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I recently learned from a YouTube video that "because of" is not correct. But my friend argues that "because of" is actually correct. Also, I see a lot of people writing and saying "because of". Here's a example:

That's because of you.

So, is it actually correct to use "because of" or only new learners think it's correct or it's not correct at all?

  • 24
    This is a great example of why learning things from random YouTube videos is not the best idea. – Lightness Races with Monica Feb 24 '19 at 21:15
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    (Can you provide a link to the video? I'm interested in the source/authority because of its broad use colloquially). – BruceWayne Feb 25 '19 at 4:11
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    I'm curious too as the name of the video. But I wouldn't be surprised if the OP had misinterpreted or oversimplified the lesson/rule/guide – Mari-Lou A Feb 25 '19 at 12:45
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Actually, 'of' can be correct, in standard grammar, after because. It depends on what comes after that.

If the next part is a complete and potentially free-standing clause (say, a verb phrase), then you don't need (or want) of:

That's because I'm smart.
I'm hungry because I haven't eaten.
You're only saying that because I'm pretty.
I'm wet because it's raining.

But if the bit after it is a noun phrase, you need the of:

That's because of my asthma.
I'm angry because of your tone.
I'm happy because of you.
You're only saying that because of my looks.

You will also run into a lot of non-standard usage in some places using the of even where it isn't used in standard grammar.

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Both because and because of are correct in different contexts.

  • Because is used by itself when the cause is expressed as a clause:

    He opened his umbrella because it was raining.

  • Because is used with of when the cause is expressed as a noun or nominal:

    He opened his umbrella because of the rain.

    However, there is a fairly new hip usage which drops of; often it also drops determiners on the nominal representing the cause, casting the cause as a 'generic':

    He opened his umbrella because rain.

    This usage is quite widespread, but not yet ready for formal registers. In her admirable article "English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet" Megan Garber describes it as "exceptionally bloggy and aggressively casual and implicitly ironic".

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    I wouldn't call that so much a new usage as a bit of deliberately and creatively non-standard grammar. The fact it's 'wrong' is part of its charm. – SamBC Feb 24 '19 at 0:47
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    @SamBC That's where new usages come from. 600 years ago most of what traditionalists call subordinating conjunctions (including bare because with a content clause) were similar truncations of because/for/when/before/etc that [clause]. – StoneyB on hiatus Feb 24 '19 at 0:57
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    I observe the "new hip" usage almost only in the phrase "... because reasons", which is usually somewhat humoristic or mocking someone who actually does not state a reason – Hagen von Eitzen Feb 24 '19 at 17:56
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    @HagenvonEitzen That's the main construction with which the usage began; it has definitely expanded beyond that by now, because internet. – Lightness Races with Monica Feb 24 '19 at 21:16
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    @StoneyB -- But traditional "because of" is not used with expressions like "internet" or "Science" or "(R-Oklahoma)". Whereas the newfangled "because" is. – Jasper Feb 28 '19 at 1:14

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