Cause-and-effect relationships: It’s (not) complicated

Whatever your academic subject, you’ll invariably find yourself describing cause-and-effect relationships. Of course, in academic writing these relationships can be very complicated, but luckily the grammatical structures used to describe them often boil down to a simple formula.

When using verbs like lead to, cause, or generate, the structure is very straightforward:

noun (cause) + verb + noun (effect)

Even complex examples follow this simple pattern:

Others say globalization and lower levels of unionization may have led to a longer-term shift in the balance of power between workers and employers.1

Can you recognise the simple structure in this complex example? To explore in more depth, I’ve made a short video using lead to as an example.

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