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.