What are Cause and Effect?

A cause-effect relationship is when a specific event (the cause) makes another event happen (the effect).

A single cause can have multiple effects.

Cause and effect may also be called causality.

Cause and Effect Examples

Cause Effect
Your alarm clock makes a loud noise. You wake up in time for school.
You break your arm. The doctor gives you a cast.
You flip a light switch. The lights turn on.

Causes can also lead to more than one effect.

Cause Effect
A light bulb blows The lights turn off.
You trip over a coffee table.
You bruise your shin.

What is cause and effect in reading and writing?

Cause and effect is an important concept to consider when reading and writing texts.

The cause is the reason things happen in the text – without a cause, there is no effect; without a cause, the reader would be stagnant, and nothing more would happen. How boring of a story would that be?

So, cause and effect are significant when moving a story along. It allows the characters, and the reader, to move from plot point to plot point.

When writing a story, thinking about cause and effect is essential. Everything we make the characters do (the reason) will affect the rest of the story.

Why are cause and effect important?

Cause and effect give us a logical explanation for why something happened.

Think about it: if a ball has landed at your feet, it hasn’t just magically appeared there. Instead, something caused it to happen – most likely, someone threw the ball.

Causality allows us to explain events logically; this helps to solve problems and provide reasoning for why something happened. In addition, it means we can (somewhat) explain what’s happening around us.

When we understand cause and effect, we can also predict an effect if we know the reason.

While reading fiction and non-fiction, we can make connections and predict what will happen by using this concept.

The national curriculum for English states that children in KS1 should learn to ‘predict what might happen based on what has been read so far. Cause and effect are essential to helping children achieve this objective.

Drawing connections between cause and effect will deepen children’s reading comprehension skills when they read fiction and non-fiction.

Writing Cause and Effect

Children should connect their ideas using the concept of cause and effect when writing. We can use signal words and phrases for each. This help to explain the ‘what’ and the ‘why.’


  • because;
  • because of;
  • since;
  • as a result of;
  • as a consequence of;
  • now.


  • so;
  • therefore;
  • consequently;
  • hence;
  • accordingly.

Example Sentences

  • The school’s sports day was canceled because it was raining. Therefore, it was moved to next week instead.
  • Now that I have my new computer, I can play online games with my friends accordingly.
  • Since we ran out of milk, I couldn’t make my coffee. So, I had to go to the shop.
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