Because noun: my response

My good friend Paul today highlighted to me a rather interesting blogpost. It talks of the recent removal of a preposition after the word “because”. Examples cited include:

We invaded Iraq because freedom.

I ate all of my dessert because chocolate.

I must admit, I’ve not heard of this contraction, either in written or spoken English. Perhaps it’s an American thing, as the blog’s author is Boston-based.

It reminds me of the American English rule that the verb “to write” can be transitive when referring to a recipient. So the following is just fine and dandy in American English.

I am going to write my local senator to articulate my disappointment.

The sentence would cause all sorts of consternation in the UK, not least because we don’t have senators. When the verb “to write” is used transitively in British English, the object refers to what is being written, as opposed to who is being written to. But there’s rarely an instance where the two can be confused, so I’m not troubled by it. Indeed, I quite like the shortened American version.

Michael Ondaatje wrote the English Patient.
Oh really? And how did they respond?

Americans are also more likely to remove the preposition when referring to recent past and imminent future events, a behaviour that I simply love.

American: Can you attend the meeting Monday?
Brit: I can’t attend the meeting on Monday because I’ll be busy being pompous about transatlantic grammar differences.

But with the new “because” clause, my immediate reaction is to wait for the remainder of the trailing clause. After hearing “We invaded Iraq because freedom”, I’m awaiting something along the lines of “We invaded Iraq because freedom was the only choice”.

And because this awkwardness [sic], I’m not keen on the contraction.

Posted by Dan, 12 January, 2013 under Grammar

Comments

  • Well you’re all being very mature and PC, but everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that saying ‘I am writing you’ just sounds wrong. As if you’re some omnipotent being creating your correspondent’s life. It’s as illogical as the BrE ‘I feel a fool’ from a few weeks ago.So there.

    Posted by Abraham Watkins, 12 June, 2013, 5:00pm


  • It sounds wrong because you don’t hear it. We say “I’ll email you”, as some abridged form of “I’ll [send an] email [to] you”. So why not adopt the same for writing?

    Posted by Dan, 2 July, 2013, 12:32pm


  • Why does “I’m writing you” sound horribly wrong? I can understand if it’s not standard usage in your region, but it’s simply converted “you” into an indirect object. So in American English, the way that you can say, “I’m telling you the truth,” and “I’m telling you,” you can also say “I’m writing you a letter,” and “I’m writing you.” I don’t see how it requires that huge of a mental jump…

    Posted by Tom, 25 September, 2013, 9:40pm


  • ‘I don’t see it requires that huge of a mental jump’ should be ‘… that huge a mental jump’. Where on earth does the ‘of’ fit in?

    Posted by Lillian, 10 October, 2013, 2:39pm


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