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I can't quite get the aspect of that in the following sentence:

This is causing a problem now that the moveElement function is being called whenever the user hovers over a link.

My friend who is a native English speaker explained that you could easily substitute that for because. I can do that and the sentence will make much more sense but still the word being used is not because - the author opted for that. What nuance in meaning does it have?

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  • I'd replace it with as. [This is causing a problem now] as [the moveElement function...].
    – Maulik V
    Jun 5, 2014 at 9:08
  • Here's a related puzzle. Is the following true while you are reading it? "Now that you are reading this, I know that you are not reading any other sentence." If it is true, who is "I"? Could there be any such "I" that makes that sentence true? Jun 6, 2014 at 1:45
  • You're reading a technical explanation. This is the most concise way to express the concept, and so extraneous wording has been stripped away. You're correct that "because" could have been substituted for "that", however this would have required a comma between "now" and "because", which would have created a pause in the statement. This is more conversational than technical. This sentence was clearly written by a programmer ;-) Apr 27, 2018 at 15:52
  • @MaulikV I'm guessing you aren't American. That seems like a European or South African way of expressing the sentence. Perfectly acceptable, as it retains the concise original meaning and context. Just regionally different. Apr 27, 2018 at 15:54

3 Answers 3

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I think there should be a comma in that sentence, and you should not read it as

[This is causing a problem now], [that the moveElement function is being called whenever the user hovers over a link.]

but as

[This is causing a problem], [now that the moveElement function is being called whenever the user hovers over a link.]

Where now that means at this moment that the following is true.

Other examples could be:

Now that I'm 18, I am allowed to vote.
He thinks he doesn't have to listen any more, now that he became manager.
I am losing money, now that the share prices are plummeting.

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  • The comma is unnecessary, and is grammatically incorrect the way you've used it. The comma you placed should have been a period, and the context of the entire sentence is changed to require further explanation at the end of what would have been the second sentence. "This is causing a problem. Now that the moveElement function is being called whenever the user hovers over a link, <insert further explanation here>." This is not a good answer. Apr 27, 2018 at 15:48
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Here, that combines with now to indicate that this is causing a problem is causally and temporally dependent on the moveElement function is being called whenever the user hovers over a link.

Now that tells us when and often allows us to infer why. Ever since and because moveElement started being called, there is a problem. If we hadn't made those changes involving moveElement, we wouldn't have this problem.

Strictly speaking, the construction only indicates a time frame, but humans are great at drawing causal inferences from temporal correlations, so it's generally assumed that there's a causal relationship between two items joined by now that.

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  • This is the answer that should have been flagged as the best answer. Thanks, ESN. Apr 27, 2018 at 15:49
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"Now that" is a phrase with is essentially a shortened form of "now due to the fact that". When you have "now that" in the middle of a sentence, as in your example, you have the option of replacing "that" with "because" and it sounds natural. However, if a sentence starts with "Now that", making the same replacement wouldn't sound as natural. "now that" also sounds more informal and conversational compared to "now because", which can sound like you are constructing a formal argument.

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