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Language tip of the week: reason

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English which learners often find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc.

This week some advice about other words meaning reason:

cause: the reason that something happens or that you feel a particular emotion
The probable cause of death was drowning. ♦ Fifty years after the war, scholars still disagree about its causes.

excuse: a reason you give in order to explain why you did something bad or wrong
She gave some excuse about being too sick to finish her essay.

explanation: a fact or set of facts that tells you why something happened
There was no obvious explanation for his sudden disappearance.

grounds: a word used in official or legal situations, meaning a good or fair reason for doing something
His repeated violence towards her was given as grounds for divorce. ♦ Permission for the march was refused, on grounds of public safety.

motivation: someone’s personal reason for doing something
The other runners’ times were fast, and that gave me motivation to push even harder.

motive: someone’s personal reason for doing something, especially something dishonest or illegal
Police are unsure about a motive for the crime.

pretext: a false reason you give for doing something in order to hide your real reason
He got into the warehouse on the pretext of making a building inspection.

purpose: the goal that you want to achieve
The purpose of Tuesday’s meeting is to finalize the schedule.

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