Difference Between Reason & Excuse

Key Difference – Reason vs Excuse

You may have encountered situations where you were told not to make excuses when in reality you were providing reasons for doing, or not doing, something. Such situations can be quite confusing because we often fail to recognize the difference between these two words. To clarify, a reason refers to a cause or explanation, which explains why someone did something or why something occurred. An excuse, however, is also a type of reason that specifically justifies or defends a fault. In this sense, the key difference is that while a reason is simply an explanation, an excuse specifically focuses on justifying a fault. Through this article, we will examine the differences between a reason and an excuse.

What Does Reason Mean?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a reason refers to a cause or an explanation. When providing a reason, the person tries to explain why they did or did not do something. It can also be used when speaking of situations as well. A reason is usually logical, rational, and objective. It is not given with the intention of saving oneself but to explain a situation. For example, in an airport, the administrative personnel informs the passengers that there has been a delay in flights due to bad weather conditions. This is not an excuse but a statement through which the individual explains the situation to the passengers. It is a logical, rational, objective statement. Hence, it can be considered as a reason.

What Does Excuse Mean?

An excuse refers to an explanation put forward to justify or defend a fault. When providing an excuse, the individual makes an attempt to put the blame on another person or on circumstances rather than being accountable for their own actions. This is usually considered a negative practice. Most excuses tend to be illogical and irrational arguments put forward by a person to escape a problem. For example, a student fails to submit an assignment to the lecturer before the deadline because they had sports practices. This is clearly an excuse where the student tries to shift their inability to complete a given task to circumstances (Sports practices). As you can observe, there is a clear difference between a reason and an excuse. This difference can be summarized as follows.

What is the difference between Reason and Excuse?

Definitions of Reason and Excuse:
Reason: A reason simply refers to a cause or explanation.
Excuse: An excuse is a type of reason that specifically justifies or defends a fault.
Characteristics of Reason and Excuse:
Reason: A reason merely explains something.
Excuse: An excuse justifies the fault.
Reason: The main function is not to justify but to explain.
Excuse: The main function is to justify or defend a fault.
Reason: When you are giving reasons, you explain and take accountability for your actions.
Excuse: When you are giving an excuse, you are not taking accountability for your actions but blame it on other factors.

Key Takeaways

  • A reason is a cause or explanation, while an excuse specifically justifies or defends a fault.
  • Reasons are logical, rational, and objective, whereas excuses tend to be illogical and irrational.
  • When providing reasons, you take accountability for your actions, but when giving excuses, you blame other factors.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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