Grammar Chaos: Confusing Conjunctions—Knowing the Difference between Since and Because

Posted on May 10, 2017

Since and because seem like fairly easy words, but we still tend to mix them up. Let’s review the sample sentences below.

Because vs Since at

  We had dinner since he brought pizza.

  We had dinner because he brought pizza.

At first glance, both sentences seem correct, but grammatically, the second sentence is more correct.

Since and because are called conjunctions. Conjunctions link together clauses to make a complete sentence. Even further, they are subordinating conjunctions, which means they link an independent clause to a dependent clause. What many people don’t know is that they are also causal conjunctions. As the term suggests, causal conjunctions link two related clauses to show a cause-and-effect relationship. The difference is that since also implies the passage of time. We can fix the abovementioned sample sentences to illustrate the difference.

  We had dinner since he brought pizza.

  Since he brought pizza last night, we had dinner.

If you use “We had dinner last night since he brought pizza,” confusion might ensue. Did they mean they had dinner when the pizza was brought? Or did they mean they have been having dinner since the pizza was brought?

To avoid conflict, use since when you have a time stamp to avoid ambiguity.

Grammar can be chaotic, but with a little extra study, you’ll get the hang of it soon enough! Watch out for more Grammar Chaos articles, or if you have your own chaotic ideas, shoot us a message.


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