Cause and Effect—Writing that analyzes why something happens or happened or what the results are of something.
Write a paragraph (300 words) or short essay (500+ words) that analyzes the causes of something OR the effects of something—not BOTH the causes and effects
Choosing a Topic: • You may choose a personal topic such as how being in the military has affected your life or why you made a certain decision. • OR: • You may choose an informative topic such as the effects of World War II or what causes acid rain. Starting with a Cause or Effect: • If you choose to examine causes of something, you are beginning with an effect and are discussing several possible reasons for this effect. For example, when discussing the causes of divorce, you are beginning with the effect, divorce, but your essay will be focused on causes of divorce. • If you choose to examine effects, you are beginning with a cause and discussing a few results of that cause. For example, when discussing the effects of stress, you are beginning with the cause, stress, but your essay will focus on what the results of stress are. Topics—Starting With a Cause A person, event, or experience that has strongly affected your life. Something that affected you as you were growing up, such as school, a place where you lived, or a group that you belonged to. A natural disaster such as earthquake, tornado, hurricane, tropical storm, forest fire, or other, especially if you were directly affected. Something that you do or would like to do that has beneficial effects such as exercise, yoga, meditation, special diet. A disability, handicap, or problem that affects you or someone you know—eating disorder, addiction, injury. A historical event or current event that caused other things to occur. Anything else that causes certain events to occur. Topics—Starting With an Effect A personal or family problem that you would like to analyze. Something that didn’t turn out the way you expected it to or wanted it to. A problem that someone you know has experienced. A current problem at your college or in your community. A national or international situation that is of interest to you. A natural occurrence that has explainable causes such as earthquakes, thunderstorms, ocean tides, etc. Any other problem or situation that you would like to analyze the causes of. Prewriting for Cause and Effect • Once you have chosen a topic, remember whether you are starting with a cause or effect. • You will then choose a partner to work with to begin discussing your topic. • If you chose to begin with a cause, you will be examining the effects of this cause, so your objective when talking with your partner will be to come up with as many effects as you can, as well as why those happen. • If you chose to begin with an effect, you will be examining reasons for or why this effect occurs. Your objective is to come up with as many possible causes. Discussing Topic Orally • Starting with a cause—begin by telling your partner a little about your topic and as many effects as you have already thought of, then your partner will ask you the following questions, putting your topic in the blank. How did ____ affect you in the past? How does___ affect you now? In what ways does ___ affect other people? Why does each of these occur? What things changed in your life because of __? What things have happened because of___? Are there any other effects? What are most significant effects?
• Starting with an Effect—tell your partner some background information about your topic, and then your partner will ask you the following questions, putting your topic in the blanks. Why do you think ___ happens or happened? Are other people or circumstances partly responsible for ___? Are there causes of ___that are out of your control? Is there an objective, scientific explanation for ___? What other problems or factors may contribute to ___? Are there any other causes that you can think of? Prewriting Activity #2 n Branching— n Write your topic in a circle in the center of a piece of paper. n If you begin with a cause, write “cause” inside the bubble with your topic as a reminder. n Then, branch out in all directions with as many possible effects as you can come up with. You may also branch out from those effects if you think of what they may lead to. n If you begin with an effect, write “effect” inside the bubble with your topic, and branch out from the circle with as many possible causes. Branch out from those causes if possible. Apostrophes n Used to show omitted letters, as in contractions. Ex: we + are=we’re Also used to show possession to minimize wordiness. Ex: “The jacket that belongs to Tony” becomes “Tony’s jacket” when using an apostrophe. Remember, you do not need an apostrophe with a possessive pronoun. Ex: The bookstore lost its lease. NOT: The bookstore lost it’s lease. Go through sentences p. 515-517