View Full Version : Due to or Because of

Tish Davidson
04-04-2006, 02:50 AM
I know that these are not synonomous, but I don't know when to use which one. Can anyone (reph?) provide examples?

Cathy C
04-04-2006, 03:04 AM
I had to think about this for a few minutes, but here's how I think of it:

"Due to" is based on outside influences. Things beyond control that are "abstract."

Due to the recent hurricanes, we've had to move the conference.
Due to the strike, we won't be able to deliver on time.

"Because of" is reaction to events to the speaker, so "experiential" events.

I won't be attending because of a death in the family.
Because of her second job, she got fired.

:Shrug: At least, that's my best shot. Does it help?

04-04-2006, 04:02 AM
There's long been a dispute about the use of "due to", with presciptivists arguing that it should only be used in an adjectival context.

So, "The cancellation of the concert was due to the rain." is OK, because 'due' functions as an adjective modifying 'cancellation'.

But "The concert was cancelled due to the rain." is theoretically wrong, with 'owing to' or 'on account of' being the correct construction.

The use of 'due to' is so common, however, and of such long standing, that it seems to have worn down the objectors and entered the realm of acceptability. 'Owing to' and 'on account of' can come across as being a little stiff.

'Because of' is also an alternative, although because 'because' is a coordinating conjunction, it's generally regarded as bad style to use it at the beginning of a sentence, even though it's not 'illegal'.

04-04-2006, 05:52 AM
The choice depends on sentence structure rather than the nature of the cause.

I'm among the objectors pianoman mentioned who are worn down, but I haven't given up.

American Heritage Dictionary:

due to. 1. Attributable to; caused by. 2. Because of. See Usage note below. . . .

Usage:The phrase due to is always acceptable when due functions as a predicate adjective following a linking verb: His hesitancy was due to fear. But objection is often made when due to introduces an adverbial phrase that assigns the reason for, or cause of, the action denoted by a nonlinking verb: He hesitated due to fear. The adverbial construction typified by the second example is termed unacceptable in writing by 84 per cent of the Usage Panel, though it is widely employed informally. Generally accepted alternatives . . . in such examples . . . are because of, on account of, through, and owing to.

04-04-2006, 06:16 AM
I'm with Reph.

I loathe Due to, in all instances. I'm irrational about it and I Don't Care.

If you do a search in a recent linguistic corpus, that is a collection of a variety of kinds of recent writing, as I did, (because they pay you for stuff like this), and analyze how due to is actually used, you will discover:

* It's mostly used for "bad" news
* It's mostly used in Official Statements where the individual or company is attempting to avoid responsibility or blame.

Find a better way to say what you need to say.

04-04-2006, 06:22 AM
This caught my eye. I once worked for a law firm, and one of the bosses pointed out the distinction, and incorrect use. He wasn't as eloquent in explanation of the grammar, however.:)


04-04-2006, 10:03 AM
I've always found the "because of" construction to be a little weak, and easily avoided in most cases. Example:

Because of the door being open, the room was cold.

Because the door was open, the room was cold.


Tish Davidson
04-05-2006, 03:33 AM
Yes, but harder to avoid in

He was late getting to the meeting because of an accident on the freeway.

04-05-2006, 03:58 AM
An accident on the freeway made him late to the meeting.

Tish Davidson
04-05-2006, 08:14 AM
reph's version is definitely better.