Results 1 to 4 of 4

    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 133
    #1

    reason / cause

    In my dictionary ( Longman Dictionary of Common Errors) ,
    the differences between reason and cause are explained as follows.

    cause: an action, event, situation etc that makes something happen:
    The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
    There outbreaks of violence will continue to occur until the causes have been eliminated.
    Acid rain has several causes.

    reason : something that provides an explanation;
    I'm sure they have good reasons for wanting to live abroad.
    There are several reasons for having children.

    What was the reason for the traffic jam? (X)
    What was the cause of the traffic jam?(O)



    It seems to me that there is nothing different in the definition of cause and that of reason. That is, I don't know how to use cause and reason even though I've read the definition several times.

    Why is "What was the reason for the traffic jam? " incorrect?


    How about these two sentences that I made?

    There are several reasons that I'm putting on weight.
    There are several causes of my putting weight.

    I'm sure that the first sentence is right.
    However, i'm not sure whether the second sentence is right or wrong.
    Could you explain the difference in meaning cause and reason clearly?


    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 2,886
    #2

    Re: reason / cause

    Quote Originally Posted by siruss View Post
    In my dictionary ( Longman Dictionary of Common Errors) ,
    the differences between reason and cause are explained as follows.

    cause: an action, event, situation etc that makes something happen:
    The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
    There outbreaks of violence will continue to occur until the causes have been eliminated.
    Acid rain has several causes.

    reason : something that provides an explanation;
    I'm sure they have good reasons for wanting to live abroad.
    There are several reasons for having children.

    What was the reason for the traffic jam? (X)
    What was the cause of the traffic jam?(O)



    It seems to me that there is nothing different in the definition of cause and that of reason. That is, I don't know how to use cause and reason even though I've read the definition several times.

    Why is "What was the reason for the traffic jam? " incorrect?


    How about these two sentences that I made?

    There are several reasons that I'm putting on weight.
    There are several causes of my putting weight.

    I'm sure that the first sentence is right.
    However, i'm not sure whether the second sentence is right or wrong.
    Could you explain the difference in meaning cause and reason clearly?

    reason = something that provides an explanation
    cause = agent that produces an effect.
    They are highly synonymous terms

    What was the reason for the traffic jam? ok
    The reason for the traffic jam was (that there was a bottleneck). The bracketed noun clause is something that provides the explanation.
    What was the cause of the traffic jam?(O)
    The cause of the traffic jam was a bottleneck. Bottleneck is the agent that brought about the chaos on the roads.

    This is my understanding.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 133
    #3

    Re: reason / cause

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    reason = something that provides an explanation
    cause = agent that produces an effect.
    They are highly synonymous terms

    What was the reason for the traffic jam? ok
    The reason for the traffic jam was (that there was a bottleneck). The bracketed noun clause is something that provides the explanation.
    What was the cause of the traffic jam?(O)
    The cause of the traffic jam was a bottleneck. Bottleneck is the agent that brought about the chaos on the roads.

    This is my understanding.
    Thank you for your clear explanation.
    That's what I thought about the two words.
    I couldn't agree more with you.
    The dictionary I refer to (Longman Dictionary of Common Errors) says that What was the reason for the traffic jam? is incorrect, though.
    It is hard for me to ignore the dictionary because it is designed for common errors in using English.
    Can anybody else comment on this matter?

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 19,216
    #4

    Re: reason / cause

    Perhaps Longman is a little out of date, overly pedantic, or prescriptive rather than descriptive.

    I wouldn't bat an eye if someone say "What was the reason for the traffic jam?"

Similar Threads

  1. 'reason being' or 'the reason being'
    By Agnes in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 01-Dec-2008, 08:06
  2. reason of/for a Noun phrase
    By spoon in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 06-Jul-2006, 16:16
  3. Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-Jan-2006, 04:24
  4. reason of/for
    By MadHorse in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 19-Dec-2005, 05:16
  5. right reason
    By okok in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-Aug-2005, 12:55

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •