a Cause and Effect Essay


A cause and effect essay is a type of essay where a student is generally required to illustrate a scenario in which one or more actions or events ultimately cause (or caused) certain effects to occur.





If you are looking for cause and effect essay examples here is a great one below


Cause and Effect Example: Poverty as a Social Problem


Poverty in America is an urgent socio-economic issue. It is a problem facing a large percentage of the country’s population, though much of what causes it and sustains it could ultimately be avoided. Poverty can be prevented. It is children trying to survive without the adequate means of living, whether it means being homeless or having no food and no hope. It is the married couple struggling to live each day in a healthy way, or a parent unable to take care of their growing children. Poverty is a problem with several negative effects, as well – ones that should be addressed by American leaders – ranging from government dependence to a very low quality of life and, well, more and more needless poverty.


Of the many causes of poverty, the cycle of poverty is one that is perpetuated through family. A person born to a poverty-stricken family is often doomed to repeat the lives of their elders, of their parents who are living in and accepting of dire poverty. They often make the same mistakes as these family members do, such as committing crimes that lead to incarceration, and come to generally believe that life, at least for them, does not exist outside of poverty. With a criminal background, from committing crimes and being found guilty and then surviving some kind of jail sentence, a person may have a problem finding good jobs, ones that offer benefits, like health insurance, retirement, and a yearly, dependable salary – the kind of things one needs to survive in the expensive 21st century.


Also causing poverty is a lack of education, which is needed for citizens to find well-paying jobs so they can become productive, tax-paying members of society. A firm education is needed to experience and enjoy mobility in one’s life and career. Many times, a person from a poverty-stricken family is not taught the importance of education, and is more likely taught the need to work in order to survive. With an education, one is eligible for good-paying jobs, ones that offer mobility and provide room for success. When a person achieves financial success, because they have the essential educational background for a particular job, they avoid a life of poverty.


Looking at the effects of poverty, the cycle of poverty, again, is one example. Poverty leads to more poverty, because people who live in poverty usually are quite ignorant of the way they live, of how bad things truly are and how, perhaps, life could be for them – meaning that they are unaware of the severity of the living conditions and, therefore, come to accept it: poverty as an inevitable way of life. Extreme poverty affects one’s quality of life, too, their sense of well being that encourages happiness and productivity and a sense of purpose. With poverty comes a view that life is full of struggles, hardship and sadness.


Also, extreme poverty affects the country. When people have no other choice but to depend on the government for financial assistance, because they cannot provide for themselves, it costs the government and its taxpayers quite a bit of money. Instead of spending money on providing citizens healthcare or searching to find ways of improving the country, poverty ends up putting America further in debt, which hurts the country’s growth in the long run.


Altogether, poverty is a serious problem because too many American citizens, natives of what is supposed to be one of the most powerful countries in the world, are living like those in third-world countries. It is something that, like many other social problems, such as segregation, can be fixed. It just takes weighing the consequences of poverty and thinking how they might worsen over time; it also requires that the United States government assess how poverty’s causes can be prevented and then taking appropriate action to stop it from recurring.






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Cause and effect essays are another common essay type, either as an essay type on its own, or as part of a larger essay which includes one or more paragraphs examining causes and effects. This page gives information on what a cause and effect essay is, how to structure this type of essay, how to use cause and effect structure words (transition signals) for this type of essay. There is also an example cause and effect essay on the topic of women at work.

What are cause & effect essays?

A cause and effect essay looks at the reasons (or causes) for something, then discusses the results (or effects). For this reason, cause and effect essays are sometimes referred to as reason and result essays. They are one of the most common forms of organisation in academic writing. Sometimes the whole essay will be cause and effect, though sometimes this may be only part of the whole essay. It is also possible, especially for short exam essays, that only the causes or the effects, not both, are discussed. See the examples below.


There are two main ways to structure a cause & effect essay. These are similar to the ways to structure problem-solution essays, namely using a block or a chain structure. For the block structure, all of the causes are listed first, and all of the effects are listed afterwards. For the chain structure, each cause is followed immediately by the effect. Usually that effect will then be the cause of the next effect, which is why this structure is called 'chain'. Both types of structure have their merits. The former is generally clearer, especially for shorter essays, while the latter ensures that any effects you present relate directly to the causes you have given.

The two types of structure, block and chain, are shown in the diagram below.



Transition sentence/paragraph




Cause 1
Effect of Cause 1

Cause 2
Effect of Cause 2

Cause 3
Effect of Cause 3


Cause and Effect Structure Words

Cause and effect structure words are transition signals which show the cause and effect relationships. It is important to be clear which is the cause (or reason) and which is the effect (or result), and to use the correct transition word or phrase. Remember that a cause happens first, and the effect happens later.

Below are some common cause and effect structure words. X is used to indicate a cause, while Y is used to indicate the effect.

Example essay

Below is a cause and effect essay. This essay uses the block structure. Click on the different areas (in the shaded boxes to the right) to highlight the different structural aspects in this essay, i.e. Causes, Effects, and structure words. This will highlight not simply the paragraphs, but also the thesis statement and summary, as these repeat the causes and effects contained in the main body.

Title: More and more women are now going out to work and some women are now the major salary earner in the family. What are the causes of this, and what effect is this having on families and society?









Cause transitions


Effect transitions

In the past, most women stayed at home to take care of domestic chores such as cooking or cleaning. Women's liberation and feminismhave meant that this situation has been transformed and in contemporary society women are playing an almost equal role to men in terms of work. This has had significant consequences, both in terms of the family, for example by improving quality of life and increasing children's sense of independence, and also for society itself with greater gender equality.

The main reasons behind the increase of women in the workplace are women's liberation and feminism. The women's liberation movement originated in the 1960s and was popularised by authors such as Simone de Beauvoir. As a consequence of this, new legislation emerged, granting women equal rights to men in many fields, in particular employment. Because of feminist ideas, men have taken up roles which were previously seen as being for women only, most importantly those related to child rearing. As a result of this, women have more time to pursue their own careers and interests.

These have led to some significant effects, both to family life and to society as a whole.

Although the earning capacity of a woman in her lifetime is generally much less than that of a man, she can nevertheless make a significant contribution to the family income. The most important consequence of this is an improved quality of life. By helping to maintain a steady income for the family, the pressure on the husband is considerably reduced, hence improving both the husband's and the wife's emotional wellbeing. Additionally, the purchasing power of the family will also be raised. This means that the family can afford more luxuries such as foreign travel and a family car.

A further effect on the family is the promotion of independence in the children. Some might argue that having both parents working might be damaging to the children because of a lack of parental attention. However, such children have to learn to look after themselves at an earlier age, and their parents often rely on them to help with the housework. This therefore teaches them important life skills.

As regards society, the most significant impact of women going to work is greater gender equality. There are an increasing number of women who are becoming politicians, lawyers, and even CEOs and company managers. This in turn has led to greater equality for women in all areas of life, not just employment. For example, women today have much stronger legal rights to protect themselves against domestic violence and sexual discrimination in the workplace.

In conclusion, the increasing number of women at work has brought about some important changes to family life, including improved quality of life and increased independence for children, as well as affecting society itself. It is clear that the sexes are still a long way from being equal in all areas of life, however, and perhaps the challenge for the present century is to ensure that this takes place.








Cause transitions


Effect transitions


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Below is a checklist for the main body of an essay. Use it to check your own writing, or get a peer (another student) to help you.

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