Re: due to

Subject: Re: due to
From: Joanna Sheldon <cjs10 -at- CORNELL -dot- EDU>
Date: Fri, 26 May 1995 17:20:44 -0400

>The AP says 'due to' should always be replaced by 'because of'. Their
>reasoning is similar to the school teacher's (mentioned in one of the
>early posts in this thread). 'Due to' is primarily used to express the
>subject's indebtedness, where this can be monetary or literary.

>Personally, I find the whole construction cumbersome. Why not say
>"Deforestation caused flooding" rather than "Flooding was because of (due
>to) deforestation"?

>Any thoughts?

Yeah. I like your point, but "due to" is useful when expressing thoughts
like: "Due to massive flooding, folks had to sail to work." We could also
say "Owing to massive flooding..." though in this case the two "ing"s get a
little heavy. In any event, neither "due to" nor "owing to" has to imply
debt. In this sort of phrase they attribute a cause (look at your
dictionary, look at Shakespeare, look at the way it's used in everyday
speech). "Because of" is not more accurate here, it's just simpler. That's
not necessarily better. I'd like us writers to contribute, as well as
clarity, the use of words and expressions that reveal (not to say revel in)
the richness and depth of the language. Let's not oversimplify our
vocabulary in the interests of complying with the AP. Or with rules we
learned from a tenth-grade grammar. These last provide limited models,
which are precisely the kind writers should avoid. To maintain in our
minds the wealth of possibilities that exist in English we should read a
lot, and when we consult a grammar it should be a nice heavy one, like


C. Joanna Sheldon, Ph.D.
GRAPHTEX Consulting
Technical Writing, Information Design,
Translation (French, German, Italian)
cjs10 -at- cornell -dot- edu

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