"because" vs. "although"
These two words are often use; therefore, we take them for granted. Since they’re common and easy to use, it shouldn’t be a problem, right? Wrong! It is easy words like these that give us headaches, and cost students precious marks in their essays.
- because: used for giving reasons
- although: used for expressions that are different from what is expected, or opposite
- They are so excited (why?) because they are going bowling tonight.
- Because they are going bowling tonight, they are so excited.
- He is smiling although he is sad.
- Although Yasmin is sad, she is smiling (an opposite reaction – if she is sad, she should be crying, not smiling.)
Things to remember:
- Never begin a sentence with “because” unless it’s used as an adverb clause as in Sentence #2. Similarly, do not begin a sentence with “although” unless it’s an adverb clause as in Sentence #4.
- “Although” and “but” can never appear in the same sentence. The reason is, both words are used for expressing opposite or unexpected results.
An adverb clause is a group of words that answers the questions where, when and why.
That means, the following sentences are wrong:
- Because you are late. (X)
- Although many people have died of passive smoking. (X)
- Although the H1N1 virus is deadly, but we are still not bothered about it. (X)
- Sentence #1 is wrong because it’s not a complete sentence. A complete sentence must begin with a subject and followed by a verb.
- Sentence #2 is wrong for the same reason.
- Sentence #3 is wrong because “although” and “but” are mutual enemies. They cannot exist in the same sentence. Use only one of them.