Difference between the words 'reason' and 'cause'

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #74 [color=blue]“Christmas Postman (1)”, question 1

My main for becoming a temporary postman during the Christmas holiday period.

(a) cause
(b) incident
© rational
(d) reason

English Language Tests, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #74 [color=blue]“Christmas Postman (1)”, answer 1

My main reason for becoming a temporary postman during the Christmas holiday period.

Correct answer: (d) reason

Your answer was: [color=red]incorrect
My main cause for becoming a temporary postman during the Christmas holiday period.
[size=200]_________________________[/size]

Hi,
Could you tell me the main difference between the words ‘reason’ and ‘cause’?
Why ‘cause’ doesn’t fit here?

Hi,

You asked:

The reason for something happening is why something happens.

The cause for something happening is the factor that results in something happening

For example:

The reason why the house was destroyed by the storm was because the foundations were very poor.

The cause for the house being destroyed was as a result of the severity of the storm

In the test the sentence:

this is an explanation for becoming a postman and answers the question: Why did you become a postman?

Alan

To explicate:

“Reason” is the use of reason, that is, by the human mind. In common conversation its meaning can overlap with “cause” but, if you’re unsure which to use, keep in mind what reason really is.

I would probably use “cause” in both of these. (You can already see “cause” in the word “because” in the first sentence.) I would probably write, “The house was destroyed by the storm because the foundations were very poor.”

Reason might explain why the builder poured such poor foundations, perhaps because he was cheap or had run over his budget.

Hello Alan
Could you explain me the difference between “each” and “every”
Thanks

Here are some phrases you cannot use “every” and must use “each.”

For instance, you can say “Each of you must do your English homework for tomorrow’s class.” But you can’t say “Every of you must do your homework…” Instead you would say, “Everyone must do his or her homework for tomorrow’s class.”

Saying “Each” has more of a connotation of “individuals items in a group,” such as “Each individual in a group…”

Saying “Every” has more of a connotation of referring to a collective as a whole. “Everything, everyone, every time, etc.”

Thanks to " G "

Kitos.

Keep in mind that despite the common use in conversation of “everyone” as a plural noun, it’s not. When writing, write “Everyone must bring his own pencil,” not “Everyone must bring their own pencils” (as if it meant “All”). This has been exacerbated by the use of the singular “they” (which is an attempt to avoid labeling mixed-gender groups and women as masculine).

Where I would say, “Everyone must bring his own pencil,” some feminists would insist on “Everyone must bring their own pencil.” Notice that in this debated use, the writer uses “their” as if were singular, like “his.”

Don’t you have the feeling that the sentence “My main reason for becoming a temporary postman during the Christmas holiday period.” is unfinished? Shouldn’t it be written more like on the pattern of these sentences “This is my main reason for…” or “…holiday period is I needed extra spending money.”?

You’ll have to quote me more text as I wrote that piece many years ago.

Alan

Hello Tommyek,

You are correct that the extract is not a sentence, but if you look at the whole of the test you will see that the sentence it relates to is spread over several questions, so the sentence continues in question 2.

Oh, you’re right. I was misled by the full stop in the forum version of this sentence. Thank you.

Hi Alan,

I found the meanings of ‘reason and cause’ are not that easy to understand. They mean the same to me except that ‘cause’ refers to the direct factor that leads to something happens according to your explanation.

I suppose both ‘reason’ and ‘cause’ can be used in the following sentence, and they both make sense.

#1 In our view, the root cause of the crime problem is poverty and unemployment.

#2 In our view, the root reason of the crime problem is poverty and unemployment.

‘Poverty and unemployment’ can mean both ‘the reason why the crime problem happens’ and ‘the factor that results in the crime problem happening’.

However, I found people use ‘the root cause of something’ when I googled online. I am confused indeed. Could you please clarify that? Thank you.

It is easier to understand if you use the right preposition - ‘cause of’ and ‘reason for’. Agreed in your sentences they both merge, but the idea behind each has a different approach. ‘Cause of’ suggests result and ‘reason for’ suggests why. They merge because crime is the underlying factor.