Paragraphs of Cause-Effect
“Cause” basically means the source of something or the reasons why or for something. “Effect” is simply the result or outcome. Therefore “cause and effect” is the causal relationship between two or more actions or two events. In reality, a cause precedes the effect, but in a statement either the cause or effect can precede the other. Look at the following statements:
- The accumulation of greenhouse gases has caused global climate change.
- I couldn’t boot my computer because the battery was dead.
- Since cell motorcycles have come down so much in price, everyone can have one.
In sentence (1), “the accumulation of greenhouse gases” is the cause or reason, while ”the global climate change” is the result. In sentence (2) the result, i.e. “I couldn’t boot my computer” precedes the cause—“the battery was dead”. In sentence (3), “motorcycles have come down so much in price” is the cause, whereas “everyone can have one” is the result.
As a method of development in writing, cause-and-effect is the search for the relationship between two or more actions or events, one or some of which we conclude is the reason for the other action(s) or event(s).
Transitions Commonly Used in Cause and Effect
In the writings that examine a causal relationship, one or more of the following transitions are commonly used. Study the terms and make yourself familiar with them.
1. Common transitions for cause:
- the reason . . . is that
- caused by
- results from
- because of + noun phrase
- due to + noun phrase
2. Common transitions for effect
- as a result
- resulted in
- for this reason
- for this reason
Three Varieties of Cause and Effect Paragraphs
Cause and effect paragraphs could be written in one of these three types. First, the paragraph that focuses on causes, i.e. the one which describes what happens and why it happens. Second, the paragraph that focuses on effects, i.e., the one which explains reasons and consequences of an idea or event. Finally, chain of cause and effects, i.e. the paragraph that shows how an action or event becomes the cause of another action or event, and this result becomes the cause of another result, and so on. To see the differences among these three paragraphs, look at the following examples. The first paragraph focuses on causes, the second focuses on effects, and the last is a chain of causes and effects.
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