Length: 3 pages, double-spaced
For this assignment, you will work through the prewriting and drafting stages of your writing process in a cause-and-effect essay.
Cause-and-Effect Essay Prompt
Choose one of the following questions, and answer it in an essay developed by analyzing causes or effects. The question you decide on should concern a topic you care about so that the examples are a means of communicating an idea; not an end in themselves.
People and Their Behavior
- Why did one couple you know marry or divorce?
- Why is a particular friend or relative always getting into trouble?
- Why do people root for the underdog?
- How does a person’s alcohol or drug dependency affect others in his or her family?
Art and Entertainment
- Why do teenagers like rock music?
- Why is a particular television show so popular?
- Why is a college education important?
- Why do marriages between teenagers fail more often than marriages between people in other age groups?
- The best courses are the difficult ones.
- Students at schools with enforced dress codes behave better than students at schools without such codes.
Politics and Social Issues
- Drug and alcohol addiction does not happen just to “bad” people.
Media and Culture
- The Internet divides people instead of connecting them.
- Good art can be ugly.
- A craze or fad reveals something about the culture it arises in.
- The best rock musicians treat social and political issues in their songs.
Rules for Living
- Lying may be justified by the circumstances.
- Friends are people you can’t always trust.
Writing Your Cause-and-Effect Essay
To get started writing your essay:
- Review What is an Essay?
- Take time to review possible subjects.
- Use prewriting to help you narrow your topic to an appropriate level of focus.
Remember that “story starters” are everywhere. Think about it—status updates on social media websites can be a good place to start. You may have already started a “note”on Facebook, and now is your chance to develop that idea into a full narrative. If you keep a journal or diary, a simple event may unfold into a narrative. Simply said, your stories may be closer than you think!
When drafting your essay:
- Develop an enticing title.
- Use the introduction to pull the reader into your thesis with a singular experience.
- Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (Don’t write “I am going to write about the causes and effects of ____…”—this takes the fun out of reading the work!)
- Think of things said at the moment your perspective on the topic became clear. Perhaps use a quote, or an interesting part of the experience that will grab the reader.
- Let the story reflect your own voice. Is your voice serious? Humorous? Matter-of-fact?
- Organize the essay in a way that may capture the reader, but don’t string the reader along too much with “next, next, next.”
- To avoid just telling what happens, make sure you take time to show significant details and reflect on why topic—and your experience with it—is significant.
- Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.
- Choose a writing prompt as listed above on this page.
- Create a prewriting in the style of your choice for the prompt. Review the prewriting videos on the My Writing Process: Prewriting and Draft page if needed.
- Develop a draft according to the following guidelines. Papers submitted that do not meet the requirements will be returned to you ungraded.
- Minimum of 3 typed, double-spaced pages (about 600–750 words), Times New Roman, 12 pt font size
- MLA formatting (see the MLA Format page as needed)
- Submitted as either a .doc, .docx, .rtf file
- Submit your prewriting and draft as a single file upload.
Be sure to:
- Develop an essay developed by analyzing causes or effects or the prompt
- Decide on something you care about so that the narration is a means of communicating an idea
- Include characters, conflict, sensory details as appropriate to help your essay come alive
- Create a sequence of events in a plot to support the logical flow of your essay
- Develop an enticing title
- Use the introduction to pull the reader into your singular experience
- Avoid addressing the assignment directly (Don’t write “I am going to write about…” – this takes the fun out of reading the work!)
- Let the essay reflect your own voice (Is your voice serious? Humorous? Matter-of-fact?)
- Avoid “telling” your reader about what happened. Instead, “show” what happens using active verbs and/or concrete and descriptive nouns and details.
If you developed your prewriting by hand on paper, scan or take a picture of your prewriting, load the image onto your computer, and then insert the image on a separate page after your draft.
Grading Rubric: Cause-and-Effect Essay—Prewriting and Draft
|Criteria||Ratings||Point Total: 50|
|Ideas||15 pts: The paper demonstrates outstanding idea development.
12 pts: The paper demonstrates above average idea development.
11 pts: The writer sufficiently defines the topic, even though development is still basic or general.
9 pts: The paper has an idea that needs to be developed.
0 pts: There is no coherent idea.
|Content||15 pts: The paper demonstrates outstanding evidence of supporting the main point.
12 pts: The paper demonstrates above average evidence of supporting the main point.
11 pts: The paper demonstrates sufficient support of the main point.
9 pts: The paper requires more supporting evidence of the main point.
0 pts: There is little content supporting the main idea.
|Organization||15 pts: The organization is outstanding and showcases the central theme. The presentation of information is compelling.
13 pts: The organizational structure is above average.
10 pts: The organizational structure is strong enough to move the reader through the text without too much confusion.
8 pts: The writing needs a clearer sense of direction. The internal structure is weak.
0 pts: The organization is poor.
|Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions||5 pts: The writer demonstrates an outstanding word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions.
3 pts: The writer demonstrates above average word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions.
2 pts: The writer demonstrates sufficient selection of words. The text tends to be more mechanical and contains some errors of standard writing conventions.
1 pts: The writer demonstrates a limited vocabulary and lack of fluidity. Errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, usage and grammar repeatedly distract the reader and make the text difficult to read.
0 pts: No marks.