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I need to know if all the following sentences which mean the same for me, sound natural to the natives or some of them have some preferences:

  • What made you choose this university?

  • What led you to choose this university?

  • What prompted you to choose this university?

  • What caused you to choose this university?

closed as off-topic by Alan Carmack, M.A.R., Catija, user3169, Peter Jun 28 '16 at 18:25

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  • Can you explain what you are hoping to learn from an answer to this question? It's hard to answer, because it's hard to tell if you're asking about grammar, or differences in meaning, or words for causal connection, or words for psychological explanation, or perhaps something else. – Ben Kovitz Jul 2 '16 at 15:02
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For your first example

What made you choose this university?
What led you to choose this university?
What prompted you to choose this university?
What caused you to choose this university?

All four are perfectly fine and mean, unless you want to get extremely picky, the same thing.

For your second example

Cold made the schools be closed.
Cold led the schools to be closed.
Cold prompted the schools to be closed.
Cold caused the schools to be closed.

The first sounds extremely awkward to me. The second and third are better but still awkward. The last one is the best of the four.

Personally, I would reword the whole thing to something like

The schools were closed due to cold weather.

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