Wednesday, September 1, 2010

What Part of Speech is the "Due" in "Due To"?

Came across this interesting usage note at Webster's New World's online dictionary. I hadn't realized that "due to's" function was disputed. Here's what I learned.

due to preposition: Because of

Usage Note: Due to has been widely used for many years as a compound preposition like owing to, but some critics have insisted that due should be used only as an adjective. According to this view, it is incorrect to say The concert was canceled due to the rain, but acceptable to say The cancellation of the concert was due to the rain, where due continues to function as an adjective modifying cancellation. This seems a fine point, however, and since due to is widely used and understood, there seems little reason to avoid using it as a preposition.
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Guy Geaux said...

Couldn't this be conjunction?

June Casagrande said...

Hmmm. Not according to Merriam-Webster's, no. It's an adjective (payment due, payment is due), an adverb (due north), a noun (pay your dues) and, debatably, a preposition, as discussed above. But the dictionary never categorizes it as a conjunction. And because I can't see it doing a coordinating conjunction's job linking things like nouns (as does "or" in "dinner comes with salad or soup or dessert") and I can't see it doing a subordinating conjunction's job of introducing a whole clause (as does "if" in, "If I see him ..."), I'm not thinking of any use in which it would work as a conjunction.


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