Correct Use of the Phrase ‘Due to’

The phrase ‘due to’ tends to be overused in academic writing and, although it is becoming increasingly acceptable in modern usage, your writing will be more professional and concise if you understand when it is most appropriate. Often, ‘because’ or ‘because of’ should be used instead. If you could substitute ‘attributable to’, ‘caused by’ or ‘resulting from’ for ‘due to’ in your sentence, then you have probably used ‘due to’ correctly. It modifies nouns and is usually preceded by the verb ‘to be’ in one form or another. For example: ‘My fitness is due to regular exercise.’ In this sentence, ‘my fitness’ is the noun and ‘due to’ follows ‘is’, a form of the verb ‘to be’. In contrast, ‘because of’ modifies verbs. For example: ‘I drove because of the rain.’ In this sentence, ‘drove’ is the verb. It would be incorrect to say, ‘I drove due to the rain’ because there is no noun for ‘due to’ to modify in the clause ‘I drove’, and no form of the verb ‘to be’. Consider this example: ‘The picnic was cancelled due to the weather.’ This is incorrect because ‘due to’ does not modify a noun or follow a form of the verb ‘to be’. ‘Because of’ should be used instead: ‘The picnic was cancelled because of the weather.’ However, you could say (although it sounds a bit formal in this context): ‘The picnic’s cancellation was due to the weather.’ Here, ‘due to’ follows ‘was’, a form of ‘to be’, and modifies the noun ‘cancellation’. Any sentence that begins with ‘due to’ is likely to be incorrect. For example: ‘Due to our lack of data, we could not complete the research.’ In this sentence, there is no noun for ‘due to’ to modify, and no verb preceding it. ‘Due to the fact that’ tends to be an unnecessarily wordy way to say ‘because’. For example: ‘The picnic was cancelled due to the fact that it was raining.’ This sentence would be much more concise using ‘because’: ‘The picnic was cancelled because it was raining.’ If you are unsure whether ‘due to’ is correct in a sentence, use ‘because of’ instead, except in the following instances, when ‘due to’ is used in quite a different way: ‘She was due to be paid on Wednesday.’ ‘We were due to leave at 7 a.m.’ Used in this way—to mean ‘supposed to’—‘due to’ is quite correct.

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