# Every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction

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CAUSE & EFFECT ESSAY NOTES

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The statement means that in everything, there is a cause and an effect interaction. ~Newton

Types of Cause & Effect Interactions

There may be one cause with one effect:

Because it snowed all night, the roads were very dangerous to drive on.

There may be one cause with many effects:

Due to last night’s blizzard, our water pipes froze and burst, the snow buildup weighed down a powerline causing us to lose electricity, and I could not go to work because the streets were not safe.

There may be several causes with one effect:

The constant snowing, freezing temperature, and loss of power led to campus being closed.

There may successive or snowball effects from one primary cause:

As a result of all the snow, the roads were very dangerous to drive on, so campus was closed, which meant I did not have to take my math test today, so I got extra study time.

When you write a cause and effect essay, you need to explain how specific conditions or events translate into certain effects. In other words, your task is to show how one thing leads to another. In most cases you will need to demonstrate how multiple causes result into one effect, or how only one condition becomes the cause of several consequences.

Steps for Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

1. To start with, choose an event or a phenomenon to analyze. Ask yourself, “What happened,” and then try to answer the question, “Why did it happen?”

2. Sketch out the main points of your essay by brainstorming or prewriting.

3. List the causes and give their description, so that your reader can grasp the whole situation.

4. Follow up with the effects, showing the connection between reasons and consequences. Your reader must understand how you have arrived at one from another.

Topic Selection

Since almost any event has both its causes and consequences, there are a vast variety of possible topics for a cause and effect essay. Still, it would be reasonable to choose a topic that you are familiar or comfortable with. Do NOT use anyone’s ideas. That is called plagiarism, which is stealing. You do not want to be caught doing this.

Key Points to Consider

1. Mind that the same event may be a cause and an effect simultaneously. For example, the collapse of the Soviet Union may be studied as a result of many domestic and foreign factors, but at the same time it can be considered a cause of the restructuring of the Eurasian geopolitical space, the uprising of China and so on. Decide in which direction you are going to move. (Review the different cause & effect relationships above.)

2. Concentrate on those effects that relate to the causes directly, and are close in time to them. This will prevent you from having to go into unneeded analysis of far-reaching consequences.

3. You might find it useful to sort effects by categories, so that you do not confuse anything. For instance, if you describe the consequences of the Second World War, you can divide them into social, economic and political sections.

4. State clearly what exactly you are going to examine – causes, effects, or both.

Do and Don’t

Common Mistakes When Writing a Cause and Effect Essay

- Forgetting to show connections between causes and effects.

- Covering a broad topic and digging into a large number of causes, consequences and arguments.

- Losing links in a causal chain. If you have a sequence of causes that flow logically one from another, then missing one or several of them will make your paper harder to understand.

- Forgetting to use supporting details.

- Forgetting the purpose of your paper. For instance, one starting to write a persuasive paper may end up with an informative one.

Causal Transitions:
These are a few transitions that signal cause/effect and reason/result, etc. . .

Cause/Reason:

 for the (simple) reason that, being that, for, in view of (the fact), inasmuch as, because (of the fact), seeing that, as, owing to (the fact), due to (the fact that), in that since, forasmuch as,

Condition:
 on (the) condition (that), granted (that), if, provided that, in case, in the event that, as/so long as, unless given that, granting (that), providing that, even if, only if,

Effect/Result:
 as a result (of this), consequently, hence, for this reason, thus, because (of this), in consequence, so that, accordingly as a consequence, so much (so) that, so, therefore,

Purpose:

 for the purpose of, in the hope that, for fear that, so that, with this intention, to the end that, in order to, lest with this in mind, in order that, so as to, so,

Consequence:
 under those circumstances, then, in that case, if not, that being the case, if so, otherwise

Sample Cause/Effect Essay

What effects has the computer had on our lives?

The twenty-first century is already turning out to be the century of the computer. The computer revolution that started after the Second World War is now developing exponentially and computers are beginning to influence and take over nearly every aspect of our lives. Computers are clearly changing and affecting society in many ways. The two main areas in which computers have brought about a profound change in our lives are in the economic field and in the field of communications.

The computer has led to immense changes in economic and business life. First, businesses now have to be computerized, or they risk failure. Every big corporation bases its operations on computing, regardless of which sector they are in. For example, Coca-Cola, the BBC, and Levi’s market and sell different products and services, yet they all share one basic property – without computers their operations would collapse. Second, computing is an economic dynamo. Japan, China, India, and many other countries have large IT sectors which drive their economies upwards. Furthermore, the developed world is moving from an industrial-based economy to a computer and IT-based one.

It is not just in business that computers have affected us so profoundly; communication has been totally revolutionized. Initially, people wrote letters, which would often take weeks to reach their destinations, or spoke on the phone, which was terribly expensive; now, they e-mail. For instance, instead of waiting weeks for a letter to arrive, we can read it instantly, seconds after it’s been written. Also, many people use computers to communicate with people all around the world using chat rooms and chat programs; however, this was impossible before the computer became widespread. As a result, people who live thousands of miles away from each other can communicate as much as they want and whenever they want using e-mail and/or chat rooms.

In conclusion, computers have had a profound effect on our lives in many ways, and it is in business and communication that they have had the greatest influence. In the future, if the computer continues evolving at such speed, our business practices and methods of communication will undergo even more radical changes.