Describing purpose: because / because of / so that / to
When describing a purpose or reason for doing something, there are various ways in English to express this. Grammatically, however, not all can be used interchangeably. Here are the contexts to use each transition word or phrase.
Because is used to describe why something is done or a reason for something that happened. It is always followed by a complete sentence.
Examples: I bought some new glasses because my vision was bad.
The computer didn’t work because I spilled water on it.
Because of is used similarly to because; however, with respect to grammar, it is always followed by a noun or noun phrase.
Examples: I bought some new glasses because of my bad vision.
The computer didn’t work because of the water I spilled on it.
So that is used similarly to because in that it is followed by a complete sentence. However, the idea following this phrase explains the goal of something.
Examples: I changed jobs so that I would be closer to home.
We turn off the lights so that we conserve energy.
To is used to describe why something is done. Grammatically, it is always followed by a verb.
Examples: I stayed home this weekend to save money.
She called me to apologize for the mistake.
Complete the following sentence with the appropriate transition word or phrase (because / because of / so that / to).
1. He returned to the office ___________ he had forgotten his keys.
2. I want to go to the concert ____________ see my favorite musician.
3. Classes were cancelled _____________ the snow.
4. I went to the class reunion _____________ I could see all my old classmates.
5. She knows the answer __________ someone had told her beforehand.
6. They felt better ______________ the good news.
7. I had to call the doctor _______________ my son didn’t feel well.
8. We had to call a specialist ______________ the problem could be fixed.
9. We called off the beach party _______________ the weather.
10. We changed the policy ______________ it could be more clearly understood.
Answers to last week’s tidbit:
1. I’m having a really bad day, related to my hair. hairwise
2. I’m leaving work around 2. 2-ish
3. He is a big fan of celebrities, related to movies. moviewise
4. It is difficult to say what the color is, but I would say it is kind of red. reddish
5. Her mannerisms are similar to a boy. boyish
6. I’m tired of listening to him talk, related to sports. sportswise
7. The water in the shower was a little hot, but it didn’t bother me. hottish
8. When people are choking, they tend to turn a little blue in the face. blueish
9. I don’t know anything about technology, related to computers. computerwise
10. He didn’t lose all of his hair, but he is kind of bald. baldish