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Cause and Effect

Cause and effect is a common way to organize information in a text. Paragraphs structured as cause and effect explain reasons why something happened or the effects of something. These paragraphs can be ordered as causes and effects or as effects and then causes. The cause and effect text structure is generally used in expository and persuasive writing modes.

To put it another way: when an author gives reasons why something happened, he or she is explaining what caused an effect (reasons are causes and the thing that happens is the effect). Also, when a writer explains the results of an action, he or she is explaining the effects of a cause (results are effects and the thing that occurs is the cause). The cause and effect text structure is used so commonly that you have probably written a paragraph using it and not noticed.


Cause and Effect Text Structure Graphic Organizer

Illnesses are caused by germs not temperature.

Example: Many people think that they can get sick by going into cold weather improperly dressed; however, illnesses are not caused by temperature- they are caused by germs. So while shivering outside in the cold probably won’t strengthen your immune system, you’re more likely to contract an illness indoors because you will have a greater exposure to germs.

In the above example, the paragraph explains how germs cause illnesses. The germs are the cause in the paragraph and the illness is the effect.

Here is another example of a paragraph that is written using the cause and effect text structure:

This is a graphic organizer representing the cause and effect text structure.

Reasons why you can't chew gum in class

Another Example: Students are not allowed to chew gum in my class. While some students think that I am just being mean, there are many good reasons for this rule. First, some irresponsible students make messes with their gum. They may leave it on the bottoms of desks, drop it on the floor, or put it on other people’s property. Another reason why I don’t allow students to chew gum is because it is a distraction. When they are allowed to chew gum, students are more worried about having it, popping it, chewing it, and snapping it then they are in listening, writing, reading, and learning. This is why I don’t allow students to chew gum in my class.

Identifying a text written using the cause and effect pattern of organization can be tricky. In most stories, events in the plot occur for various reasons, This can be mistaken for the cause and effect text structure; however, stories are organized chronologically, and the information in each passage is more likely to be organized by the time in which each event occurred. Contrarily, cause and effect passages usually focus on explaining the reason why something occurs or occurred, and time will usually not pass in these paragraphs.

Here are some signal words that may indicate that information in a paragraph is organized as cause and effect: because, as a result, resulted, caused, affected, since, due to, effect.

Learn About More Text Structures:
Chronological Order
Compare and Contrast
Problem and Solution
Sequence / Process Writing
Spatial / Descriptive Writing


Learn More About Text Structure
Patterns of Organization
Text Structure Worksheets and Activities

Interactive Text Structure Practice Quiz
All Reading Worksheets

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55 Comments

  1. cesar

     /  July 30, 2017

    what is the name of this author?

    Reply
  2. luis

     /  June 13, 2017

    this site is great and it help

    Reply
  3. luis

     /  June 13, 2017

    this site is great

    Reply
  4. Steven

     /  February 17, 2017

    Great video and Resources! Easy to understand and good information. 🙂

    Reply
  5. friday

     /  February 14, 2017

    can you make this in Italian

    Reply
  6. april maan

     /  January 18, 2017

    hello sir, your featured worksheets are really a great help for me and to my students as well, May I requests to your kind heart to insert the answer key for the corresponding worksheets too?thank you, more power and god bless!More blessings to come sir!

    Reply
  7. Zaw Min Thet

     /  November 16, 2016

    I like it.

    Reply
  8. dranny13

     /  May 5, 2016

    “Sadly, I am monolingual at this time.”
    I like your optimism…at this time perhaps not, not yet, but there’s hope still. Thanks for amazing work!

    Reply
  9. ana

     /  May 5, 2016

    i liked it

    Reply
  10. mr.skullman

     /  April 25, 2016

    nice website helped alot

    Reply
  11. Ms. Quezada

     /  March 22, 2016

    This is a wonderful website! I would like to have the same opportunity to find resources in Spanish.

    Reply
  12. Snowbird France

     /  March 14, 2016

    Woah, kewl website, Mr. Morton, sir. Tis be outrageous good.

    :3

    Reply
  13. Nanci Anderson

     /  March 14, 2016

    We are working on text structures in ELAR! My teacher loves this website :3! And so do I! Great resources and examples on Cause and Effect.

    Reply
  14. Staph

     /  July 22, 2015

    Thank you for your insightful brief on cause and effect texts! It has helped me greatly in my assignment, focusing on the influence of geography on ancient Greece.
    🙂

    Reply
  15. Miss Bilger

     /  April 5, 2015

    This is a wonderful resource for educators. I have used this through out the year for lectures and activities. Thank you for all of the time put into this website!

    Reply
  16. Patience

     /  February 17, 2015

    this is amazing thanx 4 the information it will help me in my English lectures

    Reply
  17. Mrs. Chapman

     /  February 11, 2015

    What a fantastic website for educators! I happened across your site and have been finding tons of useful material for my unit on text structures. I can’t wait to journey into all of the rest this site has to offer. Thank you, Mr. Morton! Your students are obviously blessed to have you, and as an educator, I am too!

    Reply
  18. Student

     /  January 6, 2015

    good website

    Reply
  19. Yetzy

     /  September 27, 2014

    Your website has helped me very much. Especially when I have to teach very low ESL Learners. Awesome work!!!

    Reply
  20. peace

     /  September 17, 2014

    this help me in class

    Reply
  21. TF

     /  January 9, 2014

    I hope you step on a Lego…

    Reply
  22. Rosa Hudson

     /  December 6, 2013

    This website is just wonderful because it was just simply hard to find somthing about text features. I love the way the information is organized on the graphic organizers

    Reply
  23. Laurie Frazier

     /  November 24, 2013

    Great site! So glad I stumbled across it! Do you have any sheets for paradox and parallel structure?

    This site is very helpful and the resources are fabulous!

    Reply
    • Not currently, but I should be expanding the language arts section over the summer. I’ll add it to the TO-DO list. Thanks!

      Reply
  24. Marly

     /  September 15, 2013

    This is a great tool for working in class. Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  25. Good.
    I can understand about the explanation very well.
    Great website. thank you ^.^

    Reply
  26. Jc

     /  January 30, 2013

    great website

    Reply
  27. Jane Scott

     /  January 22, 2013

    I have been teaching for 37 years and this
    is the best website I have ever used.
    Thanks so much for taking so much time
    to make teachers jobs easier. We love
    you for it!!!

    Reply
  28. Susan

     /  December 6, 2012

    Thanks for this!! I’m teaching text structures for the first time and was so happy to find this!!!
    AWESOME!!

    Reply
  29. Mr.Crabs

     /  December 4, 2012

    great website! keep up the good work

    Reply
  30. Mr. Morton:

    You have effectively saved my career. I used your materials to teach Point of View and even my lowest learners finally caught on. I am using your materials extensively and have recommended your site to every ELA/R teacher I know!!

    Reply
  31. George

     /  September 20, 2012

    These worksheets are very useful for my ESL class. Wondering if you can also provide exercise worksheets on cause and effect type of reading.

    Many thanks from Thailand

    Reply
  32. Yadira

     /  May 24, 2012

    I was looking for worsheets with an specific content to work in language arts , i have not had found a webste as useful as this one.I think it is amazing.

    Reply
  33. Cynthia

     /  April 5, 2012

    Dear Mr. Morton, this is my first year teaching 6th grade language arts and I have to say that your site is an absolute Godsend! Thank you so much for sharing with us and making your ideas, worksheets, power points, videos, activities, etcetera available. I use your stuff with my kids for lessons and when I have a sub he’s able to easily use it as well.

    Reply
  34. Mrs.White

     /  March 13, 2012

    Your site is so amazing! It has been a great resource for state test review!!!

    Reply
  35. naturalteacher

     /  January 25, 2012

    Thank you so much for the clarity and effort put into this site.

    Reply
  36. Mrs. Thompson

     /  January 9, 2012

    I absolutely love your website. It has great resources. Do you have any good resources for symbolism?

    Reply
  37. daquanda

     /  December 1, 2011

    i love this

    Reply
  38. derek hernandez

     /  October 30, 2011

    where do i go for singular and plural possessive nouns worksheets

    Reply
    • Mr. Morton

       /  October 30, 2011

      Hmm… I don’t think I have any of those. I’ll probably make some in the spring, when I teach grammar. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  39. Okechukwu

     /  October 8, 2011

    This is a great website.

    Reply

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