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Lately, I’ve noticed more and more that people are using the phrase “reason why,” for example, The reason why I called is to tell you I’ll be there shortly. I won’t even get into “reason why is because,” since this seems an obvious slip-up to most people, but I do want to discuss the logic—or illogic—of the phrase “reason why.”
Let’s look at the terms’ definitions individually, and for ease, I’ll include the word “because” (just in case you don’t see the problem with using all three of these words together):
REASON: “an explanation of the CAUSE of some phenomenon”
WHY: “the CAUSE or intention underlying an action or situation”
BECAUSE: “expresses various concepts of obligation and CAUSE”
Okay, so we’ve established that each of these words means the same thing, CAUSE.If these words have the same meaning, why do we continue to put them together? It’s just illogical, and it sounds redundant.
Let’s take the example sentence from the first paragraph and reword it, to see if we lose any meaning: The reason I called is to tell you I’ll be there shortly. No meaning lost, and the writer/speaker actually sounds more intelligent.
The short and dirty of this lesson: never use REASON, WHY, and BECAUSE in the same sentence.