Due To Bad Weather, The Train Is Due To Be Late

This post is really the cornerstone of my Grammar Rules. It’s where my frustration at inaccuracies really begins. And it’s all Miss Wassell’s fault. Miss Wassell was one of my high school teachers. She’s to be thanked for much of what I know about grammar and English, and for much of my love of the language and its literature. My mistakes are all my own (as is my distaste for Pride and Prejudice and for Colin Firth therein).

Actually, if memory serves (and it usually doesn’t) I think the importance of this particular rule Miss Wassell’s Grandma’s fault, but Miss Wassell passed it to me. I’m going to pass it to you and, in doing so, recruit you to the legions shaking their fists at train station tannoys the world over.


Due to DOES NOT, NEVER HAS, and NEVER SHOULD mean Because of.

Got it? That’s it. That’s the rule. Stop reading.

Still here? OK, I’ll elaborate. Due to usually means “supposed to”. For example, “the train is due to arrive at 11.10″, “Owen is due to give me back the tenner he borrowed.”

So, you should NEVER say “Due to unforeseen circumstances”. Use either Because of, or Owing to.

Added Confusion

See that phrase “owing to”? Not many people use it these days, but it’s sly, because “Owing to” can mean “Due to”.

“What?” I hear you say.

See Owen up there, with his (my) tenner? Well, that tenner is owing to me, it is also due to me. So he is due to give me back the tenner, which is due to me because of my lending it to him earlier. We’re using two different meaning of the same phrase in one sentence, and that’s just confusing.

Thoroughly confused now?

Keep It Simple

Don’t worry about the confusion. Whenever you’re tempted to use due to, mentally replace it with because of in the sentence. If it works STOP using due to. Go ahead and actually replace it with because of. If the mental replacement doesn’t work, you’re probably using due to correctly. Thank you, you are lowering my blood pressure, and that of Miss Wassell’s Grandma.


Filed under Grammar Rules Simplified

5 responses to “Due To Bad Weather, The Train Is Due To Be Late

  1. Thank you. I won’t use ‘due to’ like that again. Incidentally, my admiration for you has gone up a notch… I would have thought you would have been gaga over Colin. I’ll bet Miss Wassell was happy when you moved up a grade. And, what the hell are tannoys?

    • Unfortunately for Miss Wassell, we kept the same English teachers for about 6 years at my school! Unfortunately for me, we studied P&P at GCSE, just as Mr Firth was setting hearts aflutter all round the British Isles.

      And tannoys? Look it up!

  2. Lyn

    Well, now I have indigestion, due to having read this post while eating dinner (does ‘because’ fit instead of ‘due’? absolutely!) 😀
    I remember my English teacher Mrs Pendergast banging her fist on her desk and saying…”I do not want to see ALL OF A SUDDEN in your composition essay. You can’t have HALF OF A SUDDEN therefore you can’t have ALL OF A SUDDEN. The word is SUDDENLY” I will never forget.

  3. Sarah Ann

    Thanks Jen for this. I will be watching and testing my due tos from now on!

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