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.


In-Class 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.

14 Responses to Not Because

  1. davidbdale says:

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

  2. sixers103 says:

    1. Coats was fired since 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 due to the fact that 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 for the fact that alcohol is legal, but in Colorado so is marijuana.

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

    5. It’s not fair to discriminate against him since marijuana is legal in Colorado and he was just trying to ease his pain.

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

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

    8. The Secret Service isn’t being compelled to explain its actions 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 due to her testimony before Congress yesterday and her incompetence might cost her her job though.

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

  3. j6128 says:

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

    2. A person who has anxiety was not fired by their employer because they were 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 and marijuana is legal in Colorado.

    4. Coats was wrongly fired because he was trying to treat the pain he endured on a daily basis.

    5. It was wrong to discriminate against him because he was able to ease the pain of his multiple spasms by using marijuana.

    6. Coats did not harm anyone at his job because was smoking marijuana on his own time and not at work
    7. Omar Gonzalez penetrated deep into the White House not because of the swift actions of Secret Service agents.

    8. The Secret Service was being compelled to explain its actions on how the breach occurred is under question.

    9. Secret Service chief Julia Pierson will be fired because of her incompetence, not for her testimony before Congress.

    10. Secret Service agents used force against the intruder because he was carrying a knife with a 4-inch blade.

    • j6128 says:

      4. Coats was wrongly fired for trying to treat the pain he endured on a daily basis.
      5. It was wrong to discrimate against him for he was able to ease the pain of his multiple spasms by using marijuana.
      6. Coats did not harm anyone at his job because he was smoking marijuana on his own time and not at work

  4. dancestar10 says:

    1 Coast was fired for violating workplace policy, not due for the fact he was using a legal drug, marijuana, for a legitimate purpose for which he had a prescription.

    2. An employer isn’t able to fire a person who has anxiety since 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 due to the fact that alcohol is legal, but in Colorado marijuana is also legal.

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

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

    6. Coats wasn’t harming anyone at his job due to the fact he was smoking marijuana since he was smoking on his own time and not at work.

    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 will lose her job due to her incompetence, not for her testimony before Congress yesterday.

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

  5. dupreeh79 says:

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

    2. Since an employee is taking the correct medication to deal with anxiety their employer is not allowed to fire them.

    3. Using legal substinstence in Colorado, like alcohol and marijuna will not get employees fired.

    4. Coats was attempting to treat the pain he endured on a daily basis and was fired for treating himself.

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

    6. Unlike in his own time, Coats smoking marijuana at work was not harming anyone.

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

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

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

  6. tenere84 says:

    1. Coats was fired for violating workplace policy, not for using a legal drug, marijuana, for a legitimate purpose for which he had a prescription

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

    3. Though alcohol is just as legal as marijuana in Colorado, employees don’t get fired for going out and having a few beers after work.

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

    5. It’s unfair to discriminate against him for using marijuana to ease the pain of his multiple spasms.

    6. Coats was smoking marijuana outside work and on his own time, therefore he was not harming anyone at his job.

    7. Due to the swift actions of Secret Service agents, Omar Gonzalez was unable to penetrate deep into the White House.

    8. The Secret Service is under scrutiny not because of the way it responded to the breach of the White House but how it occurred.

    9. Julia Pierson may be fired not because of her testimony before Congress but because of her incompetence.

    10. Secret Service agents used non-lethal force against the intruder because he was carrying a knife with a 4-inch blade.

  7. harp03 says:

    1. Coats was fired for violating workplace policy, not for using a legal drug, marijuana, for a legitimate purpose for which he had a prescription.
    2. People taking the correct medication to deal with anxiety cannot be fired by their employer.
    3. Marijuana is legal in Colorado and employees get fired for using it, yet employees don’t get fired for going out and having a few beers after work because alcohol is legal.
    4. Coats was fired for 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 was smoking marijuana but he was doing so on his own time and not at work, so he wasn’t harming anyone at his job.
    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. The swift actions of Secret Service agents prevented Omar Gonzalez from penetrating deep into the White House.
    8. The Secret Service is being compelled to explain how the breach occurred, not to how they responded to the breach of the White House.
    9. Secret Service chief Julia Pierson’s incompetence might cost her her job, not her testimony before Congress yesterday.
    10. The intruder was only carrying a knife with a 4-inch blade, so Secret Service agents refrained from using deadly force against him.

  8. stripedsweater21 says:

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

    2. A person who has anxiety can’t be fired because they are taking the correct medication to deal with the issue.

    3. Employers don’t get fired for going out for beer after work because alcohol and marijuana is legal in Colorado.

    4. Coats shouldn’t have been fired because he was treating his medical condition.

    5. Discrimination is wrong because he has a need for the prescription.

    6. Coats wasn’t harming anyone at his job because he doesn’t smoke marijuana 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. Secret Service agents acted swiftly because Omar Gonzalez penetrated the White House.

    8. The Secret Service is being compelled to explain its actions not 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 not because of her testimony before Congress yesterday, but her incompetence.

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

  9. shaquilleoatmeal2250 says:

    1. Coats was fired, not 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 employee taking the correct anxiety medication cannot by fired by their employer for having anxiety.

    3. Employees get fired for marijuana use when it’s completely legal, but don’t get fired when getting a couple beers after work.

    4. Since Coats was trying to treat his pain on a daily basis, he should not have been fired.

    5. Because of his use of marijuana to help with his multiple spasms he should not be discriminated.

    6. Coats was smoking marijuana on his own time out of work, therefore causing no harm to anyone fellow employees.

    7. The swift actions of Secret Service agents caused Omar to not be able to penetrate deep into the white house.

    8. The Secret Service is being compelled to explain how the breach occurred, not to how they responded to the breach of the White House.

    9. Secret Services chief, Julia Pierson, incompetence might have cost her the job, but not because of her testimony before congress.

    10. Secret Service agents used deadly force against the intruder not because he was carrying a knife with a 4-inch blade.

  10. gossipgirl3801 says:

    1. Coats was fired for violating workplace policy, not because he was using a legal drug, marijuana, which he had a prescription for.
    2. An employer cannot fire an employee taking the correct medication to calm the issue.
    3. Employees in Colorado don’t get fired for legally drinking and smoking legal marijuana after work.
    4. Coats employer should not have penalized him for easing the pain he goes through constantly.
    5. Coats gets seriously painful spasms and eases the pain using marijuana, he should not be discriminated against for curing his pain through a prescribed medication.
    6. Coats was smoking marijuana at home so he not harm anyone at his work.
    7. Omar Gonzalez did not get far into the White House before the swift Secret Service agents stopped him.
    8. How the breach occurred is under question, though the Secret Service is not obligated to discuss the breach because of how fast they acted in the situation.
    9. Secret Service chief, Julia Pierson, will not be fired from her position due to her testimony but rather her incompetence displayed yesterday before the Congress.
    10. The intruder was carrying a knife with a short 4-inch blade therefore, the Secret Service did not feel they needed to take deadly action.

  11. rose1029 says:

    1. Coats was fired for violating workplace policy, even though he was using a legal drug, marijuana, for a legitimate purpose for which he had a prescription.
    2. An employer is not able to fire a person who has anxiety if they are taking the correct medication to deal with the issue.
    3. Employees will not be fired for drinking beers or smoking marijuana since both are legal in Colorado.
    4. Coats should not have been fired when he was simply trying to treat the pain he endured daily.
    5. Since he was using marijuana to ease the pain of his multiple spasms, it is not fair to discriminate against him.
    6. Coats was smoking marijuana on his own time and not at work, to ensure the safety of everyone at his job.
    7. The swift actions of Secret Service agents allowed Omar Gonzalez to not be forced to penetrate deep into the White House.
    8. How the breach occurred is under question; however, the Secret Service isn’t being compelled to explain its actions due to the manner in which they responded to the breach of the White House.
    9. Secret Service chief Julia Pierson may lose her job due to her own incompetence, not 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.

  12. a1175 says:

    1. Coats was fired for violating workplace policy, not because he was using a legal drug, marijuana, for a legitimate purpose for which he had a prescription.
    2. A person who has anxiety can keep their job because they are taking the correct medication to deal with the issue.
    3. Alcohol and marijuana are legal in Colorado, so employees will not be fired for going out and having a few drinks after work.
    4. Coats was unfairly fired since he was trying to treat the pain he endured daily.
    5. It was unjust to discriminate against him because he was able to ease the pain of his multiple spasms by using marijauna.
    6. Coats was smoking marijuana on his own time, so he was not harming anyone at his job.
    7. Due to the actions of the Secret Service agents, Omar Gonzalez did not make it far into the White House.
    8. The Secret Service is being compelled to explain how the breach of the White House occurred, not because of the way they responded to the breach.
    9. Secret Service chief Julia Pierson’s incompetence might cost her her job, not because of her testimony before Congress yesterday.
    10. The intruder was caring a 4-inch blade knife, so the Secret Service agents refrained from using deadly force.

  13. bmdpiano says:

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

    2. A person who is taking the correct medication cannot be fired for having anxiety by their employer.

    3. In Colorado marijuana is legal and so is alcohol, so employees should not get fired for its use.

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

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

    6. Coats wasn’t harming anyone while smoking marijuana on his own time.

    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.The swift actions of Secret Service agents didn’t allow Omar Gonzalez to penetrate deep into the White House.

    8. The Secret Service isn’t being compelled to explain its actions for 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’s testimony before Congress yesterday will not cost her her job, but her incompetence might.

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

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