Difference Between Cause and Effect (With Table)

For every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is Newton’s third law of motion which holds true for all events happening around us. For instance, if water boils to the gaseous state, it is because of the energy provided in form of heat or by reducing pressure.

Similarly, the momentum generated by the football player is transferred to the ball through the kick which enables the ball to travel to a certain distance with specific speed. There were some factors in the above two examples which produced the desired effect. Those factors were said to be the cause for the event to take place.

The events which resulted due to the cause are said to be an effect. Effect and cause are two sides of the same coin. One does not exist without the other. If something has happened, it will be a result of some direct or indirect cause. The cause may be known or sometimes remains hidden.

The origin of the cause could be many years back or could be a fraction of minutes. It depends on the nature of the cause. So, it should be noted that if we are unable to find a cause for the event, it does not mean that there is no cause behind that particular event.

Cause vs Effect

The difference between cause and effect is that cause is the fuel which tends to produce an effect. It is the cause which takes place first to produce the desired or undesired effect. ‘Cause’ is the catalyst for an event to take place. ‘Effect’ is the final result which has been produced for an event from a specific cause.

‘Cause’ is not specific to people alone. It can involve facts, objects, properties, process, variables etc. There will be a cause behind the logic of the result of any incidents (effect).

Comparison Table Between Cause and Effect

Parameter of ComparisonCauseEffect
OriginFrom LatinFrom Latin
Meaning (Noun Form)The reason for something to happen.The result of a particular event.
Meaning (Verb Form)To serve or bring about a cause.To make something to happen.
Example of Noun FormThe cause of the incident is unknown.The effect of less sleep will not be good.
Example of Verb FormDeficiency in Vitamin-A causes night blindness.As a non-governmental organization, the founders are focussing to effect a change in the framework for producing better results.

What is Cause?

The term Cause is derived from the Latin word ‘causa’. This is a derivative for noun form which denotes a reason behind something to happen. It denotes a person, thing, fact or any process that acts in such a way that a particular event occurs as a result of the former. As a noun, it means the reason for a condition or an action. The reason could be a person or an object. Consider the following example.

The leakage in the brake oil pipe was the cause of the accident.

In this statement, the term cause denotes the leakage (object). Here the reason for the accident to occur is due to the leakage in the pipe. As a verb, the term cause means to serve as an occasion or cause of something. It brings about a certain effect when used as a verb. For instance, consider the next example.

Rash driving causes fatal accidents.

Here the term cause tells the user that the rash driving leads to accidents. It is denoting the event happening because of the former. Often, the term cause is used to denote something bad to happen. For example, deficiency in vitamin-B causes Beri Beri disease. In this statement, it denotes an ominous thing to happen because of the lack of a particular vitamin.

What is Effect?

The term ‘effect’ is derived from the Latin word ‘effectus’, meaning performance or accomplishments. When used as a noun, it denotes a consequence that has been produced due to a particular task. Example for the above statement includes “Heating of the steel brought the desired effect needed for forging”. Consider the following statements.

  1. The radiation leakage from the reactor led to a catastrophic effect on the surrounding area.
  2. The tablets did not produce any effect.

All these statements denote a result which has happened due to certain influence(cause). It also denotes the state of being functional or operative. For example, “He toiled day and night to transform a plan into effect”. In the media industry, it means the sounds and lightning used for a film to achieve a realistic feel.

When used in plural form, it means the properties, often used to denote personal properties. When used as a verb, it denotes something to be accomplished. For example, the recent research in defense system effected the transition of the military to a higher level.

Main Differences Between Cause and Effect

  1. ‘Cause’ is used generally to mention a catalyst which will produce a certain result. ‘Effect’ is something which has resulted due to a cause.
  2. Cause and effect go hand in hand. For an event to occur, there will be some direct or indirect cause and for every effect, a cause would be the initiator.
  3. Cause, as a noun, denotes the reason for an event to happen whereas effect refers to a consequence or the result which has occurred.
  4. When used as a verb, ’cause’ represents something going to happen. Often it is used to mention some unpleasant things or incidents to happen. Whereas effect means something to bring about or accomplish. In verb form, both the term cause and effect emphasize on something to happen.
  5. It is the cause which always leads to effect.


Though the verb form of cause and effect have little similarities, the general and the noun form of both the terms posses specific differences. It is the cause which always leads to the effect all the time. It is the cause which produces the effect. Effect is the consequence of something that happened due to a particular influence or cause.