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Cause and Effect

A cause-effect development is the way of developing a paragraph where the topic sentence and the supporting sentences are in causal relationship. This means that your supporting sentences become a list of either effects (what a certain situation has led to or resulted in), or causes (reasons or explanations why something is the way it is, or why it happened the way it did).


3.25. Now look at each of these methods in the model paragraphs. Look for:

1) supportive material such as examples, details, facts and statistics,

2) listing signals,

3) ascending or descending order.


Model paragraph 1

Some scientists warn that the gradual warming of the earth’s atmosphere, known as the greenhouse effect, will cause dramatic changes in the world as we know it. First of all, because of the increase in temperature of up to 10 degrees F by the end of the next century, which some believe has already began, there will be changes in existing pattern of agriculture. Such fertile areas as the U.S. Great Plains may become deserts, while the now arid lands in Saudi Arabia may become grain-producing farmland. Secondly, since rainfall patterns will change, water supplies in some areas will diminish. Experts predict, for instance, that the rice fields in southeast Asia will some day require irrigation to sustain crops. Changes in water levels will also be responsible for altered living patterns. Coastal areas, such as Florida and the Netherlands, will experience such a dramatic rise in water levels that they will fall below sea level and become uninhabitable. In other areas, like the Great Lakes, water levels will fall; consequently, they will no longer be able to support industry with energy supplies and a ready means of transportation. Since most experts on the greenhouse effect are convinced that it is irreversible, they advise us to plan now for how best to cope with the changing world.


Model paragraph 2

To understand why baroque art put great emphasis on virtuosity it is helpful to bear in mind the chief assumptions and preoccupations shared by most baroque artists. First, whatever the medium in which they worked, baroque artists were united in their commitment to the expression of intense emotions. In the Renaissance artists had generally tried to achieve calm balance and order they thought of as typically classical. By contrast, in the Baroque period artists were attracted by the extremes of feeling. Sometimes these strong emotions were personal. Painters and poets alike tried to look into their own souls and reveal by colour or word the depths of psychic and spiritual experience. However, more often artists tried to convey intense religious emotions. The concern with emotions produced in its turn an interest in what came to be called psychology. Baroque artists tried to explain how and why their subjects felt as strongly as they did by presenting their emotional states as widely and analytically as possible. This is particularly evident in seventeenth century opera and drama, where music in the one case and words in the other used to depict the precise state of mind of the characters. As a result, Baroque artists’ commitment to strong emotional statements and to psychological exploration required the invention of new and daring techniques, thus inaugurating the tradition of the virtuoso artist which reached a climax in the nineteenth century.


Comparison and Contrast

The topic sentence can be supported by arranging the supporting sentences according to either similarities or differences between two things, or between two aspects of one thing.




Model paragraph

Are you aware of the striking similarities between two of the most popular U.S. presidents, Abraham Lincoln and John F.Kennedy? a minor point is that the names Lincoln and Kennedy both have seven letters. Both men had their elections legally challenged. Lincoln and Kennedy are both remembered for their sense of humour, as well as for their interest in civil rights. Lincoln became president in 1860; Kennedy, in 1960. Lincoln's’ secretary was Mrs. Kennedy; Kennedy’s secretary was Mrs. Lincoln. Neither man took the advice of his secretary not to make a public appearance on the day he was assassinated. Lincoln and Kennedy were both killed on a Friday in the presence of their wives. Both assassins, John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald were murdered before they could be brought to trial. Just as Lincoln was succeeded by a Southern Democrat named Johnson, so was Kennedy. Andrew Johnson (Lincoln’s successor) was born in 1808; Lyndon Johnson (Kennedy’s successor) was born in 1908.


Final Test for Unit III


Read the following paragraph carefully to make its written analysis.


1) Identify and underline the following:

- topic sentence,

- irrelevant sentences (if any).


2) State the following:

- type of this paragraph,

- paragraph order,

- method of paragraph development,

- write out the listing signals (if any).


Washington Irving’s important work The Sketch Book contains two of the best stories from all American literature: Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, which have much in common. The plots of both stories are based on old German folk tales. Like many important American writers after him, Irving found that the rich, older culture of the Old World gave him a lot of material for his books. However, Irving fills the two stories with the local color of New York’s Hudson River Valley, and their setting is one more common feature. Even today, the real places he mentioned are associated with his stories. The Catskill Mountains, on the western side of the Hudson Valley are still thought of as the place where Rip Van Winkle fell asleep for twenty years. Sleepy Hollow, just north of the city, is still famous as the place where, late one night, Crane was chased by the Headless Horseman. Indeed, Washington Irving never tried to speak for the whole country. For him the American world tended to stop at the borders of New York State. Accordingly, the positive characters of the story are New Yorkers, whose personalities are contrasted with those of the New England “Yankees” and greatly admired by the author.



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