In the following two paragraphs, Bob Kutter analyzes the effects on American workers of an economy that relies increasingly on technology. In a sense, the paragraphs provide an outline for exploring the various causes and effects which are the substance of the article. (See for a hyperlink to the entire essay (, July 1983.) In these paragraphs, what sentences could be listed as major points and what sentences play a supporting role? What is the role of the first sentence in each paragraph?
You will have to determine which causes or effects you're going to write about. For instance, if there are too many causes for you to deal with in the scope of your essay, you'll have to decide what are the main causes, the ones you have to treat, and then suggest to your reader that there are other, relatively minor, causes outside the scope of your essay. Even in an essay as extensive as Kutter's, there are surely things he could have said but chose not to. In an essay on the effects of El Niño, the price you pay for orange juice might not belong in an essay alongside the devastating effects of tornadoes and ice-storms and mudslides and people's fear of uncontrollable weather patterns.
We have included here a sample cause-and-effect essay that briefly explores the reasons (causes) that soccer will not "make it big" in the United States. It was written by a community college student, Dewey Cheatham, who graciously gave us permission to reprint his essay here.
We have included in this section a cause-and-effect essay from the pages of magazine. Within the text of the essay, we have embedded clickable icons that will draw your attention to certain features of the writing. Click on the title of Michael Castleman's article,
For further reading, we suggest an essay in the by Bob Kuttner. Kuttner's 1983 essay analyzes the effects of various economic changes in American life. (It is interesting to see, now, how much of what he said about these effects has come to be true.) For a lengthy and complex article that defines the causes of homosexuality, read Chandler Burr's Burr's article (, 1997) is also an excellent example of an essay that .