Cause and Effect Transition Words

What are cause and effect transition words?

Transition words also referred to as linking or connecting words, are tools used to create coherence and consistency (known as ‘flow’) in a piece of writing. Transition words (or phrases) link different points together to improve readability. Without these words, the relationship between ideas may be unclear to the reader. Transition words add logic, order, and structure to the writing.  They help the reader to follow the points by showing the connection between different phrases, sentences, or paragraphs. To learn about cause and effect transition words, keep reading!

Types of transition words 

There are four different types of transition words, which should be used depending on what the writer is trying to portray.  Each transition word has different meanings and implications. So before inserting a word into a paper, it’s critical to fully understand meaning and usage. Most transition words and phrases can appear in three places in a sentence: at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end. Some transitions can also be placed between two sentences.

Transition words fall into one of these categories:

Cause and effect transition words

Also referred to as causation, these connect a reason to a consequence.  Examples include “therefore”, and “because”.

Sequential transition words

These connect ideas or events to when they occur, chronologically.  Examples include “first of all” and “second”.

Additive transition words

These are used to add information. Examples include “furthermore” and “such as”.

Adversative transition words 

These are used to show contrast or conflict. Examples include “however” and “even though”.

Cause and effect 

Cause and effect transition words make a certain type of text, a cause and effect essay, easier to read. A cause and effect essay shows how two or more events are related.  The transition words help to provide either a reason or a consequence and give the reader a better idea of where to find the connection between two separate things.

Transition words to show cause (reason)

These are words and phrases that introduce a cause or reason.  They should be used at the beginning of a cause and effect essay. Some of these can be used interchangeably.

  • Because/Since: Since can also be used to express time, for example, I have worked at the factory since 2010.
  • As a result of 
  • As
  • Because of/Due to can be followed by “the fact that”
  • Owing to

It is important to note that when these are used at the beginning of a sentence, an effect or consequence must be included at the end of the sentence. Depending on which transition is used, it will be followed by either a verb phrase or a noun phrase.

Because + [noun phrase]: Because it rained for days, the basement flooded.

Since + [verb phrase]: Since learning how to drive, she was always out. 

As a result of + [noun phrase]: As a result of the bad weather, the party was cut short.

**As a result of + [independent clause]: She was late; as a result, we missed the beginning of the lecture.

As + [verb phrase]: As I was tired, I made several mistakes.

Because of + [noun phrase]: Because of the depression, many people relied on food pantries. 

Due to + [noun phrase]: Due to the traffic, he was late for work. 

Owing to + [noun phrase]: Owing to the national holiday, she had the day off from work.

Transition words to show effect (consequence)

The following are words and phrases that introduce an effect or consequence.  They should be used after a sentence or paragraph that describes a cause. Some of these can be used interchangeably.

  • So/Therefore/As a result
  • Thus/Hence
  • Consequently/Accordingly/As such
  • On account of 
  • For that reason

How to properly use transitions

  • Make sure the word or phrase matches the connection being made. It is unhelpful to throw transition words into an essay without proper use.
  • Certain transitions are considered relatively formal, such as “hence”, and “thus”. Therefore, these should be used only in formal writing.
  • It’s important that transition words are not overused or the reader may feel like the relationship is over explaining relationships that are already clear.
  • If the transition is at the beginning of the sentence, you must use a comma. If the transition is not at the beginning a comma is not necessary.
  • Words like “because”, “since”, and “as” are known as subordinating conjunctions. They start clauses that cannot exist on their own.  If a clause is introduced by a word like this it should always follow or be followed by another clause in the same sentence.
  • Example 1: Because it rained. This is incorrect. 
  • Example 2: Because it rained, I did not go to the beach. This is correct.

Remember that transition words with similar meanings are not all interchangeable. Understanding the meaning of the word or phrase before use is crucial.