Not Because

Sentences that follow a negative verb with because create confusion for readers.

I don’t love you because you’re beautiful.

No man can safely say this to his girlfriend because she hears the negation first and doesn’t listen to anything else he says. Our readers, like the girlfriend, hear “I don’t love you,” and then believe what follows to be an explanation for our heartlessness.

We meant to say, of course, that we do love our girlfriend, but that she is special in many ways, only one of which is her beauty. But that’s not what we said. To make sure she listens to our entire declaration, not just the first four words, we need to revise our first draft:

Good: I love you, but not because you’re beautiful.

Good: I love you not just for your beauty.

BEST: I love you for your beauty and your generous heart.

Clearly (at least I hope it’s clear to you, gentlemen) the boldest, most specific, most straightforward claim, without negatives, is the best. And of these sentences, the best are those that eliminate the because altogether.


Take-Home Exercise

Copy these sentences adapted from student essays into the Reply field below and revise them for boldness, specificity, and directness. Replace negative verbs with positive verbs. (Example: replace didn’t resign with declined to resign)

1. Coats wasn’t fired because he was using a legal drug, marijuana, for a legitimate purpose for which he had a prescription. He was fired for violating workplace policy.

2. An employer isn’t able to fire a person who has anxiety because they are taking the correct medication to deal with the issue.

3. Employees don’t get fired for going out and having a few beers after work because alcohol is legal, but in Colorado so is marijuana.

4. Coats shouldn’t have been fired because he was trying to treat the pain he endured on a daily basis.

5. It’s not fair to discriminate against him because he was able to ease the pain of his multiple spasms by using marijuana.

6. Coats wasn’t harming anyone at his job because he was smoking marijuana but he was doing so on his own time and not at work.

BACKGROUND FOR 7-10: The director of the Secret Service ordered an internal review of its security procedures around the White House after a man armed with a knife who jumped the fence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Friday night managed to make his way through the front door of President Obama’s home before being stopped, officials said Saturday.

7. Omar Gonzalez didn’t penetrate deep into the White House because of the swift actions of Secret Service agents.

8. The Secret Service isn’t being compelled to explain its actions because of the way it  responded to the breach of the White House, but how the breach occurred is under question.

9. Secret Service chief Julia Pierson won’t be fired because of her testimony before Congress yesterday. Her incompetence might cost her her job though.

10. Secret Service agents didn’t use deadly force against the intruder because he was carrying a knife with a 4-inch blade.

7 Responses to Not Because

  1. doorknob9 says:

    1. Coats was fired for violating workplace policy, not for use of legal marijuana.

    2. If an employee takes the correct medicine to deal with their anxiety, then they cannot get fired.

    3. Marijuana is legal in Colorado, and so is getting a beer at the appropriate age although that won’t get you fired.

    4. Coats was trying to treat the pain he endured on a daily basis and should not have been fired.

    5. He was able to treat the pain of his multiple spasms and shouldn’t have been fired.

    6. Coats was smoking marijuana on his own time and not at work so he couldn’t have been harming anyone.

    7. The swift actions of Secret Service agents prevented Omar Gonzalez from penetrating deep into the White House.

    8. How the breach occurred is under question, but the Secret Service isn’t being compelled to explain its actions because of the way it responded to the breach of the White House.

    9. Secret Service chief Julia Pierson’s incompetence might cost her her job, although she won’t be fired because of her testimony before Congress yesterday.

    10. The intruder was carrying a knife with a 4-inch blade, which forced the Secret Service agents not to use deadly force.

  2. nina525 says:

    1. Coats was fire for violating workplace policy, not for using a legal drug.
    2. An employee can not get fired for taking the correct medicine to deal with anxiety.
    3. Marijuana is legal in Colorado, so is drinking beer after work, so you wont get fired,
    4. Coats was treating the pain he endured daily and should not have been fired.
    5. He should not be discriminated against for easing his multiple spasms.
    6.Coats was smoking marijuana on his own time at work and did not harm anyone.
    7.The swift action of the Secret Service agents prevented Omar Gonzalez from penetrating into the White House.
    8.The Secret Service is under question as to how the breach of the White house occurred.
    9.Secret Service Chief Julia incompetence might cost her her job.
    10. The intruder was carrying a knife with a four inch blade, which made Secret service not use deadly force.

  3. hazelnutlatte123 says:

    1. The coats was fired for violating workplace policy, not because of his use of a legal drug, marijuana, for which he had a prescription.

    2. A person who takes the correct medication to deal with anxiety, then they cannot be fired.

    3. Marijuana is legal in Colorado, and so is alcohol, so an employee will not be fired for going out and having a few beers after work.

    4. Coats was treating the pain he endured on a daily basis, so he should not have been fired.

    5. He was able to ease the pain of his multiple spasms by usig marijuana so he should not have been discriminated against.

    6. Coats was smoking marijuana, but he was doing so on his own time and not at work, so he was not harming anyone at his job.

    7. The swift actions of the secret service agents kept Oar Gonzalez from getting too deep into the White House.

    8. How the breach in the White House occurred is under question, but the Secret Service isn’t being compelled to explain it’s actions.

    9. Her incompetence might cost her her job though. Secret Service chief Julia Pierson might be fired because of her incompetence, but not because of her testimony before Congress yesterday.

    10. The intruder was carrying a knife with a 4-inch blade, so Secret Service agents did not use deadly force against him.

  4. pomegranate4800 says:

    1. Coats was fires for a violation of workplace policies, not for legal marijuana use.
    2. If an employee has anxiety and is taking the right medication, they cannot be fired.
    3. In Colorado, marijuana is legal, and so is having a beer at an appropriate age, and that won’t get an employee fired.
    4. Coats was trying to treat the pain he feels on an everyday basis, that shouldn’t cause him to get fired.
    5.By using marijuana, he was able to ease the pain of his multiple spasms, and should not be discriminated against.
    6. Coats was smoking on his own time and not at work, which wasn’t harming anyone at his job.
    7. The swift actions of Secret Service agents kept Omar Gonzalez from penetrating deep into the White House.
    8. The Secret Service is being questioned about how the breach occurred, however, are not about required to explain the way it responded to the breach.
    9.Secret Service cheif, Julia Piersons incompetence might cost her her job, but her testimony before Congress will not.
    10. The intruder was carrying a knife with a 4-inch blade, which prevented Secret Service agents from using deadly force.

  5. chavanillo says:

    1. Coats wasn’t fired because he was using a legal drug, marijuana, for a legitimate purpose for which he had a prescription. He was fired for violating workplace policy.

    Coats has a marijuana prescription, but sense he used it in his job he broke the rule policies.

    2. An employer isn’t able to fire a person who has anxiety because they are taking the correct medication to deal with the issue.

    Employers have in mind that anxiety workers need medication to stay healthy

    3. Employees don’t get fired for going out and having a few beers after work because alcohol is legal, but in Colorado so is marijuana.

    Marijuana and alcohol is legal, but breaks the professionalism.

    4. Coats shouldn’t have been fired because he was trying to treat the pain he endured on a daily basis.

    Coats needs his medication and kept working.

    5. It’s not fair to discriminate against him because he was able to ease the pain of his multiple spasms by using marijuana.

    Marijuana has help him stay focus and he has all the right to consume his proscription.

    6. Coats wasn’t harming anyone at his job because he was smoking marijuana but he was doing so on his own time and not at work.

    Coats was smoking marijuana at his own time not while working

    7. Omar Gonzalez didn’t penetrate deep into the White House because of the swift actions of Secret Service agents.

    Omar Gonzales think twice to go into the White house because of Secret Service agents.

    8. The Secret Service isn’t being compelled to explain its actions because of the way it responded to the breach of the White House, but how the breach occurred is under question.

    The secret service interrogate the actions that were being compelled to explain.

    9. Secret Service chief Julia Pierson won’t be fired because of her testimony before Congress yesterday. Her incompetence might cost her her job though.

    Julia Pierson the chef is working, even though her personality could get her in hard circumstances.

    10. Secret Service agents didn’t use deadly force against the intruder because he was carrying a knife with a 4-inch blade.

    sense the intruder had a 4 -inch knife, the Secret service agents were prevented fro using deadly defense.

  6. 1. Coats was fired for violating workplace policy, not because he was using legal marijuana.

    2. An employer isn’t able to fire a person who is taking the necessary medication to deal with their medical condition.

    3. Since marijuana is legal in Colorado, employees shouldn’t get fired because it is the equivalent to going out and having a few beers after work.

    4. Coats tried to alleviate the pain on a daily basis and firing him was unjust.

    5. Discriminate against him was wrong because he only wanted to decrease the pain of his multiple spasms by utilizing marijuana.

    6. Coats was smoking marijuana on his own time and not at work, so it wasn’t harming anyone at his job.

    7. Thanks to the swift actions of Secret Service agents, Omar Gonzalez didn’t penetrate deep into the White House.

    8. How the breach occurred is a bigger concern than the Secret Service having to explain its actions due to their response time.

    9. Secret Service chief Julia Pierson’s testimony before Congress yesterday may have saved her job but her incompetence might cost her big time.

    10. The intruder carried a knife with a 4-inch blade so Secret Service agents decided deadly force was unnecessary.

  7. daphneblake25 says:

    Coats was fired for violating the workplace policy, not for using marijuana for a purpose.

    A person taking the correct medication for their anxiety are safe from termination.

    Having a few beers after work or smoking does not cause anyone to be fired because alcohol and marijuana are legal in Colorado.

    Since Coats treated the pain he endured on a daily basis, he should still be able to work.

    By using marijuana, he was able to ease the pain of his multiple spasms so discrimination is unfair.

    Coats was smoking marijuana on his own time and not at work so he was’t harming anyone at is job.

    The swift actions of the Secret Service agents prevented Omar Gonzalez from penetrating deep into the white house.

    While the breach is under question, the Secret Service isn’t being compelled to explain its actions of the way it responded.

    Secret Service chief Julia Pierson’s incompetence might cost her to get fired, regardless of her testimony before Congress yesterday.

    Because the intruder was carrying a knife with a 4-inch blade, the Secret Service agents decided against using deadly force.

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