Is it an excuse or a reason? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. In the definition of excuse they use the word reason—“a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense.” So an excuse is a reason to justify a failure. A reason is “a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event.” A reason is just telling the truth about an action. Why can’t you walk? An excuse—I walked yesterday. Reason—there’s thunder and lightning out there. I know there is a fine line between a reason and an excuse. An excuse is why you can’t when you really can. A reason is why you can’t when you really can’t. I have a friend whose wife just had knee replacement. She has a temporary reason why she can’t get out and walk. Before she had the surgery, her knee hurt too bad to walk much. But when she is healed, she will get out and walk again. So when someone gives an excuse, they are covering their failure. When they give a reason, they are explaining the present situation and not trying to get out of something. Excuse – bad. Reason – good.