Cause and Effect We learn about cause and effect because we like to understand how events are related to one another. n Cause/Effect relationships help explain why things happen. n
A cause is the reason something happens. n An effect is the thing that happens as a result of the cause. Example: Since I babysat during the summer, I was able to buy a new bike. n
How was she able to buy the bike? (effect) n She babysat during the summer. (cause) n
Look for keywords that show a cause/effect relationship. n Sometimes there will be a cause/effect relationship, and these words will not be used. n When you can’t find the key word, then the relationship is “implied” n
Here are some key words: Hence As a result of So Consequently Since As a consequence In order to Was responsible for Produced Led to Thus Due to n
Key word hints: For this reason In response to Result in Therefore Word “cause” Word “effect” n
If possible, try to replace the cause/effect relationship word so that you can use the word “because” n The most important linking word to show a cause/effect relationship is the word “because” n
n If you change your sentences around so their meaning does not change and you can add “because” to the events, you probably have the correct cause/effect answer.
Example: Jerry did not study for his test. He knew that he had to pass the test. Jerry wasn’t surprised when he failed the test. n
Jerry failed his test because he didn’t study. n Cause: He did not study n Effect: He failed his test n
Sometimes cause/effect linking words are “understood” n This happens when writers leave out the key words that define a cause/effect relationship. n
Example: Ben was running late for school, but it was a beautiful morning, so he wanted to walk. Ben saw his neighbor chasing his wild, little puppy. Ben knew he had to help. n
Why was Ben late? (effect) 1 st cause: he walked to school 2 nd cause: he helped his neighbor Both of these are causes/effects that could have related to his being late.
Sometimes cause/effect relationships are only “implied” and must be “inferred” by the reader. n If the cause/effect is not directly stated, you will have to infer: Look for details Use logical reasoning or common sence n
Example Ben got up early enough to get ready for school, but he knew he didn’t write his English paper. He dreaded going because his teacher would be very disappointed. n
n Why would Ben not go to school? n It is implied that he would not go to school (effect) since he didn’t turn in his English paper (cause).
When you are looking for cause/effect relationships, there will be other information with it. n For example, when you are reading a passage, textbook, or newspaper, you will have cause/effect relationships, but you will have other information that you will have to understand, too. n
Answering Cause/Effect Questions 1. Read the passage carefully n 2. Figure out the question. What is it asking for? n 3. Did you notice key words? n 4. Find your proof or support in the passage. n