"Because," "Due To," "Since," and "As"

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.

Bonnie Mills, Writing for
6-minute read
Episode #585

Today we’re looking at various ways to say “because,” including “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'?

Now let’s discuss “due to” and “because.” As happens so often these days, there’s a traditional way and a rebel way. The traditional view is that you should use “due to” only as an adjective, usually following the verb “to be” (1). For example, if you say, “The cancelation was due to rain,” the words “due to” modify “cancelation.” That sentence is a bit stilted, but it fits the traditionalist rule.

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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.”

So if you find yourself agreeing with traditionalists—or if your writing will be judged by one—use “due to” if you can substitute “attributable to,” “caused by,” or “resulting from.” And don’t use it at the beginning of a sentence.


About the Author

Bonnie Mills, Writing for Grammar Girl

Bonnie Mills has been a copyeditor since 1996.