Word Choice – As Versus Because

Phil’s question: “I often find sentences written like this ‘project delivery will not proceed as there has been no approval to date.’ It bothers me because I would expect to read ‘project delivery will not proceed because there has been no approval to date.’ Which form is more acceptable or correct.”

BizWritingTip response: As, since, and because are used to join two complete thoughts. They answer the question “why.” For example, the project delivery will not proceed. Why? There has been no approval to date.

The word (or conjunction) you use to join the two sentences is a subjective choice. If you want to emphasize the reason over the result, use “because.”

Examples (When you want to emphasize the reason)
The project delivery will not proceed because there has been no approval to date.
Because there has been no approval to date, the project delivery will not proceed.

If the reason is already well-known or is not as important, use “as” or “since.”

Examples (When you want to emphasize the result)
The project delivery will not proceed as there has been no approval to date.
As there has been no approval to date, the project delivery will not proceed.
Since there has been no approval to date, the project delivery will not proceed.

Grammar Note: If the “as,” “since,” or “because” clause is placed at the beginning of the sentence, the clause must be followed by a comma. If the clause comes at the end of the sentence, there is no need for a comma.

Examples (correct punctuation with clauses)
I wish you success in the upcoming year as I am sure there will be a number of exciting opportunities. (As clause is at the end = no punctuation.)
As I am sure there will be a number of exciting opportunities, I wish you success in the upcoming year. (As clause is at the beginning = a comma.)

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