I understand the simple distinction between "due to" ("adjectival") and "because of" (adverbial), but I get a little confused when the sentence includes modal or complex verbs. For example, could one write: "Participants may be excluded due to any of the following transgressions....."? ("due to follows "may be + excluded")

Or should one stick to a more strict "Participant exclusion may be due to any of the following transgressions...."?

Or is that even wrong, and they should both be "because of"?

This is NOT a duplicate of any other question because it addresses a particular use of "due to" that at least one response suggests is acceptable - but for reasons that actually add confusion!

  • Yes - same question. But this time I have an answer!
    – Adrian
    Oct 7, 2015 at 17:33
  • Is it the right answer you were looking for?
    – user140086
    Oct 7, 2015 at 17:39
  • Not certain. I am pursuing clarification. Can you assist?
    – Adrian
    Oct 7, 2015 at 18:01
  • Not really, Sven. I am trying to ascertain if there is an exclusion to a rule I think I understand. That "due to" is adjectival and should follow some form of "to be". Matt, below, suggests that it is acceptable to use "due to" after a verb that isn't "to be" if the sentence is passive and conditional "Participants may be excluded due to XXX". Any ideas?
    – Adrian
    Oct 8, 2015 at 15:35
  • @Adrian how is this sentence conditional? Oct 8, 2015 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


"Participants may be excluded due to any of the following transgressions..." is correct. This is because "be excluded" is the past perfect voice of "to exclude," with "transgressions," a noun, being associated with participants, not their actual state of exclusion (or of being excluded, to put it another way). The contest officials are the excluding agents, and are not even mentioned in the sentence. (Again, this sentence is in the passive voice, which for this occasion, is perfectly acceptable.) Use of the adjectival "due to" modifies the state of exclusion that a participant can be in.

This question is a tricky one because the actual state of exclusion is not directly mentioned as such, but implied as a possibility based on the use of the word "excluded," which is a verb form and not a noun. If this sentence were written in the active voice, the opportunity to use the adverbial "because of" becomes much more apparent.

  • Thanks, Matt. But if I specifically referred to an exclusion criterion - "Participants may be excluded due to cheating", would your rationale be the same? Is the passive voice the reason for the acceptability of the sentence, such that "participants were excluded due to cheating" would be wrong? This is why I am confused!
    – Adrian
    Oct 7, 2015 at 17:39
  • What are you saying? Reading this "answer" is like trying to read cipher text from an Enigma machine. Oct 8, 2015 at 16:57
  • sigh... The OP asked which of the two approaches was correct. I answered the question and explained why. Sorry if some people cannot follow the explanation but this exchange is about the use of English, including the grammar, etc., thereof. If some people can't understand the technical words associated with English grammar, then I suggest rather than complain about same, they make use of a dictionary, or stay off the site entirely. Oct 8, 2015 at 17:30
  • @MattCampbell are you kidding? Oct 8, 2015 at 17:35
  • @michael_timofeev No, not at all. Oct 8, 2015 at 17:38

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