Joho the Blog » Because noun

Because noun

I’ve been enjoying the rise of a grammatical meme, which the less charitable might call an ungrammatical meme. It’s that thing where you upset expectations by following “because” not with a phrase or clause but simply with a noun. For example, one might say “We invaded Iraq because freedom” or “I ate all of my dessert because chocolate.”


In its initial formulations — which is to say, the first times I saw it — it had a mocking edge, indicating that the explanation for an event was inadequate; people didn’t think past a blind, simplistic support for freedom. Now it’s becoming more of a tribal marking than a statement about the adequacy of the explanation.


I think there’s a good chance it will stick, because efficiency.

6 Responses to “Because noun”

  1. There’s also a good chance it will become limp and repetitive through overuse as so many other grammar toys have done, as in “best xyz ever.” and emphasis. through. one. word. sentences. Am I wrong or overly jaded to be tired of because noun in anticipation of this?

  2. This would be a good teaser for Language Log participants http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/

  3. Reminds me of newscasters dropping auxiliary verbs, e.g. “President Obama addressing Congress tonight.”

  4. “…because, duh-uh.” I think there’s a pregnant pause between because and the noun, an anticipatory beat. I think it will stick too. In the seventies I heard the middle-schoolers over my back fence in San Anselmo and they were all, “I was all ‘don’t hassle me,’ and he was all hassling me anyway.” etc. ad barfarooney. That usage–”I was all” or “he was all”–lasted a long time. I expect this one will have staying power too, because, whatevs, ebonics of privilege?

  5. [...] good friend Paul┬átoday highlighted to me a rather interesting blogpost. It talks of the recent removal of a preposition after the word “because”. Examples [...]

  6. My response is a little long for a comment. But here it is:

    http://www.osirra.com/2013/01/because-noun-my-response/

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