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“Because Of” and “Due To”

The saying “too many cooks spoil the broth” is spot on in the case of English language. Today,
even native speakers make blunders in written and spoken English, being influenced by current
trends. One such trend we are talking about is the misuse of “due to” and “because of.”

Many are of the opinion that both of the pairs refer to the same thing, and that they can be used
as synonyms. This is an absolute misconception. They cannot be used interchangeably because
they do not belong to the same classification. When the classification is not the same, how can
the usage be?

Some native English speakers also claim that a sentence cannot be started with the pair “because
of.” However, they are unable to demonstrate the reasons. In some cases, the sentence cannot be
started with “because of” whereas in some cases it can.

This is the sole purpose of this post. We will be discussing the legitimate reasons, usage and rules
associated with both the word pairs.

The Classification of The Word Groups

In order to get a clear understanding of how to use both the word groups it is imperative to first
know their classifications.

“Due to” is an adjective, which means it can only modify pronouns and nouns according to the
purest English grammar rules.

“Because of” is an adverb, which means it can only modify verbs, adjectives and clauses, but not
nouns and pronouns.

The Explanation

It is quite difficult to grasp the concept outrightly with just categorizing the two word groups. So,
it is important to lay down a little explanation along with some examples for you to get a clearer
idea. Here are some examples of the usage of both the word groups:

His frustration was due to the mucked up windscreen.


He was frustrated due to the mucked up windscreen.

In general, both of the sentences may sound right to you, but they are not. Carefully look at the
first sentence and apply the grammar rule of noun modification. The word “his” is a possessive
noun and it is complementing the noun “frustration,” and “was” is there as a linking verb. Now,
“due to the mucked up windscreen” itself is an adjectival prepositional phrase which is the
complement or the reason being attached to the noun with the help of the linking verb “was.”
Therefore, in this case the usage of “due to” is absolutely right because it is fulfilling the purpose
of modifying the noun.

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Now, take a look at the second and apply the same rule there. The pair “due to” is not connecting
nor complementing the noun because the possessive noun “his” has been changed to “he,” which
is a pronoun. This way, “he” is not the possessive noun now has become the main subject of the
sentence and a pronoun.

The pair “due to” has nothing to modify here because the verb is now “was frustrated” and
adjectives cannot modify verbs. Henceforth, to connect a reason or a compliment to this sentence
the adverb “because of” should be attached with the reason to make it appropriate. The correct
sentence would be:

He was frustrated because of the mucked up windscreen.

As you can see, the pair “because of” is now modifying the verb “was frustrated,” so this
sentence is correct now.

Use This Trick When in Doubt

One trick you can use is to substitute “due to” with “caused by.” If the substitution does not
work, then you probably shouldn’t use “due to” there. For example:

My low grade was due to lack of study.


My low grade was caused by lack of study.

The substitution works, so “due to” is being used correctly. Here is another example:

I missed the class due to the rain.


I missed the class caused by the rain.

The substitution doesn’t work here, so “due to” shouldn’t be used there. The correct sentence
would be:

I missed the class because of the rain.

BECAUSE OF VS. DUE TO

Surprisingly, many people misuse because of and due to without even realizing it. The difference
is subtle, so some people do not make the distinction. In spite of this, the rule should be followed,
especially in formal writing.

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THE RULE

Due to is a predicate adjective + preposition that means “the result of” or “resulting from.” It is
always used after a form of the verb to be.

 E.g. Her headache was due to the enormous elephant peculiarly perched on her head.

Because of is a preposition used to introduce an adverbial phrase and means “as a result of.” It is
not used after a form of the verb to be.
 E.g. She had a headache because of the enormous elephant peculiarly perched on her
head.

THE TRICK

Due to has to follow some form of the verb to be.


PRACTICE

Decide whether because of or due to is correct in the following sentences.

1. His antics were partially because of/due to a burning need for adventure and a scrumptious
scope for imagination.
Answer

2. Ironically, Frank the frog could not croak a lullaby to tiny Ted the tadpole because of/due to
the frog in his throat.
Answer

3. The laces were quite mad at the shoe because of/due to the treatment they had been receiving
as of late.
Answer

4. The moon’s incessant yawning was because of/due to all the overtime day shifts he had been
working.
Answer

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5. They couldn’t hear a word coming out of his oversized wart-ridden mouth because of/due to
the ruckus going on in the courtyard.

Answer

6. Crabby Sally was upset because of/due to her dog’s superior cribbage skills.

Answer

7. Don’t be fooled; the dog’s dancing was because of/due to the extremely hot pavement.

Answer

8. The goldfish’s diabolical scheming was partially because of/due to the cat’s intensive and
constant staring over the past few days.

Answer

9. Because of/Due to all of this, their freezer would be filled with ice cream and joy for years to
come.

Answer

10. Personally, I think the unending rain is because of/due to your lack of enthusiasm and
incessant whining.

Answer

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