Cause and Effect

Cause and effect is a relationship between events or things, where one is the result of the other. In other words, one event or thing (the cause) leads to another event or thing (the effect).

Examples of cause and effect relationships include:

  • Eating too much candy causes tooth decay.
  • Heavy rain causes flooding in low-lying areas.
  • Exercising regularly can cause weight loss.

Identifying cause and effect relationships can help us understand how things work in the world around us. It is an important skill in reading comprehension, as authors often use cause and effect to explain why something happens in a story.

Signal Words

Signal words are words or phrases that indicate a cause and effect relationship. These signal words can help readers identify cause and effect relationships in a text.

Some common signal words for cause include: because, since, as a result of, due to, and for this reason.

Some common signal words for effect include: so, therefore, consequently, as a result, and hence.

Let’s look at an example:

Cause: The girl didn’t study for her test.

Effect: She failed the test.

Signal words: didn’t study (cause), failed (effect)

Practice Activity:

Read the following sentences and identify the cause and effect relationship:

John’s car wouldn’t start, so he was late for work.

Cause: ________________________________ Effect: ________________________________

The chef ran out of salt, so he had to go to the store.

Cause: ________________________________ Effect: ________________________________

The little girl fell off her bike and scraped her knee.

Cause: ________________________________ Effect: ________________________________

The school closed early because of a snowstorm.

Cause: ________________________________ Effect: ________________________________

Maria drank too much coffee, so she couldn’t fall asleep.

Cause: ________________________________ Effect: ________________________________


  1. Cause: John’s car wouldn’t start. Effect: He was late for work.
  2. Cause: The chef ran out of salt. Effect: He had to go to the store.
  3. Cause: The little girl fell off her bike. Effect: She scraped her knee.
  4. Cause: The school closed early because of a snowstorm. Effect: N/A (No direct effect mentioned)
  5. Cause: Maria drank too much coffee. Effect: She couldn’t fall asleep.

Writing Activity:

Write a paragraph that explains a cause and effect relationship. Use signal words to help indicate the cause and effect relationship. Here’s an example to help you get started:

Example: Cause: The baby cried all night. Effect: The parents didn’t get any sleep.

Signal words: cried (cause), didn’t get any sleep (effect)

Paragraph: Since the train was delayed by an hour, James missed his important meeting. As a result, his boss was unhappy with him, and he didn’t get the promotion he was hoping for.

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