Can I always replace “because of” with “on account of”? As in

I could not enjoy the day because of the awful weather.

I could not enjoy the day on account of the awful weather.

If these two expressions are same, is there any situation where I should prefer one over the other?

  • 2
    There are subtle differences. I found a quote on the net that "He did not die on account of a broken heart, he died of a broken heart on account of his lover's infidelity"
    – mplungjan
    Jul 11, 2013 at 6:56
  • 2
    Yes, Kelly Clarkson wisely opted for 'Because of you'. Jul 11, 2013 at 8:15
  • Not always. ... the wizard of Oz is one on account, on account, on account, on account, on account, on account, on account of the wonderful things he does. Jul 11, 2013 at 15:33
  • Giggle :) But for those who may not get it, Peter Shor is citing the lyrics of "We're Off to See the Wizard"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 28, 2013 at 3:03
  • "On account of" makes me think of the Junie B. Jones children's books - and then run to use "because of" instead...
    – CFR
    Apr 13, 2017 at 0:15

4 Answers 4


In most cases, because of and on account of are synonymous.

On account of is slightly less appropriate than because of in cases that do not involve thought or record.

The water boiled because of the heat.

The water boiled on account of the heat.

Both uses are valid, but in this example, because of is slightly better than on account of because it does not imply thought on the part of the water.


Furthermore, as is often the subtle case with languages, it is difficult for a foreign speaker to "feel" the slightly humorous/awkwardness of "on account of" versus the straightforward "because of" which more clearly designates causality and frankly, as such, sounds more professional in a formal context. I was trying to think of (or manufacture) --an example when I immediately came across another post which referred to one: J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye:

He'd written me this note asking me … to stop by and say good-by before vacation started, on account of I wasn't coming back.

Notwithstanding the temporal grammatical problem, the phrase conveys a weaker statement of intent than -because" and is a much better portrait of a younger and/or less educated way of speaking. (Journalists for The Australian please take note and apply Salinger's language insights in reverse.)


Because of & On account of can often be used interchangeably - take the following as an example:

My car broke down because of my running over the dog.

My car broke down on account of my running over the dog.

This is not the case with every sentence, though. Take the following as an example:

Because of the rain, we now have to stay inside.

On account of the rain, we now have to stay inside.

The phrase "because of" makes the noun "rain" have a more negative connotation versus the phrase "on account of".

  • 1
    I tried to edit your reply so that the second part said car instead of care, but I needed to change at least six character but there areb't that many characters that need to be changed. Feb 6, 2016 at 0:07

"because of" is the normal expression, "on account of" a less frequent variant.

  • 1
    This doesn't explain where one should be preferred over another Nov 21, 2015 at 18:03

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