Language Will Be More Clear In The Future, Due To Things Like This

I hope everyone is sure to follow this rule when writing:

“Because of” should not be used to modify a sentence in the future tense, since it is a logical fallacy to impute a cause to something that is not (yet) true. Rather, a construction such as “due to” or “owing to” should be used, or the sentence should be rewritten to be more clear.

For example, instead of “He’s going to Florida next week, because of a friend’s wedding,” one should write, “He’s going to Florida next week *for* a friend’s wedding.”

Writers who observe this rule thereby uphold an important distinction; a sentence such as “Because of the promised bonus, he decided to teach an extra class next summer” makes clear that the promised bonus is the cause of the *decision* (which has already happened), not the cause of the *teaching an extra class* (which hasn’t happened yet, so doesn’t yet have a cause).

Naturally, it is made up from whole cloth, but what else is new?

~ by smwilliams on October 18, 2012.

2 Responses to “Language Will Be More Clear In The Future, Due To Things Like This”

  1. Deep, deep stuff, man.

    (And, actually, good to know. I’m sure I’ve made that mistake.)

    • Well, just to be clear, in case you didn’t follow the link – that rule was made up in a contest to make a plausible-sounding prescriptivist grammar rule. The hope is that many years in the future, when someone researches this rule that everyone knows is true, they will eventually trace its inception back to the Lingua Franca post. Of course, if you’re just being sarcastic, then by all means, carry on 🙂

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