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1. I learned that 'because' is different from 'since'. But, I can't distinguish the difference in meaning or in usage. How do you use these two conjunctions differently?

2. Hope someone to explain the meaning of the following sentence, please. I can't get the meaning of the 'pulling onto' below.

He used his car to block a tractor-trailer from pulling onto a highway.

Are the cars(his car and the trailer) on s highway or any other road next to the highway? Because of the preposition 'onto', it sounds liket both cars are out of highway and about to enter into highway breaking some kind of blockings. Isn't it?
Full Member183
1 commentWell, as far as I remember reading from the Oxford's Practical English Usage ( I'm not sure about the title, I'll check my library later), because is used when the information is new, and since when the information is old. It means when the recipient in the conversation is aware of the reason, or if the the speaker thinks he's aware of it, since is used. I hope it helps.

About your second question, well, I know that the trailer is not on the highway yet, but I'm not sure about the other car. Let's see what others have to add.
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1. I learned that 'because' is different from 'since'. But, I can't distinguish the difference in meaning or in usage. How do you use these two conjunctions differently?

The conjunctions since, because, and as may be used at the beginning of a sentence, when the reason is already well known or when the reason is considered not as important as the main statement: As you're only staying a little while, we'd better eat now. Because puts a greater emphasis on the cause: Because she was witty and lively, she was often invited to be the keynote speaker.Because and for are both used to introduce reasons that justify a statement as distinct from giving a reason for it, though for is more literary in style: You must have forgotten to invite them, because they didn't turn up.He blushed, for he knew he had been caught out. For as a conjunction is never used at the beginning of a sentence. As can also be understood to mean "at the time that" as well as "because": As Luisa went back to work, Tony stayed home to take care of the baby. In this case, it is better to avoid ambiguity and use either because or while as appropriate. Avoid using being as in place of because in formal writing: They left for the game late, because [not being as] the car wouldn't start.

[Microsoft® Encarta® 2006. © 1993-2005 Microsoft Corporation.]

2. Hope someone to explain the meaning of the following sentence, please. I can't get the meaning of the 'pulling onto' below.

He used his car to block a tractor-trailer from pulling onto a highway.

pulling [out] onto a highway, in this context means to run uncontrollably out onto the highway from another street, he allowed a trailer to hit, or at least to be blocked by, his car.
Full Member409
I never thought how odd the American usage of "pulling out onto the highway" is. It simply means that you are getting your vehicle onto the highway from the on-ramp or a side street. If the car prevented the truck from doing so, it was positioned in such a way (either moving or not) that kept the trailer from being able to get on.

For example, large trucks make wide turns, so if the car was parked someplace in the path that the truck would need to cover in making his wide turn, he has blocked his ability to pull onto the highway.

A more likely possibility is that cars/trucks come down an on-ramp to pick up speed and then move over into the flow of traffic; this is called "merging." If the car was travelling at the same speed as the truck, so that when the truck reached to bottom of of the ramp and was ready to merge, the car was right there, the truck would not be able to pull onto the highway. Usually, the person in the "merge" lane will speed up, or move over, to make sure the person merging has room -- or the person who is merging will slow down or speed up to make sure that he can get over into the travel lane, but if the person driving the car is doing it on purpose - slowing when the truck slows, or speeding up when the truck does - the car can intentionally block the person from merging.

***

Also, there are some prescriptivists who will say you can only use "since" to denote the passage of time (Since he's been back from his vacation, he seems so relaxed) and "because" to show causation (Because he had a nice long vacation, he feels a lot more relaxed.). Most native speakers that I know don't follow this and use them interchangeably. A distinction between new knowledge and old knowledge is new knowledge to me.
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It simply means that you are getting your vehicle onto the highway from the on-ramp or a side street. If the car prevented the truck from doing so, it was positioned in such a way (either moving or not) that kept the trailer from being able to get on.

Normally that is so, but observe

He used his car to block a tractor-trailer from pulling onto a highway.

and pull has only onto not out onto. It is me who added out. It was my "educated" guess. Emotion: smile

Why would he use his car? It must be some kind of need to do so, this is even more true when you notice block and even more more more together with from. From says that a trailer was about to do something on its own. It suggests that without a car the trailer would get on, but the driver wanted to stop that - he used his car to cancel the trailer's presumably dangerous path, he did it purposely. I guess it must be because there was kind of danger in trailer getting on the highway. (I guess that a trailer just like that on the highway is something dangerous.) I still think so. (I have explained the entire context, not only the verb, the verb is indeed as you said it.)

Also, there are some prescriptivists who will say you can only use "since" to denote the passage of time (Since he's been back from his vacation, he seems so relaxed) and "because" to show causation (Because he had a nice long vacation, he feels a lot more relaxed.).

If it was so, it is so not any more. However, the danger of using since inappropriately remains.
I'll check my source for the citation here, GG, for that new knowledge.
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Thanks - that will be interesting to find out about. (Another chance for me to be a prescriptivist at work Emotion: smile ) Like I said, most speakers that I know pretty much use them interchangably. At least, I think they do.

But since I've starting coming to the forums, I've learned things that are "rules" that I never knew about, but that explain why some things sound unnatural when those rules are broken. For example, I never gave a thought to the order of adjectives and was surprised to realize that there is a specific order, which is why "red, big ball" sounds funny but "big, red ball" does not. But I would have had to really think about what that order is - and it's in y'alls' textbooks. So now I won't be surprised to learn about this "new information/old information" thing.

(And yes, I realize that "y'all" is informal and "y'alls' " is unusual. Blame my Southern father.)
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"Practical English Usage," by Michael Swan

"All four [Swan includes 'for'] of these words can be used to refer to the reason for something. They are not used in the same way.

1 as and since

As and since are used when the reason is already known to the listener/ reader, or when it is not the most important part of the sentence. As and since[ clauses often come at the beginning of sentences.

As its raining again, we'll have to stay at home.
Since he had not paid his bill, his electricity was cut off.

As-
andsince-clauses are relatively formal: in an informal style, the same ideas are often expressed with so.

2 because


Because puts more emphasis on the reason, and most often introduces new information which is not known to the listener/ reader.

Because I was ill for six months, I lost my job

When the reason is the most important part of the sentence, the because=clause usually comes at the end. It can also stand alone. Since and as cannot be used like this.

Why am I leaving? I'm leaving because I'm fed up!
(NOT…I'm leaving as/since I'm fed up!)
Why are you laughing? Because you look so funny

….."
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I am not that good in English so, I could not fully understand all of you wrote . But, your guess was right. Sorry for not writing all the other sentences and thank you all who gave answers. The below is the context I've got.

...........................................................................

A New York man, Michael Scanlon, lost a close friend to a drunken driver and didn't want to see it happen to anyone else. One day, he saw a trucker who he thought was drunk. He used his car to block a tractor - trailer from pulling onto a highway. Hs vehicle wound up being crashed by the truck. Scanlon saw the truck hit the overhead canopy at a gas station.

............................................................................................
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