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Unformatted text preview: Notes on Cause/Effect Essays for English 111 In choosing a topic for a cause/effect essay for English 111, use the same rules that you used in choosing a topic for a definition essay: Just as you shouldnt choose something simple to define, like table or chair, you shouldnt choose a simple cause/effect relationship that everyone understands, such as explaining that the cause of alcoholism is a physical addiction to alcohol. Just as you should choose a word that different people define in different ways, such as love or brotherhood or patriotism, you should choose a cause/effect relationship thats complex enough to be interpreted in different ways by different people. For example, dont discuss the cause of the decline of coral reefs around the world, since scientists all agree about what this is. Instead discuss something experts dont all agree about, such as what the cause of our difficulties in Iraq is, or what the cause of poverty in America is. Just as you should choose a word you can define by relying more on your own thoughts than on research, you should use a cause/effect discussion that involves more of your own thoughts than the thoughts of experts. For example, you probably wouldnt want to discuss the causes of our difficulties in Iraq unless you yourself are a soldier who has returned from the war zone, or unless you have friends who have done so and shared what they think. You wouldnt want to discuss the causes of poverty in America unless your own life experiences have given you thoughts on this issue. Once again, I dont want you to use research. The one exception is common knowledge, which doesnt require documentation. For information to be common knowledge, it has to be widely available in many sources. For example, you could refer to a news story covered in all the media or a news event televised on network TV. You dont have to choose a topic that has anything to do with politics or current events. Thats one option. But there are certainly many good ways to write a cause/effect essay thats entirely based on personal beliefs and experience. Here are some ways of doing this: Examine one of your fundamental personal beliefs by asking, Why do I believe this? For example, do you believe in the saying, All men are brothers, or do you think thats a bunch of bunk? Why? Identify a personal goal you have for the future and explain why you have this goal. Identify an event in your lifefor many people its something that happened in their childhoodthat fundamentally changed your character, and explain why. Identify a person youve known who fundamentally changed your character, and explain why....
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This note was uploaded on 10/02/2010 for the course CLGT ECO 123 taught by Professor Hehe during the Winter '10 term at Imperial College.
- Winter '10