Cause and Effect Paragraph

A cause makes a thing happen; an effect is what results when that thing happens. If you brush your teeth and your teeth get whiter, then brushing is the cause and whitening is the effect. A cause-and-effect paragraph helps a reader understand why things happen: the weakening of the ozone layer, the war in Vietnam, the spike in teenage obesity.

While cause-and-effect paragraphs may be indispensable to writers who explain politics, human behavior, or the hard sciences, they can also be misleading. If a school, for example, has high reading scores, it may have nothing to do with the quality of teaching and everything to do with students the school has recruited. If I happen to be an honest fellow with good study habits and the ability to make friends, it may have nothing to do with how my parents raised me and everything to do with my genes.

Nevertheless, a cause-and-effect paragraph can be a valuable tool for explaining outcomes and trends, and an excellent way to predict future trends

Sample Cause-And-Effect Paragraph

In New York City, fifty percent of all public school teachers leave the profession within their first five years on the job. While the teachers union and some politicos have charged that the high attrition rate is due to the salary gap between city teachers and their brethren in the suburbs, the real problem is student behavior. There are approximately 1.1 million public school students, and many of them, especially those in poor neighborhoods, have family problems that make it hard for them to sit still for five hours a day. These students may come from homes with no books, where TV sets blare all day, where no parent or older sibling has a college degree, where generations of kids have found the world of academics foreign, frustrating, and fruitless. Because many of these students cannot read a menu or calculate two-digit addition problems, they find long hours in the classroom tortuous. And while classrooms can absorb one or two of these kids—that is, the teacher can teach with a minimum of disruption—classrooms with four or more problem students reach a critical mass. The bad kids tip the good kids, and the simplest lesson becomes a test of wills between teacher and student. Only the most patient, most gifted teacher can endure more than a couple of years of these daily battles. If she wants to keep teaching, she flees for greener pastures —schools like Bronx Science, Stuyvesant, Midwood—or a school in Westchester. The result is alarming: perhaps half of the city’s 1000 schools have green-horn teachers with only a few years experience. Many of these novices don’t know their subjects and don’t know how to control a room filled with difficult kids. Many soon find non-teaching jobs. As a result, the teaching profession, at least the way it’s practiced in New York City, becomes a form of slumming, or something to do until you grow up—like the Peace Corps or the army.

Choose one of the following topics and write a cause and effect paragraph

Why is Paris Hilton, someone with minimal talent and iffy looks, so popular?
What is one cause of weight gain?
Why has President Bush, despite his frat-boy persona and mangled syntax, won so many elections?
Why do women, despite their frequent denials, love macho men?
Despite so much evidence that prayer does not work, why do so many people persist in praying fervently and often?
Why is it preferable (or silly) to marry someone of your own ethnicity or religion?
Why hasn’t soccer, the world’s most popular sport, caught on in America?
How does smoking marijuana affect your mental or physical health?
Why does flattery work, even when the person being flattered knows you are a lying liar?
Why do men and women cheat?
What is the effect of high interest rates on the stock market?
Although it is fake, why is professional wrestling so popular?
Choose your own topic.



18 comments so far

  1. Ronilo on


  2. irina on

    i was just reading your topics on cause and effect and one of the choses was “Despite so much evidence that prayer doesn’t work, why do so many people persist in praying fervently and often?” actually there is A WHOLE LOT OF EVIDENCE THAT PRAYER DOES WORK!!!! you should be talkin bout yourself,IT says in the bible pray in faith!!!and everytime i pray God Always answers ALL my prayers.. sometimes when you ask something absurd it wont happen, but if its God’s will He will Answer every PRayer…. the scriptures in the bible promise it! Mt 21:22……….whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.Jn 14:14……….If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.1Jn 5:14……….Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.Jn 15:7…………If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you………….. Can you please take that topic off your list 😀 Thanks

  3. kristy on

    i think the other reader’s right. prayer WORKS! thanks for posting this anyway. you’ve helped me with my assignment! yeepee…! who’s the fat guy? uh.. never mind.

  4. svetlana on

    irina is totaly right!!!! prayer does work and i also ask that “Despite so much evidence that prayer does not work, why do so many people persist in praying fervently and often?” be taken off..thanks

  5. Emily on

    Oh, yes. Prayers definitely work.
    Tell that to the parents who prayed by their child’s bedside as they wasted away into death from a disease. Then again, that may just be “absurd” by your standards… I don’t believe prayer works, I’m sorry.

    I do, however, think this list is thought provoking. Thank you!

  6. joyce on

    Oh, How can you say prayer doesnot work? Some one somewhere has prayed for you or you would not be here today. Read God’s word there is your prove he lives.

  7. Naz on

    In response to the people that commented on the “Despite so much evidence that prayer does not work, why do so many people persist in praying fervently and often?” topic, I think that everybody is entitled to there own opinion. Weather or not the person that created this website believes in God or not is irrelevant. He/She is explaining what a Cause and Effect paragraph is and it helped me understand it more clearly.

    BTW It’s a good topic to discuss!

  8. Alex on

    hey, im catholic, and, when i was young, my mom would always drag me to church with her, and i would never really enjoy it. Now that im old enough to make decisions on my own, i still choose not to go to church. I go very RARELY, only on catholic holidays ( easter, xmas, lent, etc…) does this make a me a bad catholic? im not a bad person, im just a catholic who goes to church about 7 times a year?

    Also, i havent been to confession since i was 14.
    Im 17 now.

  9. Alex on

    Also, i am really starting to lose faith in God. I’ve just thinking about the subject of religion alot…

    Would a person like me, who doesn’t go to church very often, but still Is a good human being, still go to heaven when i die?

  10. Chris on

    Nope, you will burn in hell. Have fun. No really you will burn.

    Having those topics about prayer or Bush worded they way are is just assinine. These are not good topics for cause and effect paragprahs at all. There are about a billion other example one could use, but in order to be cute or inflammatory he gives extremely poor examples like these. Next time, don’t try so hard.

  11. Mary on

    Prayer works, believe me. Only God knows who’s going to heaven. If you consider yourself a good person,then, don’t worry and continue like that. God is not only in the church but everywhere, specially in your heart. Don’t lose your faith! All the information about paragraphs was useful but the list. It is really weird and useless

  12. jesse on

    thanks,by the way. you help me doing my assignment!!!

  13. Rea on

    Fuck you all

  14. holycrap on

    frak you all.

  15. Jane on

    Thank you very much. This was very useful. It helped me understand how to write cause -effect paragraph better. 🙂

    By the way, why are you people arguing about the futility of praying? I personally believe in praying and I do pray so often. But I think if the other person does not believe in praying as we do, we must accept this. Besides, it is just a topic listed. You may write a paragraph about why praying works and then this will be persuasive paragraph loool

  16. mark on

    whatever, this site really sucks

  17. AD on


  18. shinelyn on

    what ever your so ugly

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