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August 15, 2014 - Word of the Day: cause


The word "cause" is used to explain why things happen. You can use "cause" as a verb or as a noun when providing the reason or the explanation for a situation. Don't confuse "cause" with "because." The word "because" is a type of conjunction.

These sentences and questions demonstrate how "cause" can be used as a verb:

  • Two children playing with matches caused the fire. (How did the fire start? Two children were playing with matches. They started the fire. They caused it to happen.)
  • What causes our boss to get so angry? (What happens to make him angry?)
  • A drought is causing my grass to turn brown. (If it hasn't been raining, that's the reason for the dry, brown grass.)
  • What caused those people to riot?
  • What's causing that noise I hear underneath my car?

The next set of examples show how "cause" can be used as a noun:

  • What was the cause of the fire? (What started it?)
  • What's the cause for his anger?
  • Poor soil and a lack of rain are the main causes for dry, brown grass.
  • A hole in the muffler is the cause for the noise.

One other interesting use for "cause" as a noun is as a substitute for the word charity:

  • Do you know of any good causes that I can contribute money to this year?
  • Your donations will go to a good cause. The money will help feed starving people.


What causes global warming? (verb)

What are the causes of global warming? (noun)

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