English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

English: skills for learning

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.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371