You should be able to identify the cause and effect within a story. These two elements explain the relationship between two actions. The cause is what occurs to initiate the effect.
Cause: What triggers an event, circumstance, or situation
Effect: The result of an event, circumstance, or situation
Consider this example:
- The glass broke because Suzy dropped it.
- Cause: dropping the glass
- Effect: the glass breaking
Purpose of Cause and Effect
Understanding cause and effect helps you answer the "why" question. If you read that Sam was very sad, you will wonder why he is sad. If you read that Sam's best friend is moving away, you can answer the question "Why is Sam sad?" Sam's best friend moving is the reason why Sam is sad. His sadness is the effect of Sam's best friend moving.
Identifying Cause and Effect
Prepositions can help you identify the cause of a sentence. Learn to recognize words, such as, "because," "since," "therefore," "so," and "if" to figure out which action is the cause and which action is the effect. Consider these examples:
- Since Ed had to get up early Tuesday morning, he went to bed early Monday night.
- Cause: Ed had to get up early Tuesday morning. "Since" suggests the phrase is the cause.
- Effect: He went to bed early Monday night.
- Sara was making a cake because it was her mother's birthday.
- Cause: Sara's mother's birthday. "Because" is a clue the phrase is the cause.
- Effect: Sara made a cake.
- Thomas earned fifty dollars last week, so he was able to go to the zoo with Andy.
- Cause: Earning 50 dollars is the cause. "So" is a clue going to the zoo is the effect.
- Effect: He went to the zoo.
- Since Joe's family had a long way to go, they left early.
- Cause: The family had a long way to go. "Since" suggests this is the cause.
- Effect: They left early.
- Fold a piece of paper two times to make three equal columns
- Label the first column "ACTION."
- Label the second column "CAUSE."
- Label the last column"EFFECT."
- Read the next assignment in your social studies book.
- List an action under the correct column.
- Then list the cause and the effect of the action in the correct columns.
- Continue listing the action, cause and effect in the rest of your assignment.
- Try working like this with a friend.
DeLene Sholes has written hundreds of articles for print and online books, newspapers, and magazines including Florida Wildlife, Atlanta's Points North, and Faces magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Birmingham-Southern College and a Master of Arts in elementary education from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.