In my inaugural Cross Your T’s grammar post, I promised I would share with you the difference between since and because, a difference I only learned of recently. Let me warn you, you’re going to find it a very hard habit to break—even harder than cutting back on your use of that in a sentence.
Those of you who know when to use since and because should have cringed when you read this post’s title. Those of you who didn’t bat an eyelash have a little something to learn. Fortunately, the concept is easy; putting it into practice is not. Ready? Here you go:
Use since when you’re referring to time. For example:
I haven’t had a Route 44 diet vanilla Coke since yesterday and I fear for my children’s safety.
Ever since I overdosed on Hot Pockets in high school, I can’t get near one without vomiting in my mouth.
I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since 1997.
Use because when you’re showing causation (basically a cause/effect relationship). For example:
Because you’ve spent your life wondering about the correct use of since and because in a sentence, I was inspired to write this post.
I’m considering sending my 11-year-old to boarding school next summer because she’s an expert at pushing my buttons.
Sometimes I would like to drop-kick my kids’ friends (and my kids) but because I’m afraid it might leave a mark, I drop-kick them in my head instead.
I will be jamming headphones into my ears and ignoring the kids because I’ll be in the car with them for over 10 hours.*
I will be jamming headphones into my ears and ignoring the kids since I’ll be in the car with them for over 10 hours.*
You’ll find people use since and because interchangeably all the time. I know I did until a friend enlightened me. To be honest, I kind of wish I were still unenlightened. It’s not easy to get into a habit of using them correctly. Sometimes because doesn’t flow as well as since in a sentence, but what’s a grammar lover to do? (I’ll tell you. She uses since when she should use because on Skype because—not since—she’s a rule breaker…at least when no one but her Skype friend is reading!)
* Even though this sentence is incorrect due to the use of since rather than because, it is a true statement. Wish me luck!
Previous Cross Your T’s posts: