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Because (of)

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Because introduces the reason or explanation for something. It is followed by a clause (a series of words containing a verb).
Why did you make that up? Because I didn't know what else to say. I didn't know what to say. That is the reason for me making something up.
They went home early because they were bored. Their boredom was the reason for them going home early.
Just because you are older, you think you are always right. Your age is your only justification for thinking you are always right.

Because of also introduces the reason or explanation for something. It is followed by a noun.
-Why are you late? -Because of the snow. -Why are you late? -The snow caused me to be late.

Similar expressions to because of include due to and as a result of.
Due to the budget cut, we have to lower our paper consumption. We have to lower our paper consumption because of the budget cut.
As a result of my broken leg, I can't play soccer anymore. I can't play soccer anymore because of my broken leg.

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