Explanation Of Real and Hypothetical Reasons

Do you know what real and hypothetical reasons are? I will explain everything in this article.

You may have not seen this before, but examiners use it in exams like waec, etc.

Note that this topic is only in English language. This will be awesome for you, read on..

Explanation of Real Reasons

1. Examiners often ask candidates to summarize reasons :

In two short sentences summarize the reasons why ….

This means the reasons given in the passage, not any other reasons, however good they may be, that you can think of.

2. Reasons are indicated in many different ways. Here are some indicators that you may have met already :

(a) A clause beginning with because or as;

(b) A phrase beginning with because of, on account of or due to.

(c) A clause that begins with since but does not refer to time, e.g.: Since we could not open the door, we could not find out what was inside.

real reasons explained

But note that the following sentence does not express a reason; Since Plus had first seen her, he had wanted to marry her.

Note also that phrases beginning with “since” always refer to time, e.g.: Since 1960 Nigeria has been independent.

However, in a sentence like this : Since his wife’s death, Mallam Kura has been a broken man.

Although “since” refers to time, we may reasonably suppose that it was his wife’s death that made Mallam Kura a broken man — unless something else in the passage indicates that there was a different reason.

(d) Sentences or clauses beginning with the reason why or the reason for.

(e) The verb account for, e.g.: The sudden rise in prices accounted for the riots.

(f) The verb explains, e.g.: The fact that he was worrying about his daughter explains why Mr Momoh made this serious mistake.

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(g) The noun or verb cause, e.g.: The (main/chief/principal) cause of ….. was …… A/One cause of ….. was …. .

(h) A colon, e.g.: Nyong did not kill the snake: he was too frightened to go near it.

3. Beware of duplicate reasons, I.e. the main reason stated in different words. In summary, you should give only one.

Hypothetical Reasons Explained

1. Hypothetical reasons are guesses or excuses, but examiners do not usually use the words hypothetical or guess. Instead the question may say :

Summarize the reasons X gave for ……


State briefly the explanations (often) given for …..


State briefly why, according to Z, …….

2. Since hypothetical reasons are reasons which people invent. They often contain the adverbs : perhaps, possibly or probably or the adjectives : likely, possible or probable.

3. Look out also for hypothetical reasons expressed with : may have, might have or could have. If a writer or speaker uses “might have” or “could have”, he is less confident that his suggestion is right than if he uses “may have”.

4. Sometimes a hypothetical reason may be introduced by one reason.

5. Note how a hypothetical reason may be expressed by means of an if-clause.

6. Excuses are false reasons. They are expressed in the same way as statements of true facts. Therefore they can be recognized only from the situation in which they are spoken or written.


That’s what you need to know about hypothetical and real reasons. Most WAEC, NECO, GCE, etc, candidates don’t know this.

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