Author Topic: Confusion over the use of “due to” and “owing to”  (Read 15665 times)

Joe Carillo

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Confusion over the use of “due to” and “owing to”
« on: September 07, 2017, 08:49:27 AM »
Question by Prashant Solanki in New Delhi, India, on the Forum’s Facebook Gateway (August 25, 2017):

Hello sir, good evening!

Sir, I have a doubt. I am often confused over the use of “due to” and “owing to.” Some people think the use of “due to” at the beginning of a sentence or a clause is incorrect, but here is a question from my exam: “Due to his negligence, he failed in the examination.” This is question in error detection.

I corrected it by replacing “due to” with “owing to” but they marked my answer “no error.” How is my answer wrong, sir? Please explain.

My reply to Prashant:

The phrase “owing to” is actually grammatically equivalent to “due to,” so it’s understandable that they marked your answer wrong when you replaced “due to” with “owing to” in the sentence “Due to his negligence, he failed in the examination.” The “no error” comment means that there was nothing wrong in the sentence in question, so there’s no need to replace anything because the replacement you made is synonymous to the original term.


Thinking that “due to” and owing to” mean exactly the same as “because of,” many people actually use these three prepositional forms interchangeably. Well, sometimes they mean the same thing, and sometimes they don’t, but you’ll know it when they don’t because the resulting sentence would sound awkward. I have written at length in the Forum about the baffling aspects of the usage of these three phrases. Check out the post, “Usage of “due to” and “because of’,” by clicking the indicated link. It’s quite long but I’m sure it will greatly clarify the complications of their usage for you.

By the way, to make sure that I get to read and adequately answer your questions right away, I suggest you post them directly in the appropriate discussion board in Jose Carillo’s English Forum. (It’s very tough for me to compose and post long answers in this message format.) To be able to do this, go to the Forum Homepage and register as a member. You’ll be amazed by the many grammar lessons and tips you’ll find in those discussion boards.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2020, 05:40:13 PM by Joe Carillo »