Lists: Word list: A, B

November 21, 2002: Issue 44

SIM STYLE: Word List Spotlight: A–B
Do you know SIM style on these 10 commonly misused words?
• aboveground (one word as adjective); above ground (two words as adverb)
• au courant (not “current”)
• audiovisual (one word)
• au naturel (not “natural”)
• barstool (one word)
• beaded board (not beadboard)
• bed skirt (two words)
• belowground (one word as adjective); below ground (two words as adverb)
• berber (lowercase)
• Btu; Btus (note capitalization)

GRAMMAR: Because of/due to: What’s the difference?
If you can naturally ask why in a sentence, use “because of.”
correct: They added garden tours [Why did they add tours?] because of increased interest.
correct: They lowered the planned roof height [Why did they lower the roof height?] because of new building codes.

In cases where a sentence construction doesn’t allow you to ask why, use “due to.”
 correct: The increased interest [We can't question why here.] was due to a recent magazine article.
correct: The new building codes [We can't question why here.] are due to a recent review by the city.

Note: Let a linking verb (is, are, was, were, etc.) tip you off. In this construction, “due” is an adjective, so “due to” can’t follow anything other than a linking verb.

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