To account for something is to keep track of it. A person keeps records, takes notes, and maintains information. This word can be used for many different situations:

  • Charles can’t account for his whereabouts last weekend. (He can’t remember where he was.)
  • Did you account for the possibility that all of these extra people might show up today? (account for = plan)
  • We all have to account to a higher power for our behavior. (account to = report; explain)

The phrase "on account of" is very similar to "because of."

  • The game was canceled on account of the weather.
  • On account of Bob’s mismanagement of his department, the company lost millions of dollars.
  • The team lost the game on account of bad coaching and the players’ loss of interest.

When this word is a noun, it refers to a record or a place for keeping money.

  • Do you have a bank account?
  • How do you keep track of all your accounts?
  • An accountant is a person who maintains accounts for spending and income.
  • Renee’s account of events did not match those of others who witnessed the accident.

A person who studies accounting in college will later become an accountant.

  • Kevin works as an accountant.
  • I always have an accountant do my taxes.
  • Accountants are very busy during tax season.
  • Maria would like to become a C.P.A. That’s a certified public accountant.

There are a few expressions that use the word "account."

  • You don’t have to do this on my account. (It’s not necessary to do this for my benefit.)
  • The teacher will hold you to account for your missed assignments. (hold to account = to place responsibility)
  • The woman was called to account for her shoplifting. (She was caught stealing and she was asked to explain her actions.)

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March 1, 2014