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Subject:Since/Because and Which/That From:Williams Diane <Williams_Diane -at- DOTE -dot- OSD -dot- MIL> Date:Wed, 2 Oct 1996 09:09:27 -0400
>Jim Morgan wrote
> The use of the word "since" to mean "because" is an ancient, accepted,
> *correct* usage. You (and others who have commented on this topic) seem to
> imply that it's a recent aberration in our language.
>>Thanks, Jim ! I had been troubled by Lisa'posting, since I use "since"
instinctively, and I wondered if I had been wrongly trained to English.
Anyway, do you imply (by quoting only ancient examples) that it is now
as an old-fashioned phrase ?
IMO, like "which" (nonrestrictive relative pronoun), and "that"
(restrictive relative pronoun), "since" (in reference to a point in
time) and "because" (in reference to an event or reason) have evolved to
have meanings today that can easily be chosen for distinct purposes.
Their uses for these distinct purposes makes the intended meaning clear.
However, using them for their counterpart's primary definition, although
not as distinct as today's usage may define, will still get the writer's
Many writing handbooks published since 1990 that I've seen have similar
warnings to the ones stated in _NTC's Handbook for Writers_, "Caution:
Some readers may object to this use" when using "since" instead of
"because" if citing a reason rather than using a point-in-time
reference, for example. Same with using "which" in a restrictive clause.
James J. Kilpatrick insists in both _The Writer's Art_ and _Fine Print_
that the reader never has to question what "because" means in a
sentence, whereas the reader does have to think about the meaning of
"since" when used instead of "because" in reference to an event or
matter of fact.