1. victo
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    victo Active Member

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    'due to', 'because of'

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by victo, Jun 28, 2015.

    In formal writing, is it okay to use 'due to/because of' interchangeably?

    Due to the bad weather, the meeting has been canceled.

    Good?
     
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Apart from the spelling of cancelled (English) vs canceled (American)...except that, "Due to bad weather, the meeting was held in the church hall." We have more experience of what to do because of bad weather!
     
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write four sentences:

    Due to bad weather, the meeting has been cancelled.

    The meeting was cancelled because of bad weather.

    Because of bad weather, the meeting has been cancelled.

    The meeting was cancelled due to bad weather.


    I dislike the third. I'm OK with the others. I have no idea why.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    No, it's not OK to use them interchangeably. In short, "because of" modifies verbs, whereas "due to" modifies nouns. To make things simpler, here's an easy test to determine which of the phrases you would use. Take out the phrase that begins with either "because of" or "due to." Then take whatever that phrase was modifying and if it makes sense to ask the question "why?" then you have to use "because of."

    That was probably confusing, so let me illustrate with an example. Let's take your original sentence:
    Take out the phrase that begins with "Due to" and look at what it was modifying:
    It makes sense to ask the question "Why was the meeting cancelled?" So that means you're modifying a verb, and "because of" should be used. Now consider something like
    Take out "due to bad weather" and look at what it was modifying:
    Does it make sense to ask "Why road closures?" No, it doesn't. So you know you're not modifying a verb but a noun. That's why "due to" is used here.

    I know that wasn't the best explanation, but it's the best I have at the moment.
     
  5. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    It's fine.

    As others stated, there are various ways to writing given sentence, but that depends more on the context in which the sentence is based.
     
  6. victo
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    victo Active Member

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    Thanks, all.
     
  7. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Do you think maybe it's because the ones with "due to" sound more TV newscaster/weatherman-y and "because of" is more dialogue based??
     
  8. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Because one should never start a sentence with because @cutecat22 ...tho' my 'friend' says all these rules are Victorian affectations - like fish knives, and we should use our fingers.
     
  9. The Mad Regent
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    The Mad Regent Contributing Member

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    'Due to' is just translated more formally than 'because.' There is no reasoning behind it, though, besides maybe context.
     
  10. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    If you can ask "why was the meeting cancelled" can't you also ask "why are there road closures"?
     
  11. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    That depends on the phrase being modified. In my last example, the phrase being modified was simply "road closures," whereas the phrase being modified in the first example is "the meeting has been cancelled." So it makes sense to reword the latter phrase and ask "Why has the meeting been cancelled?" But it doesn't make sense to say "Why road closures?" See the difference?
     
  12. AlcoholicWolf
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    AlcoholicWolf Contributing Member

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    Ah, right, I see now, thanks!
     

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