#277: How to Use ‘Because Of’ vs ‘Due To’ | English Grammar Lesson

Jun 7, 2023 | Confusing Words in English, Grammar

Because of vs due to are often used interchangeably in spoken English among English speakers everywhere. But should they be? 

The short answer is no. This is a common mistake. 

Here’s an example:

  • We canceled the trip because of the heavy rain. ✅
  • We canceled the trip due to the heavy rain. ❌

So why are these easily confused? Why do so many English speakers make this mistake?

By the end of this lesson, you’ll know the difference between because of vs. due to so you can use them correctly.

And I’ve got a short quiz for you at the end.

WATCH THE LESSON

How to Use ‘Because Of’ vs ‘Due To’

Because of vs Due to – Common Mistake

Let’s take a look at two example sentences:

  • We canceled the trip because of the heavy rain. 
  • We canceled the trip due to the heavy rain. 

Are both of these sentences correct?

  • We canceled the trip because of the heavy rain. ✅
  • We canceled the trip due to the heavy rain. ❌

Not quite.

In daily conversations, English speakers use these phrases interchangeably.

But the truth is, it is not grammatically correct to do so.

Here’s the reason for common confusion: both phrases show a cause-and-effect relationship.

  • Because of explains the reason for something. It explains the why of an action.
  • Due to indicates the cause.  

 

While similar in meaning, the grammatical usage is not the same.

Let’s explore each one in-depth to better understand the differences. And, in the process, learn how to use because of vs due to correctly.

Then you can practice with a quiz.

Because Of

​​We use “because of” when we want to explain the reason for something. Or answer the question of why.

For example, “We canceled the trip because of the heavy rain.” 

Here, “because of” explains the reason why we canceled the trip. 

In other words, we can ask this question: ‘Why did we cancel the trip?’ Because of the heavy rain.

 

It’s important to note that “because of” is always followed by a noun, pronoun, or noun phrase. 

Let’s look at some more examples:

  • She missed the meeting because of traffic
  • He couldn’t sleep because of the loud music next door.
  • The presentation was successful because of the team’s extensive preparation.

In those examples, “because of” is followed by a noun or noun phrase.

It connects the cause

  • Traffic
  • Loud music
  • Preparation

With the effect/result

  • Missing the meeting
  • Inability to sleep
  • The success of the presentation

Because Of Grammatical Usage Expanded

If you love to get into the fine details of English grammar, let’s do a bit more exploration.

In a sentence, because of is an adverbial prepositional phrase. And like an adverb, the adverbial prepositional phrase modifies the verb.

Note: In language, the word ‘modify’ means to limit or add to the meaning of a word or phrase.

In a sentence, the use of because of comes after a verb or verb phrase, as in the sentences provided:

  • She missed the meeting because of traffic. 
  • He couldn’t sleep because of the loud music next door.
  • The presentation was successful because of the team’s extensive preparation.

 

Before we move on to due to, I want to share one more tip with because of. 

We can also move it to the beginning of the sentence. For example:

  • Because of traffic, she missed the meeting.
  • Because of the loud music next door, he couldn’t sleep.
  • Because of the team’s extensive preparation, the presentation was a success.

Due to

Now, let’s move on to “due to.” 

“Due to” is often used in formal or written English. And it explains the cause of a situation or condition. 

In other words, it can mean: as a result of or caused by

Grammatically, it modifies nouns (rather than a verb or verb phrase) and is followed by a noun or noun phrase. 

  • For example, “The cancelation of the trip was due to heavy rain.”

 

Here ‘due to’ explains what caused the cancelation. In fact, we can even replace ‘due to’ with ‘caused by.”

  • “The cancelation of the trip was caused by heavy rain.”

Here are a few more examples with due to:

  • The delay in the project was due to technical difficulties.
  • The company’s closure was due to poor management.
  • The success of the presentation was due to extensive preparation.

In these sentences, “due to” is followed by a noun phrase that explains the cause of the situation or condition.

And once again, we can replace ‘due to’ with ‘caused by’ in each of these sentences. 

In fact, this is a simple way to check if the use of ‘due to’ is correct:

  • The delay in the project was caused by technical difficulties.
  • The company’s closure was caused by poor management.
  • The success of the presentation was a result of extensive preparation.

Due To Grammatical Usage Expanded

While ‘because of’ is an adverbial prepositional phrase, ‘due to’ is an adjectival prepositional phrase.

And, like any adjective, it modifies a noun.

  • The delay in the project was due to technical difficulties.
  • The company’s closure was due to poor management.
  • The success of the presentation was due to extensive preparation.

Each of those examples answers the question: What was the cause?

What was the cause of the delay? Technical difficulties.

What caused the closure? Poor management.

 

Let’s compare this with a sentence we used earlier in the discussion the use of because of.

  • “We canceled (v.) the trip because of the heavy rain.” (Why was the trip canceled?)
  •  “The cancelation (n.) of the trip was due to heavy rain.” (What caused the cancelation?)

Test Your Knowledge — Because of vs. Due To Quiz

With clarity on how to use because of and due to in English, let’s try a quiz.

I have several examples sentences for you and I want you to determine whether to use because of or due to. 

You can check your answers in the comment section below. I’ll share the correct answers at the very top.

  1. The smoke in the home was _____ the burning cake in the oven. 
  2. Kelly loves skiing _____ the experiences she had as a kid with her parents. 
  3. Every worker is striking _______ the low wages they’re offered. 
  4. Our concerns were _______ the lack of details provided in the contract. 
  5. I parked my car down the street _____ the road construction.
  6. The restaurant’s success is ________ the head chef’s creative menu and her business partner’s marketing skills.

You can share your answers — as well as your questions — with me in the comments below. 

~ Annemarie

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