Some experts say ‘the reason is because’ is not correct
An e-newsletter reader said I should have written the reason is that rather than the reason is because.
The offending sentence was:
The reason for a semicolon in the second example is because you’re introducing a new clause.
The reader said that I should have written:
The reason for a semicolon in the second example is that you’re introducing a new clause.
There are two reasons why many grammar experts disapprove of the reason is because:
- Because is redundant because it means ‘for the reason that’ (The reason is for the reason that…)
- Is is a linking verb and should not be followed by an adverbial clause introduced by the conjunction because.
The problem is that many writers use the reason is because and it sounds OK to me. I agree with Motivated Grammar, which states:
‘The reason is because is a standard English phrase, one coming from the pen of good writers (Bacon, Frost, Wodehouse) for 400 years. It’s grammatically fine, and its supposed redundancy is at worst mild. You’re welcome to use the reason is that instead, as both are standard, but there’s no good reason to oppose the reason is because.’
PS I could have avoided the problem by writing a cleaner sentence.
You need a semicolon in the second example to introduce a new clause.
Hindsight is wonderful.
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