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Cause & Effect

Indicating a causal relationship

Girls School
 

 

The Girl Effect is about girls and boys, and moms and dads, and villages, towns and countries. Poverty, AIDs, hunger and war—

"What if there were a solution that would turn this 'sinking ship' around"? — Kristof

 

 

Stating Cause and Effect

CAUSE — EFFECT

Consequently (adverb) and as a result (prepositional phrase) are connectives that transition the reader from the idea expressed in one clause to the idea expressed in the next clause. These connectives are followed by a clause expressing the effect of situation stated in the clause before it. A comma separates the adverb from the clause.   

CAUSE EFFECT
CLAUSE CONNECTIVE ADV or PREP + CLAUSE

She had no other options.

Consequentlyshe married at thirteen.  (Adv + Cls)

She was not protected.

As a resultshe had a baby at thirteen. (PP + Cls)

She had no access to health education or medical clinics.

Therefore, she was more likely to get HIV. (Adv + Cls)

There was poor sanitation in the village.

As a consequenceshe had health problems. (PP + Cls)

The water was impure in her village.

For this reason, she suffered from parasites. (PP + Cls)

She had no shoes, warm clothes or blankets.

For all these reason, she was often cold. (PP + Cls)

She had no resources to grow food. (land, seeds, tools)

Thus, she was hungry. (Adv + Cls)

She had not been given a chance,

so² she was fighting for survival.  (Adv)

EFFECT — CAUSE

Because (since, as, though) and  because of (due to, on account of) are connective prepositions that relate additional, nonessential information to the main clause.  Because is complemented by a clause and because of is complemented by a noun phrase (NP) that states a reason (cause) for the effect stated in the main clause.

EFFECT CAUSE / REASON
CLAUSE CONNECTIVE PREP + CLAUSE

She married at thirteen  

because she had no other options.  (PP + Cls)

She had a baby at thirteen  

as she was not protected. 

She was more likely to get HIV    

since she had no access to health education or clinics. 

She had health problems  

because of¹  poor sanitation in the village. (NP) 

She suffered from parasites 

on account of¹ the impure water in her village.  (NP) 

She was often cold 

due to¹ not having shoes, warm clothes or blankets.  (NP) 

She was hungry 

for the reason that  she had no resources to grow food.

She was fighting for survival 

since she had not been given a chance. 
 

adolescence (N) – the time, usually between the ages of 12 and 18, when a young person is developing into an adult

option (N) – a choice one can make when in a particular situation

parasites (N) –  worms, insects and other organisms that live in a person's body and cause the person to be sick

resources – basic materials needed to do a job  (land, seeds, tools)

sanitation (N) – The protection of public health by removing and treating waste, dirty water etc.

unprotected (Adj) – Someone or something that is not kept safe from harm, hurt or damage.

 

¹noun phrase (NP) verb phrase (VP)  See Grammar Notes for details

²so (Connective Adv) – joins a cause-clause to an effect-clause.

 

adjunct prepositional phrase: She married at 13   adjunct prep phrase [prep because  content clause [she had no other options.]]

 

 

 

 

 

Negative Cause-Effect 

Indicating no relationship between two activities

 

 

 

Negative Cause-Effect vs. Positive Cause-Effect

NEGATIVE CAUSE-EFFECT

no comma is used before becauseA negative verb in the main clause negates the clause following because. "Something else is the cause". [not because X]  Whether it also negates the verb in the main clause (effect-clause) depends on the context.                                                     

EFFECT  CAUSE

She didn't marry at thirteen  

because she was in love.

(The cause was something else.)

POSITIVE / ~ NEGATIVE NEGATIVE

She married…

~She didn't marry…

(~less likely interpretation) 

not because she was in love.

(The cause was something else.)

POSITIVE CAUSE-EFFECT

use a comma before becauseTo limit the negative marker of the verb to just the effect clause, a comma is used. The comma sets off the next clause (the cause-clause) as a tacked-on comment. This removes the clause from the "negative influence" or control of the verb in the main clause.

EFFECT (NEG) CAUSE (POS)

She didn't want to marry at thirteen

 

, because she was too young to be a wife.
(The cause was her young age.)

   

 

 

 

  

See Not Because for a discussion of interpreting the effect-clause.  Also see and Pop-Q Neg Cause.

Reason "Scope and Focus" (Huddleston 732)

 

 

 

 

 

Cause & Effect

Cause & Result Expressions

 

 

 

Introducing an Effect vs. a Cause

EFFECT

Both verbs, cause and result, are used in the active form  to relate an effect. The verb cause focuses on the source, while the verb+prep. result in focuses on the result.  Result is always followed by a prepositional phrase (in).

CAUSE + VP EFFECT

Poor childhood education causes

illiteracy.  

Poor childhood education results in 

illiteracy.  

Poor childhood education *results

illiteracy.  

CAUSE

Both verbs, cause and result,  relate a cause. Cause may be used in the passive form  with a by phrase. Result does not take the passive.  It is followed by a prepositional phrase (from).                                                           

EFFECT VP + CAUSE

Illiteracy 

is caused by poor childhood education. 

Illiteracy

results  from  poor childhood education. 

Illiteracy 

*is resulted by¹ poor childhood education. 

 

illiteracy (N) – inability to read or write (cannot)
¹Note that result by has a different meaning. See Results by   The reason is + clause
*Yellow highlighting indicates example of incorrect usage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cuz

Shortened from because

 

 

 

Cuz is shortened from because (PP) not cause

BECAUSE + [REASON]

Because is complemented by a clause giving reason or source of the situation.   The informal cuz / bcuz that commonly occurs in texting is shortened from because.

PREPOSITION + NP / CLAUSE OTHER CLAUSE

Because of your request,

Because you asked,

we came here to help.

 

Cuz of you,

Bcuz you asked,

Cuz of you asked, (remove "of")

we came to help.

 

OTHER CLAUSE PREPOSITION + NP / CLAUSE

We came to help

bcuz you asked (texting)

CAUSE + [RESULT]

Cause is a noun that may be modified (complemented) by a prepositional phrase (PP) or a relative clause with the result (effect). (Cause is also a verb.)

NOUN

The cause of our coming here was your request. (N + PP)

'Cuz were here was your request. (incorrect)

The cause to which we responded was your request. (N + modifier)

The cause that we responded to was your request.

'Cuz were here was your request. (formal)

INCORRECT LOGIC

*Cuz we came to help you asked.

 

¹In informal speech and writing (texting), “because” is shortened — 'cause, cuz, becuz; In text messages —bcz: cant come today bcz I hav to work

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Only Because

Stating a minor reason

Sheryl WuDunn of Half the Sky
Sheryl WuDunn Half the Sky
 

 

 Major / Minor Reason

A  MAJOR REASON

Use because to indicate a reason of primary importance, a main or major reason. ("There may be other reasons as well, but this is the one in focus".)

We are confident because we are getting your overwhelming support.

She needs a job because she needs to be able to support herself. (home, food, etc.)

Give her praise because she's a good student.

She visits the cafe because she wants to check on her employees.

She married at thirteen because she had no other options.
 

A MINOR REASON IS SUFFICIENT

When a range of reasons exist, use if only because to indicate even a minor reason being sufficient for the effect. "if for no other (better) reason than…" or "because at least…"

We are confident if only because we are making progress. (a minor, minimal reason – This implies that much more needs to be done.)

She needs a job if only because she needs something to occupy herself everyday. (a minor, trivial reason)

Give her praise if only because she has shown up to school on time everyday. (a minimal reason)

She visits the cafe if only because she wants a bite to eat.

She married at thirteen if only because she needed a roof over her head.
 

 

trivial (Adj) – not serious, important, or valuable 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Punctuation

Clause Order

 

 

 

Mid vs Initial Placement

INITIAL

When because begins a sentence with a reason clause, it is separated from the effect clause by a comma. A connective adverbs, such as consequently, is separated with a comma from the effect clause.                                                                    

CONNECTOR

commaBecause she had no other options, she married at thirteen.

CONNECTIVE / LINKING ADVERB

commaShe had no other options.  Consequently, she married at age thirteen.  

FINAL

When because is placed after an effect clause and before a cause clause, no comma is used.  However, a comma is used when the idea in the clause that follows because is not related to the main clause as cause-effect (especially with neg. verbs).

CONNECTOR

no commaShe didn't die because she had medical care. (She didn't die.  cause-effect)

CONNECTIVE / LINKING ADVERB

commaShe didn't die,  because¹ she had medical care.  (She died for some other unrelated reason. See "not because".)

 

Related page:  Because, Fragments, Connective Adverbs

pop question Pop-Q "Not because

 

 

 

 

 

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Grammar Notes(Advanced)

Traditional and Linguistic Descriptions

 

 

Traditional / ESL and Linguistic Descriptions

TRADITIONAL / ESL GRAMMAR LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

In traditional grammar — because, since, as— are connectors that introduce adverb clauses. They relate why something occurred. 

In current linguistic description —because as since, as, etc.— are included in the preposition category.  (Note that in this description, prepositions can be complemented by a wide variety of sentence structures and are not  limited to noun phrase complements.)

BECAUSE BECAUSE

because
— adverb clause   (Azar 19.3)

 

because, as, since, inasmuch as

  • conjunctive preposition.reason (Aarts155)
  • adverb.adverbial clause (Azar 17.3-11)
  • cause-effect adjunct.preposition (Huddleston et al. 8 12.3)
  • conjunction (Swan 94, 72) "subordinating conjunction" (Biber 2.4.8)
  • subordinating conjunction.reason adverbial clause (Payne 76, 345)
  • adverbial clause.reason (Quirk 15.45)
     
BECAUSE OF BECAUSE OF

because of, due to
— phrasal prepositions (Azar 19-1)

Sometimes, usually in formal writing, due to is followed by a noun clause introduced by the fact that… Like adverb clauses, these phrases can also follow main clauses.

because of, due to, owing to, on account of

  • complex preposition.reason (Aarts 78, 155)
  • complex preposition (Biber 2.4.5.2)
  • cause-effect adjunct.preposition + PP or NP (Huddleston et al. 8 12.3; 731)
  • two-word and three-word preposition (Swan 94)
  • cause adjunct.prepositional phrase "adjuncts of contingency" (Quirk 8.86)
     
CONSEQUENTLY CONSEQUENTLY

consequently
Connectives "transitions", "conjunctive adverbs", "Transitions connect the ideas between to sentences. They are used most commonly in formal written English and rarely in spoken English.  A transition occurs in the second of two related sentences."  (Azar 19-2) 

Consequently,

  • clause adverb (Aarts 80)
  • linking adverb (Biber 10.4)
  • connective adjunct (Huddleston 8 §19-20)
  • conjunctive clausal modifier. (Payne 250)
  • connective adverb (Swan  22.1) discourse marker. (Swan 157.1-21)
  • conjunct (Quirk 8.137)
     

CATEGORIES:  NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; Detdeterminer; PP – prepositional phrase; P – preposition; AdvP – adverb phrase; Adv – adverb; AdjP– adjective phrase; Adj – adjective

 

 

Resources

  • Aarts, Bas. Oxford Modern English Grammar. New York: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.
  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, and Stacy A. Hagen. Understanding and Using English Grammar. White Plains, New York: Pearson Longman, 2009. Print.
  • Biber, Douglas, and Stig Johansson, et al. Longman Grammar Of Spoken And Written English. Harlow: Pearson Education, 1999. Print.
  • Huddleston, Rodney and Geoffrey K. Pullum. "Words with PP Complements." The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.
  • Kristoff, WuDunn, Half the Sky : turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide. New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. Print.
  • Payne, Thomas Edward. Understanding English Grammar: A Linguistic Introduction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2011. Print.
  • Swan, Michael. "Because." Practical English Usage. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
  • Quirk, Randolph and Sidney Greenbaum. A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language. 7th ed. New York: Longman Group, 1989. Print.
  • World Health Organization. "Assessing the health situation in the Central African Republic." 2010. Web. 23 Dec 2013.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

The Girl (and Boy) Effect

African girl
 

 

Read the Context

When people began to question why the death rate of females in certain parts of Africa was so much greater than the death rate of males, they started to look for reasons.  Below, are some cause and effect examples of how empowering girls improved the well-being of the people in their villages.

Schools for girls were built. Girls had a chance to learn about health and life skills. Girls learned about health skills. They improved the sanitation of their villages. The girls felt proud to have a uniform. They were more likely to attend school everyday. The family members of the girls walked them to school.

They didn't want other males in the village to taunt the girls. The family members of the girls walked them to school. The girls avoided abduction and pregnancy.  After graduation, the girls were more likely to start small businesses. They had mathematical and accounting skills. Some graduates became valued business owners.  They were invited to serve on business councils. Their community status rose. They were able to vote on improving water and sanitation.  Health conditions improved in villages. More babies and children survived.

abduction (N) – being taken away by force; kidnapping

avoid (V) – to prevent something bad from happening

graduation (N) – the time when a person completes a high school or university degree

more likely (Adj)  – almost certain

pregnancy (N) – being 'with child'; having a child growing inside

sanitation (N) – the protection of public health by removing and treating waste, dirty water etc.

 

skill (N) – an ability to do something well, especially because it is learned and practiced / practised

status (N) – the social or professional rank or position, considered in relation to other people

survive (V) – to continue to live after an accident,catastrophe, war, or illness

taunt (V) – to try to make someone angry or upset by saying unkind things to them

uniform (N) – a particular type of clothing worn by all the members of a group or organization

valued (Adj) – important, useful

 

 

 

 

Add  a cause-effect connector (connective).

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 1-10" button.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Health Care

Girl in a clinic
 

 

Complete the sentence with a logical phrase or clause.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 11-15" button.

 

11.


   

vaccinate (V) – to protect a person or animal from a disease by giving them a vaccine, an injection, immunization

12.


   


13.


   

14.

   

15.


   

healthcare provider (N) – any profession that gives health assistance: counselors, therapists, nurses, doctors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Gender preference

malefemale
 

 

Punctuate the sentences.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 16-20" button.

 

16.

17.

18.

19.

20.