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What is the difference between "由于" and "因为"?

For example, what is the difference between





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I think there is no difference between "由于" and "因为". They can replace each other. – Isaac Apr 14 '14 at 12:55
No, they can't be used interchangeably. See Question Overflow's answer. – deutschZuid Apr 14 '14 at 23:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

由于 means "due to" or "because of".
因为 means "because".

There are also some differences in usage too,

  • 由于 is usually placed at the beginning of a sentence

    Due to the bad weather, the plane is forced to turn back to land at Subang Airport.

  • 因为 can be used where the cause is stated following the effect

    I don't need to go to school because today is a public holiday.

  • 因为 can be used in conjunction with 所以

    Because today is a public holiday, therefore I don't need to go to school.

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Lol remembered you from last time. – chris97ong Apr 14 '14 at 13:02
I downvoted this answer, for the following reasons. (1) While 由於 is usually placed at the beginning of a sentence, sometimes it is not. Example: 《朱光潛全集》:「這是由於我的顧慮,膽怯,不誠實。」(2) The example "我不需要上学因为今天是公共假日" is grammatically incorrect, because there is no comma after 我不需要上学. (3) While many (if not most) Chinese speakers nowadays write 因為…所以, strictly speaking, this is a bad habit and the word 所以 is actually unnecessary. – user4086 Apr 16 '14 at 1:54
@user1551, I am glad you take the time to write down the reason for downvote. I stand corrected for (1) and (2). But I disagree with (3), 所以 serves as a conjunction between two parts of a sentence, without which, the sentence would appear disjointed. – 杨以轩 Apr 16 '14 at 6:03
@user1551 Neither I, nor the author of this post, has said "所以" following "因為" should be a must. The "standard" I meant was, "因為...所以" wouldn't be deemed as ill-formed or ungrammatical by any formal standard. And many opinions of 陳雲 are controversial, you know. (Very personally, I dislike linguistic purism.) Anyway, even you haven't considered "因為...所以" wrong, that would be the consensus we can reach. – Stan Apr 17 '14 at 9:24
@Stan and Question Overflow: Thx for the inputs. Technically speaking, that 3rd bullet point is wrong, not because "因為...所以" is incorrect, but because it implies that "由于...所以" is invalid. Yet, you can also find the latter one in 胡適's articles, or webpages written by contemporary Chinese speakers. At any rate, while Question Overflow doesn't suggest that 因為 must be followed by 所以, I do think the use of such a language construct should be discouraged. Avoidance of linguistic purism doesn't mean unconditional acceptance of poor language usages, but I understand that we can't convince each other. – user4086 Apr 20 '14 at 8:47

Nice question and a trick question. Their differences are very subtle.

因为是表示做过的事情 或做某件事、产生某种结果的缘由 所以是描述“因为”的内容而客观发生的事实,即“怎么了”。 由于是表示某种东西或动作 因此是表示针对之前做过的或发生的某件事做出的反应,即“所以就”


or if you want a more linguistic approach


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