Cause and Effect Relationship

Sometimes we need to link two ideas in a way that shows a cause and effect relationship between them. Please take a look at the following sentence:

They left Nita because she came very late.

The first part of the sentence, “They left Nita” shows us what happens, and the second part of the sentence “She came very late” tells us why it happens. The word because links the two ideas to show us the cause and effect relationship.

To express cause and effect relationship in a sentence, we can use three kinds of words, they are conjunction, transition and preposition.

A. Conjunction

Conjunction is a word that joins words, phrases or sentences, for example ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’ or ‘because’ (www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com).

The cause and effect conjunction among others are: because, as, since and so. Because, as, and since introduce a cause, while so introduce an effect. They are used to join two complete sentences or two independent clauses.

Pay attention to the following pattern:

Sentence/clause 1+conjunction+sentence/clause 2

Examples:

I grow many kinds of vegetables myself because I want to consume healthy food.

Or:

I want to consume healthy food, so I grow many kinds of vegetables myself.

Use a coma before so.

You can reverse the order of the sentence like this:

Because I want to consume healthy food, I grow many kinds of vegetables myself.

(Use a coma between the first and the second sentences/clauses)

Note that this is not possible with so because so cannot start a sentence.

B. Transition

Transition is word and phrase that provide a connection between ideas, sentences, and paragraphs. Transition helps to make a piece of writing flow better. They can turn disconnected pieces of ideas into a unified whole, and prevent a reader from getting lost in the storyline (https://literarydevices.net).

In the case of cause and effect relationship, the most important transitions are therefore, consequently, and as a result. All of those words show an effect. They are used to join two complete sentences (or independent clauses) together.

Pay attention to the following pattern:

Sentence/clause 1+transition+sentence/clause 2

My mom loves me unconditionally, therefore, she always forgives my mistakes.

Or:

My mom loves me unconditionally, consequently, she always forgives my mistakes.

Or:

My mom loves me unconditionally, as a result, she always forgives my mistakes.

C. Preposition

Preposition is a word or group of words, such as in, from, to, out of and on behalf of, used before a noun or pronoun to show place, position, time or method (www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com).

To show cause and effect relationship, you can use the following prepositions: because of, due to and owing to. These are used to introduce a cause in the form of a noun phrase.

Examples:

He stopped working because of the scary thunder.

Or:

Due to the scary thunder, he stopped working.

Or:

He stopped working owing to the scary thunder.

Both owing to and due to mean ‘because of’. They are used in exactly the same way, except that due to is much more frequently used than owing to after the verb ‘to be’: Their failure was due to a lack of care and attention. (www.macmillandictionary.com)

Note:

We use because, as, since, because of, due to or owing to when we want to focus on the cause; otherwise use so, consequently or therefore when we want to focus on the effect.

D. ‘So… that’  and ‘Such… that’

We can also use so …that and such … that to express cause and effect relationship. Both of them have the same meaning. Please pay attention to the following pattern:

  1. so + adjective/adverb + that+clause
  2. so+quantifier+noun+that+clause
  3. such + a/an+adjective + noun + that+clause

Examples:

  1. The baby was so thirsty (so+adjective) that she cried very loudly.
  2. She ran so quickly (so+adverb) that she didn’t see a bicycle crossed the street.
  3. He earns so much money (so+quantifier+noun) that he can buy everything he wants.
  4. Stephanie is such a beautiful baby (such+a/an+adjective+noun) that everybody likes her.

Test your understanding on the material above by taking the following quiz!

Write your full name and class in the box below!
1. Stephanie prepared herself very well to face the job interview, … she could pass it.
2. … I want to live healthily, I do light exercise every day.
3. The food is very expensive, …, the poor family can’t afford it.
4. Andrea took the remote control and switched the channel … she wanted to watch her favourite program.
5. Karina didn’t pass the subject, …. , she must take it again in the next semester.
6. I love him … his kindness.
7. ... market sluggishness, the company eventually went bankrupt.
8. She is … sad that she cried all night last night.
9. Sumiati is … a beautiful girl that many people fall in love with her.
10. Lestari cooked so … rice that she couldn’t eat it all herself.

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