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So I stumbled upon this sentence:

''Aside from a flexible vagina which is due to the pelvic muscles' elasticity [...]''

And I wonder, shouldn't there be ''because of''? Because it modifies the adjective ''flexible'', and for ''due to'' to be right shouldn't it have been ''the flexibility of vagina [...]'' ? But again, I know that ''due to'' must follow a form of ''to be'', which is present here.

  • There are some prescriptivists who would argue that the above use of "due to" is incorrect, and it should be "because of", but most native (US) English speakers will find the "due to" version perfectly proper and more natural-sounding. – Hot Licks Dec 18 '15 at 20:46
  • You know that "due to" must follow a form of "to be" – or does it? – J.R. Dec 18 '15 at 20:51
  • As I explain in my answer, this question, despite its title, really hinges on a rather different issue than due to vs. because of. That is why I nominated it for re-opening. – Brian Donovan Dec 20 '15 at 3:48
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Over the years there has been some purist anxiety about whether due to or owing to can properly predicate a cause of a clause (the way because can) as well as of a noun or its syntactic equivalent; but that is not really the issue here. The intent is clearly to identify a cause for the flexibility of the vagina, and not for the vagina itself, its existence, flexible or otherwise; but this last is what the syntax actually implies. Thus substituting because [of] for due to will not fix the problem. One could, however, write something like the following:

Aside from the flexibility of the vagina [noun phrase], which is due to the elasticity of the pelvic muscles, . . .

or

Aside from the effect on the vagina, which is/becomes flexible [clause] because of [or, yes, due to or owing to] the elasticity of the pelvic muscles, . . .

  • +1 If I understand your point correctly, it is that this is not the sort of construction involving "due to" that purists object to. My impression has always been that any instance of "due to" that a reader can replace with "attributable to" without creating any problems with coherence is A-OK with the purist wing of Grammar, Incorporated. – Sven Yargs Dec 20 '15 at 6:27
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    @SvenYargs, I believe the purist wing would object to due to or attributable to in my second "[clause]" example above and to none of them in my first "[noun phrase]" example. It is my impression that they would nonetheless be OK with owing to in the second example, though why that should be more acceptable than due to (in predicating a cause of a clause) has never made any sense to me. I guess it is a "tribunal of use" thing, though once one accepts that jurisdiction the whole shibboleth shatters. – Brian Donovan Dec 20 '15 at 6:36

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