We need to get the facts right, for obvious reasons. We need to get the language right, because a wrong preposition or a phrase or a punctuation or a word can even alter the meaning of a sentence.
If there is a mistake in language, it might essentially amount to getting the fact wrong.
Even after so many years in the profession of journalism, I keep looking up the dictionary and renowned publications every day with doubts regarding a word or a phrase. It's always a learning experience, and I thought I must make it a practice to put out here in the blog what I learn. The last time I blogged on "Language" was in 2007.
There is this endless debate on the difference between "due to" and "owing to". Though many believe that the two are synonymous, many puritans aren't amused if one is used in the place of the other.
Here's what I have learnt:
- It means "caused by"
- Never begin a sentence with "due to". Actually you can't.
- The right place where it's used is after variations of the verb "to be", like "is", "was", "are", "were".
- His absence was due to illness
- His success was due to hardwork
- The cancellation of the concert was due to rain
- You cannot rephrase these sentences by starting them with "Due to".
- The sentences are incomplete if you cut off the portion from 'due to'.
- It means "because of"
- You can begin a sentence with "owing to".
- Before 'owing to' you don't have "is", "was", "are", or "were", instead you have a noun, or something that describes the noun.
- He was absent owing to illness
- He was successful owing to sheer hardwork
- The concert was cancelled owing to the rain
- You can rephrase these sentences by starting them with "Owing to".
- The sentences are complete if you cut off the portion from 'owing to'.