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Excuse vs. Reason: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 6, 2023
An "Excuse" is a justification for an action, often masking the real cause, while a "Reason" is a logical basis or cause for an event or action.

Key Differences

An "Excuse" typically implies an attempt to lessen the blame on oneself, sometimes even avoiding responsibility. It's often seen as a defensive response to a situation where one's behavior might be called into question. Conversely, a "Reason" is a rational explanation that justifies an event or action. It is rooted in logic and facts, serving as a foundational cause.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023
In daily interactions, when someone is late, they might provide an Excuse like "I overslept," suggesting a lapse on their part. While a Reason for the same tardiness could be "There was an accident on the highway," indicating a circumstance beyond their control. It's worth noting that while all reasons can serve as explanations, not all excuses are accepted as valid reasons.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023
At times, the distinction between an Excuse and a Reason can be subtle, as both can seemingly justify an action or event. However, an Excuse often carries a negative connotation, hinting at a lack of accountability. In contrast, a Reason is neutral, serving merely as an explanation without any inherent judgment.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023
Understanding the difference between an Excuse and a Reason is crucial for clear communication. Recognizing when one is making an Excuse as opposed to stating a Reason can lead to greater self-awareness and accountability. It's about distinguishing between merely justifying an action and explaining its genuine cause.
Janet White
Oct 06, 2023

Comparison Chart

Definition

Justification, often masking the real cause
Logical basis or cause for an event or action
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023
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Connotation

Defensive, sometimes negative
Neutral, factual
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Accountability

Often implies less accountability
Does not evade responsibility
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Usage

To lessen blame or responsibility
To explain a cause or rationale
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Acceptance

Not always accepted as valid
Generally accepted as a factual basis
Janet White
Oct 06, 2023

Excuse and Reason Definitions

Excuse

A reason put forward to lessen the blame or justify oneself.
He used traffic as an Excuse for being late.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 06, 2023
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Reason

A cause or explanation for an action or event.
The Reason for his happiness was the good news he received.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 06, 2023

Excuse

A pretext or subterfuge.
He made an Excuse to leave the party early.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Reason

Sound judgment and good sense.
She decided to stay home, which was a good Reason considering the storm.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Excuse

A note justifying an absence.
She provided a doctor's Excuse to miss class.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Reason

The faculty of rational argument or justification.
He appealed to her Reason rather than her emotions.
Sara Rehman
Oct 06, 2023

Excuse

To make allowance for; overlook or forgive
Please excuse the interruption.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

The basis or motive for an action, decision, or conviction
There are good reasons to learn a foreign language. See Usage Notes at because, why.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

To grant pardon to; forgive
We quickly excused the latecomer.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

A declaration made to explain or justify action, decision, or conviction
What reasons did she give for leaving?.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

To apologize for (oneself) for an act that could cause offense
She excused herself for being late.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

A fact or cause that explains why something exists or has occurred
The reason for the building's collapse is unknown.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

To explain (a fault or offense) in the hope of being forgiven or understood; try to justify
He arrived late and excused his tardiness by blaming it on the traffic.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

(Logic) A premise, usually the minor premise, of an argument.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

To serve as justification for
Witty talk does not excuse bad manners.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

The capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought; intelligence
"Most of us would like to believe that when we say something is right or wrong, we are using our powers of reason alone" (Carl Zimmer).
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

To free, as from an obligation or duty; exempt
She was excused from jury duty because she knew the plaintiff.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

The limit of what is reasonable
"It is a curious thing that, when a man hates or loves beyond reason, he is ready to go beyond reason to gratify his feelings" (Rudyard Kipling).
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

To give permission to leave; release
The child ate quickly and asked to be excused.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

A normal mental state; sanity
He has lost his reason.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

An explanation offered to justify or obtain forgiveness.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To determine or conclude by logical thinking
The doctor reasoned that the patient had a virus.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

A reason or grounds for excusing
Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To persuade or dissuade (someone) with reasons
"You boast ... of having reasoned him out of his absurd romance" (William Makepeace Thackeray).
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

The act of excusing.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To use the faculty of reason; think logically
What would lead you to reason so?.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

A note explaining an absence.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To talk or argue logically and persuasively
Tried to reason with her son to eat a good breakfast.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

(Informal) An inferior example
A poor excuse for a poet.
A sorry excuse for a car.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

(Obsolete) To engage in conversation or discussion.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

(transitive) To forgive; to pardon.
I excused him his transgressions.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

A cause:
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

(transitive) To allow to leave, or release from any obligation.
May I be excused from the table?
I excused myself from the proceedings to think over what I'd heard.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

That which causes something: an efficient cause, a proximate cause.
The reason this tree fell is that it had rotted.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

(transitive) To provide an excuse for; to explain, with the aim of alleviating guilt or negative judgement.
You know he shouldn't have done it, so don't try to excuse his behavior!
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

A motive for an action or a determination.
The reason I robbed the bank was that I needed the money.
If you don't give me a reason to go with you, I won't.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

To relieve of an imputation by apology or defense; to make apology for as not seriously evil; to ask pardon or indulgence for.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

An excuse: a thought or a consideration offered in support of a determination or an opinion; that which is offered or accepted as an explanation.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

Explanation designed to avoid or alleviate guilt or negative judgment; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault.
Tell me why you were late – and I don't want to hear any excuses!
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

(logic) A premise placed after its conclusion.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

(legal) A defense to a criminal or civil charge wherein the accused party admits to doing acts for which legal consequences would normally be appropriate, but asserts that special circumstances relieve that party of culpability for having done those acts.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

(uncountable) Rational thinking (or the capacity for it); the cognitive faculties, collectively, of conception, judgment, deduction and intuition.
Mankind should develop reason above all other virtues.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

An example of something that is substandard or of inferior quality.
That thing is a poor excuse for a gingerbread man. Hasn't anyone taught you how to bake?
He's a sorry excuse for a doctor.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

(obsolete) Something reasonable, in accordance with thought; justice.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

To free from accusation, or the imputation of fault or blame; to clear from guilt; to release from a charge; to justify by extenuating a fault; to exculpate; to absolve; to acquit.
A man's persuasion that a thing is duty, will not excuse him from guilt in practicing it, if really and indeed it be against Gog's law.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

Ratio; proportion.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

To pardon, as a fault; to forgive entirely, or to admit to be little censurable, and to overlook; as, we excuse irregular conduct, when extraordinary circumstances appear to justify it.
I must excuse what can not be amended.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

(intransitive) To deduce or come to a conclusion by being rational
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

To regard with indulgence; to view leniently or to overlook; to pardon.
And in our own (excuse some courtly stains.)No whiter page than Addison remains.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

(intransitive) To perform a process of deduction or of induction, in order to convince or to confute; to argue.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

To free from an impending obligation or duty; hence, to disengage; to dispense with; to release by favor; also, to remit by favor; not to exact; as, to excuse a forfeiture.
I pray thee have me excused.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To converse; to compare opinions.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

To relieve of an imputation by apology or defense; to make apology for as not seriously evil; to ask pardon or indulgence for.
Think ye that we excuse ourselves to you?
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

(ambitransitive) To arrange and present the reasons for or against; to examine or discuss by arguments; to debate or discuss.
I reasoned the matter with my friend.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

The act of excusing, apologizing, exculpating, pardoning, releasing, and the like; acquittal; release; absolution; justification; extenuation.
Pleading so wisely in excuse of it.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To support with reasons, as a request.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

That which is offered as a reason for being excused; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or irregular deportment; apology; as, an excuse for neglect of duty; excuses for delay of payment.
Hence with denial vain and coy excuse.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

(transitive) To persuade by reasoning or argument.
To reason one into a belief; to reason one out of his plan
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

That which excuses; that which extenuates or justifies a fault.
If eyes were made for seeing.Then beauty is its own excuse for being.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To overcome or conquer by adducing reasons.
To reason down a passion
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

A defense of some offensive behavior or some failure to keep a promise etc.;
He kept finding excuses to stay
Every day he had a new alibi for not getting a job
His transparent self-justification was unacceptable
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To find by logical process; to explain or justify by reason or argument.
To reason out the causes of the librations of the moon
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

A note explaining an absence;
He had to get his mother to write an excuse for him
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

A thought or a consideration offered in support of a determination or an opinion; a just ground for a conclusion or an action; that which is offered or accepted as an explanation; the efficient cause of an occurrence or a phenomenon; a motive for an action or a determination; proof, more or less decisive, for an opinion or a conclusion; principle; efficient cause; final cause; ground of argument.
I'll give him reasons for it.
The reason of the motion of the balance in a wheel watch is by the motion of the next wheel.
This reason did the ancient fathers render, why the church was called "catholic."
Virtue and vice are not arbitrary things; but there is a natural and eternal reason for that goodness and virtue, and against vice and wickedness.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

A poor example;
It was an apology for a meal
A poor excuse for an automobile
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

The faculty or capacity of the human mind by which it is distinguished from the intelligence of the inferior animals; the higher as distinguished from the lower cognitive faculties, sense, imagination, and memory, and in contrast to the feelings and desires. Reason comprises conception, judgment, reasoning, and the intuitional faculty. Specifically, it is the intuitional faculty, or the faculty of first truths, as distinguished from the understanding, which is called the discursive or ratiocinative faculty.
We have no other faculties of perceiving or knowing anything divine or human, but by our five senses and our reason.
In common and popular discourse, reason denotes that power by which we distinguish truth from falsehood, and right from wrong, and by which we are enabled to combine means for the attainment of particular ends.
Reason is used sometimes to express the whole of those powers which elevate man above the brutes, and constitute his rational nature, more especially, perhaps, his intellectual powers; sometimes to express the power of deduction or argumentation.
By the pure reason I mean the power by which we become possessed of principles.
The sense perceives; the understanding, in its own peculiar operation, conceives; the reason, or rationalized understanding, comprehends.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

Accept an excuse for;
Please excuse my dirty hands
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

Due exercise of the reasoning faculty; accordance with, or that which is accordant with and ratified by, the mind rightly exercised; right intellectual judgment; clear and fair deductions from true principles; that which is dictated or supported by the common sense of mankind; right conduct; right; propriety; justice.
I was promised, on a time,To have reason for my rhyme.
But law in a free nation hath been ever public reason; the enacted reason of a parliament, which he denying to enact, denies to govern us by that which ought to be our law; interposing his own private reason, which to us is no law.
The most probable way of bringing France to reason would be by the making an attempt on the Spanish West Indies.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

Grant exemption or release to;
Please excuse me from this class
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

Ratio; proportion.
When anything is proved by as good arguments as a thing of that kind is capable of, we ought not, in reason, to doubt of its existence.
Yet it were great reason, that those that have children should have greatest care of future times.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

Serve as a reason or cause or justification of;
Your need to sleep late does not excuse your late arrival at work
Her recent divorce amy explain her reluctance to date again
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To exercise the rational faculty; to deduce inferences from premises; to perform the process of deduction or of induction; to ratiocinate; to reach conclusions by a systematic comparison of facts.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

Defend, explain, clear away, or make excuses for by reasoning;
Rationalize the child's seemingly crazy behavior
He rationalized his lack of success
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

Hence: To carry on a process of deduction or of induction, in order to convince or to confute; to formulate and set forth propositions and the inferences from them; to argue.
Stand still, that I may reason with you, before the Lord, of all the righteous acts of the Lord.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

Ask for permission to be released from an engagement
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To converse; to compare opinions.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

Excuse, overlook, or make allowances for; be lenient with;
Excuse someone's behavior
She condoned her husband's occasional infidelities
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To arrange and present the reasons for or against; to examine or discuss by arguments; to debate or discuss; as, I reasoned the matter with my friend.
When they are clearly discovered, well digested, and well reasoned in every part, there is beauty in such a theory.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

A release from a duty or obligation.
She was granted an Excuse from jury duty due to her illness.
Sara Rehman
Oct 06, 2023

Reason

To support with reasons, as a request.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Excuse

An apology or expression of regret.
Please Excuse my tardiness, she said.
Harlon Moss
Oct 06, 2023

Reason

To persuade by reasoning or argument; as, to reason one into a belief; to reason one out of his plan.
Men that will not be reasoned into their senses.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To overcome or conquer by adducing reasons; - with down; as, to reason down a passion.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

To find by logical processes; to explain or justify by reason or argument; - usually with out; as, to reason out the causes of the librations of the moon.
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

A rational motive for a belief or action;
The reason that war was declared
The grounds for their declaration
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

An explanation of the cause of some phenomenon;
The reason a steady state was never reached was that the back pressure built up too slowly
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

The capacity for rational thought or inference or discrimination;
We are told that man is endowed with reason and capable of distinguishing good from evil
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

The state of having good sense and sound judgment;
His rationality may have been impaired
He had to rely less on reason than on rousing their emotions
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

A justification for something existing or happening;
He had no cause to complain
They had good reason to rejoice
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

A fact that logically justifies some premise or conclusion;
There is reason to believe he is lying
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

Decide by reasoning; draw or come to a conclusion;
We reasoned that it was cheaper to rent than to buy a house
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

Present reasons and arguments
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

Think logically;
The children must learn to reason
Sawaira Riaz
Jan 01, 2023

Reason

The power of the mind to think and make judgments.
Human beings are distinguished by their ability to Reason.
Sara Rehman
Oct 06, 2023

Reason

A motive or basis for a belief or action.
The primary Reason for the meeting was to discuss the new proposal.
Janet White
Oct 06, 2023

FAQs

Which word, Excuse or Reason, relates more to logic?

"Reason" is more aligned with logic and rational thinking.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Is an Excuse typically seen as negative?

An Excuse can carry a negative connotation if it seems to evade responsibility, unlike a Reason.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Is a "Reason" always based on facts?

A Reason is typically based on facts or logic, while an Excuse may not always be.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Can you Excuse someone from a duty?

Yes, to Excuse can mean to release someone from a duty or obligation.
Janet White
Oct 06, 2023

Is a medical note an Excuse or Reason?

A medical note serves as an Excuse, but the illness it represents is the Reason for the absence.
Janet White
Oct 06, 2023

Do both Excuse and Reason justify actions?

Both can provide justifications, but a Reason is a more factual basis, whereas an Excuse may mask the real cause.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Can an Excuse always be considered a valid Reason?

No, while an Excuse offers a justification, it isn't always a valid Reason.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Can "Reason" refer to logical thinking?

Yes, "Reason" can denote the power of the mind to think logically.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023

Does an Excuse always imply a lack of accountability?

Not always, but an Excuse often lessens blame or responsibility compared to a Reason.
Sara Rehman
Oct 06, 2023

Can a Reason be emotional?

Yes, while often logical, a Reason can also be based on emotions or beliefs.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 06, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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