People often use because and since interchangeably, simply because they sound synonymous. But, are they really synonymous? Well, let’s find out!

  • I haven’t heard from him since February.
  • Since he has a sweet tooth, let’s buy him a chocolate cake for his birthday tomorrow!
  • She repainted her room blue because she didn’t like the previous color.

Since can act as a conjunction, or an adverb. When since acts as an adverb, it implies a state of time (first example), whereas when it acts as a conjunction, it becomes synonymous with because (second example). And because can only act as a conjunction. It implies causation (third example).

Despite the fact that both words appears synonymous and interchangeable, they also carry their own ambiguity. Consider the following examples:

  • Since he had slept a lot last night, he was energetic.

Was he energetic because he had slept a lot or was he energetic just after he had slept a lot? Here, since is ambiguous. It isn’t clear whether since refers to time or a cause.

  • Dean didn’t sleep because of the rain.

On the above example, because implies double meanings, one meaning opposes the other. The meaning can be either Dean didn’t sleep and the reason was rain, or Dean did sleep and the reason was not the rain.

So, which one to use? When to use which? Well, none is better than the other, both are commonly used in speaking and writing. But, here is one trick: if you want to imply a reason, it’s better to use because. Whereas, if you want to focus on the result, use since. Easy to remember, no?

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