Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. Today, I'm going to talk about the difference between "because of" and "thanks to." These are two expressions we can use to talk about the cause of a situation or the cause of a state, but let's see, maybe, some key differences between how to use them.
Let's begin with the phrase "because of." When we use "because of," we use "because of" before a noun phrase where the noun phrase expresses the cause of the situation or the cause of an upcoming action, for example. A few examples of this could be, "Because of you," or "because of the weather," or "because of the train delay." In each of these example sentences, I have a noun phrase following the expression, "because of." These are introducing the cause of the situation. The nuance of "because of" is that this noun phrase made something possible or caused something to happen. We use "because of" when we're explaining a negative situation often time. Something negative has happened. We can use this, as I'll mention here, we can use this to show appreciation, to show a positive outcome or to show our gratitude for something. But, when we're talking about negative situations, we often use "because of" to express a negative result, a negative outcome. When we want to show our appreciation, however, using "because of," we can say something like, "Because of you, I was able to pass my test." Yes, we can use this expression to express positive situations but we also tend to use this one more to express negative situations. I'll explain in just a moment some other ways to express negative causes.
We tend to use "because of" when there's not a specific person or a specific entity involved in the situation. For example, "I had to cancel my picnic because of rain." Here, rain is the cause for the change. Maybe, this is a negative situation. I had to cancel my picnic and rain, it's just an entity. It's not really an organization. It's not a person. It's just something out there that caused a situation to happen. In these cases, for example, a train delay or the weather or some situation outside your control, you can use "because of" to express that. We use "because of" before a noun phrase to express the cause of a situation or the reason for a state. We can use it to talk about positive situations and negative situations, but if you want to express a negative situation, a negative state, it's generally a better idea to use "because of" than "thanks to," as I'll show you in just a moment.
With that in mind, let's look at "thanks to," the other point for today. "Thanks to," just as we did with "because of," we introduced a noun phrase after the expression. "Thanks to" plus some noun phrase, where the noun phrase is the reason or is the cause of the situation or the state. Again, "thanks to you," "thanks to my teacher," "thanks to my parents." Here, "you," "my teacher," "my parents," these are the noun phrases. These introduce the reason or the cause of the state or the situation. The nuance with "thanks to," again, is that the noun phrase has made something possible, yes, but there's a nuance of appreciation, in most cases. The word "thanks" here. "Thank," like to express gratitude, to express appreciation, is the root here. There's typically a nuance of appreciation. There's gratitude. We can, however, use this sarcastically. Sarcastically means to use, to create the opposite meaning. We can use this expression sarcastically to show anger. If we use "thanks to" plus a negative situation. For example, "Thanks to you, we're late for the movie." This is a sarcastic use of the expression, "thanks to." The speaker is actually unhappy here. The speaker uses the expression, "thanks to you," which is intending to show appreciation. However, it's followed by this "late for the movie." "We're late for the movie," a negative situation. This is what's called sarcasm, creating the opposite meaning of the words that are actually used in the expression. We can use "thanks to" to show our anger in a situation.
We typically use thanks to when there's a person or an entity to show our appreciation to. In these cases, I've used "you," "my teacher," and "my parents." These are people. You could use an organization, a school, maybe a community center, for example. Some thing, some organization, some person, some entity, that you can show your appreciation to. We can use "thanks to" in that case.
You might also hear the expression, "no thanks to" to show someone who impeded something. To impede means to get in the way of or maybe to make it difficult to do something else. In an example sentence, "I finally got a new job, no thanks to my old boss." Again, after "no thanks to," we have a noun phrase, in this case, "my old boss." "No thanks to" shows no appreciation for something. However, there's still a result. There's still an outcome. "I finally got a new job, but no thanks to my old boss. I did it without the help of my old boss," or perhaps, "my old boss tried to make it difficult for me to do something to get a new job." You might hear "no thanks to," which shows no appreciation for that person or that entity. Please be careful. If you want to show your appreciation, you should use "thanks to," and of course, express a positive outcome here. "Thanks to" is better when you're talking about people and entities and there's a positive situation. You can use "thanks to" to express sarcasm, to create sarcasm and express anger. If, however, you just want to be very clear all the time, you can use "because of" to express negative situations without creating sarcasm. A simple negative situation like, "My picnic was canceled because of rain." That's much, much better with "because of." It sounds much more straightforward and there's no sarcasm in that case. You can use "because of" for positive situations and negative situations, but if you want to express something related to a person or to an entity, try using "thanks to" instead. It'll sound a little more appreciative. Otherwise, you can stick to "because of."
Those are a few key differences between the phrases "because of" and "thanks to." I hope that was useful for you. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section below this video. Thanks very much for watching. Please give this video a thumbs up if you liked it. Subscribe to our channel too, so you don't miss anything. Also, check us out at EnglishClass101.com for other good stuff, as well. Thanks very much for watching this episode. I will see you again soon. Bye.

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