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Chapter 15: Example, definition, cause and effect.

By the end of this chapter, you should begin to ...

* use specific, relevant examples to develop and illustrate your ideas;

* use definition to develop and clarify your ideas; and

* use cause and effect to clarify, explain, and organize your ideas.

This chapter offers a combination platter: three additional methods of developing and illustrating your ideas, from examples and definitions to cause and effect. These methods or modes of development are like methods of cooking: will you boil, bake, or braise? Or is some combination of cooking methods the best way to achieve the desired result? We may develop our ideas through different methods within the same essay just as we may use several different cooking methods to prepare a single dish.


There's nothing like a good example to make communication more effective. "Brush your teeth at least twice a day to prevent health problems," says the dentist. This general advice may not make much of an impact, though, unless we're offered some concrete examples. "Poor dental hygiene may cause bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and inflamed arteries." That's much clearer, isn't it? And it's much more effective as advice.

"If you improve your written communication skills," your instructor intones, "you can have a successful career as a food writer." Sure, you reply, but what is food writing? Your instructor responds with a list of examples: "There are many different kinds of food writing, for example, recipes and cookbooks, menu descriptions, restaurant reviews, scientific articles, and textbooks."

Examples are frequently used with other methods of development. In the following paragraph, the writer classifies food and cooking shows as demo, competition, show and tell, or reality. Then he gives an example of each category.

With the Food Network, TLC, Bravo, Travel Channel, and Cooking Channel all over television sets, we are constantly surrounded by all of this exposure to food. Food and cooking shows are becoming increasingly popular in America and the rest of the world. There are the "demo shows" like Everyday Italian, the "competition shows" like Iron Chef, the "show and tell" Man vs. Food, and the "reality shows" like Cake Boss. It has gotten to the point where we have almost every style of TV show, just about food! The shows are great exposure for our industry, but they also paint an image of us that is sugar coated.

--Samuel Beard, student writer

Like telling a story, using an example is a way of developing ideas that we use automatically when speaking and that transfers effectively to writing. Examples make an idea concrete; they put a picture in the reader's mind. We use examples to illustrate or explain a point and sometimes to prove one.


Examples often come to mind as the most natural way of explaining oneself. "What do you mean by that?" we might ask. "Give me an example." Examples are especially useful in explaining concepts or points of view that might be unfamiliar to the reader. In the following passage, the writer uses specific examples to explain the relationship in his childhood between his state of mind and the sauce he chose for dipping his chicken fingers.

There were so many sauces to choose from, depending on my mood. If I was happy, it would be the sweet and sour. If I was angry and resentful, it had to be honey mustard. And, of course, there were those "I don't know" moods when I would get BBQ sauce.

--Thomas Monahan, student writer

Examples can give shape to the idea in your mind. They can create an image that illustrates the point. Often a general statement is best illustrated through a specific example, as in the following paragraph about the movie Chocolat:

The most interesting scene in the movie is when Vianne asks people to spin the dish and then tells what kinds of sweets best suit each person. For example, there is a young boy who is interested in the dark arts. When Vianne spins the dish, he sees a skull. Vianne recommends to him a dark chocolate. She sees through people's souls and makes the best chocolates for them. Soon, people begin to discover the mouth-melting effects of her wonderful treat.

--Jina Chun, student writer

The little boy's dark chocolate helps us understand the general statement that Vianne "tells what kinds of sweets best suit each person." And it is especially important that we do understand this since it is "the most interesting scene" for the writer.

Examples can also be used to win the reader over to one's point of view, especially when the reader is likely to resist. In stating that writing and cooking have similarities, for instance, the next writer invites the audience to appreciate this point by offering specific examples from each field:

Both writing and cooking allow you to get a feel for your reader or customer. If you're writing for a romance novel, you're not going to have very many jokes or pictures. If you were writing a children's story, you wouldn't make the reading very difficult. It is just the same with cooking. You don't go to an Italian restaurant and start cooking Japanese food; moreover, you wouldn't cook a roasted tenderloin for a vegetarian.

--Joseph Pierro, student writer

Romance novel writing is one "cuisine" in the realm of fiction, just as Italian and Japanese cooking are cuisines in the world of food. The writer uses this analogy to illustrate one of the similarities between writing and cooking: that it's important to address the needs and expectations of your audience. For example, "You wouldn't cook a roasted tenderloin for a vegetarian." The examples are parallel and precise.


In much of our writing, there is an element of "proof." We want the reader to understand that our ideas are important and reasonable, even if she doesn't actually agree with them. Examples can be of critical importance here. By choosing an example that relates to the main idea, we can be more persuasive. An off-topic example, on the other hand, tends to cast doubt on our main idea. Suppose we tried to insist that knives are a useful survival tool because so many different types are manufactured. Is the number of types really relevant to the knife's usefulness? Probably not. But see how the examples in this paragraph are relevant:

The knife can be used for both hunting and building on the island. For instance, I can use the knife to sharpen a straight stick to use as a spear. The spear can be used to catch fish in the water or to stab unsuspecting birds or other small animals. With the knife I can cut my way through thick vegetation. I can also cut down large leaves and branches to build a shelter. The shelter will keep me safe from wild animals and bad weather. The knife will be necessary for my survival.

--Nicholas Castellano, student writer

The knife is useful, we discover, because it helps provide food and shelter, assistance that is unrelated to the variety of knives available in camping stores. We see the uses of the knife from the sharpened stick with its sudden "stab" to the shelter of leaves and branches. When the paragraph wraps up with the firm statement "The knife will be necessary for my survival," we can readily agree. The examples have been so specific and relevant that the final sentence seems simply to state the obvious.

Good examples can boost your credibility and persuade your readers. Too few examples or poorly chosen examples can weaken the effectiveness of your writing.


Because of our desire to communicate effectively with our readers, we may need to define any special terms we use. If you're writing a cookbook for a general audience, for example, you may need to define such technical culinary terms as mirepoix or bain marie. Often a definition may be a simple synonym, as in the following example:

   The opening scene eerily foreshadows, or predicts, the final events
   of the story.

Or we may follow a new term with a phrase that defines it:

   Chris developed an interest in algebraic topology, which involves
   mapping complex spaces.

At other times the definition may require a full paragraph. For example, in an essay about Dave Boyle's character in the film Mystic River, we might want to write a paragraph explaining the basic characteristics of post-traumatic stress disorder. In this excerpt from How Music Works, author John Powell briefly defines arpeggio as a "chord played as a stream of its individual notes" but then develops his explanation further:

   Arpeggios add a layer of complexity and
   subtlety to music because you can choose
   exactly which notes from the chord will coincide
   with particular notes in the tune and also
   add a rhythm to the arpeggio pattern. (112)

Note Powell's use of causation: Arpeggios create a certain effect because. Powell also makes good use of examples, noting that arpeggios are common not only in classical but also in rock music, for instance, at the beginning of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" and the Eagles' "Hotel California." (112-113)

A definition can also center around a process, like this one from Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking (revised edition):

   [F]ill the water-based liquid with droplets of oil, which are much
   more massive and slow-moving than individual molecules of water,
   impede their motion, and so create a thick and creamy consistency
   in the mixture as a whole. Such a dispersion of one liquid in
   another is called an emulsion. (625)

In Setting the Table, successful restaurateur Danny Meyer explains his understanding of hospitality through compare and contrast:

   Understanding the distinction between service and hospitality has
   been at the foundation of our success. Service is the technical
   delivery of a product. Hospitality is how the delivery of that
   product makes its recipient feel. Service is a monologue--we decide
   how we want to do things and set our own standards for service.
   Hospitality, on the other hand, is a dialogue. To be on a guest's
   side requires listening to that person with every sense, and
   following up with a thoughtful, gracious, appropriate response. It
   takes both great service and great hospitality to rise to the top.

In the following paragraph, Harold McGee defines allspice with a combination of description, classification, comparison, and process:

   Allspice is the brown, medium-sized dried berry [description] of a
   tree of the New World tropics. Pimenta dioica is a member of the
   myrtle family and a relative of the clove. [classification]
   Allspice took its modern name in the 17th century because it was
   thought to combine the aromas of several spices, and today it's
   often described as tasting like a mellow combination of clove,
   cinnamon, and nutmeg. It is indeed rich in clove's eugenol and
   related phenolic volatiles, with fresh, sweet, and woody notes (but
   no cinnamon volatiles) [comparison].... The berries are picked when
   green and at the height of flavor, briefly fermented in heaps,
   "sweated" in bags to accelerate their drying and browning, then
   sun-dried for five to six days (or machine-dried). [process]
   Allspice finds notable use in pickling fish, meats, and vegetables,
   as well as in pie seasonings. (423)

It might also be that an essay will itself be an extended definition, which focuses the entire paper on defining a complex term such as success, marriage, or tortillas. In an extended definition, you may use several different additional methods of development. See "Tortillas," for example, in Chapter 4.

A final caution about definitions: Before using one, be certain that it's really necessary for your particular audience. We often look up terms in order to confirm their definitions for ourselves. Then it's an almost irresistible impulse to begin our paper with "Justice means" or "Irony is defined as." However, it's unlikely that your readers will benefit from the dictionary definition of justice or irony. Certainly your instructor will not, if your audience is an academic one. It would be better to let the examples and discussion in your paper reveal the meaning of these terms. Or, if a quick definition is necessary, it's a good idea to write it in your own words.


Culinary students know all about cause and effect. When you beat the eggs, they froth up. When you add yeast, the dough rises. When you heat the water in the double boiler, the chocolate melts. The heat is the cause; the melting is the effect. Studies of cause and effect go beyond the kitchen, of course. Historians write about the causes of World War II while engineers study the causes of a bridge's collapse. Economists warn us about the effects of a stock market crash while legislators review the effects of a change in the drinking age.

Narration, or storytelling, shows what happened. Process analysis tells how it happened. Cause and effect explains why it happened. Like narration, process analysis, and the other rhetorical modes, cause and effect may be central to the subject and organization of a particular essay, or it may be confined to a single paragraph within a larger piece. Like definition, cause and effect can play a major role in persuasive writing.


An essay or paragraph often focuses on the various causes of a single event. What were the causes of World War II? Why did that bridge collapse? What caused the hollandaise sauce to break? The passage that follows offers a partial answer to that third question.

A hollandaise sauce may break because the fat added to the yolks might have been too hot or too cold, the fat may have been added too fast, or the hollandaise was held at too high a temperature.

--Matthew Berkowski, student writer

The temperature of the egg yolks is also important, as the next example makes clear.

Egg yolks are added and heated over a pot of steaming water and whisked until their temperature reaches about 145[degrees] Fahrenheit. At this point the eggs will have roughly tripled in volume and will fall off the whisk in long strands. If the eggs are undercooked, they will fall off the whisk like water, and if they are overcooked, they will curdle in the metal bowl, evidenced by small semi-solid chunks of soon-to-be-cooked eggs.

--Robert A. Hannon, student writer

Note that the writer describes the precise effects of undercooking and overcooking the eggs: the eggs will "fall off the whisk like water" or form "small semi-solid chunks." These details paint a vivid picture of the doomed hollandaise! Further, these causes and effects seem reasonable; we could test them by trying the hollandaise ourselves. Although there are times when we might not be sure what caused an event and so want to suggest causes that haven't been proved, it is best to avoid proposing unreasonable causes (such as the hollandaise broke because the chef wasn't wearing a side apron) or simplistic causes (the hollandaise broke because something went wrong).

Causes are often explained or presented in relation to time. In the previous example, the causes of the broken hollandaise are immediate and occur a very short time before the event. Sometimes causes can be remote, that is, farther away in time. In the case of the hollandaise, the remote cause might have been that the chef did not get a good night's sleep and so forgot to warm the butter appropriately. Though part of the chain of events, the chef's poor sleep is not as close to the broken hollandaise as the cold butter.

A second way to think about causes (or effects) is in terms of importance or strength, that is, to identify the main or most important and powerful cause of an event versus the contributing or less important and powerful causes. While the chef's poor sleep contributed to the problem with the hollandaise, the main cause of the broken emulsion was the cold butter.

Analyzing Causes: Why did the sauce break?

Analyzing causes
in terms of ...

time         immediate cause      the butter was added
                                    too quickly
             remote cause         the chef did not get
                                    a good night's sleep
importance   main cause           the butter was too cold
             contributing cause   the cooler's thermometer


While some topics focus on causes, others focus on effects. They answer the question "What happened as a result?" This example describes the effects of a character's "irresponsible conduct" in the film Mystic River:

Celeste lied about the truth to Jimmy. That meant that she was an egoist and didn't take care of her husband and her family, including her son. She just wanted to protect herself from David. In the long run, her irresponsible conduct destroyed her family. Because of her hasty judgment, her son Michael would live under a fatherless family, and she would live with a guilty conscience.

--Soyang Myung, student writer

The event or condition here is Celeste's failure to take care of her family, her "irresponsible conduct," which results in her husband's death, her son's grief, and her own despairing guilt.


We often recognize the presence of a series of causes and effects, that is, a causal Chain, in which one consequence is the cause of another, which in turn causes another. In Mystic River, Dave's childhood trauma caused him to act strangely, which attracted the attention of the detectives investigating a murder twenty-five years later. Yet because he fears becoming a pedophile himself, as a result of his early experience, he refuses to tell anyone what really happened. Since he doesn't tell the truth, the victim's father assumes he is guilty and kills him in revenge. And since Dave is dead, his son Mike is now doomed to repeat Dave's own sad, fatherless youth.

The broken hollandaise can also be part of a causal chain. Suppose the cook has a toothache that causes her to lose sleep, which in turn causes her to hold the hollandaise at too high a temperature. The high temperature causes the sauce to break moments after it is served to the customer, causing the customer to complain to the server, who in turn complains to the cook. Now three people have had a bad day!


In organizing a cause and effect essay, you may wish to begin with the cause (or effect) nearest in time and continue in chronological order. The writer of the following paragraph introduces the topic--the drama of a broken hollandaise--and outlines three causes.

Oil and Water Don't Mix, or Do They?

Just imagine you're at a very fine dining establishment; the garcon comes with your eggs benedict, and you notice that the hollandaise is broken. Broken hollandaise is not only visually demeaning to the customer, but it doesn't please the palate either. The chef should have recognized that the hollandaise was broken. But maybe the hollandaise broke on the way from the kitchen to the table. A hollandaise sauce might break because the fat added to the yolks might have been too hot or too cold, the fat may have been added too fast, or the hollandaise was held at too high of a temperature.

--Matthew Berkowski, student writer

A problem may first arise with the mise en place. Is the fat too hot or too cold? A little later on in the process, the problem might be caused by the method: has the fat been added too quickly? Finally, the sauce might break after it's made if it is held at too high a temperature.

As the writer develops and explains each of these causes, he uses clear transitional sentences to keep the reader on track:

In order for a hollandaise sauce not to break, the fat that is added to the egg yolk concoction cannot be too hot or too cold.

Causal Chain

The cook's toothache causes her to lose sleep

which causes her to hold the sauce at too high a temperature

which causes the sauce to break before it reaches the customer

which causes the customer to complain to the server, who complains to the cook ...

and all three have a bad day.

   Another reason that the hollandaise may break is that the fat might
   have been added too quickly.

   Finally, hollandaise may break because it was stored at too high or
   too low of a temperature.

Words like reason and because are useful transitions in a cause and effect essay. The writer also mentions an alternative to the tricky handmade emulsion:

   There is another method of making hollandaise that doesn't result
   in a sore arm or having to bother someone. Having a second person
   helping you makes this sauce produce pretty darn fast.

The writer concludes, however, that "making the hollandaise by yourself takes a little longer, but it strengthens your skills." He distinguishes between the more remote but important effect of improved skill and the immediate, practical result of a helping hand.


Like the other rhetorical modes, cause and effect is a way of thinking about or developing our ideas. It is likely to be only one of several modes used in writing an essay, just as braising may be only one of several cooking methods used in putting together a plate. In the following essay, the writer analyzes the evolution of her philosophy about food and cooking, a complex series of causes and effects. As you read, notice the various types of causes and effects but also the other methods by which ideas are developed.

My Mother's Kimchee

My mother has a genius for making Kimchee, which is the famous and representative Korean dish served at almost every Korean meal. Though the recipe of Kimchee is common for every Korean, there are huge differences between each Kimchee according to the person who makes it. My mother's Kimchee is well known as fabulous among the close neighbors. Kimchee is made of fermented vegetables--such as cabbage or turnips--that are mixed with chili powder, some fish sauces, minced garlic, a little bit of granulated sugar, and various Korean seasonings. The Kimchee is pickled before being stored in tightly sealed pots or jars to ferment. In this process of fermentation, the Kimchee gets a unique taste that is spicy, pungent and sour, and a crispy texture. Especially the spicy and pungent flavor is aroused by chili powder.

In November--the season in which Kimchee is most often prepared--Koreans lay up large stocks of Kimchee for winter, because it is hard to find fresh vegetables then. People want to make Kimchee together with my mother because they want to get the delicious Kimchee--the important commodity for their loving family. Preparing and making Kimchee with several close neighbors together is such a major event. While preparing all the ingredients and sharing my mom's hidden recipe, each of the neighbors often notices that the secret of my mom's Kimchee is not that much different from their own, so they catch a little surprise. The essential point of making a dish is not that far away from the dish's general process, which almost everyone knows. Just a small additive touch and some switches within the process make differences. For example, my mother uses several different kinds of chili powders together, not selecting only one kind of chili powder. The mixing of the hottest one and the mild but sweet chili powder boost the flavor of Kimchee in a sophisticated way, and the result is different.

My mother also spends more time to find fresh ingredients. The red pepper for chili powder is famous in Chunyang, a southern area of Korea. She visits there in person and buys it for year-round use, though it takes four hours to get there. When I was young, I felt that she was too obsessive, even though she could make a delectable Kimchee. However, I have changed my attitude toward admiring my mother as I became a woman. Her efforts and passion to give a delicious dish to her family must have been accumulating in my mind, and now I see that making and completing a dish need a person's spiritual faith. I received inspiration from what she did; to live as a chef is a wonderful way of being absorbed in ingredients. I could create a totally different dish with them, and then I could give pleasure to people. I am more enthusiastic about the cooking process than about just eating a dish that is made by others and served. I especially like to think what I will cook for family or friends, what vegetable would be good for this season; then I imagine how the taste will be, what kinds of food would be appealing to them, and so on. I believe caring about people and preparing food are strongly linked to each other, and both of them create the thing we always crave, "love."

Like my mother who made an effort to look for better ingredients, the basic philosophy that I keep in mind as a prospective chef is to put love into my dishes. As the generations have changed and people's living patterns developed, food is not only providing nutrients but is also another method to work off people's frustration. Thus the custom of eating and sharing nice food has been developed through human history. Since I decided to be a chef, I feel that I am charged with a sense of duty as if I have become a therapist who gives a mental peace to people who need treatment. Sharing my food will be a prescription (recipe) for people who have a lack of fullness from their lives.

--Hyun Ah Seong, student writer

The first sentence states the central idea--"My mother has a genius for making Kimchee"--and the introductory paragraph goes on to describe the ingredients of this popular Korean dish. Cooking, as we've said, is all about cause and effect, and the writer notes that the process of fermentation affects the flavor and texture of the vegetables: "Especially the spicy and pungent flavor is aroused by chili powder."

The writer then explores both the causes of her mother's "genius for making Kimchee" and its effects on her as a child and as an adult. Words like because and result emphasize the relationship between cause and effect.

   The mixing of the hottest one and the mild but sweet chili powder
   boosts the flavor of Kimchee in a sophisticated way, and the result
   is different.

The writer also identifies a more remote cause than the mixing of the chili powders: "My mother also spends more time to find fresh ingredients." She travels four hours to find a certain pepper, for example. As a girl, the writer found this "too obsessive." Only later did she realize that her mother's "efforts and passion to give a delicious dish to her family must have been accumulating in my mind." The result is a philosophy of cooking:

   Like my mother who made an effort to look for better ingredients,
   the basic philosophy that I keep in mind as a prospective chef is
   to put love into my dishes.

Perhaps the most important cause of her mother's genius for Kimchee is the love she puts into it.

When we think about cause and effect, we are asking Why? We are tapping into one of the human being's most important traits: curiosity. In exploring ideas through questions about causes and effects, as Hyun Ah does, we may discover something about ourselves.


Irena Chalmers has written over forty books and contributed regularly to such publications as The New York Times, Food & Wine, Gastronomica, Food Arts, and Nation's Restaurant News. Check out her food blog at

Introduction to Food Jobs: 150 Great Jobs for Culinary Students, Career Changers and Food Lovers

by Irena Chalmers

I get an enormous amount of satisfaction and pleasure from teaching at the Culinary Institute of America. At the first meeting of my professional-food-writing class, I ask the students to tell me something about themselves that will surprise me. I know they are all attending the school because they love to cook and are passionate about food. I also know not all of them will choose to become professional chefs upon graduation. So what else do they love to do?

Recently, a rather grumpy-looking girl folded her arms and glared at me. In response to what she clearly thought was a dumb question, she answered, "I love to go shopping." Everyone laughed, but I thought this was a really useful piece of information.

I told her about a former colleague at Windows on the World who is a tabletop consultant. She scours manufacturers' showrooms for the latest designs of china, glassware, and distinctive serving plates for several upscale restaurants. My student now does the same thing. She works part-time as a tabletop counselor and is also a prop stylist for a food photographer. She too goes shopping every day. When a chef wants a tagine, mandolin, or any other specialized piece of equipment, she knows exactly what it is and can lay her hands on it immediately. She found her bliss--her perfect food job.

Another student arrived early to class carrying the Wall Street Journal. After graduation, he joined an investment banking firm that paid his way to become a financial analyst specializing in food companies. He combined his culinary knowledge with his interest in finance and embarked on a career for which he was uniquely qualified.

A student in the culinary program responded to my question by saying, "I want to be a rock star." I couldn't help him become a great musician, but instead I suggested he find a job as a personal chef for his favorite rock group. He did. When he cooks something good for them to eat, they sometimes let him play with them. He found himself a really cool job; he had the courage to offer his food knowledge and the leader of the band was happy to give him a seat on the bus.

A Korean culinary student whose English-speaking ability did not quite match his exemplary cooking skills found work as a private chef at the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C. The diplomats were delighted to have "home-cooked" food prepared by someone who spoke their language.

These are examples of using your knowledge, experience, and passion to find your perfect food job. None of these students, or many others I have met, knew these jobs existed. And if they had, they wouldn't know where to begin to apply for such positions. Even experienced food professionals are largely unaware of the dazzling range of career paths that will enable them to find work that is interesting, challenging, and fulfilling.

You may not know that there's an ice-cream company that employs a full-time taster. You may not know how to become a tea or coffee taster or an account executive promoting beef, pork, peaches, pears, or other commodities. You may be unaware that the United States Postal Service employed a chef to provide meals for the cycling team that it sponsored. American Idol engages a personal chef to feed the secluded finalists. An experienced cook may earn eighty thousand dollars a year--tax-free--working on a luxury yacht cruising the Greek islands. Chefs work at NASA developing food for astronauts. A food lover with no formal training may find success as a restaurant critic if he possesses a vibrant palate and can write well.

There is always plenty of work to be found in restaurants, but food lovers could explore other opportunities and think about becoming a private chef for a movie star, a sports hero, or a television anchor. Have you thought about a career as a literary agent, cheese-shop owner, food-travel writer, bartender, artisanal bread baker, wedding-cake designer, food photographer, recipe tester, food-trends researcher, radio interviewer, publicist, bed-and-breakfast owner, cooking-school teacher, media trainer, or any one of literally hundreds of other ways to earn a living in the food world?

Whether you are interested in science or supermarkets, in engineering, accounting, human relations, or flower arranging for fancy parties, in cookbook reviewing or judging cooking contests, there is a job in the food field for you. Or you can dream up something that has never been done and make it happen.


* What do you love to do? Can you imagine a dream job that combines several of your interests? Explain.

* Do you think the examples are specific and relevant? Explain. Why do you suppose the author offers more than one or two examples?

* Outline the order of the examples, and explain its effect.

* How does the author define--or redefine--"food job"?



Examples are events, stories, facts, or other specific information that is used to illustrate, explain, or prove a general point.

* Examples should be specific and relevant. Ask yourself whether the example really proves your point.

* Consider also how many examples you need. Too few will leave the reader unconvinced; too many will leave her overwhelmed or bored.


You may use definition to explain single words or complex concepts.

* Examples and analogies can help clarify a definition.

* Definition is often part of persuasive writing (see Chapter 16).

* The definition of a complex or controversial term may be extended through an entire essay.


Cause and effect explores a topic by asking why something happened or why something is the way it is (causes) or by asking what the results or consequences of a particular event are (effects). Essays may focus on causes only, effects only, or a combination of the two. Causation is often part of persuasive writing (see Chapter 16).

* Causes and effects can be organized in terms of time (immediate and remote) and importance (main and contributing). Causes and effects sometimes form a sequence in which one event hinges on the next to form a causal chain.

* Cautions: You should be able to prove that two events are connected; don't mistake one event being followed by another for one event causing another. Be sure your causes or effects are not unreasonable or oversimplified.


1. Finding Specific Examples--What does it mean to be a good friend, a good cook, or a good student? Brainstorm a list of examples that illustrate your ideas. Be sure they are vivid and specific.

2. Finding Relevant Examples--Look back at your brainstorming from Exercise 1. Which of the examples seems the most relevant? Why? Try to find two more relevant examples that might help the reader to understand your point.

3. Examining Definition--Describe how definition is used in "Tortillas" (Chapter 4) or one of the other selections in A Taste for Reading.

4. Writing Definitions--Choose three of the vocabulary words from this chapter's A Taste for Reading, and rewrite the definition in your own words. Add an example of how the word could be used in a sentence.

5. Identifying Main and Contributing Causes--Think about one of your good friends (or a favorite movie, actor, food, or restaurant). List all the reasons you can think of that you like this person, for example, a kind personality, wise advice, sense of humor, loyalty, similar interests, or other reasons. Now, among those reasons, which one is the most important or powerful? Why?

6. Analyzing Effects--Choose an event or situation that you are familiar with, and analyze its effects. For example, if you overslept, were you then late for work or school? Which effect is the most important? Why?


1. Choose one of the following topics, and use specific examples to develop your answer: How would you be different if you were five years old? Eighty years old? A different race? A different gender? A different species?

2. What is a problem in the food service industry? Write a paragraph or essay in which you explore specific examples of the problem.

3. Write an essay-length extended definition of success, marriage, or good food.

4. Think of a food you particularly like or particularly dislike. Brainstorm the reasons why, including more and less important reasons, past and present reasons. Perhaps taste the food as you brainstorm to increase the number of sensory details in your writing.

5. Pick a topic in cooking or baking, such as why emulsions form or why bread rises. Do a little research into the science behind the event, perhaps by reading the relevant section from On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee. Organize the cause or causes in terms of importance or time, and write the essay.

6. Choose a topic from contemporary culture, such as Why are reality television shows so popular? or What effect did Super Size Me have on McDonald's and on American culture as a whole? You may wish to research the topic (see Chapter 18). Then answer the question in an essay, citing any sources appropriately both within the text and on the Works Cited page (see Chapter 19).
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Title Annotation:UNIT 2: PATTERNS
Author:Cadbury, Vivian C.
Publication:A Taste for Writing, Composition for Culinarians
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2015
Previous Article:Chapter 14: Process--analysis, narrative, recipe.
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