Due to, meaning “attributable to,” modifies noun phrases, not verb clauses. If you can substitute “attributable to” for “due to” in a sentence, you’ve used the phrase correctly. If “attributable to” doesn’t work as an alternative, you need to reword.
For instance, in the sentence “The tennis match’s delay was due to the rain,” you can switch out “due to” with “attributable to,” yielding “The tennis match’s delay was attributable to the rain,” because due to modifies the noun phrase “the tennis match’s delay.” If the sentence read, “The tennis match was delayed due to the rain,” “attributable to” would no longer work as a substitute for “due to.” This is because “due to” here is misused to modify a verb phrase, “The tennis match was delayed.” Here, if you want to retain the verb phrase, an easy rewrite would be “The tennis match was delayed by the rain” or “The tennis match was delayed because of the rain.”
Israel A. Cohen 25 January 2023 AT 02:01 PM
A Google search for the phrase "closed due to" (in quotes) produces 20,600,000 results. So there are a lot of English writers who are not following Barney Latimer's advice. Ngram Viewer provides an interesting comparison of "closed because of" and "closed due to" at
Ergo, Barney's advice seems to be out-of-date.
Sarah Goodwin 25 January 2023 AT 02:01 PM
Thank you for this succinct and clear explanation! I've known the difference intuitively for decades but was never able to explain it to my literature students--or anyone else who was willing to listen. It is marvelously and mysteriously satisfying to understand the principle.
C. Barney Latimer 26 January 2023 AT 02:01 PM
Thank you so much for your comment. We're delighted to know the guidance in the post was so helpful!
Alice Strange 25 January 2023 AT 06:01 PM
What can I do with this sentence? It doesn’t sound right.
“…he was not memorialized because his last hours, or even his fate, were unknown.”
Norene 25 January 2023 AT 06:01 PM
Is “This is because . . .” an acceptable construction? In that phrase above, is “This” a vague pronoun?
Linn Marchant 26 January 2023 AT 04:01 PM
I believe "owing to" modifies verb phrases. Is that correct? "The tennis match was delayed owing to the rain."
Craig Hancock 26 January 2023 AT 05:01 PM
a quick search on COCA brought up many instances when this "rule" was not followed in edited (academic text), particularly when "Due to" opens a sentence. (Search phrase .Due to* ) I'm not sure how the term "correct" is being used here when usage clearly differs. "Due to the impending storm, classes will be cancelled." Sentences following this pattern are fairly common.
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