Because grammar! Because Internet!

Here’s a linguistic development that so far seems to be confined to the Internet: the evolution of the word “because” into a preposition, typically used ironically. The Atlantic has a nice article about the phenomenon. The article refers to it as “explanation by way of Internet—explanation that maximizes efficiency and irony in equal measure.”

I’m late because YouTube. You’re reading this because procrastination. As the language writer Stan Carey delightfully sums it up: “‘Because’ has become a preposition, because grammar.”

The article notes that the usage conveys “a certain universality”:

When I say, for example, “The talks broke down because politics,” I’m not just describing a circumstance. I’m also describing a category. I’m making grand and yet ironized claims, announcing a situation and commenting on that situation at the same time. I’m offering an explanation and rolling my eyes—and I’m able to do it with one little word. Because variety. Because Internet. Because language.

This is a usage that currently feels too specialized to appear in everyday language or formal writing.  But it’s wonderful in the right context.

3 thoughts on “Because grammar! Because Internet!

  1. Like all living languages, English is continually in a state of flux. I’m impressed with how easily you seem to embrace that change. Maybe it’s the geezer in me, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be comfortable with the shorthand version of the English Language that is currently evolving “because internet.”

    However, I’m not totally hopeless. Grammarians all over the world are wailing as I write because of the way I used the word “like.” I’m not opposed to change; it just takes me a hundred years or so to get comfortable with it.


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