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I am under the impression that both "wegen" and "aufgrund" mean "because of." Is there any difference in their meaning or usage?

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    Today is no real difference between "wegen" and "aufgrund" in German language. Also "weil" is used (we mainly use "weil"). Still "aufgrund" is mostly used in 'higher' explanations like in science or politics. Jun 28, 2017 at 0:26

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Both wegen+Genitiv and aufgrund+Genitiv are prepositions with that very same meaning because of. The latter is made from the words auf Grund. There is also an adverb aufgrund, which takes the preposition von+Dativ.

It's common to use wegen as an answer to questions leaded by weswegen and weshalb. It's an everyday word.

Aufgrund in contrary sounds a bit stilted. Don't use it in speech, it sounds as if you were giving an official statement.

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    I'd simply label "aufgrund" as a formal word used in written German or in speeches; for me, it doesn't have stilted connotations per se. Might be a subjective perception on my side.
    – user2391
    Jun 28, 2017 at 9:35
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    "aufgrund" is neither formal nor stilted. Its just a word thats more often used in educated circles and less so in others. If you want to sound professional, "aufgrund" is better than "wegen" in almost every case.
    – Polygnome
    Jun 28, 2017 at 10:45

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