Recently, I have seen discussions that state that "because" is always a preposition. Can someone shed light on this idea? Thank you.


The question that prompted me to post this question: Is "which" a preposition? Because because

I posted this question for several reasons:

1) I have seen this topic come up in comments before. I don't remember the original posts that led to the comments...perhaps another user can recall.

2) I could not follow all of the reasoning in the referenced article (Language log) and am hoping a user can bring the discussion "down to earth" for the rest of us mortals.

3) Language is not set in stone, and I have the feeling that other words will soon change use. I think it's important to see how people discuss the words that are changing and to understand these inevitable changes.

4) I think it would help us have a better understanding of ideas such as "preposition" and "Subordinate conjunction" and "conjunction."

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    It's a newly-emerging non-standard usage. If you're learning English, I suggest you avoid it, since the vast majority of native speakers will simply dismiss it as an ignorant error. Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 17:35
  • @FumbleFingers it's something I see in student writing all the time and know it is incorrect. I was prompted to ask this question because of another post on SE...english.stackexchange.com/q/288447/129806 Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 17:42
  • @FumbleFingers The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language reassigned the majority of what traditional grammars call subordinating conjunctions to the same family of words as prepositions. Since then it has become a standard analysis. They're clearly the same type of word from the evidence available. In other words because is Aways a preposition! :) Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 20:36
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    @michael_timofeev I think you need some example sentences in your question! :-) Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 1:56
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    Why be secretive? ... Recently, I have seen discussions .....What examples have you got that because is always a preposition? Post a link, cite a passage. When did it stop being a conjunction? Why do I feel it's been demoted? Why are grammarians discussing this?!? @Araucaria Yes, examples please!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Nov 22, 2015 at 11:38

3 Answers 3


Conventionally because is considered a conjunction, because it links (or conjoins) two clauses. The argument against its classification as a conjunction is that because operate like other subordinating or coordinating conjunctions but does operate like prepositions.

This post on the Language Log demonstrates that because is not a conjunction by comparing it to that (subordinating conjunction) and and (coordinating conjunction). I summarize the argument below.

Typical subordinating conjunction: that

  • That can be omitted from a sentence and the sentence's meaning generally remains the same.
  • The clauses cannot be rearranged and maintain meaning: "[clause 1] that [clause 2]" != "that [clause 2], [clause 1]".
  • Complements follow that.
  • If because is omitted from a sentence the meaning does not remain the same.
  • With because the clauses can be rearranged.
  • Adjuncts generally follow because.

Typical coordinating conjunction: and

  • The two clauses joined by and can be rearranged and the meaning stays the same.
  • And cannot start a sentence.
  • Rearranging the clauses changes the meaning with because.
  • Because can start a sentence.

Because does not act like conjunctions, and thus is not a conjunction. It does, however, act like prepositions.

Prepositions can introduce noun-phrases, clauses, preposition phrases, and nothing, depending on the preposition. Because has long introduced clauses and preposition phrases (with of) and more recently also introduces noun-phrases.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 15:12
  • And because is a preposition. The people ask me how. How did I live my life before. I tell them I don't know. And yes, I know how lonely life must be. Because because is a preposition, you see.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Mar 20, 2023 at 10:05

It's quite correct, and has been accepted by the Authorities. The Academy has voted because into the Ancient and Honourable Order of Prepositions; because of thus becomes optional usage.

The preposition because was the American Dialect Society's 2013 Word of the Year.
Because English, after all.

  • 2
    How long do you think it would take for major dictionaries such as Oxford, Merriam-Webster, etc. to follow suit? Is "since" a preposition if I say "since you", "since English", "since tired", "since useful"? I saw so many flaws in the article that it actually surprised me.
    – user140086
    Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 18:29
  • I think OP wants to know whether because is always a preposition. Commented Nov 21, 2015 at 20:39
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    This is a quality answer, but I can't help thinking the specific quality is tongue-in-cheekiness (Because sceptical of linguistic authorities commonly referenced using the definite article! :) Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 13:59

This usage is probably an artifact of texting. 'Because' is still a conjunction, but people are eliding the hell out of their sentences because [they] [are] too busy.

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