Word Confusion: ‘Cause versus Cause

Posted July 1, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 23 February 2018

It’s just one teeny punctuation mark, that bloody apostrophe. You’ll remember that I whined in Let’s versus Lets about the apostrophe, indicating that it is a placeholder for missing letters, and that’s exactly what it’s doing here for ’cause, simply replacing the be with the .

I can’t make a decision ’cause I don’t have the information.

…because I don’t have the information.

It’s a cause I believe in.

It’s a principle I believe in.

It’s a charity I believe in.

It’s important to write dialogue and keep it real. If that means using ’cause instead of because so your character sounds real, keep the placeholder concept in mind. ’Cause writing realistic dialogue does not mean ignoring the punctuation, ya feel me?

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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‘Cause Cause
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“Philosoraptor” courtesy of Meme Generator.

“Cause Awareness Ribbon” bylumaxart is under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, via VisualHunt.

Part of Grammar:
Short for because

Noun 1; Verb, transitive 2

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: causes
Past tense or past participle: caused
Gerund or present participle: causing

For the reason that


A person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon, or condition

Reasonable grounds for doing, thinking, or feeling something

A principle, aim, or movement that, because of a deep commitment, one is prepared to defend or advocate

[With adjective *] Something deserving of one’s support, typically a charity

A matter to be resolved in a court of law

An individual’s case offered at law

Verb, transitive:
Make something happen

We did it because we felt it our duty.


We did it ’cause we felt it our duty.

Just because I’m inexperienced doesn’t mean that I lack perception.


Just ’cause I’m inexperienced doesn’t mean that I lack perception.

‘Cause I said so!
The cause of the accident is not clear.

Faye’s condition had given no cause for concern.

* The government had good cause to avoid war.

Class size is a cause for complaint in some schools.

She devoted her life to the cause of deaf people.

I’m raising money for a good cause.

Verb, transitive:
This disease can cause blindness.

We have no idea what has happened to cause people to stay away.

Adjective: causable, causeless
Adverb: causelessly
Noun: causability, causelessness, causer, cause célèbre
History of the Word:
Middle English from the phrase by cause and influenced by the Old French par cause de meaning by reason of. Middle English from the Old French, which is in turn from the Latin:
1 causa
2 causare

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

Wake Vortex Study at Wallops Flight Facility by NASA / Fir0002 was modified by Trialsanderrors and is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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