Student or Learner
Could anyone please explain the differences between these sentences?
1. Because it was raining she took an umbrella.
/She took an umbrella because it was raining.
2. Since it was raining she took an umbrella.
3. As it was raining she took an umbrella.
Thanks in advance.
Um...If they are all the same, why do we need three different words in English?
Michael Swan has this to say:
as, because, since and for
All four of these words can be used to refer to the reason for something, [...] They are not used in the same way.
1. As and since
As and since are used when the reason is already known to the listener/reader, or when it is not the most important pasrt of the sentence. As- and since- clauses often come at the beginning of sentences.
.....As it's raining again , we'll have to stay at home. [...]
[They] are relatively formal; in an informal style, the same ideas are often expressed with so.
......It's raining again. so we'll have to stay at home.
Because puts more emphasis on the reason and most often introduces new information which is not known to the listener/reader.
.....Because I was ill for six months, I lost my job.
When the reason is the most important part of the sentence, the because-clause usually comes at the end. It can also stand alone. Since and as cannot be used like this.
.....Why am I leaving? I'm leaving because I'm fed up!
I'm leaving as/since I'm fed up!)
.....Why are you laughing? ~ Because you look so funny.
A because-clause can be used to say how one knows something.
.....You didn't tell me the truth, because I found the money in your room.
........(= ... I know because I found ...)
Swan, Michael (1980) Practical English Usage (3rd ed, 2005.73), Oxford: OUP
NOT A TEACHER
(1) As the other posters have told you, there is often a nuanced difference.
(2) Here is an example that I like (it may or may not be correct):
Let's say that your English class always begins at 8 a.m. Let's say that for some
reason all the students arrive at 7:15 a.m. Let's say the teacher walks into the
rooom at 7:30 and is astonished to see all of her students sitting in their chairs and
waiting for the class to begin at 8 a.m.
(a) I most respectfully suggest that in such a circumstance, the teacher might
say something like:
Well, since you are all here already, I guess I might as well begin class right now!
(I think that "as" might also fit here, but -- I am not intelligent enough to explain why --
I would not use "because" here.)