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35 Most Common Synonyms for Cause

In a world where people are constantly trying to figure out why various things happen; many people dedicate a lot of time to figuring out cause and effect.

In other words, they want to know what leads to certain outcomes, so they can change the inputs to create the outputs that they want! For example, if you want to earn more money, you need to know how to cause that to happen.

If you want to talk about causes – either the noun or the verb – you can substitute these synonyms for cause!

Cause as a Noun

(something that leads to something else)

Cause has several different meanings. Probably the most common meaning as a noun is the thing, person, or situation that leads to an event. This happens when that thing or person does something, giving rise to other situations.

1. Source

The source of something is where it comes from. If money is the source of evil, then anything that is related to money causes evil things to happen.

  • The source of all my worries are my kids, but I would not trade them for the world!
  • I would rather not know the source of all these mistakes in the paperwork if it turned out it was my boss making all of them.

2. Root

The root of a tree or plant is the place where it gets all its water and nutrients. In other words, it is the most essential part of the plant!

  • Unless we find out what the root of the problem is, we will never be able to solve it completely and prevent it from coming back.
  • The root cause of the explosion was attributed to the broken electric wires, but the police officer was skeptical of the results of that finding.

3. Origin

The origin of something is the place or thing that it comes from. A lot of times an originstory is used to explain how a superhero got their powers, or how a villain became evil. Knowing the origin of a problem can help you solve it.

  • The new student Timmy is the origin of the all the problems in the classroom.
  • The poor language foundations of your son are the origin of his problems in his language arts class.

4. Basis

The basis of something, such as a theory or a claim, is the principle on which it is founded.

  • The basis of the TV show is that there is a Russian spy couple who are living in the United States, pretending to be Americans so they can get classified information.
  • The basis of that claim is completely unfounded, so it makes no sense that you would choose to believe it over my word.

5. Creator

The creator of something is the thing that makes it. In other words, you would not have that thing without having a creator.

  • Elias Stone is the creator of the popular TV show, Lake Houston.
  • If you are looking for the creator of the idea, you are looking in the wrong place because I am only the person that carries it out.

6. Producer

When you or something is a producer, you are the one that makes it. This role can be slightly different from being a creator in some contexts. For example, the creator of a TV show is the person who came up with the concept and developed the premise of the story.

By contrast, the producer is the person who makes the show happen from day to day. When the episodes are filmed, edited, aired, etc., it is the producer who ensures that everything runs smoothly.

  • One of my favorite TV producers is JJ Abrams, who has produced iconic shows like Lost, Person of Interest, and
  • California is one of the best known producers in the world of various wines, mostly because of Napa Valley.

Cause as a Noun

(something that is the reason you think something)

In addition, cause can be something that is the foundation of a belief. Some governments are restricted by reasonable cause before they can issue a warrant to search a private place.

In other words, there must be some basic reason for thinking that the place needs to be searched. In this context, a cause is a foundation for some way of thinking.

1. Grounds

The grounds of something – typically an argument – is the logical reasoning behind it. If someone wants to sue a company, for example, they must be able to justify their actions by providing the grounds for their argument. This is similar to ground, which is the thing on which all other things on earth stand.

  • The church’s argument has no grounds, so it really is surprising that the courts are letting them continue to appeal their case.
  • On what grounds can you make that claim?

2. Justification

The justification for something that you think is the reasoning behind it. If you think that charging everyone more sales tax is better than having a complex tax code, you better have a justification for that line of thinking. This is the data that you need to back up any claims that you make.

  • Gary had no justification for the way that he acted last night and he wanted you to know that he is extremely sorry.
  • Sometimes the justification for the argument is more important than the opinion itself, because it shows how you think about the problem.

3. Motive

motive is the reason that you do something. It is very often talked about as the motivation behind an action, including the reason why a criminal would try to break the law. However, any reason behind something is a motive.

One of the most popular collocations with this word is in the phrase ulterior motive, which means that someone is doing something for a reason that is not immediately clear to the observer. Instead, they may have a sinister and evil plan in the works, and acting to prepare for that plan.

  • Once the police officers found the killer’s motive for murdering the man, the suspect list shrunk significantly.
  • When the center manager says anything, you should always be careful and skeptical of an ulterior motive she has, such as trying to make you work overtime and not pay you extra.

4. Excuse

An excuse (noun, not the verb) for something is the reason that it did not go according to plan, or according to someone’s expectations.

If you were supposed to hand in a homework assignment today but did not have it, your excuse could be that you forgot what pages you should do, or that your family member was in a car accident and you had to spend the night in the hospital.

  • It was so easy to see through the flimsy excuse that Chandler gave for not showing up on time to work for three days in a row that he was fired for doing that shortly after.
  • Brian had no excuse for being in Robin’s room while she was not there, so we were all nervous about intruders in the house after that.

5. Reason

The reason for something is the explanation for it. If something happens, most people try to find the reason it did. Looking for the reason anything goes the way that it does it innate to human nature, and anyone who has a shred of curiosity has looked for reason.

  • Ancient populations did not know about scientific explanations for different things we take for granted today, so they came up with many different stories that explain the reasons things like the sunrise happen.
  • Once Ms. Lee found out that the reason Timmy was misbehaving in class and not turning in his homework was because his mother had just passed away, she was much more sympathetic.

6. Stimulus

The stimulus of something is the thing that influences it. If you are trying to change a system and push it in one direction or another, you use a stimulus.

  • The government tried to pass a large stimulus package of public spending to alleviate the recession, but the politicians could not agree on the amount they should spend and what they should be paying for.
  • The whole process was started by a stimulus that made Mary think more critically about her religious beliefs.

Cause as a Noun

(something that you believe in and advocate for)

Another meaning of the word cause is something that you believe in. One of most famous movies from the 1950s went by the name of Rebel Without a Cause. It drew a contrast between a rebel that has a cause (something that they believe in and fight for) and one who does not. Their cause is something that they would probably defend to the death.

1. Principle

principle (not to be confused with principal) is a belief that something is absolutely true. It usually refers to something that is completely fundamental to a system of other beliefs, or at least important enough to reach the same standard. For example, the principles of justice and individual rights are fundamental to democracy.

  • There are few principles that Hal would never go back on, but when he was tested on them by his boss he quit rather than cheat and lie.
  • The principle of the matter is often what is the most important when handling a case of someone trying to bend the rules a little bit in their favor.

2. Tenet

tenet of a system is a crucial belief or piece of the metaphorical puzzle. This is something that, like a principle, cannot be compromised without compromising an entire system. Tenets often make up a religious or philosophical way of thinking.

  • The core tenets of Christianity should be kindness, generosity, and caring for the poor and less fortunate even if they are not always remembered.
  • David hardly recognized the student organization after they decided to completely rewrite the tenets of the group.

3. Doctrine

doctrine is a very firmly held belief. Generally, beliefs in the realm of religion, politics, or other close knit groups can be classified as doctrine. Regardless of the truth of the claim, doctrines are part of a systematic set of beliefs. In government, a doctrine is a law or policy that is passed, usually pertaining to foreign or military affairs.

  • The religious doctrine of the cult convinced my family members to join, but luckily, they were able to back out before they were in too deep.
  • The Truman Doctrine was a United States policy passed by President Harry Truman, stating that the United States would intervene and help any democratic system that was in jeopardy around the world.

4. Ideal

An ideal is the best possible situation or idea. Sometimes, the word is used as an adjective. When it is used as a noun, it talks about the best case for something.

  • I always had self esteem issues because I felt I could never live up to my parents’ ideals of me.
  • The policies of the company are centered around ideals such as honesty, truth, providing value to customers, and innovation.

5. Conviction

Conviction has two very different meanings. The first is something that happens when a court system formally charges a person for a crime.

The other, the one that can be used as a synonym for cause, is a deeply held belief. If you have a strong conviction, it means you are highly unlikely to change your mind even if you see evidence that you should.

  • I have always admired my fifth grade teacher for his strong convictions, but I was sad to learn that part of that strong will applied to narrow ways of thought about people of other races.
  • If you want to challenge someone on their convictions, it is not a good idea to scream or yell without understanding all the facts of why they believe it.

6. Objective

An objective is a goal, or the reason that you or a company or entity is doing something. Teachers will often identify an objective to every lesson that they teach so that they can measure whether they are effective or not when the lesson is over.

  • The company’s objective for this project is to reach at least 100,000 new potential customers and convert at least 10% of them into paying customers.
  • If your actions do not have a clear objective, you are likely going to waste a lot of time wandering around and trying to find a clear purpose.

7. Purpose

purpose is the reason that something is done. This can be used to describe a person, an action, a company, or any other actor. The reason something is created, something is done, or why something is used is its purpose.

  • Many people spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on different coaching, classes, travel, and other activities to try to find their life purpose.
  • The purpose of doing this team building exercise is to encourage all the employees of the division to learn to work with a trust each other, so they can do so again when working on a project.

8. Aim

The aim of a person, project, company, etc. is its goal, or what it is trying to do. If a company is trying to earn a certain amount of money this quarter, that is their aim. This does not differ from a goal or objective.

  • The aim of the experiment was to see if giving people a free, reliable, small source of money would cause them to work harder because they would no longer have money issues or cause them to become lazy and complacent.
  • My aim for this semester is to get all As and get a part time job while helping my student organization plan their big banquet at the end of the year.

9. Belief

belief is something that someone thinks. This can simply be an idea, or it can be something more powerful that causes them to act in a certain way, dictated by that belief.

  • Scott looked puzzled when someone else questioned his beliefs, but he just shrugged it off and proceeded to make friends with them.
  • Pam’s belief that she will succeed only if she works as much as possible and does everything she can is actually leading to her burnout, not more success.

Cause as a Verb

(something that leads to something else)

To cause something means to lead to something. Just like the noun definition, cause as a verb means to be responsible for a happening or to make something happen.

1. Lead to

If thing A leads to thing B, it brings it on. When thing A happens, something about the situation makes it easy for thing B to happen as well. Thing A is the leader, and causes thing B to happen.

  • Marc’s incredible dedication to getting into and staying in shape led to his being able to run for an hour before getting tired and admiration of his muscles.
  • The traffic accident on the highway led to thousands of commuters being late to their jobs on Monday morning.

2. Result in

To result in something means to end in it. If thing A results in thing B, the fact that thing A happens means that thing B will happen as well. Thing B is the result of thing A, which is the cause.

  • Waiting until the last minute to take care of visas and hotel bookings for a vacation to Vietnam results in a lot of stress and sometimes even being turned away at the customs desk at the airport.
  • Because Yolanda was not afraid to take chances and jump on the opportunities that she found, that resulted in a lot of interesting jobs and the ability to travel when she wanted.

3. Bring about

If thing A brings about thing B, thing A essentially carries thing B with it. If A happens, B will also happen because of how the two are connected. To bring about something means to lead to it.

  • Jackson’s mother coming to visit him always brings about a lot of stress because she has high expectations for a place to stay and the food that she eats.
  • The setting of the date for graduation brought about a lot of excitement in the high school seniors, who were looking forward to spending their summers having fun and preparing for their next steps in life.

4. Give rise to

If something gives rise to another, it leads to it. You can think of the result as something that rises from the ashes or the legacy of another.

  • The Industrial Revolution in Great Britain and the United States gave rise to wealth in those countries, as well as the development of cities all over the world.
  • The change in leadership at the company from the founder to someone who did not understand the company culture at all gave rise to a lot of conflict and many people wanting to quit their jobs.

5. Create

To create something means to put it together from beginning to end, using your own brainpower and dedication. There may be some basis for your ideas, but if you createsomething you are always making something new that has never been made in that exact form before.

  • It is amazing how many companies are created by people who started in high school or college in their house garage or basement, but most are created by people who have already found some sort of success elsewhere.
  • Victor created his own website in college, and that grew into a business shortly after he graduated.

6. Produce

To produce something is similar to creation, with one key difference. A produced product is not always original, just made by someone. It is only created if the production is an original one.

  • Attending church service on Easter Sunday produced a renewed faith in Cindy, who had been considering leaving the church because of a lack of time.
  • Depending on the curriculum they use and the teachers that they employ, schools can produce any kind of student from those who end up leading large companies to those who end up in jails.

7. Generate

To generate something means to make it. The difference is that generation usually is associated with a set process, which can be implemented easily and lead to a simple product.

The systematic production of ideas, products, trained or educated people, etc. means that many people or things come out with similar characteristics, which means that you can be sure of their reliability from product to product.

  • The top college basketball schools consistently generate top players, who are recruited to the best teams in the NBA.
  • My role in the company is to generate the expense reports for each of our products, so it involves a lot of gathering documents from the same place and analyzing them.

8. Provoke

To provoke something means to mess with it and cause something to happen. It is usually associated with a negative feeling, because the result of the provoking is usually bad, like a war or conflict that one country provokes with another.

  • “Stop provoking your sister!” scolded the mother when she saw her son poking and bothering his sister while she was doing homework.
  • Several large wars around the world throughout history probably could have been prevented, but one party felt the need to provoke the other, which retaliated with war.

9. Promote

To promote something means to advocate for it, or say good things about it to other people. This is often used when discussing marketing and business. When someone However, it can describe any instance where someone says that they would recommend something or someone else.

  • If you are able to find a large following on social media, you could make some money by promoting different brands and their products!
  • In order to promote correct hand washing techniques amongst children, the kindergarten teachers brought their students outside and demonstrated the process.

10. Foster

To foster something means to nurture it and care for it as it grows. If you foster a plant, you water it, pull the weeds up, and tend to it daily. If you foster a child, you take them into your home (even if just for a short time) and help them adjust during that period.

  • If you want to go to college, you need to pick an institution that has the resources and support to foster your education and personal growth.
  • The best boss that I ever had really cared about fostering a sense of belonging and professional growth amongst all his employees.

11. Begin

To begin something means to start it. It does not matter what stage the thing happens to be in now, or how it ends up, as long as there is a started, it has been begun.

  • Seeing the information online about the political dissident who was tortured, Marissa began to consider all the ways she was incredibly lucky.
  • Taylor decided to finally make the commitment and began to study Chinese seriously.

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