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Because and Since

 

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing an article about two words that can be used interchangeably most of the time. Well, that’s because it’s most of the time and not all of the time. There are some instances where these two beauties cannot be swapped one for the other and it simply has to do with the use.

When because and since are used as conjunctions, their purposes are different. Because shows cause and effect, and since shows a relationship or time. This deserves a closer look.

Let’s start with since. When used as a conjunction to connect a dependent clause, since is used to show a relationship or time. The example below shows relationship.

Since there was cake, I ate a piece.

There was cake and I ate a piece, but the cake was not the reason I ate it. I ate it because I was hungry. If I hadn’t been hungry, I wouldn’t have eaten a piece of cake. Yes, there is a relationship here, but not a cause and effect, so the correct word is since.

Let’s look at the next example that shows time.

It’s been two months since we’ve talked.

I certainly can’t use because in place of since in this sentence. It simply would not make sense because since is used to indicate time, not cause and effect.

Now let’s look at because as a conjunction. It is used to show cause and effect and introduce a dependent clause by answering question why. In other words, it identifies for the reader the motive or reason for the main clause.

We went to the school play because our daughter had a starring role.

The question Why did we go to the school play? is answered by the dependent clause because our daughter had a starring role.  Would we have gone to the school play if our daughter hadn’t be in it? No. It is the reason we went.

A few notes on using because to show purpose.

  • Avoid using because when it comes after a negative as it may cause ambiguities.
  • Avoid using the reason… is because verbiage. It is redundant and is the same as saying the reason… is for the reason that. Use the reason… is that verbiage in its place to avoid the redundancy.
  • Avoid using wordy substitutions for because, such as for the reason that, on account of being, due to the circumstances that and the fact that, to name a few.

I hope this helps you understand more when to use because versus since. What words have you struggled with in the past? Let the Divas know in the comments below. If we like your suggestion, we’ll write an article about it.

Now… go write something!

 


Comments

  1. Thanks for the great explanation. This is the best defined usage of the two words, and I do continually fumble over them. Perhaps, not so much now that I have a visual that works for me.

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