Since or Because (explanation)


Ok, I have a really good question.  I was just trying to write an important letter and I want to explain my situation.  “I did not respond to your email since I was out of town on Sunday.”  My boyfriend says that it should be because I was out of town, but I think since sounds more formal.  Since also indicates a time aspect in my mind.  When you answer this, please tell me if I should place since at the beginning.  Example: “Since I was out of town on Sunday, I couldn’t answer your email.”  I want to sound most professional that I can because this letter is so important.  It is for something legal.  Thank you for your help.

since because asked Aug 29 '13 at 00:09 Chantal New member

2 answers


There are a couple different definition of the word since.  You are thinking of one and your boyfriend is thinking of the other.  Since can mean because, so they are interchangeable.  It can also mean “in the period following the time when."  She has called home only one time since she moved away.  That means from the time she moved away until now. 


I actually have to agree with your boyfriend.  You are adding an element of time, so that makes it easier for the reader to think you mean from the time you went out of town on Sunday until now.  In other words, you couldn’t respond on Sunday, or Monday, or Tuesday, or today (continuously during the time since) – all because you went out of town on that one day.  When you change it to because, it sounds like on Sunday you went out of town & that is why you didn’t respond on Sunday. 


Because means for the reason.  There is more clarity when you use this word in your context.  The reader won’t have two definitions to choose from.  Less need for interpretation is always a good idea for a legal document. 

link comment answered Aug 29 '13 at 10:25 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

'Since' can mean the same as 'because' when it's used as a conjunction, so both are correct.  I'm not sure if either one is more formal than the other.

link comment answered Aug 29 '13 at 00:47 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

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