TOEIC : Cause and effect

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for TOEIC

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Cause And Effect

Paris is the culinary center of the world. All the great missionaries of good cookery have gone forth from it, and its cuisine was, is, and ever will be the supreme expression of one of the greatest arts in the world. Most of the good cooks come from the south of France, most of the good food comes from the north. They meet at Paris, and thus the Paris cuisine, which is that of the nation and that of the civilized world, is created.

Adapted from The Gourmet's Guide to Europe, by Lieut.-Col. Newnham-Davis and Agernon Bastard (1903)

According to the passage, what is one of the reasons that Paris has become the culinary center of the world?

Possible Answers:

Paris has the most sophisticated and civilized people

Southern chefs bring with them the best ingredients in the world

French people are naturally artistic, and cooking is an art

Good chefs from the south and good food from the north converge in Paris

Correct answer:

Good chefs from the south and good food from the north converge in Paris

Explanation:

The correct answer is "Good chefs from the south and good food from the north converge in Paris." We know that this is the best choice because the passage states that "Most of the good cooks come from the south of France, most of the good food comes from the north. They meet at Paris, and thus the Paris cuisine, which is that of the nation and that of the civilized world, is created." 

Example Question #2 : Cause And Effect

If you wanted to build a house, of what should you build it? In a new country, people generally use wood; but after a time wood grows expensive. Moreover, wood catches fire easily; therefore, as a country becomes more thickly settled and people live close together in cities, stone and brick are used. Large cities do not allow the building of wooden houses within a certain distance from the center, and sometimes even the use of wooden shingles is forbidden. Of late years large numbers of "concrete" or "cement" houses have been built. Our grandfathers would have opened their eyes wide at the suggestion of a house built of sand, and would have felt anxious at every rainfall lest their homes should suddenly melt away. Even after thousands of concrete buildings were in use, many people still feared that they would not stand the cold winters and hot summers of the United States; but it has been proved that concrete is a success provided it is properly made.

From Diggers in the Earth by Eva March Tappan (1919)

What was the main cause of the switch from wood to cement buildings, especially in cities?

Possible Answers:

The cost of wood

Regional disputes over land

Lack of forests

Fear of fires

Correct answer:

Fear of fires

Explanation:

The answer is "fear of fires." The passage states "moreover, wood catches fire easily; therefore, as a country becomes more thickly settled and people live close together in cities, stone and brick are used." While the cost of wood is one of the reasons, it is not the main reason as emphasized in this passage. There is no mention of a lack of forests or regional disputes over land, so "fear of fires" is the best answer. 

Example Question #3 : Cause And Effect

   About forty years ago, M. Henry Dimont, a native of Switzerland, having witnessed the unnecessary suffering of the wounded, from lack of care, at the battle of Solferino, was so much impressed that he published a book, pointing out the necessity of forming a corporation of nurses to work in the cause of humanity in time of war, regardless of nationality of the injured, and who should be permitted to aid the wounded on the battle-field, under the protection of a flag which should be recognized as neutral.

      So much interest was taken in the idea that the outcome was a convention held at Geneva in 1864, which was attended by representatives from sixteen of the great nations of the world, who signed an agreement that they would protect members of the association when caring for the wounded on the field of battle. The society adopted for its colors the Swiss cross, as a compliment to its birthplace; they, however, reversed the colors, and the flag is therefore a red cross on a white field, and is the only military hospital flag of civilized warfare; it protects persons from molestation who work under the emblem performing services in aid of the wounded.

      It was decided that the work of the Red Cross Society should not be confined to times of war, but that in case of disasters and calamities, which were always to be apprehended, the organization was to provide aid. During the past seventeen years the American Red Cross Society has served in fifteen disasters and famines, and Russians, Armenians, and Cubans have received aid from this society.

Adapted from The Great Wide World, Vol. II No. 24, by C. F. Kroeh (1898)

Which of the following was the cause of the founding of the Red Cross Society?

Possible Answers:

The work of M. Henry Dimont

The lack of training battlefield nurses received

The confusion over flags being used on the battlefield

The disasters in Russia, Cuba, and Armenia

Correct answer:

The work of M. Henry Dimont

Explanation:

The correct answer is "The work of M. Henry Dimont." The first paragraph tells us that M. Henry Dimont was a witness to unnecessary suffering from soldiers on the battlefield, and later published a book about it which led to great interest and the eventual action from major countries, who came together to form the Red Cross. The lack of medical training, confusion over flags, or disasters in other countries are not mentioned as causes of the formation of the Red Cross. For these reasons, "The work of M. Henry Dimont" is the best choice. 

Example Question #4 : Toeic

       A pigeon who was very thirsty saw a goblet of water painted on a signboard.

      Without stopping to see what it was, she flew to it with a loud whir, and dashing against the signboard, jarred herself terribly. Having broken her wings, she fell to the ground, and was caught by a man, who said, “Your zeal should never outrun your caution.”

--Aesop's Fables: A Version for Young Readers by J.H. Stickney (1915)

What caused the pigeon to break its wings?

Possible Answers:

It flew into a wall, thinking it was a goblet of water

None of these

It never learned how to fly properly and crashed

It was caught by a man who was hunting

Correct answer:

It flew into a wall, thinking it was a goblet of water

Explanation:

The correct answer is "It flew into a wall, thinking it was a goblet of water." This answer can be found in the first two sentence of the passage: "A pigeon who was very thirsty saw a goblet of water painted on a signboard. Without stopping to see what it was, she flew to it with a loud whir, and dashing against the signboard." The man who later appears in the passage was not a hunter, and there is no evidence to suggest that the pigeon never learned to fly. For these reasons, the best choice is "It flew into a wall, thinking it was a goblet of water."

Example Question #4 : Cause And Effect

An ant, walking by the river one day, said to himself, “How nice and cool this water looks! I must drink some of it.” But as he began to drink, his foot slipped, and he fell in.

“Oh, somebody please help me, or I shall drown!” cried he.

A Dove, sitting in a tree that overhung the river, heard him, and threw him a leaf. “Climb up on that leaf,” said she, “and you will float ashore.”

The Ant climbed up onto the leaf, which the wind blew to the shore, and he stepped upon dry land again.

“Good-by, kind Dove,” said he, as he ran home. “You have saved my life, and I wish I could do something for you.”

“Good-by,” said the Dove; “be careful not to fall in again.”

A few days after this, when the Dove was busy building her nest, the Ant saw a man just raising his gun to shoot her.

He ran quickly, and bit the man’s leg so hard that he cried “Oh! oh!” and dropped his gun.

This startled the Dove, and she flew away. The man picked up his gun, and walked on.

When he was gone, the Dove came back to her nest.

“Thank you, my little friend,” she said. “You have saved my life.”

And the little Ant was overjoyed to think he had been able to do for the Dove what the Dove had so lately done for him. 

Aesop's Fables: A Version for Young Readers by J.H. Stickney (1915)

What caused the man to walk away without shooting the dove?

Possible Answers:

It is unknown

The ant bit him

His friend called to him

He was out of bullets

Correct answer:

The ant bit him

Explanation:

The correct answer is "The ant bit him." This answer can be found in the following lines:

"A few days after this, when the Dove was busy building her nest, the Ant saw a man just raising his gun to shoot her. He ran quickly, and bit the man’s leg so hard that he cried “Oh! oh!” and dropped his gun. This startled the Dove, and she flew away. The man picked up his gun, and walked on."

None of the other choices occur in the story. 

Example Question #5 : Cause And Effect

      Japan is a very beautiful country. It is full of fine mountains, with rivers leaping down the steep slopes and dashing over the rocks in snowy waterfalls. At the foot of the hills are rich plains and valleys, well watered by the streams which rush down from the hills. But the mountains are so many and the plains are so few that only a small part of the land can be used for growing crops, and this makes Japan poor. Its climate is not unlike ours in Great Britain, but the summer is hotter, and the winter is in some parts very cold. Many of the mountains are volcanoes. Some of these are still active, and earthquakes often take place. Sometimes these earthquakes do terrible harm. The great earthquake of 1871 killed 10,000 people, injured 20,000, and destroyed 130,000 houses.

      The highest mountain of Japan also is the most beautiful, and it is greatly beloved by the Japanese, who regard it as a sacred height. Its name is Fujisan, or Fusi-Yama, and it stands near the sea and the capital city of Tokyo. It is of most beautiful shape, an almost perfect cone, and it springs nearly 13,000 feet into the air. From the sea it forms a most superb and majestic sight. Long before a glimpse can be caught of the shore and the city, the traveller sees the lofty peak, crowned with a glittering crest of snow, rising in lonely majesty, with no hint of the land on which it rests. The Japanese have a great love of natural beauty, and they adore Fujisan. Their artists are never tired of painting it, and pictures of it are to be found in the most distant parts of the land.

Adapted from Peeps at Many Lands: Japan, by John Finnemore (1919)

According to this passage, what was the cause of poverty in Japan?

Possible Answers:

The lack of plains

Not enough rain

Extreme heat in the summers 

Being separated from other nations on an island

Correct answer:

The lack of plains

Explanation:

The correct answer is "the lack of plains." Readers can find this answer in the following lines: "But the mountains are so many and the plains are so few that only a small part of the land can be used for growing crops, and this makes Japan poor." This is the only mention in the passage of something that causes Japan to be poor. The other options are incorrect, so the best choice is "the lack of plains."

Example Question #6 : Cause And Effect

One fine day in winter some Ants were busy drying their store of corn, which had got rather damp during a long spell of rain. Presently up came a Grasshopper and begged them to spare her a few grains, "For," she said, "I'm simply starving." The Ants stopped work for a moment, though this was against their principles. "May we ask," said they, "what you were doing with yourself all last summer? Why didn't you collect a store of food for the winter?" "The fact is," replied the Grasshopper, "I was so busy singing that I hadn't the time." "If you spent the summer singing," replied the Ants, "you can't do better than spend the winter dancing." And they chuckled and went on with their work.

Adapted from Aesop's Fables, translated by V.S. Vernon Jones (1912)

What caused the grasshopper's starvation?

Possible Answers:

The grasshopper ate all of his food at once and did not save any for later

He spent the summer singing and did not make time to store food

The grasshopper's food was stolen while he was singing

His corn became wet from the rain and was ruined

Correct answer:

He spent the summer singing and did not make time to store food

Explanation:

The correct answer is "he spent the summer singing and did not make time to store food." Readers can find this answer in the following lines (after the ants ask why the grasshopper did not store any food for himself): "The fact is," replied the Grasshopper, "I was so busy singing that I hadn't the time." The other options have no support from the passage, so the best choice is "he spent the summer singing and did not make time to store food."

Example Question #7 : Cause And Effect

Bees live in a house that is called a hive. They are of three kinds,—workers, drones, and queens. Only one queen can live in each hive. If she is lost or dead, the other bees will stop their work. They are very wise and busy little creatures. They all join together to build cells of wax for their honey. Each bee takes its proper place, and does its own work. Some go out and gather honey from the flowers; others stay at home and work inside the hive. The cells which they build, are all of one shape and size, and no room is left between them. The cells are not round, but have six sides. Did you ever look into a glass hive to see the bees while at work? It is pleasant to see how busy they always are. But the drones do not work. Before winter comes, all the drones are driven from the hive or killed, that they may not eat the honey which they did not gather. It is not quite safe for children to handle bees. They have sharp stings that they know well how to use in their defense.

From McGuffey's Second Eclectic Reader by William Holmes McGuffey (1879)

If a queen bee dies, what will happen?

Possible Answers:

Life in the hive will continue as usual

The bees will find a new queen

The king bee will take over

The other bees will stop working

Correct answer:

The other bees will stop working

Explanation:

The correct answer is "the other bees will stop working." Readers can find this answer in the lines, "Only one queen can live in each hive. If she is lost or dead, the other bees will stop their work." The other answer choices are not supported by anything in the passage, so they are incorrect. The best choice is "the other bees will stop working."

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