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Since vs Because : FAQs • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Since vs Because

Frequently asked questions. Go HERE and read the first thread.
Laycrew
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Since vs Because

Postby Laycrew » Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:41 pm


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roda havet
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Re: Since vs Because

Postby roda havet » Thu Jul 02, 2015 2:51 pm

I have found myself using the word since, because, so, and as a lot in my writing. Then I realized something didn't seem right using the same words so much so I found an online thesaurus to give me other options to use in the place. But I think the reason we use words a lot is because of what you said, its the way we think and talk. As for your sentences they are fine the way you put them but use the word because would also work. I hope this helps. :)
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onceuponwednesday
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Re: Since vs Because

Postby onceuponwednesday » Thu Jul 02, 2015 3:32 pm

I had a glance through my stuff and I seem to use since mainly as a time thing. "I haven't been back to the Greek baths since the incident with the loofah."

But I've used it at the beginning of sentences instead of because like you do.

It sounds more awkward to me to start a sentence with because.

Because we were already at the zoo, there was no need to shave a monkey.

Since we were already at the zoo, there was no need to shave a monkey.

I think it's a voice question. So it's up to you.
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Re: Since vs Because

Postby Oldtimer » Thu Jul 02, 2015 7:16 pm

I wouldn't use either. I'd write:

We were already at the zoo so there was no need to shave a monkey.
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Re: Since vs Because

Postby DrG2 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:07 pm

I looked at my NIP, and I use "since" about once per 5,000 words and always when there was an element of time.

There is nothing wrong with using it as a synonym of "because," except (from OAED):
When using since as a causal conjunction to mean 'because' or 'given that,' be aware that in some contexts or constructions the word may be construed as referring to time. For example, in the sentence, : Since Mrs. Jefferson moved to Baltimore in the 1990s, she was not aware of the underlying complexities, it is not clear, esp. at the beginning, whether since means 'because' or 'from the time when.' It is often better to simply say 'because,' if that is the intended meaning.

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Re: Since vs Because

Postby Laycrew » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:45 am

Wednesday, you always crack me up with your examples. :lol:

Even though I do see DrG's point and I did read an example like that while researching, I did feel it was a voice thing and personal preference with most of the "since"s in question. With one of my manuscripts, it is in first person so it had a lot of voice going on. When I used "since" in that one it was mostly speaking about things that had happened since past events. I only found a few instances where "because" could take the place of "since" but I still couldn't get comfortable reading it that way. The manuscript that had the recommendations was in 3rd person and that's why I looked it up and was on the fence as to which way to go. I did just eliminate either word when I could so it wouldn't bug me so much. Obsessing over word use like that could make me nuts when editing.

I did want to see a what everyone's thoughts were on the matter as well. So thanks, everyone.

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Re: Since vs Because

Postby onceuponwednesday » Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:35 am

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Re: Since vs Because

Postby Laycrew » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:21 pm


James A. Ritchie
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Re: Since vs Because

Postby James A. Ritchie » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:47 pm

Style and voice are not the same thing, but both can be bad. Often extremely bad. I don't mean you're doing this, but neither style nor voice should be used to justify poor writing, and many words are indicators of poor writing, when the words are used too often, needlessly, or incorrectly. "Because", "since", "just", "only", and a handful of similar words, are very often indicators of poor writing.

The only real rule with "since" versus "because" is ambiguity, and "since" is the word that can most often give a sentence two meanings. "Since the sun came up, I've been working on my writing." This is a correct sentence, but what does it mean? When used like this, "since" can mean either time passage or causation, so you want to avoid it, style and voice, or no style and voice. Readers don't care about your personal preference, they care about not stumbling over meaning.

Because of this, it's best to use "because" for clear and unambiguous causation, and "since" for clear and unambiguous time passage, rather than according to a grammar rule that says either could be correct. Being grammatically correct does not guarantee good writing. Some of the suckiest writing out there is grammatically perfect.

Anyway, don't let style, voice, and especially personal preference, trick you into writing poorly. Writers are blessed to be able to write, but we never get to judge our own writing. This is always left up to readers.


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