Knowing the Difference Between Reason vs. Excuse

Reason Vs Excuse

You may have encountered circumstances where you were instructed to refrain from offering justifications for actions you took or did not take. These kinds of circumstances might be extremely perplexing since we are unable to distinguish between reason vs excuse. 

Let’s approach it this way. All that is meant by a reason is an explanation or a cause. It explains the actions taken or events that occurred. Conversely, an excuse is a kind of justification that focuses on defending or justifying a flaw. This is where the main distinction lies: an excuse aims to precisely justify a fault, whereas a reason is just an explanation. Let’s explore the distinctions between a reason and an excuse in this post.

Definition Of Terms


A reason is a cause or an explanation, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. When explaining, the individual attempts to clarify why they chose to do or not do something. It can also be applied while discussing circumstances. Usually, a reason is objective, logical, and rational. It is provided to clarify a situation rather than to attempt self-preservation.

For instance, in an airport, the staff in charge of administration notifies travelers that flights have been delayed because of inclement weather. This is a statement made by the person to inform the passengers of the situation, not an excuse. It is an objective, reasonable, and logical assertion. It can therefore be thought of as a reason.


An explanation offered to support or justify a flaw is referred to as an excuse. When someone explains, they are trying to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and instead place the blame on other people or external factors. Most people consider this to be a negative habit. The majority of excuses are typically unreasonable, nonsensical justifications made by people to avoid dealing with difficult situations.

As an illustration, suppose a student has sporting practices and forgets to turn in an assignment to the lecturer by the deadline. This is an attempt by the student to justify his failure to finish a job by pointing to outside factors (sports practices).

Reason vs Excuse

There are valid causes that are beyond one’s control and may result in failure or unfavorable effects. This is the point at which a justification differs from an excuse. They are not the same, even though their definitions are similar.

A brief examination of a few cases will help you grasp the differences fully.

An example involving food:

An explanation for skipping shrimp for supper is, “My throat swells because I am allergic to shellfish.”

“I didn’t like shrimp when I was twelve, so I won’t try them now” is an example of an excuse.

An illustration pertaining to health:

“I have a broken arm” is one excuse not to exercise.

Or, using a sales example:

“The product was out of stock, so there was no product to sell, but I had buyers lined up” is one of the reasons I didn’t meet my quota.

“No one picked up my calls” is an excuse.

Too many people have developed the bad habit of offering explanations other than valid ones for poor performance. Put another way, a leader who makes excuses is not accountable. 

An excuse is a justification offered for a mistake or transgression.

The reason is an explanation, a reason, or a foundation.


Excuse is associated with negativity.

The word “reason” is neutral.

Contrasting Positive and Negative

The excuse is typically employed under dire circumstances.

Reason is applied in both favorable and unfavorable circumstances.

An excuse for an offense or fault suggests that someone else is to blame.

Reason suggests an honest recognition and acceptance of wrongdoing.

An “excuse” usually denotes an effort to minimize personal accountability, occasionally even circumventing accountability. It’s frequently interpreted as a defensive reaction to any circumstance in which one’s actions may be questioned. On the other hand, a “reason” is a logical defense of a situation or course of action. It is a basic cause that is grounded in facts and reasoning.

Important Distinction Excuse vs. Reason

Reason Vs Excuse: Basis

An excuse is frequently founded on one’s own prejudices, feelings, or subjective opinions, but a reason is supported by logic, proof, or objective facts.

 Reason Vs Excuse: Accountability

A rationale assumes accountability for the deed or choice, but an explanation evades or shifts blame.  While an excuse is frequently used to evade accountability, a reason is accountable in the sense that it is subject to review or critique.

Reason Vs Excuse: Honesty

 While an excuse is frequently false or deceptive, an explanation is typically sincere and clear. 


While an excuse is frequently meant to prevent or lessen unfavorable outcomes, a reason is meant to explain or justify a course of action or decision.


An explanation is predicated on the circumstances around the issue, whereas an excuse is frequently used to alter or control the circumstances. 


An explanation is more likely to be accepted by others than an excuse, which is frequently seen as an attempt to deflect blame or evade accountability. 


While an excuse is frequently linked to negative outcomes, a reason is frequently related to positive outcomes. 

Reason Vs Excuse: Justification and Abuse

Why It Counts Knowing the difference between an explanation and an excuse can have a significant impact on relationships and personal development. Reasons are justifications that own up to the action done and offer proof of why it was done.

They promote mutual respect and trust between the two parties and guide how to proceed to avoid similar circumstances in the future. An excuse is an attempt to absolve oneself of responsibility for an action, and it can breed mistrust and anger in interpersonal interactions.

Understanding the distinction between a justification and an excuse is crucial for personal development. Giving justifications as opposed to justifications encourages people to accept responsibility for their acts, own up to whatever mistakes they may have made, and seek to improve their lives.

How to Determine a Justification and Excuse 

It can be difficult to distinguish between an explanation and an excuse because they may sound identical. There are a few methods to distinguish between the two, though: Posing appropriate queries: It’s crucial to follow up with inquiries that shed light on the person’s justifications when they offer an explanation for their actions or conduct. To determine whether an explanation is a legitimate explanation or an excuse, it might be helpful to ask questions that center on the particular circumstances, timing, and decisions made.

Analyzing the motivation behind the justification: Justifications usually have a goal or motive that serves to validate the behavior or action. Conversely, excuses are typically more self-serving and meant to shield the maker from accountability or repercussions. You can tell if an explanation is just an excuse or a valid reason by looking at the motive behind it. searching for behavioral patterns If someone constantly gives justifications instead of explanations, it’s likely that they are acting out of a desire to escape accountability or repercussions rather than out of true motivation. However, it’s more likely that someone’s justifications are genuine if they routinely offer sound justifications for their conduct or deeds.


Is a Cause and an Excuse Different from Each Other?

The explanation is really simple and goes like this: An excuse is anything someone says when they’re trying to get out of doing something bad. When someone tries to explain to others why something bad happened, they give a rationale, but in the end, they allow themselves to be held responsible for the awful incident.

What Does Making Excuses Mean?

To invent excuses for why you’re incapable of doing something: You always have an explanation for not supporting me. View more. More examples. He excused himself by saying he was experiencing car difficulty when I questioned him why he was late.

What Does Making Excuses Mean?

To invent excuses for why you’re incapable of doing something: You always have an explanation for not supporting me. Examples. He excused himself by saying he was experiencing car difficulty when I questioned him why he was late.

Bottom Line

Reason vs excuse are vital notions in our day-to-day existence. An excuse is a defense used to deflect attention from oneself, whereas a reason is a straightforward explanation for why something occurred. It is important to recognize the differences between the two because they have an impact on how we solve problems, communicate, and accept responsibility for our actions. The goal underlying each is the primary distinction between an explanation and an excuse. A rationale is usually sincere, and legitimate, and concentrates on elucidating the origin of a circumstance. An excuse, on the other hand, usually aims to deflect or avoid accountability for the situation and is false and dishonest.

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