Cause and Effect Examples

"Cause and effect" is a relationship between events or things, where one is the result of the other or others. This is a combination of action and reaction. Something happens (a cause) that leads to an effect. Boost your understanding of this important concept by reviewing some key cause and effect examples.

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Examples of Cause and Effect

When you're trying to understand what is cause and effect, it can be helpful to review some examples.

  • Cause: We received seven inches of rain in four hours. Effect: The underpass was flooded.
  • Cause: I never brush my teeth. Effect: I have 5 cavities.
  • Cause: I've smoked cigarettes daily for 20 years. Effect: I have lung cancer.
  • Cause: Many buffalo were killed. Effect: Buffalo almost became extinct.
  • Cause: The streets were snow-packed and icy. Effect: Cars needed more time to stop.
  • Cause: He broke his arm. Effect: The doctor put it in a cast.
  • Cause: The boss was busy. Effect: Her secretary took a message.
  • Cause: A basketball player was traveling. Effect: The referee called a penalty.
  • Cause: I flipped the light switch. Effect: The light came on.
  • Cause: An oil spill causes crude oil to spill into the water. Effect: Many plants and animals in the water died.
  • Cause: A child eats only junk food and never does anything active. Effect: The child is obese.

Cause and Effect Examples in Sentences

Of course, information that you're exposed to on a regular basis is usually presented in sentence form. Review a selection of cause and effect sentences for more insights into cause and effect relationships.

Cause and Effect in Daily Life

There are many examples of cause and effect in daily life. You can probably relate to some of the following examples.

  • A tornado blew the roof off the house, and as a result, the family had to find another place to live.
  • Because the alarm was not set, we were late for work.
  • Since school was canceled, we went to the mall.
  • John made a rude comment, so Elise hit him.
  • The meal we ordered was cheaper than expected, so we ordered dessert.
  • Betty completed each task perfectly, so she was promoted.
  • I had to get the mop since I spilled my juice.
  • Fred was driving 75 m.p.h. in a 35 mile per hour zone, so he got a speeding ticket.
  • Maria didn’t follow the recipe correctly, so the cake did not come out as expected.
  • The weather forecast called for rain, so he took his umbrella.
  • Because of a price increase, sales are down.
  • The baby was crying, so Dad picked him up.
  • I learned to play the drums quickly because I took lessons from a pro.
  • The batter couldn’t hit the softball because he didn’t keep his eyes on the ball.
  • When the manuscript is edited, the company will publish it.
  • Because the cat was frightened, he arched his back and fluffed his tail.
  • Since the electricity went out for most of the day, the ice cream in the freezer melted.
  • Since the refrigerator was practically empty, we had to go to the store.
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Cause and Effect Examples for High School Students

High school textbooks and classes often include examples of cause and effect. The following examples illustrate concepts students are likely to learn in school.

  • When water is heated, the molecules move quickly, therefore the water boils
  • The moon has a gravitational pull, consequently, the oceans have tides.
  • When the ocean is extremely polluted, coral reefs die.
  • Since helium rises, a helium balloon floats.
  • There has been an increase in greenhouse gases, therefore global warming is happening.
  • Some believe dinosaurs died out because a large meteor hit the Earth.
  • Tsunamis happen when tectonic plates shift.
  • Because of a change in how planets are classified, Pluto is no longer a planet.
  • Water is formed when two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom combine.
  • A peacock will spread his feathers so he will attract a female.
  • As the wind speed increases, a sailboat will move faster.
  • When nuclear fusion stops or starts, a star explodes.
  • Wind is produced when the surface of the Earth is heated unevenly.
  • Because of inflation, the dollar is worth less than before.

Cause and Effect Exercises

Use these practice questions to test your ability to separate causes and effects. The answers appear just below the practice items, so be sure not to skim ahead too soon.

Cause and Effect Practice Questions

Read the following items, then identify the cause and effect in each one.

If you train your dog, he will follow commands.

What is the cause?

What is the effect?

I skipped lunch today, so I am extremely hungry this evening.

What is the cause?

What is the effect?

I have difficulty trusting people because my last boyfriend lied a lot.

What is the cause?

What is the effect?

She forgot to water her plants, so they all died.

What is the cause?

What is the effect?

He did not study for the test at all, so he failed it.

What is the cause?

What is the effect?

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Practice Question Answers

After you answer the practice questions on your own, check your responses against the correct answers listed below.

If you train your dog, he will follow commands.

cause – training the dog

effect – following commands

I skipped lunch today, so I am extremely hungry this evening.

cause – skipping lunch

effect – being extremely hungry

I have difficulty trusting people because my last boyfriend lied a lot.

cause – lying boyfriend

effect – difficulty trusting people

She forgot to water her plants, so they all died.

cause – forgot to water plants

effect – plants died

He did not study for the test at all, so he failed it.

cause – did not study

effect – failed test

Writing About Cause and Effect Relationships

Examples of cause and effect show how one thing can affect another. Now that you have a clear idea of what cause and effect means, take a deeper dive into the topic by exploring some cause and effect essay examples. Then, focus on learning how to write a clear cause and effect essay. When you're ready to start writing an essay of your own, use this list of compelling cause and effect essay topics to help you brainstorm for ideas of what to write about.