Cause Or Effect Essay

Writing a Cause or Effect Argument

100 points


Your task: Choose a belief, attitude, or trend that is popular in modern American culture right now and argue either the causes (if they are not already proven) or effects (if they are not already proven.)


A trend is something that humans have chosen to make popular. So, the pandemic is NOT a trend because it is a virus, and certainly not something humans want! The topic for this essay MUST be an argument that you are making that you must try to persuade others to agree with. So, if the causes of a trend are obvious, then write about the effects. For example, more Americans working from home the past year happened because of the virus. The cause is understood. Write about the effects that are not for certain.


A sample thesis for a possible topic might look something like this:


Angry fighting matches over politics have become popular in our society, and they may be the result of lack of empathy for others’ situations, lack of education about the issues, and lack of understanding that we are “all in this together.”


1) The introductory paragraph must:


· Grab attention by using questions, related quotes, interesting story, etc. (The attention-grabbing section must be at least two sentences in length.)


· Provide background information on the topic so that your audience is thinking about it. DO NOT, however, provide any of the reasons for your claim at this point in your introduction. DO NOT choose wording that reveals your point-of-view about the topic. Remain neutral in tone. (The background section must be at least two sentences in length.)


· End the introduction with a thesis statement, which is a single sentence that states the topic, followed by either three causes or three effects. (The thesis statement may only be a single sentence.)


Introduction points = 10


2) Body Paragraphs


___Paragraphs begin with topic sentences that restate the essay’s main topic and one cause/effect from the thesis. (15 pts.)


___ Topic sentences are followed with clarification or more explanation; this clarification must be a minimum of THREE sentences. Go back and read your topic sentence, and then ask yourself the question “Why?” Answer yourself using at least THREE sentences. This section should be presented in your own voice. (15 pts.)


___ Each body paragraph contains at least one direct quote from an article-length , credible source found ONLINE; do not use print sources – “Print” means that you have the physical document, etc. and that you can hold the source in your hands. A minimum of three, different online sources must be cited from in the entire paper (10 pts.)


___Introductory phrases are present for direct quotes that describe who is speaking and, if that person is not the article’s author, the author’s name or article title if there is no author named, is also added to the introductory phrase. There should be no parenthetical documentation at the end of sentences unless a page number is required. (Since all of the sources for this essay must be online sources, no page number is required, so there should be no parenthetical documentation anywhere in your essay. Paragraph numbers are NOT to be included in parentheses at the end of quoted material) (15 pts.)


Examples of Introductory Phrasing

· Example of quote from the author of the article: Josh Smith, in his online article, “What It Means to be Happy,” says, “No man is an island; he must have others to rely on in life in order to reach self-fulfillment.”


· Example of quote from someone who is not the author of an article: In Josh Smith’s online article, Tim James explains, “True friends will always tell you the truth, even when it hurts.”


· Example of a quote from an article with no author named: In the online article “Why Choose to Hang Out With Only Honest People,” the author says, “If you surround yourself with honest folks, your life will be free from needless worry, and you can be happier.”


· Example of a quote from someone in an article where no author is named: In the online article “Why Choose to Hang Out With Only Honest People,” Tom Gibbons says, “I wasted many years of my life trying to help people who really had not interest in being honest with me. In the end, it was me who suffered.”



___ quoted material is correctly formatted, punctuated, and documented. (10 pts.)


· Notice in the examples above that the first letter of every major word in a title MUST be capitalized even if it does not appear that way on the source.

· Notice that commas and periods go inside of closing quotation marks.

· If the words introducing a quote do not form a complete sentence, like all of the examples above, then use a comma after the last word before the quote. If, however, the words introducing a quote form a complete thought, use a colon instead of a comma. For example:


Josh Smith explains that only honest friends will keep you on a path to happiness: “There is security in knowing that someone always has your back, and that security often translates to peace of mind.”


**___ Paragraphs have concluding sentences that reinforce the topic sentences (5 pts.)


3) The conclusion to your essay (5 points) need only be a couple of sentences in length, and you should consider reconnecting in some way with the attention-getter from your introduction.


4) Type a works cited page that lists the three sources that were quoted from in the essay. 8th edition MLA standards are required. (10 points)


5) The document MUST be formatted in MLA style and in 12 pt. Times New Roman font. (5 pts. or more)


Other Requirements for Punctuation, Etc.

Each mistake found from the list below may result in a loss of two points for every instance of the mistake. For example, if you have two places in your essay where commas should be inside of closing quotation marks, and they are not, four points will be subtracted from the total assignment points.


· See the sample paper on page 525 for formatting guidelines. Your essay’s heading – with your name, etc. – must be on the left margin, and it should NOT be typed in a header

· Titles of articles and essays must be enclosed in quotation marks; they are not italicized.

· The first letter of every major word in a title must be capitalized.

· Commas and periods go inside of closing quotation marks.

· If a page number is required at the end of a quote – which is not the case for this assignment – the closing period goes on the outside of the closing parentheses. It is the only period in the sentence!

· When referencing an author’s name the first time, use both first and last name. From that point on, using only the last name is acceptable. Using only a first name is not acceptable.

· Semicolons (;) are used to separate two, complete thoughts. Colons (:) are used to introduce a list or quote but only if the words preceding the colon form a complete thought/sentence.

· Type out numbers that translate to two words or less.

· Ellipses (…) should only be used within a quote to show that words have been deleted – not at the beginning or the end.

· First-person wording should only be used in writing situations when your own experiences will be used as evidence throughout.

· Align your text on the left margin; do not fully justify the text.



There is no specific page amount for this assignment, but do not forget to meet the specific requirements listed above. Some of those requirements include number of sentences that must be included for particular sections.


As always, your instructor is willing to read drafts of your work as long as those drafts are sent as attachments to emails at least forty-eight hours before the assignment submission deadline. Be sure to explain in your email message what you are sending and why.