Cause and effect are also commonly known as causation or causality. It refers to the relationship between events that occur and their causes. This concept plays an important role in any writing or reading piece of text. It helps readers understand that one event triggered another.
This makes it a crucial concept to understand before you can ace English compositions. We also understand that many grammar concepts can be hard to understand, so we provide a wide range of workbooks and printable worksheets.
Cause and Effect Examples
As already discussed above, causation is a series of events that involve a cause and the effect it creates. This way, the first one becomes the cause while the latter is considered the effect caused by it.
Here are a few examples to help you understand what we mean by using causation in sentences:
- “If you drink water, you stay hydrated.”
(Here, the action of drinking water is the cause, whereas the other half of the sentence refers to its results)
- “If you clean your room, you can go play outside.”
(In this sentence, the suggestion to ‘clean your room’ results in the event of playing outside)
- “She feels exhausted because she did not sleep well.”
(This example explains the cause behind a certain effect that it causes)
|1||You are hungry||You eat lunch|
|2||You get sick||The doctor prescribes you medicine|
|3||You kick the ball too hard||The ball hits another player|
|4||You missed a step on the stairs||You trip and fall down the stairs|
|5||You didn’t study hard for the test||You fail to achieve a good grade|
You’ve probably spoken to your children about cause and effect before they even learned about it.
You expect children to understand cause and effect when you are trying to prove a relationship between two things or demonstrating that one event is the direct result of another.
Cause and Effect Definition
Many of us learned cause and effect in elementary school during science lessons.
Cause and Effect in Science
Science seeks to explain and understand the occurrences in the natural world. Things happen for a reason.
- The first cause and effect rule in science states that all things in the world happen for a reason. In simpler words, all actions are the effect of a cause. For instance, if the leaves sway, it is likely because of the wind. Or, if a fruit falls from the tree, it is probably because the branch couldn’t bear its weight anymore.
- The second rule suggests the second case of cause and effect in the natural world. In such cases of causation, it is definite that events created by a cause go about in a particular order. The science of it does not allow a change in the order of the consequences. Here, the cause results only in predictable effects that take place in a linear manner. For example: Let’s assume that you bumped into a friend in your school corridor, and you both fell. There would be a series of events resulting in the final effect that is the fall on the ground.
- You bumped into them
- they were pushed back by the weight of your body
- they weren’t able to find anything that could support them
- They trip and fall, taking you along
In the given example, a certain situation is pictured in which only the above-mentioned events occur. This is considered a special scientific rule of causality as, unlike this one, other causality cases can often have numerous different effects on a single cause.
- The third and final causality rule in science mostly refers to the physics of thermodynamics of any action. In this case, various causes lead up to a big effect. You can take the example of the firing off of a piston from a gun. A piston cannot be fired if it is not moved in a certain way by all the atoms that surround and hit it.
The effect, consequently, is the description of what happened. Before we look at language examples of cause and effect, it makes sense to check out ideas in the real world.
Ask your child, “What do you think will happen if a popsicle is exposed to the sun for a while?”
Allowing the popsicle to melt offers an opportunity for you to refer to the sun’s heat and its effect on the popsicle.
During winter, you can do the same experiment with small cups of water. You may ask, ‘What caused the water to turn into ice?” The answer would be the temperature outside!
Play a simple game in which you verbally offer a situation or a cause. Ask your child to fill in an action or an effect. You could start by saying, “It was snowing outside.” Your child could then respond by saying, “All kids have sleds.” If you said, “Someone rang the doorbell,” your child could respond, “Our dog began to bark.”
There is no single correct answer in this activity, just like there is no single cause and one effect!
Cause and Effect in Language
It is easier to understand the concepts of cause and effect by looking at how things take place in the natural world. However, cause/effect is also an important part of grammar and language. So, let’s see how it fits the text structure.
We can apply the same logic to situational language text.
- “Upon seeing that his daughter’s boyfriend had rutted up the yard, Marcus was seething with rage.” Here the cause is the boyfriend rutting up the yard, and the effect is the father seething with anger.
When something happens that makes something else occur, a cause and effect take shape!
are often used in informational texts. For instance, a text may say that when the temperature drops, a person starts shivering. The cold weather is the cause and the shivering because of the cold is the effect!
Examples in Sentences
Let’s look at another sentence: ‘The rain came down so hard that all leaves fell off the tree.”
We know that the effect is the leaves fell off the tree. What is the cause? The rain.
Here is another example: “Bill was skating on a hockey rink. The laces on one of his skates came loose. Bill couldn’t control his skating and ran into another skater when they both fell down.”
We know that the effect here is that Bill ran into a skater and fell. What is the cause? The laces came loose!
While this is true, the actual cause is more complicated. The laces on one of his skates came loose, which caused him not to be in control of skating, which caused him to run into another skater, which resulted in both falling down.
A domino effect resulted once the laces came loose.
Sentences dealing with cause and effect usually involve action and its result. You can usually find sentences built this way by keywords and phrases. These keywords typically include: so, since, as a result of, because, and therefore.
It is also important to note that the cause is usually written before the effect. In certain rare cases, you may find the effect written first.
Cause: none of his good deeds were being recognized as good
Effect: Alphonso was getting very angry and frustrated
Key Word: Because
Transition Words: Cause and Effect
You must realize that no matter what order you present the cause and effect in your sentences, you cannot have an effect precede a cause!
It had started to rain, so Molly and Sam had to run inside.
Cause: It had started to rain.
Effect: Molly and Sam had to run inside.
Since it was very cold outside, John built up a big fire in his fireplace.
Cause: It was very cold outside
Effect: John built up a big fire in his fireplace.
Solved Exercises for Better Understanding
- The dog is sick because Ariana fed chocolates to it.
Cause: Ariana fed chocolates to the dog
Effect: The dog fell sick
- You will score good grades in your finals if you start studying now.
Cause: Starting studying now
Effect: Scoring good grades in the finals
- Eating two eggs every day will strengthen your immunity.
Cause: Eating two eggs every day
Effect: Strengthening your immunity
- He pushed my daughter so hard that she fell and got hurt.
Cause: He pushed my daughter
Effect: She fell and got hurt
- Sarah got scared of the scarecrow in our backyard.
Cause: The scarecrow in the backyard
Effect: Sarah got scared
Cause and Effect Quiz – Test Yourself
Now that you have learned about causality let’s run a short and quick quiz to test your knowledge.
Identify the cause and effect in each scenario.
Using the right transition words in elementary English can demonstrate cause and effect well in sentences. Words like Because, since, as, and due to show a cause or reason. Words like so, therefore, thus, hence, alongside, and as a result of, show an effect or result.