Writing styles Descriptive Opinion-based Creative Email communication

The language of cause and effect (أسباب و نتائج) is important in academic writing because it helps answer the question: Why?

In this style of opinion-based essay, you will need to consider:

The advantages and disadvantages (of something)
The pros and cons (of something)
The costs and benefits (of something)
If the effects (of something) are positive (“good”) or negative (“bad”)


In reality, causes are reasons (they come first) and effects are results (they come next). However, when we desribe them we can begin with either the cause or the effect. For instance:

Using lots of electricity results in air pollution (such as CO2).
Air pollution (such as CO2) results from using too much electricity.

 The sun was very bright, because of this, Lucy put on her sunglasses.
 Lucy put on her sunglasses because the sun was very bright.

Daisy ate lots of chocolate consequently she felt a bit sick.
Daisy felt a bit sick as a consequence of eating too much chocolate.

The volcanic eruption led to the plane being delayed
The plane was delayed as a result of the volcano erupting.

The following exam prompt, suggested structure and sample answer is targeted to those whose level of English is pre-intermediate:

These days people in the UAE can watch TV programs and movies from all over the world.
What are two major effects of having access to a lot of foreign programs?

Subject area = Technology/Society/Culture
Statement reworded = “Nowadays many people in the UAE watch foreign films and TV shows.”
Opinion sentence = “Overall, I think that they are more positive effects than there are negative effects.”

The Introduction paragraph
Good introductions need to have three parts. This means they must have three or more sentences:

1. General background information (on the subject)
2. The key causes
3. Thesis statement (where you tell the reader what you are going to write about)
e.g. Unlike the past, nowadays more and more people in the UAE spend their time watching foreign TV programs not local Emirati TV programs. There are a number of causes for this, including modern technology in the old days people could only see programs from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but now with satellite dishes and YouTube we can see TV from any country all day and night. Another reason is because these days Etisalat buys lots of foreign TV programs like BBC News and the National Geographic channel. However, in this essay I will discuss two key effects, one is positive, we can learn more information and foreign languages. The second one is negative, some young people might copy foreign lifestyles and forget about their own traditions.

The Body paragraphs
In cause/effect style opinion-based essays, you will need to focus on several key effects. For each effect you provide, you will need a separate paragraph. Each body paragraph must have at least three parts (and therefore have three or more sentences):

1. Topic sentence (in a few words, summarise the effect you will write about in this paragraph)
2. Explanation; explain the effect and give more details about it
3. Example; provide one or more examples to illustrate the effect
e.g. The first effect I will focus on is positive, learning more information. I will explain, all people can watch programs from other countries to learn about other cultures and traditions also, to learn how to speak different languages. For instance, my little brother watches animal programs on National Geographic because he is doing a project on animals at school. My older sister always watches BBC News because it will help her with the listening part of the IELTS exam.
The second effect I will look at is harmful, copying bad habits from other countries. I will explain, some teenagers watch foreign movies and dramas that show many dangerous things. For example, I read in the newspaper that many boys drive their father’s car too fast because they want to be like the people in the movie “Fast and Furious”.

The Conclusion paragraph
The conclusion paragraph needs to summarise the subject of the essay, your opinion and, the reasons you gave to support your opinion. It also needs to provide some recommendations/suggestions. Therefore, it must have three (or more) sentences:

1. Summarise what the essay was about
2. Re-state your opinion and then summarise the reasons you gave (Past Tense)
3. Provide some suggestions that are related to the subject/your opinion
e.g. To sum up, this essay focused on the effects of people in the UAE watching lots of foreign TV. I discussed two key effects, the first one was learning new things and, the second one was copying bad ideas and habits. Therefore, I suggest parents monitor their children and only let them watch programs that are beneficial and to stay away from programs that use bad words or show violent or dangerous things.


Worksheets &c.

Cause/Effect, model essay

Identifying the cause and the effect in sentences

Identifying “key” (“main”, “major”) causes and effects

Introductions to Cause/Effect essays that “focus” on the effects


Cause/Effect subject info-graphics

The impact of tourism in the UAE

The causes for, and consequences of high divorce rates in the UAE

The reasons for, and results of smoking cigarettes

The (positive) effects of female education

The consequences of personal debt