Cause and Effect for Middle School Students

Cause and Effect for Middle School Students

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Hello, and welcome to this lesson on Cause and Effect.

Cause and effect relationships are everywhere throughout stories. Cause is why something happened, and effect is what actually happened. There are usually subtle words or phrases that indicate whether something is the cause or effect in a sentence. The best way to learn this topic is to practice practice practice some examples! And while we’re practicing, I’ll highlight some of those keywords.

Tim fell asleep because he was tired.
Cause: because he was tired Effect: Tim fell asleep
Keyword(s): because

The word because is used to introduce a cause in a story. This sentence is probably written inverted from how you might usually see the word because used in a cause and effect example. You might also see the sentence written in this order:
Because he was tired, Tim fell asleep.

Let’s check out a different example:

Since I was thirsty, I drank a bottle of water. As a result, the bottle is empty.
Cause: Since I was thirsty Effect: I drank a bottle of water
Cause 2: I drank a bottle of water Effect 2: As a result, the bottle is empty
Keywords: Since, As a result

In this example there are two causes and two effects; there are also two keywords. The word since is used to indicate a cause, just like the word because in the previous example. This first sentence follows the same sentence structure as our previous example once we inverted it. It begins with the keyword, and the cause follows after.
The phrase as a result is used to indicate an effect in a sentence. This sentence also follows similar sentence structure, however, instead of introducing a cause in the sentence, it is introducing an effect.

Here’s a list of other keywords to be aware of when identifying causes and effects in stories:

Cause

  • If
  • May be due to
  • Because
  • Since

Effect

  • Then
  • Consequently
  • As a result
  • For this reason
  • So
  • When identifying cause and effect in the stories you’re reading, just remember to slow down, examine the sentence, and look for keywords. That’s not to say that there will always be keywords to give it away, however, you can still find the cause and effect by asking what happened, and why it happened.

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    by Mometrix Test Preparation | Last Updated: August 14, 2019