Due to

How to use "due to" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

The most old-fashioned of grammar police insist that a phrase beginning with due to (expressing the cause of something) should only be used as an adjective phrase at the end of a clause. Use it after a to be verb, as in the third example below:

Due to the rain, the match was cancelled.

Because of the rain, the match was cancelled.
The cancellation of the match was due to the rain.

This rule is rarely taught or observed today; contemporary usage of due to is generally much more flexible. Keep it in mind when you’re writing for a traditionalist audience, however.

Another problem with the expression due to is its use in the phrase “due to the fact that.” This phrase is really just a wordy, awkward way of saying because or since.

absent due to the fact that he is ill

absent because he is ill

Strictly speaking, the use of this expression is not necessarily considered an error, but it is generally better to use a more concise expression like because or since. (“On account of” is another such phrase that should generally be avoided.)

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.