Create the "potential" or "cause"?

Hidetomo

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello. I teach English and would like to ask you what you think about the question below.


When the United States entered World War I in 1917, its railroad system had just undergone three decades of expansion after the adoption of a standard track width. While the expansion was unquestionably a benefit, it also created the (______) for new logistical problems.

Question: Choose one of the words to fill the blank.

A. situation B. cause C. possible D. potential



The answer is "potential", but I was wondering if "cause" could be an answer, too? Can you tell me why "potential" is the better answer?

Thank you in advance.
 
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  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    but I was wondering if "cause" could be an answer, too?
    It could, grammatically, but it's unlikely. "Created the cause" is an odd way of putting it. It'd be more natural to say "it also caused new problems" or "it was also the cause of new problems".

    Can you tell me why "potential" is the better answer?
    "Potential" makes sense in that context and sounds natural too. A large amount of expansion can cause logistical/operational problems.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    It could conceivably work as "created the cause of new problems" but the preposition they've given you is "for" and "... the cause for new problems" is wrong.
     

    Hidetomo

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you, Barque and DonnyB. Now, I have a clear idea.

    Do you think this question is a little difficult for non-native English speaker?
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Thank you, Barque and DonnyB. Now, I have a clear idea.

    Do you think this question is a little difficult for non-native English speaker?
    I think it depends on your level of progress with the studying the language. It has the advantage that none of the other three answers will fit grammatically in the sentence as it stands, which isn't always the case with some of those multiple-choice questions we get asked about.
     
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