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I've noticed an interesting usage where "because [noun]." is used at the end of a sentence to mean "because [...everything that word implies. Nothing more needs to be said]". It often has a wry or sarcastic tone that implies the subject considers the word to be a blanket explanation for something.

An example might be "She couldn't drag herself away from the computer because internet.", the implication being that the Internet is seductive. Another example is here where "because sex" is used to imply that a group of people have a simplistic attitude to how sex affects people's lives.

The odd grammar causes a clang in my head when I read it, but of course that is the point; the author is showing how this word will stop the conversation dead in its tracks, so it is quite effective.

Is this a new or emerging usage, or have I just started noticing it?

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Yes, it's novel. However, it has predecessors.

The form "because [noun]" allows the fuller statement giving the reasoning to be deduced, with the implication that there isn't really any reasoning - much as the sentence is jumping from because to an object, so too is the thinking of the speaker or those they are talking about. This is all the more so with the common form "because reasons" where there isn't any attempt to even state such an object.

While this form is novel, there are such poorly-reasoned arguments as "Because, that's why!", "Just because!" and the bare "because!". Such non-arguments can come naturally enough to children who are finding it difficult to express their reasoning or to excuse a behaviour that is frowned upon, and as such is considered childish.

From this "just because" has an informal meaning of doing something because one feels like doing so, though one doesn't have any well thought-out reason for doing so.

The same lack of reasoning that makes it work poorly in a debate or argument can be used deliberately to humourously concede that one doesn't really have a good argument. A good counter-joke is to react as if it was in fact a devastatingly good argument:

"Because, that's why!"

"Oh, you win this round."

The novel form "because [noun]" fits into this history if imprecise and often ungrammatical uses of because.

  • There seems to be something else going on here though. These constructions are often meant to be humorous or ironic. "Because reasons" is just evasive, and "because, that's why" is a different animal altogether, but forms such as "because internet" could be expressing, say exasperation or perhaps awe with the internet. I don't think it is just a cop out to avoid having to explain yourself. – ianjs Sep 7 '15 at 5:26
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It is a new usage. I believe usage like this stems from the desire to find shortcuts for typing on mobile devices. Try typing correct English into a mobile device and you will eventually lean on shortcuts as well (LOL, IANAL, IMHO, etc.). However, speaking in this manner to a real person is awkward, and anyone who speaks English knows that no one employs because [noun] as a reason for anything. At least, not yet.

Try saying this out loud:

Guys watch porn because sex.

It just sounds weird. It also implies you can't form a complete thought.

Here's the rub: because is a word that unites two full sentences:

[noun] [verb] [noun] because [noun] [verb] [noun]

because [noun] is a contraction of laziness: the writer doesn't want to write the second sentence.

For example:

She broke out in hives because cats.

is a lazy way of writing sentences like the following:

She broke out in hives because she is deathly allergic to cats.

She broke out in hives because cats make her itch.

She broke out in hives because she hates cats.

She broke out in hives because cats hate her.

She broke out in hives because cats scratched up her face.

Any one of these sentences would convey a complete thought. But the writer is too lazy to finish the thought. I don't enjoy reading people's incomplete thoughts.

Sometimes the sheer novelty of a trend can fuel its acceptance. Bloggers think it's cool and perpetuate this trend. In this case, I don't think it should be encouraged. Even for the sake of saving keystrokes (or thumbstrokes).

  • I think you're missing the point. The usage has nothing to do with laziness or novelty or coolness or even with saving keystrokes. It's a deliberate and ironic way of pointing out that the evidence for an argument is missing. – deadrat Sep 2 '15 at 22:47
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    This usage is not as transcendent as you may believe: it is just trying to be clever. It's not succeeding. Ironic? No. It would have to actually say something to possibly be considered ironic. Deliberate? Yes, but it is also fragmentary, discordant, and flat. The employment of real words is increasingly being sacrificed for the sake of cleverness and brevity. And here's yet another contrived trend to further ossify our use of real words. – Snapman Sep 4 '15 at 2:57
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    Oh, dear! Another guardian of the purity of the language is outraged because ossify. I didn't say the usage was transcendent. If you don't think it's clever, if you're immune to irony, or if you're aghast at the fragmentary, discordant, and two-dimensional aspect of the usage, then take comfort that people have had the same complaints about the language since Grendel was a pup. And English is still here. – deadrat Sep 4 '15 at 3:13
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    Yes, I agree with @deadrat that the usage has "nothing to do with laziness or novelty or coolness or even with saving keystrokes". It is not an attempt at brevity. It doesn't seem to imply the argument is missing though; it seems to be a deliberate (and faintly humorous) device to say "[noun] explains it all, nothing more needs to be said". – ianjs Sep 7 '15 at 4:59

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