Tag Archives: writing patterns

Writing Patterns II

In this post, we conclude our discussion on writing patterns by looking at two more types. The two types of writing patterns for this post are cause and effect and comparison.

Cause and Effect

Causes are reasons and effects are the results of the reason. Causes have an effect on something or somebody. A paragraph that uses this writing pattern indicates the reason something happened and how it has an impact. Below are some common phrases and clues that indicate cause and effect writing pattern was employed.

Cause                Effect

the reason(s)     thus

the cause(s)       the result(s)  as a consequence

because, since  the effect(s)  on that account

is due to [cause]  the outcome  [effect] is/was caused by

Here is an example paragraph using this writing pattern, The cause is bold and the effect is underline.

Dogs make good pets. Since they are friendly dogs cause people happy.  In addition, because dogs love being around humans, the consequence is people often begin to love dogs.

In this paragraph, there were two cause and effect moments. The second and third sentence were both cause and effect. As you looked at the paragraph, you may have noticed that in the first example the effect came before the cause. This is common and normal in writing. The second example shares the cause before the effect. Either approach is acceptable. The goal of cause and effect or effect and cause is to show how one thing leads to another.

To determine cause and effect consider the following questions

  • What causes the “effect”? (The answer to this will be the cause.)
  • Why does “effect” happen? (The answer for this will be the cause.)
  • What is the reason for the effect? (The answer will be the cause.)
  • How can the “effect” be explained? (The answer will be the cause.)
  • What does the “cause” lead to? (The answer to this question will be the effect.)

From this list, you can see that it is more common to identify the effect first and then the cause. However, this is not always the case.


This identifies similarities, difference, or both in two or more things/concepts. Below are common words and phrases associated with compare/contrast writing pattern.

Comparison          Contrast

similarly                  in contrast  some; others

likewise                   however  nonetheless

both                         as opposed to     

same; alike              whereas

Here is an example comparison words are bold and contrast words are underlined.

Dogs are similar to cats.  Both have four legs and a tail.  However, dogs and cats are different in their behavior.  Dogs are much friendlier than cats are with people.  Though they are different both dogs and cats make good pets.

There is not much to explain. The different words employed indicate how dogs and cats are similar and different. Paragraphs can employ this mixed approach or focus completely on comparing or contrasting. What’ is best depends on the context.


Writing patterns provide ways in which to communicate ideas. There is no reason another will limit themselves to such fix approaches when expressing their ideas. These patterns are for helping students to see how an author is trying to express themselves.

Writing Patterns I

An author’s writing pattern is how they organize the information they are sharing with the reader. There are many different patterns but we will only talk about three today. The writing patterns are list, sequence, and definition.

List Pattern

In the list pattern, the author shares a group of items in a way in which the order does not matter. Some clues that the paragraph is a list pattern includes the following, such as the use of such words and phrases as also, too, another, moreover, besides and the use of such signals as a, b,c …,  bullets (•), and asterisks (*). Below is an example paragraph using the list pattern.

There are three things you need to know about dogs

–They are cute

–They are friendly

–They are loyal

These are some of the reasons you should own a dog

Instead of using dashes we could have used bullets or a, b, c, or any other host of ways to indicate a list.

Sequence Pattern

The sequence pattern is the same as the list. The only difference is that the order of items matters. Some of the signal phrases/words are first, second, third…, now, then, next, finally and some other forms include 1, 2, 3, or a, b, c. Below is an example of a paragraph using the sequence pattern.

There are three steps to buying a dog.

–First decide which kind of dog is best for your environment.

–Second, consider how much it will cost to buy the dog.

–Third, find a nearby dealer who can provide the dog.

Here, the order matters in order to buy the dog.

Definition Pattern

In this pattern, the author describes or explains a term. Common signal phrases.words include is defined as,  by this we mean, means  or (preceding a synonym), in other words, is, is known as. In the example below, the author attempts to describe dogs by defining their characteristics.

Dogs are one of the many types of pets people can own.  They are unique in that they are much friendlier than other types of animals.  In addition, they are always loyal and will not often leave a good master.  People need to know that dogs make good pets.


Different writing patterns are useful for sharing information in an appropriate way. The examples here provide some idea for determining how an other is trying to share information with a reader. Knowing the pattern can help in seeing the “big picture” of a reading passage. It helps in understanding what the writer is trying to say to his audience. As such, this is a valuable skill to develop.