essay writing prompts

A list of great cause and effect topics for a 5-paragraph essay


Coming up with a topic for just about any kind of essay or writing assignment can be challenging, but if you’re facing the task for a cause and effect essay, good news! The possibilities for such an essay are absolutely boundless and right in front of you. Really though, just look around the room you’re in and ask yourself a few questions about it, and bam! You have some topics. Why is carpet tough enough to be walked on but doesn’t damage our skin? What causes wallpaper to curl as it ages? How does a DVD player work?

But the vast array of possibilities can sometimes make it hard to choose just by virtue of having too much to think about. Here are some personal and historical topics to get your wheels spinning.

Personal topics

Let’s start with topics that relate to you and to people’s personal choices in general. Bear in mind, these are just some random ideas to get you started. If any catch your interest, brainstorm a list of related topics until you find the one you would most like to write about.

  • Choose your best attribute and describe how it developed (i.e., what caused its creation and how you grew it)
  • How you chose your area of study, major, or career path
  • Describe what events led to you and your best friend becoming friends in the first place
  • Why people choose not to get involved in political or social issues even when the issue directly affects those people’s lives
  • Why America’s obesity rate is so high and/or what obesity does to the human body over the course of a lifetime
  • Why most people are at least for some time in their life so susceptible to peer pressure, even sacrificing their own happiness to satisfy the expectation of their peers

Historical topics

If you want a topic whose sides are perfectly defined, why simply choose a historical topic -- it already happened, it’s already been documented, and its causes and effects are very clear and easy to research. They may not be easy to summarize, though, so choose carefully so as not to get overwhelmed or select a topic that would require much more than five paragraphs to discuss. Here are a few historical subjects.

  • The events leading up to the Civil War in America
  • How the invention of the printing press changed the publishing industry
  • The origin and spread of a religion and how it changed the culture of its birthplace
  • The long-term effects of any plague in history

All of these topics are general enough to contain a variety of possibilities therein. Pick a few that look interesting to you and research a bit until a topic becomes clear, if necessary.

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