For VS. Because of

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I feel like 'because of' and 'for' as a meaning of cause and reason can be interchangeable like 'because' and 'for' but I know that there are collocations. What do native English speakers think about my feeling? Thank you as usual and have a good day.

 

Cf. We could hardly see it for/ because of the mist 

asked Aug 17 '12 at 22:49 Hans Contributor

3 answers


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"For" is a causal word, primarily functioning as a preposition. Because "for" is roughly equivalent to the other major causal words -- the subordinating conjunctions because, since, and as -- some grammarians have also classified "for" as a subordinating conjunction. Others -- such as Garner's Modern American Usage (Oxford Univeristy Press, 2009) -- disagree.

 

As a native American English speaker, I view for/because as being similar in meaning, but different -- and not fully interchangeable. For instance, for does not feel right in your sentence, while because of does.

 

Swan's Pratical English Usage (Oxford University Press UK, 2005) tells us because put more emphasis on the reason, and most often introduces new information which is not known to the reader. For introduces new information but suggests that the reason is given as an afterthought. For clauses, used in this sense, are more common in formal, written British English than in American English.

 

I'm leaving because I'm fed up. I decided to have lunch, for I was hungary.

 

As an American, the for sentence sounds stilted, and I would suggest because as the better choice. I would not consider using for in the first sentence.

link edited Aug 18 '12 at 01:48 Jeff Pribyl Grammarly Fellow

Great explanation, sir. +1

sanjayAug 18 '12 at 04:35

Thank you, but the thing is that I brought the example from Longman Dictionary. I think the usage of 'for' and 'because of' is one of the controversial issues among them. Anyhow, thank you as usual.

HansAug 18 '12 at 05:10

I am not sure that I agree with Longman, nor am I sure that Longman is as reputable a source as Oxford. Of course, I speak from an American English point of view. As Swan's (published in the UK points out) substituting "for" for "because" is more common in Britsh English, and even there appears mostly in formal writing. My advise -- do not use them interchangeably.

Jeff PribylAug 18 '12 at 14:02

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As far as I know, "for" is a coordinative conjunction, while "because" is subordinative

link comment answered Nov 10 '14 at 20:30 Mari New member
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OP is asking about "because of," not because. "Because of" is a compound preposition, and introduces a prepositional phrase.

 

Because of and for are very similair. The one would almost always "work" in a sentence where we might prefer the other, but they're not quite the same.

 

"Steph Curry is famous for his shooting." His shooting is a famous aspect of Steph Curry. His shooting is famous/famed. "Steph Curry is famous for his pubescent looks." This isn't why he's famous; it's just one thing about him that is famous.

 

"Steph Curry is famous because of his shooting." The reason Steph Curry is famous is something to do with his shooting. If we wrote "Steph Curry is famous because of his pubescent looks," it would imply that that's the main reason he's famous, and his shooting is less important.

 

"For" can have another meaning. "Mylene shot the kangaroo because of Darryl." We don't really know why Mylene shot the kangaroo, just that it had something to do with Darryl. "Mylene shot the kangaroo for Daryl." Mylene shot the kangaroo to in some fashion help/assist Darryl. For Darryl's sake.

link comment answered Sep 01 at 22:05 Jonathan Lovelace New member

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