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According to the answer key of a SAT preparation book I'm studying, there is an error in the sentence

By the time the bank guard closed the doors, a riot had erupted due to the long lines and shortage of tellers.

and it should be changed to

By the time the bank guard closed the doors, a riot had erupted as a result of the long lines and shortage of tellers.

I disagree with this. Why is the first sentence unacceptable?

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    Both look fine to me. Maybe it's a mistake (SAT prep books can have mistakes!) or maybe someone more knowledgeable than I will have an answer.
    – Peter Flom
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 10:37
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    True, and the SAT itself sometimes has mistakes, as well.
    – user230
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 11:03
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    By the time the bank guard closed the doors, a riot had erupted BECAUSE OF the long lines and shortage of tellers. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 21:55

2 Answers 2

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19th-century stylists held that due is an adjective and that due to X phrases should be employed only as

  • a postposed modifier, as in A riot due to long lines erupted, or
  • a predicate adjective, as in The riot was due to long lines.

Actual on-the-ground usage has long since transformed due to into a preposition equivalent to because of, and you may safely ignore this ‘rule’ in all circumstances except one:

When you're taking a test of your knowledge of English, assume your examiner follows the old rule: use due only as an adjective, and treat any other use as incorrect.

It’s stupid, but it’s a fact. As the poet Schiller wrote:

Against stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain.

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  • Now I know from where Isaac Asimov took the title of the three parts of his novel, The God Themselves. :)
    – apaderno
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 12:49
  • I'm afraid I don't quite understand the exception. Are you saying that if the sentence is about an English test (ex. the SAT as mentioned above), due to cannot mean because of? So Due to my unwillingness to study, I failed the writing portion of the SAT would be incorrect? (Forgive me if I'm misinterpreting... Cough medicine doesn't exactly improve my reading comprehension :))
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 14:09
  • @WendiKidd Ambiguity noted and corrected. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 14:11
  • This reminds me of an anecdote where a professor at our school once told the students, "Never use since to mean because, as in, 'The crops grew well since the weather was so temperate'." Why not? Why do teachers have axes to grind against the dictionary?
    – J.R.
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 16:01
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    @J.R. The professor's example is to the point, but his rule is bad: it should be "Be careful not to use since to mean because when it may be read as in the time span beginning at X and extending to reference time. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 16:18
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The reason "due to" should be replaced with " as a result of" can be found here in the below mentioned links :

1) http://www.englishforums.com/English/DueBecauseResultOf/bhbhp/post.htm

2) http://www.englishforums.com/English/DueTo/nrld/post.htm

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    I'm sure providing links to external site except for online dictionaries is a bad idea. Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 21:19
  • Yes. It is a bad idea. Links deteriorate and disappear over time. CV in general and ELL in particular aim to be here for a while!
    – Peter Flom
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 21:37

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