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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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5 Using linking words to express cause and effect relationships

In essay writing, as in everyday life, it often happens that something causes something else to happen. For example, if a person eats many fried or fatty foods this could mean that they put on weight or face some health problems. In this example, eating a lot of fried or fatty foods is the cause or influence that has resulted in weight gain or health problems (the effect or impact).

Sentences or longer texts expressing these relationships contain a cause and an effect, and a connective, as in this example:


Many children eat unhealthily;

as a result,


they may experience

health problems in adulthood

The phrase as a result is a connective that links the cause and the effect in this sentence. Other words and phrases such as so, therefore, thus and consequently could be used in place of as a result.

Cause–effect relationships can also be expressed using verbs; that is, words that describe an action, as in this example:


Unhealthy eating habits in childhood

can lead


to health problems in adulthood.

It is also possible to mention the effect before the cause:


Adults experience health problems



they ate unhealthily as children.