Change, cause & effect

Syntax of cause and effect

Learning from experience

The word 'since' can locate a cause in the past.

For example, what effect did the warren of snares have on these rabbits?

Since leaving the warren of the snares they had become warier, shrewder, a tenacious band who understood each other and worked together. There was no more quarreling. The truth about the warren had been a grim shock. They had come closer together, relying on and valuing each other's capacities. They knew now that it was on these and on nothing else that their lives depended, and they were not going to waste anything they possessed between them.

Watership DownRichard AdamsSource

Did the warren of snares make the rabbits more wary?

Maybe not: they could have become more wary because of all sorts of hardships since leaving the warren.

But there's one sentence in particular that tells us that the time in the warren was the cause: "The truth about the warren had been a grim shock."

This sentence, describing emotional impact, clarifies why the past experience caused the current situation.

Does 'since' always indicate cause and effect?

Since getting this job Elena had become a gun at raising money. She was no longer squeamish about it or resistant to the grind. The battle royale of research funding was enough to scare her straight. Now she embraced the chance to write a proposal, seeing them as much a part of her science as the field and lab work, and she spent a lot of time teaching the research assistants how to do it too.

Since the accident Tom had begun to accept that he might not go pro. He wasn't as sad or hopeless as he had expected to feel. But the surgeon's advice had been clear. His ACL would heal eventually, but it wouldn't be the same. There was a good chance he'd tear it again, and after the second time he'd be out of competitive soccer for good. He wasn't going to stop playing; he'd take the risk. But now he found himself thinking a lot more about what it would be like to be a cop.

To write a variation
Your turn

Like what you see?

You’re not logged in!

If you want to save your writing, login and either assign this lesson to yourself or access it via your class.