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Since vs Because – When to Use Each

Since vs Because – When to Use Each

The words “since” and “because” are both used to show causality or give reasons, but there are some important differences in how they are applied. Mastering when to use each one is key for clear and precise writing. Here’s a breakdown:

Using “Because” “Because” is a subordinating conjunction that introduces a subordinate clause giving the reason for or cause of something stated in the main clause.

Since vs Because - When to Use Each
Since vs Because – When to Use Each

Examples:

  • I was late because there was heavy traffic.
  • He didn’t go to the party because he was feeling unwell.
  • We decided to postpone the trip because of the bad weather forecast.

In these cases, “because” connects the two clauses and shows that the second clause is the reason for whatever is stated in the main clause.

Using “Since” “Since” has a few different use cases in English:

  1. As a preposition showing a period of time from a specific point until now:
  • I’ve been practicing yoga since 2015.
  • She has worked at the hospital since graduating from nursing school.
  1. As a conjunction meaning “because” to introduce a reason:
  • Since you’ve already studied the material, you should do well on the test.
  • Since it’s raining, let’s have a movie night instead.

When using “since” as a reason conjunction like this, the clause it introduces typically comes first in the sentence.

A Common Mistake One of the most frequent errors is using “since” incorrectly in place of “because” when the reason comes second:

Wrong: I didn’t call you back, since I was busy at work. Right: I didn’t call you back because I was busy at work.

In summary: Use “because” when the reason follows the main clause. Use “since” as a preposition for time periods, or put it first when the reason clause comes before the main clause.

Clarity in writing is so important, so keep these guidelines in mind!

Sure, here are some more examples using “since” and “because” correctly:

Using “Because”

  • I decided to take the bus because my car wouldn’t start this morning.
  • The concert was cancelled because the lead singer was ill.
  • We had to reschedule the meeting because several people were out of town.
  • She burst into tears because she failed her driving test again.
  • I’m going to the grocery store because we’re all out of milk and eggs.

Using “Since” for Time

  • We’ve been best friends since kindergarten.
  • He has worked as an accountant since 2010.
  • The store has been closed since last week for renovations.
  • I haven’t seen my cousins since they moved overseas.

Using “Since” to Mean “Because” (With Reason First)

  • Since you’re heading to the mall, could you pick up my dry cleaning?
  • Since it’s a nice day, why don’t we have a picnic in the park?
  • Since we’re already running late, we should take the highway.
  • Since you’ve finished your homework, you can watch some TV before bed.

Incorrect Use of “Since” Instead of “Because”

  • Wrong: I didn’t go to the gym, since I was feeling lazy. Right: I didn’t go to the gym because I was feeling lazy.
  • Wrong: They fired him, since he was frequently late. Right: They fired him because he was frequently late.

The key difference is that “because” is used to give the reason after the main clause, while “since” can only introduce the reason if it comes before the main clause. Using “since” incorrectly instead of “because” is a very common mistake. I hope these extra examples help clarify the proper usage! Let me know if you need any other examples.

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