Would you please clarify the difference between "Cause FOR" & "Reason FOR"?

With example sentences and references if possible.

Thank you very much.

Original Post


Thank you for your question.  Since you have apparently seen such examples recently, it makes more sense to me that you provide the example sentences and let us explain the possible differences.

Doc V

Hi, all,

On 'LDOCE', you can see the usage of 'cause for' as an uncountable noun. Here:


  • Cause (U):  a fact that makes it right or reasonable for you to feel or behave in a particular way. SYN reason: 

- There is no cause for alarm. 

- The patient's condition is giving cause for concern.

- The present political climate gives little cause for optimism.

  • If you look up the noun 'reason', you can see that it used as an uncountable noun with the same meaning. Here:


  • Reason (U): a fact that makes it right or fair for someone to do something. However, with this meaning 'reason' is mostly followed by 'to + inf.'

- There is no reason to panic.

- He has reason to feel guilty.

- We have reason to believe that the goods were stolen.

Here, I think that both 'have cause / reason to do sth' can be used interchangeably.

Longman Dictionary For Common Errors states that:

"Reason for sth BUT cause of sth: 'The underlying causes of the present dispute date back to 1987.'
Note however: cause for concern / alarm / complaint / hope etc: 'The new
rise in unemployment has given the government cause for concern.'

I have also done a little research on 'Coca' and found out that 'cause for concern' beats 'reason for concern' (601-121). Similar results appear with the ' cause for alarm'. (151-15).

So, in brief, in case of having the uncountable meaning mentioned above, you can use either 'have reason / cause to + inf.' or 'cause for + noun'. I think this is the expected answer in the exam.

Last edited by ahmed_btm

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