Grammar for Explaining “Why”

meditating asking whyHow many times a day do you answer the question “Why?”  If you’re like me, I’m guessing a lot.  What are some of the ways, other than saying “because,” that native speakers use to explain why?


Here are a few ways to explain why

The reason(s) why ….is/are…

The reason(s) for … is/are …

The reason why rainbows occur is the refraction of light through water droplets in the atmosphere.

The reason for passports is to identify the nationality of their bearer.


(Effect) + (Verb) + (Cause) 

… be caused by… 

…come from… 

…stem from… 

originate in 


Earthquakes are caused by the release of pressure by the earth’s plates. 

Tsunamis come from the movement of the earth’s plates under water. 

Wars stem from disagreements between countries over resources. 

Obesity in the U.S. originates in the overuse of sweeteners like corn syrup. 


(Cause) + (Verb) + (Effect) 


…can lead to… 

…can cause… 

…can result in… 


Pollution can lead to health problems. 

Sugar can cause obesity. 

Texting while walking can result in accidents


(Effect) + (Verb) + (Cause) 


…happens when…

…occurs when…


Storms happen when there is low pressure. 

Blowing a fuse occurs when too much electric current flows through a single breaker. 


Practice answering the following questions with these patterns:


  1. Why are people marrying later in life?


  1. Why are people becoming heavier?


  1. Why are cultures around the world becoming more similar?


  1. Why are people so addicted to their electronic devices?


  1. Why are there wars?


  1. What causes videos or on-line posts to go viral?