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© Ugur Akinci
Cause and Effect Sentence
Writing a cause and effect sentence is very commonplace in both fiction and non-fiction works.
Its structure is very simple and straight forward.
There are two basic types of cause and effect sentences:
1) You start with a CAUSE, then connect it to an EFFECT with a CONJUNCTION.
2) You start with an EFFECT, then connect it to a CAUSE with a CONJUNCTION.
An alternative form starts with the CONJUNCTION:
3) You start with a CONJUNCTION, then follow it with a CAUSE, comma, and an EFFECT.
What is a “Conjunction”?
A conjunction is a sentence component that JOINS two clauses, two parts of a sentence.
Although it sounds complicated, actually it’s not since you already know and use dozens of conjunctions in daily life.
For example, every time you use AND you are using a conjunction.
Other examples: OR, NOR, YET, THEREFORE, BECAUSE, SO, WHEN, AFTER, BEFORE, SINCE, etc.
1) Sentences that start with a CAUSE and end with an EFFECT
“He studied hard for the SAT exam [CAUSE] and [CONJUNCTION] got a perfect 800 [EFFECT].”
“They trained hard [CAUSE] but [CONJUNCTION] they still lost the match [EFFECT].”
2) Sentences that start with an EFFECT and end with a CAUSE
“She has been unhappy [EFFECT] since [CONJUNCTION] she was assigned to this case [CAUSE].”
“We chose him [EFFECT] due to [CONJUNCTION] his MBA [CAUSE].”
3) Sentences that start with a CONJUNCTION
“Because [CONJUNCTION] of the severe weather alert [CAUSE], all flights have been cancelled [EFFECT].”
“Now that [CONJUNCTION] you’ve seen the evidence [CAUSE], I’m sure you can write a better report [EFFECT].”
Cause and Effect Paragraph
Writing a cause and effect paragraph is not that hard: you can either start by a cause and then explaining the effects; or the other way around – start with the effect and explain the causes.
Let’s examine these two different types of paragraphs one by one:
1) Paragraphs that start with a CAUSE
Let’s say you start your paragraph with “rising fertility rate in rural villages.” That’s a CAUSE.
What would be the effects? Let’s mention three:
- Population increase.
- Falling living standards (if agricultural productivity remains the same).
- Thus eventually a migration to cities.
Importance of Assumptions
Here as you can see the crucial component is the ASSUMPTION that agricultural productivity will remain the same. This is important because if the productivity goes up it can support a growing population and thus there won’t be any urban migration.
You start with a TOPIC SENTENCE which describes the CAUSE. Then you continue by listing the EFFECTS. Important thing is to make clear what your ASSUMPTIONS are including in your reasoning and mentioned very clearly.
“Fertility rate has risen 7% in Western XYZ between 1990-2010 [THE CAUSE].
One effect of this would be increased pressure on food resources, if we assume that the agricultural productivity remains the same [THE ASSUMPTION].
A second and related effect would be dropping standard of living in Western XYZ.
We should expect this to lead to an eventual migration to the cities in the region like La Capital [THE EFFECT].”
2) Paragraphs that start with an EFFECT
You start with a TOPIC SENTENCE which describes the EFFECT. Then you continue by listing the CAUSES. Important thing again is to make clear what your ASSUMPTIONS are.
“Those with a college degree are shown to earn a million dollars more over a lifetime than those who do not go to college at all [THE EFFECT].
One reason why this is so is the higher paying jobs available to college graduates [CAUSE 1].
Another reason is college graduates are more comfortable with high-technology which helps them start high-profit businesses [CAUSE 2].
Of course, we are here assuming that the two groups (college and non-college) start off their adult lives more or less from the similar socioeconomic backgrounds.”
As you can see, even though there is a structure to the way a cause-paragraph is written [TOPIC SENTENCE first, followed by supporting effect or cause sentences], there are no standard phrases or keywords that you need to use while writing them.
As a writer you should use your creativity and come up with the correct style to stitch together the cause and effect elements together as shown in the above examples.