With the recent elevation of “because x” to Word of the Year 2013 (as in because reasons, because awesome), there has been some confusion about how exactly to describe this new construction. Is it because+noun, as described by the earliest commenters? Is it because-as-preposition, as described by some other people? Or is it something else, perhaps not exclusive to because? (Spoiler alert: this is where I’m going to end up.)
There has been a lot of discussion about this on twitter and in various comment sections, but I’ve yet to see a post laying out diagnostics in full. I’m going to concentrate on the arguments for because as preposition, because a quick look at the data (because useful, because yay) clearly shows that the “because x” construction isn’t limited to nouns.
What is a preposition, exactly?