Confusing to Student 4: Because of & Due to

What’s the Difference? PART 1

Both because of and due to are effective ways to link an event and the reasons for it. Their similar meanings make it seem like they can be used interchangeably. However, using one in place of the other is incorrect because they are not the same part of speech

Because Of: Adverb

The word because is a subordinating conjunction. However, when combined with of, it becomes a preposition. It works as an adverbial prepositional phrase when used with other words to modify a verb.

You can usually identify adverbs when they end in –ly. For example:

  • I walked home happily. (The adverb happily modifies the verb walked.)
  • Steve quickly rescheduled her meeting. (The adverb quickly modifies the verb rescheduled.)
  • The boys argued angrily. (The adverb angrily modifies the verb argued.)

Adverbial prepositional phrases with because of modify verbs in the exact same way. Here are the same sentences with because of instead of –ly words.

  • walked home because of the new bus schedule.
  • Shana rescheduled her meeting because of a calendar conflict.
  • The boys argued because of the broken toy.

These sentences explain why the actions are occurring with an adverbial prepositional phrase (because of + noun). If the prepositional phrases were complete clauses with their own verbs, you would just use because and not because of:

  • I walked home because the bus was late.
  • Shana rescheduled her meeting because there was a conflict in her calendar.
  • The boys argued because one of them broke the toy.

Both because and because of can elaborate on the verb on the sentences. However, neither use is interchangeable with due to.

Due To: Adjective

Due to is an adjective, which describes or modifies a noun. When combined with the rest of the sentence, it functions as an adjectival prepositional phrase. You can’t use due to in the same way as because of.

Here are some sentences that use due to when modifying a noun.

  • The car accident was due to a distracted driver. (modifies car accident)
  • Ivy’s success is due to her parents’ dedication and support. (modifies success)
  • The company’s bankruptcy was due to poor financial management. (modifies bankruptcy).

If you try to replace due to with because of, it doesn’t sound completely incorrect. That’s why many writers make the mistake of using them interchangeably. If you want to use because of in these sentences, you’d need to add or change verbs that it could modify. For example:

  • The car accident happened because of a distracted driver.
  • Ivy succeeded because of her parents’ dedication and support.
  • The company went bankrupt because of poor financial management.

The Trick to Telling the Difference: PART 2 Coming Soon


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