Owing to long ago established itself as a prepositional phrase. But due to should be treated as an adjective and have a noun to agree with.
Due to is rightly used in:
The closing of the telephone exchange was due to lack of equipment. (Due to agrees with closing.)
The delay in replying has been due to the fact that it was hoped to call upon you. (Due to agrees with delay.)
Due to is wrongly used in:
We must apologise to listeners who missed the introduction to the talk due to a technical fault.
It is not possible for me to complete the work due to the fact that the premises seem not to be ready. (Due to the fact that is a clumsy way of saying because.)
The scientists who have been stranded on Stonington Island due to the ice formation....
It cannot however be denied that the prepositional use of due to is very common, especially in the United States, and may establish itself here. In 1926 Fowler said of it:
Perhaps idiom will beat the illiterates; perhaps the illiterates will beat idiom; our grandsons will know.
And an American writer, Professor Kenyon, said in 1930:
Strong as is my own prejudice against the prepositional use of due to, I greatly fear it has staked its claim and squatted in our midst alongside of and in exact imitation of owing to, its, aristocratic neighbour and respected fellow-citizen. — Perrin, Writer's Guide and Index to English.
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