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Usage and Grammar
Q. My question concerns the grammatical morass of using “due to” in a manuscript only to have a diligent copy editor consistently cross out the phrase and replace it with “caused by,” “as a result of,” or “resulting from.” The way I tend to use it is, e.g. “The optimism about human progress due to mechanization or technology . . .” Am I wrong? I am wasting hours of my life stetting these (as I see them, mistaken) changes. Is it wrong to care so very deeply? Should I just go have some tequila and simmer down?
A. Send the tequila to the copy editor; she’s just doing her job, following CMOS 5.250 (s.v. “due to”). Meanwhile, it might comfort you to know that Merriam-Webster is more mellow on the subject: “The objection to ‘due to’ as a preposition is only a continuation of disagreements that began in the 18th century over the proper uses of ‘owing’ and ‘due.’ ‘Due to’ is as grammatically sound as ‘owing to,’ which is frequently recommended in its place. It has been and is used by reputable writers and has been recognized as standard for decades. There is no solid reason to avoid ‘due to.’ ”