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Because / Though

Express reason versus contrary reasoning

Cyclist in the snow
 

 

Reason vs. Contrary Reasoning

REASON

Because (since, as, now that) is a connective preposition that relates additional (non-essential) information to the main clause.  Because is complemented by a clause that states a reason (cause) for the effect stated in the main clause. The cause-effect relationship or reasoning is what we would expect.

EFFECT CAUSE

Justin wore his winter pants

because  it was snowing.

 

Justin rode his bike to school

as his car was snowed in.   (under snow)

He likes to walk in the snow

since it is a special winter experience.

He put on his parka

for¹ he felt cold. 

¹ rarely used in US English

Justin can make a snowman

now that  there is snow on the ground.

The mayor apologized

inasmuch as  the snow removal was behind schedule. (late)

The mayor declared a holiday

for the reason that no one could get to work.

CONTRARY REASONING / CONCESSION

Though (although, even though) is a connective preposition that relates additional (non-essential) information to the main clause.  Though is complemented by a clause that states a contrary reason for the effect. It is either illogical, concessive or not the reason (something else is).                                

EFFECT NON-CAUSAL / CONCESSION

Justin wore his winter pants

though  it was warm outside.
just because  he felt like it.

Justin rode his bike to school

even though  the snow was slippery.

He likes to walk in the snow

although  his nose gets cold. (concession)

He put on his parka

regardless of the fact  (that) he did not feel cold.

Justin made an excellent snowman

despite the fact (that) he had never made one before.

The mayor apologized

in spite of the fact (that) snow removal was not his reponsibility.

The mayor declared a holiday,  

yet  some people went to work anyway.

 

 

 

Cause-Effect Relationship Terms

CAUSE EFFECT → NO CAUSE-EFFECT

REASON

effect–cause

He's a good leader because he has worked hard and studied law at Harvard.

The opinion or action is a logical response to the assertion or situation in other clause—cause-effect.

CONCESSIVE REASON

effect–exception

 He's a good leader though he occasionally makes mistakes.

Admitting to something that does not logically fit with the previous statement—an exception.  See Concession.

CONTRARY REASON

effect–no cause

He's a good leader  though he's never held a public office before.

The opinion or action is a not a logical or an expected response to the assertion or situation in other clause—no cause-effect. See Contrary Reasoning.

 

adjunct — elements not required by an expression to complete its meaning

  adjunct prepositional phrase: People were hurt    ajunct prep phrase [prep because  content clause[ they could not get away.]]

concede (V) – admit something to be true; to give away a point; concession (N) – yield, give away, give up, admit defeat; concessive (Adj) – tending to concede

inasmuch as (double Prep) — to the extent that; used to explain the way in which what you are saying is true. He was a good leader, inasmuch as he got the opposing parties to settle their differences.

non-essential — not required for the structure to make sense; the structure or expression can stand alone with out it

reason (V) — form conclusions, inferences or judgments from facts or propositions ; reasoning (N) – the process of forming conclusions

slippery (Adj) — causing one to slide, possibly fall.

(Aarts 155) (Huddleston 725-734) (Swan 49, 94)

Related pages on cause-effect: Cause-Effect Review, But / But still, Connector Review

 

 

 

 

 

Cause-Effect

Initial Position

 

 

Emphasis on Cause

CAUSE–EFFECT

commaA clause with because at the beginning of the sentence (before the main clause), emphasizes the causal-situation ("the reason") with a locical reaction or response following it in the main clause.      

CAUSE LOGICAL EFFECT

Because  it was snowing,

he wore his winter pants

Since it will be snowing harder soon,

we need to leave now

NO CAUSE–EFFECT

commaA clause with though at the beginning of the sentence emphasizes the illocical reaction or response that follows in the main clause.                                                                                                

CAUSE ILLOGICAL EFFECT

Though  it was snowing,

It was snowing.

he wore his shorts.

Even so, he wore his shorts.

Although it will be snowing harder soon,

we need to stay and get our work done.    

 

though – expressing a challenge

See Grammar Notes below for terms for because and though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cause-Effect

Transitions

 

 

 

Connective Adverbs

AN EXPECTED OUTCOME

commaExpressions such as for this reason and as a consequence transition the reader from a sentence with a given situation to a second sentence with a logical reason for the situation in the main clause  A comma is used after the transition word.

CAUSE LOGICAL EFFECT

It was raining. 

For this reason, we moved our picnic indoors.

It was sunny. 

Consequently, we had to wear sunscreen.

It was bright. 

As a result, we had to wear sun glasses to drive.

The weather was delightful. 

As a consequence, we went hiking.
 

AN UNEXPECTED OUTCOME

commaSimilarly, expressions such as nevertheless and nonetheless transition the reader from a sentence with a given situation to a second sentence with a contrary reason for the situation in the main clause.   A comma is used after the transition word.

CAUSE ILLOGICAL EFFECT

It was raining. 

Nevertheless, we went on a picnic.

It was cloudy. 

Even so, we got sunburned.

The sky was overcast. 

Nonetheless, we wore sun glasses while driving.

The weather was miserable. 

In spite of that, we went hiking.

 

See Expected Effect:  Cause & Effect; Unexpected effect: Nevertheless

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cause-Effect

Connective prepositional complemebt

 

 

 

Because of  / In spite of + Noun Phrase  ("adverbial prepositions")

BECAUSE OF + NP

no commaBecause of, due to, on account of, or owing to is followed by noun phrase expressing a logical reason for the action in the main clause.  The action in the main clause is expected under these circumstances.

EFFECT / SITUATION CAUSE
MAIN CLAUSE ADJUNCT PREP PHRASE
CLAUSE PREP + NP

Schools were closed

because of the snow

The pipes froze

due to the cold temperature

People stayed indoors

on account of the bad weather

Mail service way delayed  

owing to the bad weather

IN SPITE OF + NP

no commaIn spite of, despite or regardless of is followed by a noun phrase expressing a contrary reasoning for the action in the main clause.  The action in the main clause is unexpected under these circumstances.

EFFECT / SITUATION CONCESSION / NOT A CAUSE
MAIN CLAUSE ADJUNCT PREP PHRASE
CLAUSE PREP-PREP + NP

Schools remained open

in spite of the snow

The pipes did not freeze

in spite of the cold temperature.

People were out and about

despite the bad weather.

The mail will be delivered

regardless of the bad weather.

 

(PP) prepositional phrase; (NP) noun phrase

See Because of / In spite of ,  Changing clauses to noun phrases  and Grammar Notes  for terms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cause-Effect

Because of -ing

 

 

 

Because of  / In Spite Of + Gerund Clause

BECAUSE OF + NP

no commaBecause of (due to, on account of, owing to) is a double-preposition that is complemented by a noun phrase (NP) or gerund clause expressing reason for the action in the main clause.                                                      

EFFECT REASON

Schools were closed

because of not having any heat in the rooms. (there being no heat.)

The pipes froze

due to not being insulated well.

People stayed home

on account of their wanting to keep warm.

Mail service was delayed

owing to being unable to drive in the snow.

Airplanes were grounded

due to the runways being covered with snow

IN SPITE OF + NP

no commaIn spite of (despite, regardless of) is a double-preposition that is complemented by a noun phrase (NP) or gerund clause expressing contrary reasoning for the action in the main clause. ("concession")

EFFECT CONTRARY REASONING

Schools remained open

in spite of having no heat in the rooms.

The pipes did not freeze

in spite of not being insulated well.

People were out and about

despite their wanting to keep warm.

The mail was delivered

regardless of being unable to drive in the snow.

Airplanes took off
 

despite the runways being covered with snow

 

insulated (Adj) – to cover or protect something with a material that stops electricity, sound, heat etc from getting in or out

See Because of / In spite of

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cause–Effect

Position and Punctuation

 

 

 

Initial vs. Mid Position

INITIAL-POSITION CLAUSE

commaA comma is placed after connective preposition and its clause when it is placed beforethe main clause.

REASONING EFFECT

Because we were cold

we went inside.

Though we wanted to stay, 

he made us leave.

On account of the frost,

we put the car in the garage.

MID-POSITION CLAUSE

no commaNo comma is required when the connective preposition and its clause is placed after the main clause.  (See exception below.)

EFFECT REASONING

We went inside

because we were cold.

He made us leave

though we wanted to stay.

We put the car in the garage

on account of the frost.

 

Also see Using Commas general rules.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not…Because

Limiting negation to the main clause

phone buyer
 

 

"Not…Because" – an exception for using a comma

BECAUSE AS AN ADJUNCT CLAUSE

no commaA negative in the main clause negates the reason clause, "something else is the cause", "not because X".  Whether or not the verb in the main clause (effect-clause) is also negated depends on the context and cultural interpretation.

NOT NEGATES MAIN VERB AND THE CAUSE CLS VERB

                   not negates because-clause
She did not buy the phone because her sister had one. (*ambiguous)

Her sister having a phone was not the reason for her [buying / not buying] one. It was for some other reason. 

TWO INTERPRETATIONS OF THE EFFECT-CLAUSE 

She bought the phone not because her sister had one.

She didn't buy the phone not because her sister had one.

LOGIC GAP / CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING  

Sisters may be jealous of each other. One sister usually wants to have what the other sister has.

Most people interpret the effect as: She bought it.

ONLY / JUST MODIFY THE REASON CLAUSE

               not negates because-clause
She only bought the phone because her sister had one.

→ She bought the phone only because her sister had one.

               not negates because-clause
I'm not just doing it because you told me to (do it).   (ambiguous)

→ I'm doing it not just because you told me to do it..

Your telling me to do it is not the only reason for my doing it. There are other reasons as well.

BECAUSE AS A SUPPLEMENTAL CLAUSE

commaA comma may be used to set off the because-clause from the negation ("not") in the main clause.  The comma clarifies meaning by removing the because-clause from the influence (scope) of the negation in the main clause.  The because-clause becomes a comment.

NOT NEGATES ADJACENT VERB ONLY

                not negates because-clause
She did  not  buy the phone, because her sister had one.

Her sister having a phone was the reason for her not buying one. It mattered that her sister had one.  (They didn't need another.)

 
 
ONLY / JUST MODIFY THE IMMEDIATE VERB

                not negates because-clause
She only bought the (one) phone, because her sister had a phone.  (She limited her purchase.)

          not negates because-clause
I'm
not doing it, just because you told me to (do it) . 

Your telling me to do it is the only reason that I'm not doing it.

 

 

ambiguous (Adj) — can be understood in more than one way

cell phone (US-Eng); mobile phone (BR-Eng)

An adjunct clause is more closely related to the verb (and the negative) in the main verb. A supplemental clause is loosely related to the verb in the main clause; it is more like a comment.

Reason "Scope and Focus" (Huddleston 732 28 i.)

Also see Negative Cause-Effect and Pop-Q Neg Cause.

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

ERROR

*The skier wanted to compete though he broke his ankle. 

  Unclear - How did he compete with a broken ankle?
  "Though" means he did.  "But" means he didn't.

*Since its March, its raining here.  

 The meaning for "since" is unclear. 

*Because he felt tired.

Incomplete sentence or thought

SOLUTION

The skier wanted to compete, but he broke his ankle.
He wasn't able to compete.

Though the skier broke his ankle, he was able to compete.
He was able to compete the event– unexpected, a miracle!)   

#1 It has been raining here since March.  
since – duration; from then until now

#2 Since it is March (spring), it's raining here. 
since –  because, reason; rain is expected in March   

Because he felt tired, he went to bed.
Add a main clause for the reason clause.

Because he felt tired was not a reason for skipping class. Add a predicate (verb phrase).

The reason he missed class was because he was tired.   Add a subject and predicate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grammar Notes(Advanced)

Traditional and Linguistic Description

 

 

Traditional / ESL and Linguistic Descriptions

TRADITIONAL GRAMMAR LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

In traditional grammar, because, as, since, inasmuch as are called subordinating conjunctions.  The conjunction introduces a dependent clause giving a reason for the situation in the main (independent) clause. (Azar 365)

Because, a subordinating conjunction, joins one clause with a particular situation to another clause with an expected, predictable or logical outcome.

Though, a subordinating conjunction, joins one clause with a particular situation to another clause with an an outcome that is contrary to expectation (i.e., illogical, irrational).

Because and though are conjunctions (Swan 49, 94)

In linguistic description—because, as, since, though, and inasmuch as—have been re-assigned to the category of Preposition, a category which takes a wide variety of complements (NP, N, AdjP, AdvP, PP, Predicative Complement, Clause, etc.)  See Prep Complements.

The prepositions— because, as, since, inasmuch as—take finite clauses expressing reason as their complements. Prepositions may also take PPs (prepositional phrases) as their complements as with double-preposition expressions—because of, due to, on account of, owing to, in view of.

The prepositional phrase is an adjunct (adds nonessential information) to the subject and predicate of the main clause.

"Prepositions and Preposition Phrases" (Huddleston 598-617); Cause and result (Huddleston 725-733) ; Reason (Huddleston 731); Adjuncts of Concession  though (Huddleston 734)
 

GRAMMAR TERMS  SYNTACTIC DESCRIPTION

Main clause:
Justin wore his winter pants

 

Adverb clause:

  • because it was snowing. (conjunction + clause)
  • because of the snow. (prep + object noun)

Justin wore his pants adverb clause[because  clause[it was snowing] ]

Matrix clause:
Justin wore his winter pants

 

Adjunct prepositional phrase:

  • because it was snowing.  (PP + finite clause)
  • because of the snow.  (PP + PP + NP)
  • because of  it being so cold.  (PP + PP + nonfinite clause)

Justin wore his pants adjunct prep phrase [prep because  clause[it was snowing]]

 

REED-KELLOGG DIAGRAM  TREE DIAGRAM

Justin wore his winter pants because it was snowing.

Justin wore his winter pants because it was snowing      

CATEGORIES:  NP –noun phrase; N – noun; VP – verb phrase; V – verb; Detdeterminer; PP – prepositional phrase; P – preposition; AdvP – adverb phrase; Adv – adverb; AdjP– adjective phrase; Adj – adjective

FUNCTIONS: Subject:  Subject,   Predicate: Predicator (V) Complements: (elements required by verb) Object, Indirect Object, Predicative Complement  Adjuncts: (optional modifiers) Adj, Adv

 

 

Resources

  • Aarts, Bas. Oxford Modern English Grammar. New York: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.
  • Azar, Betty Schrampfer, and Stacy A. Hagen. Understanding and Using English Grammar. White Plains, New York: Pearson Longman, 2009. Print.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D., and Geoffrey K. Pullum. The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2002. Print.
  • Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

New Car

sub compact car
 

 

Complete the sentences with connectors.

  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.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Election

vote
 

 

Correct or Incorrect?

  1. Select your response "correct" or "incorrect"
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 11-15" button.

 

11.
Because the candidate's good ideas, I will vote for him.

   

12.
The candidate won despite he had little experience.

   

13.
In spite of the fact the candidate is a woman, she will win.

   

14.
The candidate lost the election even though winning the popular vote.

   

15.
Due to the candidate was not well organized, he ran out of money.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

Congressional Representation

U S Continental map
 

 

Edit for errors. (Add a comma if necessary.)

  1. Edit the sentence(s) in the text box.
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 16-20" button.

 

16.
Even though there are 60 million Hispanics in the U.S. not many are in Congress.


17.
Because their issues need to be considered young Hispanics want more representation.


18.
Because English is the “language of the land” many people feel that all U.S. citizens should be able to speak it.


19.
Some people have fewer opportunities to learn English since everyone in the family speaks their native language.


20.
Despite changes the system isn’t perfect yet.