写作课讲义:Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect
A.    Definition
In a cause and effect essay, you discuss the reasons why something happened, and then, you discuss the results. It is yet another form of logical writing.
In some cases, you may wish to explain only the causes of an event or only its effects.
Cause and effect writing is essential in all fields of study.
Sociology: Alienation疏远 in American Society
Science: The Relationship between Thermal Inversion热转化 and the Formation of Smog
Economics: China’s New Economic Policies
All of the above topics are best developed in the following way:
A: Definition of subject
B: Causes
C: Effects

B.    Sample Essay
           Women’s Liberation in America   (326 words)
Since the middle of this century, American women have been seeking greater independence. No longer content with their traditional roles as housewives, women have joined together to create the “women’s liberation movement”. The basic causes can be traced to three events: the development of effective birth-control methods, the invention of appliances for the home, and the advent到来 of World War II.
The first cause was the development of effective birth-control methods, freeing women from the endless cycle of childbearing. As a result of having a choice as to if and when to have children, women acquired the freedom and the time to pursue interests outside the home.
The second event was the development of labor-saving appliances for the home, resulting in more leisure time and freedom for women. For example, fifty years ago, a housewife spent an average of twelve to fourteen hours per day doing housework. Due to the invention of machines such as vacuum cleaners, washers and driers, dishwashers and microwave ovens, a housewife can now take care of her daily chores[tʃɔ:] in about five hours.
The third event that stimulated the liberation of women was World War II. During the war, most men were in the military. Consequently, women had to fill the vacancies in the labor force. Women by the thousands went to work in factories and businesses. This was a great change for the majority of American women, and they discovered that they could produce airplanes and manage a business as well as change diapers尿布 and bake cookies.
These three events planted the seeds of great change in society. The effects of this change are being felt at all levels: in the family, in business and in the government.
One of the biggest effects of the greater independence of women is being felt in the home. Because so many women are working, men are learning to share the household tasks of cooking, cleaning and even caring for children. In some families, husbands now stay at home while the wife earns the family income. It should be pointed out, however, that this is the exception, not the rule. In most families in the U.S. the husband still earns most of the money, and the wife still does most of the housework.
The effects of women’s liberation are also being felt on the job. More and more women are working, and they are demanding equal salaries and equally responsible positions. Many businesses encourage women to advance to management level, and every year, the nation’s schools produce more women doctors, lawyers and accountants.
Politics and government are still other areas that are feeling the effects of the women’s movement. Although the U.S. does not appear ready to accept a woman president, as some countries of the world have, women are being elected to public office in increasing numbers. The U.S. currently has three women governors, which is the highest office in the state. In 1984, a woman was a vice-presidential candidate. A few years earlier, this would have been unthinkable.
In conclusion, women in the U.S. are acquiring greater independence which is causing sweeping changes in society. While some men may not be happy with this, they should remember that it was they, the men, who created the conditions leading to the liberation of women; men made war, male scientists developed birth control, and businessmen earned a lot of money selling vacuum cleaners and dishwashers.
1.    Which paragraph introduces the cause of the liberation of women? ___ The effects? ___
2.    Which paragraphs develop the causes? ___
3.    Which paragraphs develop the effects? ___
4.    What is function of paragraph 5? ___
5.    Does the introductory paragraph list both causes and effects? ___ Why? ____
6.    Does the concluding paragraph review both causes and effects?

C.    Vocabulary
Learn to avoid repeating “because” and “as a result”.
1.    Sentence connectors: (all of these introduce an effect)
as a result, consequently, therefore, accordingly, because of this, for that reason
2.    Coordinators并列连接词:   for + cause; so + effect
3.    Subordinators主从。。。:   so … that;  such … that + effect
4.    Verbs:
Introducing cause: to be due to; to be a consequence of; to result from; to be the result of
Introducing effect: to be the reason for; to lead to; to contribute to; to result in; to cause;
to be the cause of
       Note 1: Double comparatives show cause and effect.
             Eg. The more is rains,the sadder he becomes.
       Note 2: You can emphasize either the cause or the effect by placing it first in the sentence.
See task 1,2,3
Task 1: In each sentence:
1. Underline the cause  
2. Put a dotted line under the effect  
3. Highlight the signal words
  Eg. The increase in the death rate of women from lung cancer is due to their smoking more.
1.    The computer is a learning tool since it helps children master math and language skills.
2.    His refusal to attend classes resulted in his dismissal from the school.
3.    The cause of the patient’s death was the doctor’s negligence.
4.    Public transportation is becoming popular because the cost of gasoline has been rising.
5.    A medical computer system is an aid to physicians because of its ability to interpret data and provide a diagnosis.
6.    Since carpools cut expense, many commuters are joining them.
7.    Loss of creativity is a consequence of watching too much television.

Task 2 Using a variety of structure words, write single sentences to emphasize the effect.
Eg. The death rate of women from lung cancer is increasing due to their smoking more.
1.    Alcohol is used in room thermometers. Alcohol is less expensive than mercury.
2.    Copper is used in electrical connections. Copper is an extremely good conductor.
3.    The earth has a day and a night. The earth revolves about its own axis.
4.    Hydrogen is highly flammable. Hydrogen is dangerous.
5.    A suction cup will stick to a flat surface. There is no air between the cup and the surface.
Task 3. Write cause-effect sentences using double comparatives.
Eg. Smoke/lung cancer
    The more you smoke, the greater are the chances you will die of lung cancer.
1.    Industrialization/ pollution
2.    Close to the Equator/salinity of ocean water
3.    Deep dive/pressure    deep – an adjective
4.    Money people earn/spend

D.    The Topic Paragraph
A good introductory statement for a cause and effect essay must identify the topic, tell whether cause and/or effect will be discussed and may give the main points of each.
Because cause and effect writing consists of several paragraphs, the topic is usually introduced in the first paragraph, after an interesting opening. See the sample essay in Part B.
1.    After the speed limit in the U.S. was lowered from 70 to 55 miles per hour in 1975, the number of traffic deaths decreased sharply.
Topic: U.S. speed limit
Cause: lowered speed limit
2.    Los Angeles suffers from air pollution. It is subject to thermal inversion due to the presence of mountains, the direction of prevailing winds and the production of convection对流 currents. The result, of course, is smog.
Topic: Air pollution in L.A.
Causes: -- mountains, -- winds, -- convection
Effect: Smog
3.    Alienation in American society is rooted in two causes: individual mobility and the decline of the nuclear family system. It produces serious effects on both the individual and society as a whole.
Topic: Alienation in America
Causes: -- mobility, -- decline of family
Effects: -- on individual, -- on society
   See Task 4
Task 4. For the topics below, decide whether a cause and effect analysis is possible or whether only cause or only effect is best. Then, write an appropriate topic sentence.
1.    A rainbow
2.    The refugee problem
3.    Jogging
4.    The phases of the moon
5.    China’s birth control policy

E.    organization
There are two ways to organize a cause and effect essay: block分块 organization and chain连环 organization. Each is discussed below. A paragraph defining the topic is often placed before the cause/effect analysis. For example, in number 3 above, a definition of alienation should follow the introductory paragraph.
In those cases where you want to discuss only causes or only effects, the organization is simple: list them in order of importance or in some other logical order.
1.    Block organization:
First discuss the causes (in one or more paragraphs), then discuss all the effects. This form is easier to use and more common.


Example: Sample Essay  Part B
2.    Chain organization:
Here, you discuss one cause and its effect(s), a second cause and its effect(s), a third cause and its effect(s), in a “chain”. This pattern is useful when causes and effects are closely connected or when an effect of a first cause becomes a cause of another effect.
                          Cause 1
                           Effect 1
                           Cause 2
                         Effect 2
                         Cause 3
                         Effect 3
For some time now, medical scientists have noted an alarming increase in disease of the heart and circulation among people who smoke cigarettes. It has been found that the presence of tobacco in the blood stream caused blood vessels to contract, thus slowing circulation, which eventually leads to hardening of the arteries动脉. As arteries stiffen, less blood reaches the brain, and the end result of this slowdown is a cerebral hemorrhage脑出血, commonly referred to as a “stroke”. In addition, tobacco in the bloodstream reduces the ability of the hemoglobin血红素 to release oxygen, resulting in shortness of breath. The lack of oxygen forces the heart to beat faster – that is, the pulse rate increases – and in turn magnifies the risk of heart attack.  
See Tasks 5
Task 5. Choose two of the topics from Task 4 and make a cause and effect outline for each. If possible, use a block organization for one and chain organization for the other.

F.    The Transition Paragraph:
When writing a long block organization essay, it is recommended that a short paragraph be introduced between the “cause” and the “effect”. It serves to conclude the first part of the essay and lead to the second; in other words, it makes clear the division between the causes and the effects. It may also be used to list the upcoming effects. Such a paragraph is called a transition paragraph.
Eg.: see paragraph 5 of the sample essay in Part B

G.    Exercises:

Task 6. Choose a topic from the list below and write a 250-word cause and effect essay.
1.    Inflation
2.    Discrimination (sex or religion)
3.    Terrorism
4.    China’s Open-Door Policy
5.    China’s Brain Drain

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