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Note 31 – ‘Because of’ and ‘Due to’

Once I post this, I will have completed one month of blogging – only 11 months to go!  For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link –  If you would prefer to dive straight into note 31, then please read on…

‘Because of’ and ‘Due to’

According to Pocket Writer’s Handbook the phrase ‘due to’ is “so frequently used in the sense of ‘because of’ that many modern dictionaries show it with that sense”.  If you would prefer to be grammatically correct, there are some guidelines in the book which I have summarised below:

Because of
This means ‘Owing to’
‘Owing to’ is a compound preposition (used to introduce an adverbial phrase)

Due to
This means ‘Caused by’
Due is an adjective and should be attached to a noun or follow a verb

In their book, The Elements of Style, William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White don’t differentiate between the two phrases.  They suggest that ‘due to’ is loosely used for ‘because of’, ‘owing to’ and also ‘through’ in adverbial phrases. 

Take a look at my examples below:

(1a) It was because of poor pass marks, that the school closed down.

(1b) It was due to poor pass marks, that the school was closed down.

My opinion: The above both sound okay, but in 1b, you wouldn’t replace ‘due to’ with ‘caused by’.  For this reason I prefer 1a. 

(2a) The puddles were due to a downpour earlier.

(2b) The puddles were because of a downpour earlier.

My opinion: 2a reads better – you could replace ‘due to’ with ‘caused by’ quite easily and it would read the same.  In 2b, replacing ‘because of’ with ‘owing to’ doesn’t read as well.

My thoughts:  I don’t really feel like I came to much of a conclusion here and my research has taken me round in circles.  By just interchanging the words you can create different meanings, so I think I’ll just stick to that for now.  If I find any other tips on these phrases, I’ll add comments to this blog.  If you have any tips of your own, please feel free to contact me or add a comment. 

Hope your day has been a good one.  I have to do my Sainsburys shopping order online now, so have to sign off.

Until tomorrow…


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Twitter: @madeirasandra  and  @tipsandluxuries

Reference list

William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White  The Elements of Style, fiftieth anniversary edition (2009), USA

The Pocket Writer’s Handbook by Martin Mander & Stephen Curtis Mander and Curtis (Penguin Reference Library)


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


2 thoughts on “Note 31 – ‘Because of’ and ‘Due to’

  1. Thanks Sandra,
    I never thought about the subtle differences between the interchangeability of those words. I just subscribed to your blog and look forward to reading it everyday. I wish you luck on your challenge.

    Posted by MercXue | May 31, 2011, 9:25 pm

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