"Due to" or "Because of" - a common English error among students, academics

"Due to" and "Because of" - a common error in English

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The English language is a very rich language. Actually it is like an endless sea; no matter how much you swim in this sea of language, you will never get to the end of it. 

Thousands upon thousands of articles have been written about common English language errors we make in our writing or we use in our conversations.

However, I bet, none (or very very few) have discussed a common English language mistake that is literally omnipresent in written documents and manuscripts.

As our blog is directed mainly at MA & PhD students and academics, particularly non-natives, we think you guys will benefit from this post as it is about a phrase that you use quite often in your dissertations/theses, essays, and research proposals. In fact, not only students and academics but even some of those who claim they are the best English language editors and proofreaders in the world may not be able of aware.

"Due to" or "Because of" or "Owing to"

Let's make it simple:

Due to (does not mean) because of

Due to (means) caused by

Owing to (means) because of

Now let's illustrate with concrete and specific examples:

Example One: (wrong)

Mental health problems were on the rise due to the ongoing violence and decades of dictatorship and instability.

Example One: (right)

The rise in mental health problems was due to (caused by) the ongoing violence and decades of dictatorship and instability.

Example One: (right)

Mental health problems were on the rise owing to (because of) the ongoing violence and decades of dictatorship and instability.


Example Two: (wrong)

Due to all such consequent changes, Indonesia has to keep enhancing its good interaction with other democratic nations internationally.


Example Two: (right)

The consequent changes, due to (caused by) the different weather, have led to negative consequences.

Example Two: (right)

Owing to (because of) all such consequent changes, Indonesia has to keep enhancing its good interaction with other democratic nations internationally.


Example Three: (wrong)

But due to the lack of historical statistical data, this temporal approach is often dismissed.

Example Three: (right)

The complexity of the problem is due to its dimension and the many constraints (see e.g. Tillander, 2004).

Example Three: (right)

But owing to the lack of historical statistical data, this temporal approach is often dismissed.

Advice: If you wish to use different synonyms for “because of”, you can use “owing to” which means “because of”, but certainly refrain from using “due to”.

The examples cited in this post are true examples taken from assignments of MA & PhD students and academics turned to us as a proofreading services UK provider.

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