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Excuse vs. Reason


Kodiak
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I see a reason as something that you honestly couldn't help if you tried. With an excuse, it's more of you trying to take the blame off yourself; an invalid reason. Example:

 

Scenario: You're late to an appointment.

 

A reason would be something like: "There was a sudden accident on the highway on my way over here," where as an excuse would be: "I had to stop for gas." My logic is that one cannot control the actions of others (car accidents), however one can control things like fuel supply (stopping for gas). If you could have preemptively handled a problem, then it would qualify as an excuse.

 

Though, there's always a gray area. If the response was: "My car broke down," it could go either way; it's a reason because things like that could happen randomly, but it could be an excuse if you already knew that there were problems with your car.

 

What do you guys think?

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I pretty much agree with your reasoning, not forgetting also that excuses can be derived from half-truths (pretty much a lie but with enough basis for it to be unquestionable' such as stating there was an accident on the way over when really there was an accident, but it wasn't the reason you were late. The accident could have been handled very well by the response services and in fact you left the house late because you weren't organised enough.

 

Telling the difference between an excuse and a reason can be very hard, and I would subject it to the kind of person I was dealing with. For example, my brother is pretty much a compulsive liar, and as such when he tells me he has forgotten something he promised me, such as a birthday present that's way overdue, what this actually means is he did forget it - but he forgot to buy the thing in the first place rather than forgot to grab it on his way out.

 

It really upsets me when people don't believe me, for some reason. Like, a few weeks ago, I missed my bus into University. I forgot that the school holidays, set a week apart from my own school holiday, made the buses run a few minutes earlier than expected, and as such they pass my stop earlier. The bus I use to catch it up also left early, so I was left waiting an hour for the next one. It being cold and early I went home and encountered my dad, who promptly lectured me on being ready on time, to my annoyance.

 

But yeah, subject to whoever's telling you the excuse or reason, in my opinion.

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They are just about the same thing.

I think we need to better understand the definition of "excuse".

 

"My car broke down", "There was an accident", etc. no matter what way you look at them are still excuses. "Excuse" is not always a negative word either, you can have valid excuses.

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Perhaps a valid excuse could be classed as a reason, since it's something out of your control that occurred that lead to you being late or whatever the outcome may be. That's a cleaner definition, at least a little bit.

 

I see a definition between the two words. An excuse, as Kodiak pointed out, is often used to try and shift the blame from ones self even if it was actually your fault to begin with. On the other side of the coin is a reason or, if you like, a valid excuse, where something one could not control occurred.

 

Admittedly, there's a hazy line down the middle, but there's still a definition between the two for me.

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Perhaps a valid excuse could be classed as a reason, since it's something out of your control that occurred that lead to you being late or whatever the outcome may be. That's a cleaner definition, at least a little bit.

 

I see a definition between the two words. An excuse, as Kodiak pointed out, is often used to try and shift the blame from ones self even if it was actually your fault to begin with. On the other side of the coin is a reason or, if you like, a valid excuse, where something one could not control occurred.

 

Admittedly, there's a hazy line down the middle, but there's still a definition between the two for me.

 

"Excuse" and "reason" can be used interchangeably.

 

One thing I must point out is that having a valid reason as to why you were late (for example), is still an excuse. It's still shifting the blame and/or justifying some sort of action (which is the definition of "excuse").

People try to make these words two separate things because the word "excuse" is almost always associated with negative actions, but by definition having an "excuse" does not always mean you are trying to falsely justify yourself.

Edited by Lady Rarity Pony
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To be honest, your statement there comes across as an opinion rather than a fact. While they may be interchangeable to you, they are destrincly different to me, and the dictionary seems to agree with me, since there is no overlap in the definitions of these two words:

 

Excuse: Attempt to lessen the blame of attaching to (a fault or offence); seek to defend.

Reason: A cause, explanation or justification for an action of event.

 

While both of these may be considered a justification of something that has happened, there is a difference here between the two; one is a defence of an action and a shifting of blame, the other just an explanation of the cause rather than a denial.

Edited by Whinny-Millie
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To be honest, your statement there comes across as an opinion rather than a fact. While they may be interchangeable to you, they are destrincly different to me, and the dictionary seems to agree with me, since there is no overlap in the definitions of these two words:

 

Excuse: Attempt to lessen the blame of attaching to (a fault or offence); seek to defend.

Reason: A cause, explanation or justification for an action of event.

 

While both of these may be considered a justification of something that has happened, there is a difference here between the two; one is a defence of an action and a shifting of blame, the other just an explanation of the cause rather than a denial.

 

Nah, it's not really opinion, more of just a proper understanding of the definitions of the word.

 

For example, to give a reason as to why you are late is in fact attempting to shift the blame or justify the act of being late. You may very well be justified, but that doesn't mean that it's not an excuse.

 

Excuse: Attempt to lessen the blame of attaching to (a fault or offence); seek to defend.

Reason: A cause, explanation or justification for an action of event.

 

You yourself have acknowledged the definition of "reason", one of which falls under/can be used interchangeably with "excuse".

 

To everyone, don't take this wrong way but the entire thread topic seems to be trying to re-define "excuse" as an exclusively negative word and "reason" as an exclusively positive word. Both words can be used to refer to negative or positive statements, "excuse" just happens to be used almost always in a negative way.

  • Brohoof 1
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An excuse is when you exaggerate the truth about something. If your car runs out of gas and doesn't start up again while going to work, and you don't have extra gas in the back, then there's not much you can do with that.

 

As Whinny-Millie said, there's a fine line between reason and an excuse. Reason is more of making sense of things rather than saying you weren't able to do this.

 

I simply have to say, OP, there'd...

 

*puts on shades*

 

... be no excuse for me if I were to argue with your reason here.

 

YEAHHHHHHHHH

 

Someone get this man an award.

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To everyone, don't take this wrong way but the entire thread topic seems to be trying to re-define "excuse" as an exclusively negative word and "reason" as an exclusively positive word. Both words can be used to refer to negative or positive statements, "excuse" just happens to be used almost always in a negative way.

 

I could see your point, but this wasn't really a thread to try and redefine the two words, rather to discuss their meanings when used in casual conversation. "Excuses" and "reasons" already have their negative and positive connotations respectively. I'll change my original argument to maybe their literal definitions could be interchangeable, but someone would be more likely to use the word "excuse" when they think the other persons either lying or not being totally honest; word choice would be left to the user.

 

For example, when Pinkie Pie's friends didn't come to Gummy's "after-birthday" party because they had things to do in Party of One, she says: "The more I think about it, the more it sounds like *gasp* excuses!" Though, when she finally came to the surprise party at the end of the episode, Rarity says something along the lines of: "We had to think of reasons for why we couldn't make Gummy's party so that we could get yours ready."

 

Perhaps the words could mean the same thing, essentially, but one could be favored by the user depending on the situation.

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I could see your point, but this wasn't really a thread to try and redefine the two words, rather to discuss their meanings when used in casual conversation. "Excuses" and "reasons" already have their negative and positive connotations respectively. I'll change my original argument to maybe their literal definitions could be interchangeable, but someone would be more likely to use the word "excuse" when they think the other persons either lying or not being totally honest; word choice would be left to the user.

 

For example, when Pinkie Pie's friends didn't come to Gummy's "after-birthday" party because they had things to do in Party of One, she says: "The more I think about it, the more it sounds like *gasp* excuses!" Though, when she finally came to the surprise party at the end of the episode, Rarity says something along the lines of: "We had to think of reasons for why we couldn't make Gummy's party so that we could get yours ready."

 

Perhaps the words could mean the same thing, essentially, but one could be favored by the user depending on the situation.

 

Yeah I agree.

"Excuse" is almost always used when referring to lying or falsely justifying a person's acts, I just want to make it clear to some people that while "excuse" is almost always used in that manner, it does have other definitions that are not so negative :P

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All excuses are reasons and most reasons are excuses. Excuses are just falsehoods/exaggerations or very trivial things while reasons can be both trivial or serious. Most reasons that people use are basically excuses though.

 

Ex: You forgot to turn in your homework

 

Legit Reason: Oh, I forgot to do it/couldn't do it/didn't do it.

 

Most People's Responses in my School: My dog ate it/I forgot to grab it on the way out/my printer ran out of ink/I had to go to Hawaii (yeah, somebody actually said that).

 

So legit reasons aren't really...effective in shifting to blame to an outside source. That's really the point of justifying yourself in the case of using excuses.

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