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Because / Because of

Indicating Cause

fire
 

 

Because vs. Because of

CONNECTOR + CLAUSE

Each of the following connectors¹ introduces a clause stating cause (a reason). A clause by definition has a (subject + verb).  The cause-clause may occur before or after the effect-clause. ¹See Grammar Notes for terms.

CAUSE EFFECT

Because a gas pipeline exploded, 

several homes burned down.

 

 

Since gas flowed freely from the pipe,

water could not put out the fire.

   

Because the gas pipeline was so old,

it broke.

   

Because they delayed replacing the pipe, 

the accident was likely to occur.

   
CONTRARY  CAUSE EFFECT (SITUATION)

Though the firemen arrived quickly,

they could do nothing to stop the inferno.

 

 

Even though residents smelled gas,

the pipeline was not replaced.

PREPOSITION + NOUN PHRASE

Each of these expressions that ends with a preposition introduces a clause stating cause (a reason). The preposition is followed by a noun  or pronoun. The cause-clause may occur before or after the effect-clause.

CAUSE EFFECT

Because of the gas explosion,  

several homes burned down.

Because of an  exploding gas line, 

several homes burned down  

Due to the free flow of gas,

water could not put out the fire.

Due to free-flowing gas,

water could not put out the fire.

On account of the age of the pipeline,

it broke.

On account of being so old,

the pipeline broke.

Owing to the delay in replacing the pipeline,

the accident was likely to occur.

Owing to the delay in replacing the pipeline,

the accident was likely to occur.

CONTRARY  CAUSE EFFECT (SITUATION)

Despite a quick arrival,

the firemen could do nothing

Despite arriving quickly,

the firemen could do nothing to stop the inferno.

In spite of the resident's smelling gas,

the gas company did not replace the gas line.

 

NP –noun phrase; N – noun; GER – gerund clause / nonfinite clause

Also see Because/ Though Grammar Notes.
Related page:   Pop-Q "Though
Because of the fact, by virtue of the fact, in light of the fact, in view of the fact, on account of, owing to the fact, due to the fact

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cause

Due to

pipeline

 

 

 

Because of vs. Due to

BECAUSE OF

The two-word preposition because of is followed by a noun or noun phrase (noun + determiners and modifiers)

AFTER MOST VERBS

The explosion occurred because of the aging pipes. (N)

He survived the event because of luck. (N)

She loves her children because of her motherly instincts.

DUE TO

In some usage, due to differs from because of in that it follows a be-verb and is more similar to an adjective complement.  (but not – owing to)  In other usage, due to does not differ from because of.

AFTER "BE" VERB

The explosion was due to the aging pipes.  

His survival was due to luck.  

Her motherly love is due to her instincts. 
 

 

aging (modifier) – becoming old or falling into poor condition as a result of use and wear
instinct (n.) – a natural tendency to behave in a particular way or a natural ability to know something, which is not learned 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noun Phrases

Reducing Clauses

clause shortening
 

 

 

Shortening a clause to a phrase

CLAUSE

Because introduces a clause with a subject and verb that can be changed to a noun expression. 

CONNECTOR CLAUSE

because 

they are coming at five

because

he was driving without his ID card.

because

she spent all her money

because

he reached his goal

because

the bank closed   

NOUN PHRASE

1) change the pronoun to a possessive pronoun; 2) change the clause to a noun phrase (NP) or a gerund clause (nonfinite clause).

2-WORD PREP NOUN PHRASE

because of  

their five o’clock arrival   (NP)

their arriving at five (GER CLS)

because of

his driving without his ID card (GER CLS)

because of

*[her] spending all her money (GER CLS)

having pent all her money (perfect)

because of

*[his]  reaching his goal (GER CLS) 

having reached his goal (perfect)

because of

the bank's closure(NP)

the bank closing (GER CLS)

the bank having closed (perfect "earlier")

 

* If the possessive pronoun is redundant, it can be omitted.

connector – See Grammar Notes for term description.

gerund clause (perfect) – having + gerund expresses an earlier time than the time in the other clause: Because of our having arrived early at the train station, we had to wait for them to pick us up.

terms:  gerund phrase (used by Azar) / nonfinite clause (used in linguistic description)

 

 

 

Be Verbs

CLAUSE

Because can also introduce a clause with a be verb that can be changed to a noun expression. 

CONNECTOR SUBJ NOUN + CLAUSE

because 

the wine was very dark red

because

she was very tired

because

Alfred is very old

because

the cat had been frightened

NOUN PHRASE

To reduce a clause to a noun phrase 1) change the pronoun to a possessive form; 2) change the clause to a noun phrase or a gerund. (nonfinite clause).

2-WORD PREP POSS NOUN + NOUN PHRASE

because of  

the wine's dark, red color (NP)
its being dark red (gerund)

because of

her tiredness (NP) 
her  being tired (gerund)

because of

his advanced age (NP)

because of

his fright (NP)
his having been frightened

 

Related pages After / Before –ing  (before, after, while, when, since)  | Because Clauses (because – same time & earlier)
SUBJ NOUN – subject noun or pronoun
POSS NOUN – possessive noun or pronoun

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

"Because of it is coming soon  news coverage of the election is increasing."

 

*Due to it's raining here, we can't go.
*Due to it being rain here, we can't go.
 Use a noun.

SOLUTION

Because of the upcoming election, news coverage of it is increasing.

1) Use a noun phrase after because of:  the upcoming election (See Noun Phrases above.)

2) Use the noun election in the first clause and the referring pronoun in the second clause. Always mention the noun first before using a referring pronoun such as it.   

Due to the rain here, we can't go.

There is no noun phrase that can replace it, so rephrase the sentence.     

 

*Yellow highlighting indicates example of incorrect usage.
pop-question    Pop-Q – "because of"

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional and Linguistic Description

Advanced

 

 

Traditional vs. Linguistic Description

TRADITIONAL GRAMMAR LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

In traditional grammar — because, since, as— are connectors that introduce adverb clauses. They relate why something occurred. 

In current linguistic description —because as since, as, etc.— are included in the preposition category.  (In this description, prepositions can be complemented by a wide variety of sentence structures and are not  limited to object complements.)

BECAUSE BECAUSE

because
— adverb clause   (Azar 19.3)

because, as, since, inasmuch as  (Huddleston, Biber and Quirk classify these words differently.)
preposition (Huddleston 8 12.3)
conjunction (Swan 94) "subordinating conjunction" (Biber 2.4.8)
adverbial clause. reason (Biber 15.45)

BECAUSE OF BECAUSE OF

because of, due to
— phrasal prepositions (Azar 19-1)

Sometimes, usually in formal writing, due to is followed by a noun clause introduced by the fact that… Like adverb clauses, these phrases can also follow main clauses.

because of, due to, owing to, on account of
— cause-effect adjunct.preposition + PP or NP (Huddleston et al. 8 12.3; 731)
two-word preposition (Swan 94) "complex prepositions" (Biber 2.4.5.2)
cause adjunct. prepositional phrase "adjuncts of contingency" (Quirk 8.86)

CATEGORIES:  NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; Detdeterminer; PP – prepositional phrase; P – preposition; AdvP – adverb phrase; Adv – adverb; AdjP– adjective phrase; Adj – adjective
FUNCTIONS: Subject:  Subject,   Predicate: Predicator (V) Complements: (elements required by verb) Object, Indirect Object, Predicative Complement  Adjuncts: (optional modifiers) Adj, Adv

 

 Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Complete the sentence

 

 

 

Use a clause or a noun phrase?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

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10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Complete the sentence

 

 

 

Use an adverb or a phrasal preposition?

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.