Because Clauses

Express cause-effect with a reduced clause

working hard
 

 

Before the clause

FULL CLAUSE

A because-clause can be shortened to a modifying clause when the subject of both clauses is the same.  The clause is commonly placed before the main clause.

DEPENDENT CLAUSE   INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

move overlook up 
Because Tom worked so hard,

look up
 
he
earned a good salary.
(same subject in both clauses ) 

move overlook up 
Because Tom needed help,

look up
he
hired an office assistant.
(same subject in both clauses ) 

REDUCED CLAUSE

Because can be omitted. The cause-effect relationship of the modifying clause to the main clause is understood from context. 

MODIFYING CLAUSE  INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

Working so hard,
  look up
    
   modifies Tom  

look up
Tom earned a good salary.

Needing help,
look up
    
   modifies Tom  

     

Tom hired an office assistant. 

 

Related page independent clause

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reduced Because-Clause

At end of sentence

 

 

 

Ending a sentence

MODIFYING SUBJECT

Use a commaA comma separates a subject-modifying clause placed at the end of the main clause. This is informal use – it is always preferable to place the clause next to the noun it modifies.

 INDEPENDENT CLAUSE MODIFYING CLAUSE

*Tom succeeded, 

working long hours.
  look up
    
   modifies Tom   

Tom hired an office assistant, 

needing help.
unclear — who needs help?

MODIFYING OBJECT

no commaNo comma is used when an object-modifying clause is placed immediately after the noun it modifies and when it is an identifying clause (required to know exactly which one.)

 INDEPENDENT CLAUSE MODIFYING CLAUSE

Tom hired an office assistant 

 

needing work. 
blue bracket
  modifies the assistant

*Tom hired Fred,

needing work. 

 

* More formal:  Working long hours, Tom hired an office assistant.
Related pages Identifying Clauses   Misrelated Clauses

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reduced Because-Clause

Be Verbs

 

 

 

FULL CLAUSE

A because-clause that (1) includes a be verb and (2) has the same subject as the main clause can be reduced to a modifying clause with being. The events occur at the same time.

DEPENDENT CLAUSE   INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

Because Tom is sick,

he is unable to work.  

 INDEPENDENT CLAUSE DEPENDENT CLAUSE

Tom is unable to work  

because Tom is sick. (same-time events) 

REDUCED CLAUSE

The be verb in the because-clause is changed to being.  The clause is more commonly placed before the clause, immediately before the noun it modifies.

MODIFYING CLAUSE   INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

Being sick,  move to the right

Tom is unable to work. 

 INDEPENDENT CLAUSE MODIFYING CLAUSE

Tom is unable to work,

being sick.¹ 

 

¹Also called a dangling modifier or dangling participle.  See Misrelated Clauses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because Clauses

Contrasting Past Events

 

 

 

Participle Phrases — having verb+ed

FULL CLAUSE

A because-clause may indicate an earlier time or event. The clause can be reduced when both clauses refer to the same subject.

DEPENDENT CLAUSE   INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

Because Tom had been working so hard ,   earlier

he needed a vacation. later

 INDEPENDENT CLAUSE DEPENDENT CLAUSE

Tom needed a vacation 

because he had been working so hard.  

REDUCED CLAUSE

The reduced because-clause with the earlier event includes the gerund-participle form of the verb having verb+ed.  A comma separates the clauses.

MODIFYING CLAUSE   INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

Having worked so hard, earlier   

  Tom needed a vacation.  later

 INDEPENDENT CLAUSE MODIFYING CLAUSE

Tom needed a vacation  

 having worked so hard.    

 

 

 

 

Participle Phrases — having been

FULL "BE" CLAUSE

A because-clause with a be verb may indicate an earlier time or event. The clause can be reduced when both clauses refer to the same subject.

DEPENDENT CLAUSE   INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

Because Tom had been ill the night before,  

he was unable to work the next day.

 INDEPENDENT CLAUSE DEPENDENT CLAUSE

Tom was unable to work    

because he had been ill the night before.  

REDUCED "BE" CLAUSE

A reduced because-clause with a be verb and with an earlier event includes the gerund-participle form of the verb having been.  A comma separates the clauses.

MODIFYING CLAUSE   INDEPENDENT CLAUSE

Having been illearlier 

 Tom was unable to work. later

 INDEPENDENT CLAUSE MODIFYING CLAUSE

Tom was unable to work  later

having been ill.   earlier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*Wearing so little, Elmo seems embarrassed by Katy's dress. 
The subject of the 'because clause' is unclear. Who is "wearing so little"? 

Pop-Q "because clause" 

*Working so hard, she doesn't have to work.  
The subject of the 'because clause is unclear. Who is doing the work,
she or someone else?   

SOLUTION

Wearing so little, Katy seems to embarrass Elmo with her skimpy dress
Because Katy is wearing so little, Elmo seems to be embarrassed by her dress.
Elmo is embarrassed by Katy [because she is] wearing so little.  

Because he is working so hard, she doesn't have to work.

If the subject of the two clauses is different, the clause cannot be shortened.  Also, replace a pronoun with a noun if the pronoun is not clearly identified in a previous sentence. (missing antecedent)  

 

*Yellow highlighting marks an example of incorrect usage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice

Nesting Birds

bird
 

Shorten the because-clause.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 1-10" button.

 

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prey (N) – a bird-eating animal