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What Is Cause and Effect?

  • Date Submitted: 10/31/2010 04:24 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 46.2 
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        Process describes how something happens; cause and effect analyzes why something happens. Cause-and-effect essays examine causes, describe effects, or do both. In the following passage from a New York Times column entitled "The Pump on the Well," Tom Wicker considers the effects of a technological advance on a village in India. 
[Cause]  When a solar-powered water pump was provided for a well in India, the village headman took it over and sold the water, until stopped. The new liquid      abundance attracted hordes of unwanted nomads. Village boys who had drawn water in buckets had nothing to do, and some became criminals. The gap between rich and poor widened, since the poor had no land to benefit from irrigation. [Effects]Finally, village women broke the pump, so they could gather again around the well that had been the center of their social lives. Moral: technological advances have social, cultural sentence   and economic consequences, often unanticipated. 
         Cause and effect, like narration, links situations and events together in time, with causes preceding effects. But causality involves more than sequence: Cause-and-effect analysis explains why something happened--or is happening---and it predicts what probably will happen. 
Sometimes many different causes can be responsible for one effect. For example, many elements may contribute to an individual's decision to leave his or her native country and come to the United States.
Causes                                                                   Effect 
Political repression                                                  Immigrants come to the United States 
Desire to join family members 
Desire for economic opportune 
Desire for religious freedom
Similarly, many different effects can be produced by a single cause. Immigration, for instance, has had a variety of effects on the United States.
Cause                                                                   Effects ...


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