What is the difference between because and because of?

To answer the question, we must talk a little about conjunctions and prepositions first.

A conjunction /kənˈdʒʌŋkʃn/ is a word like ‘and’, ‘or’, ‘but’, ‘while’, ‘although’ that joins words, phrases, or sentences. It is used at the beginning of a clause, before a subject and a verb.

  • I’ll have fish and chips.
  • Marry came to the party, but Jane didn’t.
  • Although it was cold, he wasn’t wearing warm clothes.

A preposition is a word like ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘from’, ‘to’, ‘out of’, ‘on behalf of’ that is used before a noun or a pronoun and shows place, position, time…

  • We went out and had a walk in the garden.
  • The wind was blowing from the south.

Because /bɪˈkʌz/ means ‘for the reason that’. It is a conjunction and it is used before a noun or pronoun.

  • “Why are you late?” “Because I overslept.”
  • She did it because her mother told her to.
  • We won’t be able to go because my mother is coming over at the weekend.

Because of /bɪˈkʌz əv/ is used to say that somebody/something is the reason for something. It is a two-word preposition and it is used before a noun, pronoun, or a noun phrase.

  • She walks with a limp because of her leg injury.
  • He came to the party only because of me!
  • The flight was cancelled because of heavy snow.

Compare these sentences:

We were late because it rained.
We were late because of the rain.

I couldn’t say anything because my father was there.
I couldn’t say anything because of my father(‘s) being there.

This structure is common too:

Just because … (it) doesn’t mean …

  • Just because you are older than me doesn’t mean you can boss me around.
  • Just because something is bigger it doesn’t mean it is heavier too.

Can you make real sentences with ‘because’, ‘because of’, and ‘Just because…’?