Aim: This page will help you to decide when to use Because (of) and when to use Due to (the fact that).
1. Introduction: expressing cause and effect
In English the expression of cause and effect involves the use of a number of grammatical structures. Some of these are used inaccurately by Hong Kong learners. These expressions include the proper use of ‘Because’ and ‘because of’ and of ‘Due to’ and ‘Due to the fact that…’ It is important when using these structures to differentiate those that are followed by a noun phrase and those that are followed by a main clause. Incorrect use very often results from failure to recognize this difference.
Clause: a clause is a subject noun or noun phrase followed by a verb or verb phrase; e.g. 'grammar' is a noun, 'some very easy grammar' is a noun phrase, 'is' is a verb, and 'has been' is a verb phrase.
Noun phrase: a noun, or a noun with an article or determiner, and/or an adjective in front of it, and sometimes with a relative clause after it; e.g. apple (noun), some apples (determiner and noun), some red apples (determiner, adjective and noun), some red apples which I am going to eat (determiner, adjective, noun and relative clause).
2. Grammatical analysis and explanation
The following sentences correctly use ‘Due to…’ and ‘Due to the fact that…’:
It can be seen that ‘due to’ is followed by a noun phrase in all of the examples above. [It may NOT be followed by a main clause, as in this student example: *Due to they have no salary, they may need to think how to use it.].
However, it IS acceptable to use the structure ‘Due to the fact that’ + Main Clause, as the following examples show:
As with the use of the two structures ‘Due to + Noun Phrase’ and ‘Due to the fact that + Main Clause’, the following structures are also acceptable: ‘Because + Main Clause’ and ‘Because of + Noun Phrase’. Some examples of these structures are shown below:
N.B.: A. ‘Because + Main Clause’ and ‘Because of + Noun Phrase’ are acceptable at the start of a sentence. So are ‘Due to + Noun Phrase’ and ‘Due to the fact that + Main Clause’.
B. ‘Due to is frequently preceded by a form of the verb ‘to be’, e.g. ‘Her anger was probably due to her tiredness;’ ‘The results may be due to her laziness’. Note that the construction ‘to be due to’ is often preceded by a modal verb (e.g.‘may’, might’ ‘could’); of course, the main verb ‘be’ should be used in such cases: e.g. ‘The strong winds may be due to the approaching typhoon’.
Study the following examples and decide whether they are grammatically correct or not:
Last updated: Monday, 25 April 2022
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