Friday, 30 December 2011



What Is a Cause and Effect Essay?
Cause and effect essay is a common technique of arranging and discussing ideas. In this pattern of essay, a writer normally discusses the reason (cause) or reasons (causes) for something to happen, and later discusses the result (effect) or results (effects) of it.

For example:
Title: Traffic accidents in Malaysia
In determining the cause, we need to ask, “Why did the accident happen?”. In determining the effect, we need to ask, “What happened because of this accident?”.

There are many ways of writing the essay.

* One cause can contribute to one effect

or example:

- rapid growth in population

- increase in the number of vehicles owned

* Many causes may contribute to a single effect

For example:
- increase of road network
- increase of vehicle’s specification
- increase of new vehicle

- motorists exceeding speed limit

* Single cause could contribute to many effects

For example:
- rapid growth in industrialisation

- high traffic volume
- increase in construction of new roads and highways
- increase in the number of registered vehicles

Organisation and Transitional Signals in Cause and Effect

(a) Organising the essay
In writing this pattern of essay, there are at least two methods of organisation which a writer can follow. The first is called the block organisation, and the second is known as the chain organisation.

In block organisation, writers usually discuss the cause or causes of a topic before continuing with the effects. In other words, the causes are ‘blocked’ or separated from the effects. Writers are encouraged to provide supporting details for each of the cause or effect which is being discussed. The supporting details can be in the form of testimony, statistics or anecdotes. These supporting details help to justify the reasons for the issue to happen and the consequences of the issue. The pattern of this block organization can be seen in the following diagram:

In the above diagram, the causes of the topic were discussed separately from the effect. A transition which is in the form of a sentence or a paragraph can appear at the end of the cause paragraph with the aim of informing the reader about the end of the causal paragraph and the beginning of the effect paragraph. The above diagram indicates that there are at least two causes of the topic and one effect. In contrast, the diagram below has at least one cause but two effects.

Based on the topic, some essays will only discuss the causes of a topic as in the diagram below.

Other topics however will only discuss the effects as shown in the diagram below.

In chain organisation, writers usually follow the format of discussing both the cause and effect in the same paragraph. This is repeated in all the other paragraphs. The purpose of having the cause and effect together in the same paragraph is to ensure that readers will able to see the connection between the two more closely. In terms of how the ideas are arranged, writers can choose either to arrange them according to order of importance (i.e. the more important ones are mentioned first) or according to chronological order (i.e. by time).

Road Accidents in Malaysia: Some Contributing Factors
Malaysia aims to become a developed country by 2020. This aim is achievable due to its rapid development especially in its economic growth. With the current development in economy, the country continues to experience an increase in the population which has now stood to 27.7 million people (according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, 2009). The population expansion has eventually increased the number of people who owned vehicles, and at the same time has unfortunately experienced a permanent increase in the number of road accidents. There are at least three contributors for traffic accidents in this country and they are motorcyclists, vehicle occupants and alcohol use.

            The first cause of road accidents in Malaysia concerns the motorcyclists. It is recorded that the number of accidents between 1990 and 2007 involving motorcycles is the highest i.e. about 111,598 or 56% of the total number of road accidents in Malaysia in 2007 (Majlis Keselamatan Jalan Raya Malaysia, 2004-2008). In any road accidents involving motorcycles, the chances of motorcyclists and pillion riders of getting hurt like head injuries, are great. This could be avoided if the motorcyclists wear motorcycle helmets which are of certified quality such as helmets certified by SIRIM. In addition, motorcycle riders should also strap their helmets correctly to ensure that their heads are well protected in the event of a crash. Furthermore, the use of full face helmets could also avoid injuries to the face during accidents. Thus, it is important that motorcyclists follow all the safety guidelines for the purpose of protecting themselves from road accidents.

            The second cause of road accidents involves the vehicle occupants. This group consists of the drivers and the passengers. Between January and July 2008, the number of deaths involving car driver and passenger in Malaysia is 786. There are many reasons for the deaths among car drivers and passengers during accidents. One of them is because many drivers and passengers did not wear seat belts when they are in the car. Statistics have shown that seat belts could reduce the chance of injury if they are worn properly. Furthermore, air bags installed in a car could also save the lives of vehicle occupants since they inflate automatically in the event of collision. Because of this, the Malaysian government has made it compulsory for new vehicles to be installed with this safety kit.

            Drunk driving or driving a car while the driver is drunk is the third cause of road accidents. When drivers have high blood alcohol content after taking alcoholic drinks, they normally are not capable of driving safely. The probability of drunk drivers involved in car accidents and injuring other road users is high. The Malaysian government considers drunk drivers as posing risks to other road  users. Thus, the law in this country provides a stiff penalty i.e. serving a jail term, to those caught driving under the influence of alcohol. With this punishment and other stiffen and harsher sentences, road users will be deterred from repeating this behaviour and will help to protect the cost of someone’s life.

            In conclusion, the major contributors to road accidents in this country are the motorcyclists, vehicle occupants and drunk drivers. The government and non-governmental organizations have continuously organised many nationwide campaigns such as exhibitions and road shows to encourage road users to learn about road safety measures. Besides focusing on the adults, the campaign also aims at educating young road users i.e. school children and also their parents and teachers on road safety. By having such campaigns, it is hoped that the total number of deaths involving road users will be reduced each year.


Relative Clauses are used in essay writing with the purpose to provide additional or extra information about something in the same sentence. By using a Relative Clause, writers are able to join sentences and at the same time avoid repeating certain words.
Relative clauses are formed by using Relative Pronouns. Relative Pronouns are words that are used to join two statements. These two statements are usually about the same person or thing. When we refer to people, we use the Relative Pronouns WHO, WHOSE and WHOM. We use WHICH and THAT to make statements about things.

For example:
·         The policeman knows the driver who drove recklessly on the highway yesterday.
·         The motorist whose car was involved in the accident was injured and sent to the hospital.

What happened to the child whom you knocked down by accident?
The road that we usually use to return to our parents is slippery during rainy seasons.
Relative Clause can be divided into two types: defining and non-defining.
Defining or Restrictive Relative Clause is used to identify a noun.
We do not separate the clause from the rest of the sentence by commas.

For example:
Police have caught the gang of thieves who have robbed several motorists along the highway.

The car which was reported lost a week ago was found abandoned in a lonely street.

Non-defining or non-restrictive relative clause is used to provide extra information about the noun. A comma is usually placed after the noun.

For example:
PUSPAKOM, which is responsible in inspecting all vehicles, has succeeded in ensuring only well-maintained vehicles are allowed to be driven on the public road.

All driving schools, which provide training to new drivers, will be encouraged to include safety driving techniques in their syllabus.


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