Linking Words of Cause and Effect

Linking words help us to connect ideas and sentences. We can use linking words to give examples, add and order information, summarize, give a reason or result, or to contrast ideas.

Sometimes we need to link two ideas in a way that shows a cause and effect relationship between them.

Look at the following example:

  • I was late to work today because I missed the bus.

The first part of the sentence, ‘I was late to work today’, tells us what happened. The second part of the sentence, ‘because I missed the bus’, tells us why it happened.

The linking word ‘because’ in this sentence shows cause and effect. The cause is WHY it happens. The effect is WHAT happens.  

Because, since, as, and so

Let’s look more closely at some cause and effect linking words. Some common cause and effect linking words are ‘because’, ‘since’, ‘as’ and ‘so’.

‘Because’, ‘since’, and ‘as’ show cause.

  • It game was cancelled because it was raining.

‘Because it was raining’ is the cause. It is why the game was cancelled.

Here are a few more examples.

  • I took notes for you in class today since you were absent.
  • As Monday is a holiday, we have decided to leave town for the weekend.

‘So’, on the other hand, shows effect.

  • It was raining, so the game was cancelled.

This is almost the same as the earlier sentence, but we use the word ‘so’ to talk about the effect: the game was cancelled.

Consequently and therefore

Some other words we can use to talk about effect are ‘therefore’ and ‘consequently’.

  • Jesse’s new girlfriend was allergic to cats. Therefore, he had to give his beloved cat Fluffy away.
  • He stole money from the company, and consequently, he was fired.
Note: ‘Therefore’ and ‘consequently’ either start a new sentence, or they are preceded by the words ‘and’ or ‘so’.

‘So’, on the other hand, cannot start a new sentence and does not need any words before it.

Cause and effect words that are followed by nouns

‘Because of’, ‘due to’, and ‘owing to’ are linking words that also show cause, but they must be followed by a noun instead of a verb phrase.

  •   The game was cancelled because of the rain.

Here, we use a noun, the rain, after the linking words ‘because of’. ‘Due to’ and ‘owing to’ are used the same way.

  • We lost the contract due to Edgar’s careless mistakes.
  • The business went bankrupt owing to a combination of bad luck and bad decisions.

‘So… that’  and ‘Such… that’

We can also use ‘so + an adjective + that’ to create cause and effect:

  • I was so tired that I fell asleep on the bus.

In this sentence, ‘I was tired’ is the cause and ‘I fell asleep on the bus’ is the effect.

We can also use a quantifier and a noun instead of an adjective to create a sentence in the same way:

  • Bill Gates earns so much money that he donates most of it to charity.
  • He ate so many cookies that he threw up.

We can also use ‘such + an adjective + a noun + that’ to create cause and effect.

  • She is such a beautiful woman that everyone she meets falls in love with her.

‘She is a beautiful woman’ is the cause in this sentence; ‘everyone she meets falls in love with her’ is the effect.

  • This is such a good recipe that my grandma refuses to share it.  

This is a good recipe’ is the cause; ‘my grandma refuses to share it’ is the effect.

Here’s a good video from Anglo-Link explaining the types and uses of linking words of cause and effect:

See also:

Coordinating Conjunctions

Conjunctions of Contrast

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