Grammar Tips: “Because,” “Due To,” “Since,” and “As”

 

Because-Since

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Do you want to keep on improving your English speaking skills? (영어 말하기 스킬을 늘리고 싶나요?)  Check out this post for some tips on how to use ‘because, due to, since, and as’. (이 비디오를 보세요.)

 

Grammar Girl gave the following rules that will help us learn how to use ‘because, due to, since, and as’:

 

Wordy Ways to Say “Because”

First, let’s disparage all the wordy ways to express the meaning “because.” There are quite a few: “due to the fact that,” “owing to the fact that,” “on account of,” and “on the grounds that,” for example. If you use “because” instead of those beasts, you can save up to four words.

You should also avoid “the reason is because.” For example, a redundant but romantic windbag might say, “The reason I love you is because of your kindness.” Why not be concise and romantic instead? Just say, “I love you because you’re kind.” Some people might prefer “the reason is that,” but that is also wordy.

 

“Due to” or “Because”?

If you wanted to be more casual, you could say, “It was canceled because of rain.” According to purists, you’re not allowed to say, “It was canceled due to rain” because “due to” doesn’t have anything to modify. It’s acting like a preposition in that sentence, and purists argue that “due to” is an adjective; it shouldn’t be a compound preposition.

But most of us aren’t thinking about adjectives and compound prepositions when we speak, so it may be difficult to know when you’re using “due to” as an adjective. The Chicago Manual of Style (2) suggests using “due to” when you can replace it with “attributable to,” but not when you could use “because of.” Further, Patricia O’Connor, in her book “Woe Is I” (3), proposes replacing “due to” with “caused by” or “resulting from.” She explains that if a sentence begins with “due to,” as in “Due to inclement weather, school was canceled,” the sentence is “probably wrong.”

 

Other Times to Use “Due to”

You don’t have to ban “due to” completely. This phrase can mean “payable to” or “supposed to” (6). For example, you could say, “I ask that you pay what is due to me.” Here, you are asking for money that someone owes you. You could also say, “The plane is due to arrive at noon,” meaning the plane should arrive at 12.

 

“Since” or “Because”?

Strict grammarians may not like it (7), but “since” and “because” can be synonyms (1, 8). “Since I love you, let’s get married” means the same thing as “Because I love you, let’s get married.” (Yes, you can use “because” at the beginning of a sentence.)

Fussy grammarians might be a teensy bit right in some cases, though. The word “since” often refers to how much time has passed, as in “Since yesterday, all I’ve thought about is you.” Sometimes, a sentence with “since” can be interpreted in two ways, and that is when you should avoid using “since” to mean “because.” Take this ambiguous sentence:

“Since they spoke, she’s had second thoughts.” (“Since” could mean “from the time that they spoke” or “because they spoke.”)

 

Summary

To sum up, English offers many ways to express “because.” Some are wordy and should be avoided due to the fact that they are wordy. (Did you get that? We just made a joke!) Others, like “since” and “as,” need to be used carefully, since you could confuse your readers.

 

References

1. Garner, B. Garner’s Modern English Usage. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016, p. 309.
2. The Chicago Manual of Style. Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 2017, p. 327.
3. O’Conner, P. Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996, p. 110.
4. Burchfield, R. W, ed. The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage. Third edition. New York: Oxford, 1996, p. 232.
5. American Heritage Guide to Contemporary Usage and Style. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005, pp. 151-2.
6. Burchfield, R. W, ed. The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage. Third edition. New York: Oxford, 1996, p. 233.
7. O’Conner, P. Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996, p. 190.
8. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006, p.1624.
 
A version of this article was originally published November 27, 2009.
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