Q: “Since” and “because” sound the same to me. Is it okay to use them interchangeably?

A: Nope. There is a difference.

“Since” is used when something happens after something else. “Because” is used when something has caused something else. This is important because, as lawyers, statisticians and scientists will tell you, “correlation does not equal causation.” Translation: Just because (not since) Thing A happened before Thing B, it does not mean Thing A caused Thing B.

Example: Putting on a cap and gown is not what actually gets you a high school diploma, although those two events are often linked in a before-and-after sequence.

When an event has caused something else to happen later, you can use either “since” or “because,” because (not since) both are true. Examples:

a. Since Natalie Portman won an Oscar, she can get more money for her acting.

b. Because Natalie Portman won an Oscar, she can get more money for her acting.

When the statement is just a matter of timing, only use “since,” as in “Since Natalie Portman won an Oscar, she’s had a child.” When the statement is just about cause, and not about timing, only use “because,” as in “I want to watch Natalie Portman movies because she is my favorite actress.”

Have a marketing challenge? Call Kim Landry at 484-829-0021 or email [email protected].

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