I think a sentence cannot start with due to. But if I need to say due to this thing something is happening how can I say it?

How can I write the following sentence correctly?

Due to the changes of polygon shapes, similar error cannot be obtained when computing the residuals with respect to each other.

After posting this question, I found the following link: Can a sentence start with "Due to" (UsingEnglish.com). A post in that thread says

"Due to" is a false friend. It means, caused by - not as a result of, because of or on account of.

Since due to is an adjective, it needs a noun or pronoun to modify. To assure this functioning, the safest place for due to is after a form of the verb to be because there it is always serves as an adjective: "The cancellation was due to bad weather" (due to modifies the noun cancellation).

The most dangerous placement of due to is at the head of a sentence. In "Due to rain" or in "Due to the lateness of the hour" or "Due to a cold I was unable to attend", due to is treated as an adverbial phrase. this is a misuse. A test to determine whether due to is being used correctly is to replace it with "caused by" or "attributed to", which is what due to means. If the replacements make sense, due to is correctly used, as it is in "The explosion was due to [caused by or attributed to] carelessness."

Source: AGU Grammar and Style Guide 3.1

(Casiopea, #2 16-May-2006, 13:56)

Now I am so confused...

  • 8
    There is no such rule that a sentence cannot start with due to. You are trying to work around a constraint you yourself impose on yourself.
    – RegDwigнt
    Oct 31, 2012 at 10:48
  • 4
    Can you say what made you think "a sentence cannot start with 'due to'", so we may know?
    – Kris
    Oct 31, 2012 at 10:49
  • 1
    actually i was doubted about this... so i posted it. at the meantime i found this link too... usingenglish.com/forum/ask-teacher/… now i am so confused..
    – gnp
    Oct 31, 2012 at 10:53
  • 3
    The link you've posted is, however, wrong. Definition of due to. Oct 31, 2012 at 11:09
  • 1
    Miro -- there's a flaw in the argument presented in the discussion you mention. They cite a style guide proclaiming that "'due to' is an adjective" which on that basis then goes on to outlaw "Due to..." in certain positions. But... that's just an (actually quite questionable) arbitrary analysis that that style guide author has chosen to adopt. There's no God-given reason either (a) to accept that argument/analysis, or (b) even if you do accept it, distort your speech or writing on the basis of it. Oct 31, 2012 at 13:50

2 Answers 2


Here's a question that the Google NGram Viewer can actually help with. Look at the values on the Y axis. The usage of "Due to" at the beginning of a sentence has reached 0.0008% in 2008. That may not sound like much, but it represents orders of magnitude more frequency than most of the NGrams offered as proof on this SE site.

enter image description here

Only the severest and most arbitrary prescriptivist would argue that all these instances are wrong.

  • 1
    Due to your reasoning, I've upvoted your answer. Oct 31, 2012 at 11:23
  • 2
    @Matt: Due to my shameless desire for reps, I thank you and encourage others to do likewise.
    – Robusto
    Oct 31, 2012 at 11:56
  • @Robusto: thanks for the evidence...that due to is increasingly using...
    – gnp
    Oct 31, 2012 at 12:17
  • Also see ngrams for Due to,_START_ due to,_START_ Due to. Per ngrams info _START_ lets one “identify ngrams at starts and ends of sentences with the START and END tags” Oct 31, 2012 at 18:27
  • @jwpat: Using a capital "D" does the same thing, doesn't it? The results are different for "Due to" and "due to" and the "Due to" and "_START_Due to" parallel each other suspiciously. I would suspect some kind of bug in the NGram viewer software.
    – Robusto
    Oct 31, 2012 at 18:36

OED senses 9a and 9b, clearly show that, contrary to the AGU Grammar and Style, which you quote that due to can be used to mean the various things they say it cannot mean.

And note particularly the OED's comments that some authorities claimed, early in the 20th century, that it could not be used at the start of a sentence. This is now refuted.

It is, however worth noting that almost none of the examples given have it at the start of a sentence. It has clearly been considered, over time, to be an inelegant positioning. And perhaps for that reason objections are still made. Note that the one exception to this is the one from 1957, made by our present Queen.

  1. due to. a. In predicative use: attributable to a particular cause or origin; derived or arising from; caused by, consequent on; as a result of. Cf. owing adj. 3a.rare before 19th cent.; described by Johnson (1773) as ‘proper, but not usual’.

1669 R. Boyle Hist. Fluidity & Firmnesse i. xxiv, in Certain Physiol. Ess. (ed. 2) 196 The motion of the Oyly drops may be in part due to some partial solution made of them by the vivous spirit.

1712 R. Steele Spectator No. 352. ⁋1 All this is due to the very silly Pride that generally prevails, of being valued for the Ability of carrying their Point.

1801 Monthly Rev. 35 537 M. De La Place..found the secular equation of the moon to be due to the action of the sun on the moon.

1867 W. H. Smyth & E. Belcher Sailor's Word-bk. Driftage, the amount due to lee-way.

1875 B. Jowett in tr. Plato Dialogues (ed. 2) IV. 136
The..difficulty in the Philebus, is really due to our ignorance of the philosophy of the age.

1928 Daily Express 11 Aug. 7/1 Death was due to heart failure.

1967 Canad. Med. Assoc. Jrnl. 5 Aug. 286/1 Improved treatment of diabetes mellitus in the past 45 years, due largely to the discovery of insulin and antibiotics.

2007 A. Theroux Laura Warholic vi. 85 Much of the grit around the stoveworks was due to his rather bad eyesight.

**b. As a compound preposition: as a result of, on account of, because of. This use become well established during the 19th century,

and is now usually regarded as acceptable standard English, but began to be criticized in usage guides in the early 20th century, apparently beginning with H. W. Fowler Dict. Mod. Eng. Usage (1926), which described it as ‘often used by the illiterate as though it had passed, like owing to, into a mere compound preposition’. Cf. owing adj. 3b.**

1840 Rep. Comm. Physics & Meteorol. Royal Soc. Antarctic Exped. 2
Periodical variations of temperature at its [sc. the earth's] surface, due to the sun's position above the horizon.

1847 J. Craig New Universal Dict. at Arborized Agates which have the ramified appearance of plants, due to the infiltration of water charged with metallic oxides.

1897 S. T. Clover Paul Travers' Adv. 190 [The Koturah] was taxed to her capacity, due to the fact that..she was advertised to go first to Adelaide.

1920 Science 29 Oct. 406/2 Due to added medical responsibilities, Dr. Hancock has now closed his Orthopterological studies.

1957 Queen Elizabeth II in Times 15 Oct. 10/6 Due to inability to market their grain, prairie farmers have for some time been faced with a serious shortage of funds.

1978 A. North & I. Hogg Guns & Gunsmiths i. vii. 122 The earliest multi-barrelled guns are known as ribaudequins or organs, due to their similarity to organ pipes.

2014 B. Moran Making Marion vii. 68 Valerie had made me promise to come along to Fire Night that Sunday, the last one having been cancelled due to the sudden disappearance of Grace.

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