In 2001, hundreds of people were killed from the earthquake in Wakanda.

options - 'in', 'because of'

  1. Which is more appropriate? ( my book says 'in' but 'because of' can be used here as an adverb as it explains why they were killed?)
  2. Please tell me where I can use 'because of' apart from as an adverb in a sentence.
  • because of {X} is actually a compressed form of by cause of {X}; over time the two words by cause have morphed into a single word. Nowadays people label because of a compound preposition; it presents the noun-phrase {X} as the explanation or reason for something.
    – TimR
    May 23, 2018 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


The choice of from doesn't work in your example.

From is used in certain contexts such as died from snake-bite or died from sepsis but not died from natural events or accidents.

People are said to die in explosions, plagues, accidents, floods, earthquakes, plane crashes and the like.

To say that people were killed (or died) in an earthquake suggests that their deaths occurred immediately or soon after, as bridges and buildings collapsed. To say that they died because of the earthquake suggests that it was as a result of the earthquake, possibly of hunger weeks or months later.

Similarly, to say that people died in an explosion means at the time. To say that they died because of an explosion might refer to injuries that led to their deaths subsequently.

Because of is preferred when you are referring to a cause or allocating blame or guilt, especially for some action or policy. Thus

The child died because of/as a result of the motorist's carelessness.

The famine occurred because of/as a result of the government's policy of taxing farmers.

The fuel price rose because of/as a result of the shortage of supplies.

  • In all these cases because of is used as an adverb right? May 23, 2018 at 13:07
  • @RitwikBhattacharyya Because is usually a conjunction (or subordinating conjunction). But used with of, some grammarians regard it as a compound preposition. In Standard English, the word “because” can be used two ways. One of them is to introduce a clause, as in “Aardvark was late because he was waiting for the repairman to show up.” Used this way, “because” is a subordinating conjunction. The other is to team up with “of” to form what’s called a compound preposition. stancarey.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/… May 23, 2018 at 19:26
  • I get your point. Please have a look at this and tell me if this link is wrong. He mentioned 'because of' is used as an adverb. But you are saying it's a compound preposition. web.ku.edu/~edit/because.html May 26, 2018 at 8:06
  • @RitwikBhattacharyya The word because in itself is a conjunction, not an adverb. But because * can be used to introduce an adverb phrase or clause. See examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-adverb-clauses.html . Also see the explanation of *because introducing prepositional phrase. english.stackexchange.com/questions/144778/… May 26, 2018 at 15:56

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