‘Because’ Versus ‘Due to’
Though these 2 terms are often used interchangeably in everyday speech, they are actually different and must be treated differently on the GMAT.
The use of ‘Because’
‘Because’ helps answer the WHY question – why did something happen? For e.g.
The flight was cancelled because a storm was brewing.
‘Because of’ modifies entire clauses and is used to explain the verb or the action described in the clause. The flight was cancelled because of the storm.
The underlined clause in the above sentence is the action that is being explained.
The use of ‘Due to’
‘Due to’ is the equivalent of ‘caused by’ and can be used only to modify nouns. For e.g.
The show was a great success due to The Beatles playing the season’s hit numbers.
The show’s great success was due to The Beatles’ performance.
The show’s great success was caused by The Beatles’ performance.
The underlined word in the above sentence is the noun that is being explained.
On the GMAT
Let’s look at this OG question:
In late 1997, the chambers inside the pyramid of the Pharaoh Menkaure at Giza were closed to visitors for cleaning and repairing due to moisture exhaled by tourists, which raised its humidity to such levels so that salt from the stone was crystallizing and fungus was growing in the walls.
A. due to moisture exhaled by tourists, which raised its humidity to such levels so that salt from the stone was crystallizing
B. because moisture exhaled by tourists had raised the humidity within them to such levels that salt from the stone was crystallizing
Why were the pyramid chambers at Giza closed to visitors?
Option A implies that ‘moisture exhaled by tourists’ was the reason the chambers were closed. This is incorrect, as the ‘moisture’ is not the direct cause. An event happening as a result of this moisture exhalation is the reason why the chambers were closed.
Option B puts this right by saying that the chambers were closed because event X happened, X being the effects of the increase in humidity within the chambers as a result of the moisture exhaled by the tourists. Therefore, B is the correct answer.
‘Because of’ modifies verbs while ‘due to’ modifies nouns
Try replacing ‘due to’ with ‘caused by’ and see whether the sentence makes logical sense. If it doesn’t, it is probably incorrect.
The meeting was postponed due to the Chairman’s unavailability.
The meeting was postponed because the Chairman was not available.
The postponement of the meeting was due to the Chairman’s unavailability.
Hope these techniques make a positive difference to your GMAT prep! If you’d like to share what works for you and what doesn’t, please leave a comment in the comment section below.
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