Suppose a friend says something to me which is incorrect, and because of that I do some research and learn something which is good for me. Now, in order to be polite and kind, can I say

"You caused me to learn this"

to him/her?

Are there better alternatives, e.g. by replacing 'cause' with 'make'? ("You made me learn this.")

According to macmillandictionary.com, the structure cause someone to do something means

to make something happen, usually something bad

(emphasis by me)

  • 1
    Caused is not a good choice here. Prompted, prodded or inspired would fit better. Or you could rephrase it as You suggested.... Nov 15, 2019 at 11:23
  • But the friend didn’t suggest anything. The friend supplied information that seemed dubious, OP didn’t trust it, investigated themselves, and learned something. So prompted, prodded, inspired, which would all point to intention by the friend, are wrong.
    – gnasher729
    Sep 12, 2022 at 21:09

3 Answers 3


In this case, we are not dealing with a grammatical question, but a semantic one. All verbs mentioned here would fit well grammatically speaking, however, as we saw on Collins definition: to cause normally implies something bad. Therefore, other verbs would fit better there, such as: Persuade, lead, encourage, induce..


"Caused" should specify the actual cause more precisely. For example "Your incorrect information caused me to learn this".

I would say "I learned this because of you". Or "You were the reason why I learned this".


I like to say,

Thanks to you, I learned something new.

It rhymes. It also expresses my gratitude toward those who share their knowledge.

Thanks to you, is a common English phrase that means Because of you. It can be used to express positive feelings towards another person's influence. It can also be used to express negative feeling toward another person's influence.

When used positively,

Thanks to you, I won the lottery.

It not only means because of you it also carries a sincere Thank You with the message.

When used negatively,

Thanks to you, Grandma Jones broke her leg.

It is a sarcastic expression meant to carry a meaning opposite of Thank You.

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