Student Area|Teacher Area
 

Cause and Effect

Aim:
This exercise introduces the vocabulary and grammar needed for the function of describing causes and effects.
(Teachers: Click here for a printable version of this document.)

Instructions:
Read the 'Background' and 'Vocabulary and Grammar' sections, then complete the exercise.

Background

Although it is possible for one cause to lead to one effect, academic subjects are rarely this simple. One cause can lead to more than one effect, for example heavy rain can cause landslides and flooding. Also, more than one cause can lead to one or more effects, for example, eating too much pizza and drinking too much coke for lunch can cause you to get fat and be late for class!

Vocabulary and Grammar

Cause-effect Example Sentences

...because of...

...caused by

...cause of

...reason for

...attributed to

...on account of

...owing to

There was flooding because of the heavy rain.

The flooding was caused by the heavy rain.

The heavy rain was the cause of the flooding.

The heavy rain was the reason for the flooding.

The flooding was attributed to the heavy rain.

There was flooding on account of the heavy rain.

Owing to the heavy rain there was flooding.

(These cause-effect phrases are all followed by noun phrases; i.e. 'the heavy rain'.)

... because

There was flooding because heavy rain fell all night.
('Because' is followed by a verb phrase, 'heavy rain fell all night'.)

Grammar Note: don't use 'Because' as the first word in a sentence: it's bad style.
There are a number of alternatives. You can use:
- 'Due to...'; e.g. 'Due to the heavy rain there was flooding.'
- 'Owing to ...'; e.g. 'Owing to the heavy rain there was flooding.'
- 'As...'; e.g. 'As there was heavy rain, there was flooding.'

Verbs Example Sentences

may

could

might

can

The heavy rain may have caused the flooding.

The heavy rain could have caused the flooding.

The heavy rain might have caused the flooding.

Flooding can be caused by heavy rain.

Grammar Note: modal verbs such as 'may', 'could', and 'might' must be followed by infinitive verbs, such as 'have' and 'be'.

 

Time & Certainty Example Sentences
Always true

Present

Less certain present

Past

Less certain past

Flooding is caused by heavy rain.

The flooding is caused by the heavy rain.

The flooding may be caused by the heavy rain.

The flooding was caused by the heavy rain.

The flooding may have been caused by the heavy rain.

 

Adverbs Example Sentences

possibly

certainly

perhaps

definitely

probably

undoubtedly

The rain may possibly cause flooding.

The rain will certainly cause flooding.

Perhaps the rain will cause flooding.

The rain will definitely cause flooding.

The rain will probably cause flooding.

The rain will undoubtedly cause flooding.

Grammar Note: use 'will' with adverbs that show a high probability, such as 'undoubtedly', 'definitely' and 'probably'. For other adverbs, which show a smaller possibility, use 'may', 'could' or 'might'; e.g. The rain could, perhaps, cause flooding.' or 'The rain may possibly cause flooding'.

Also, the position of the adverb is usually just in front of the verb for adverbs of possibility and probability. This is because the adverb gives more information about the verb. This is different from adverbs like 'Unfortunately', which give information about the whole sentence; e.g. 'Unfortunately, the heavy rain caused flooding.'

Other Cause and Effect Phrases:

    Causes

  • There are several reasons for this. Firstly, ...
  • Other causes played a part. Firstly,
  • A key factor was... ('key' means 'important')
  • This is due to ...
  • This is a reflection of...

    Effects

  • As a result, ...
  • Consequently, ...
  • This meant that...
  • One consequence of this is that ...

Grammar Note:
Don't write 'are lacking of ...' as a cause or effect. Use 'there is a lack of ...' OR 'they are lacking in ...'
For more information on how to use 'lack (of)' correctly, see 'Lack' or 'Lack of'? - an explanation and an exercise.

 


Exercise

The following sentences have grammatical and meaning mistakes. Correct the grammatical ones and write a comment about the meaning ones:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.


 

 

Last updated on: Monday, March 26, 2012
Hits: 347458 visited