English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In what circumstances should it be preferable to use for when it has the same meaning as because?

share|improve this question
"same meaning as because" -- use than with different, as with same. – Kris Jan 24 '13 at 6:16
Thanks @Kris for the comment. I've corrected my question. – Nicolás Jan 24 '13 at 14:35

From Grammar Girl:

I was tired after my journey, for I had been forced to bike 20 miles.

However using for at the beginning of a sentence is considered bad/improper by some. To find some more specific information, please read the first link, it explains usage of for quite well. Also when for us used as a preposition, it is different.

For instance, this sentence uses for properly.

share|improve this answer
"using for at the beginning ... considered bad/improper" -- as in "For some more specific information..."? :) – Kris Jan 24 '13 at 6:17
@Kris Wow... I missed that, I changed to To find. The irony :D – Mark Robinson Jan 24 '13 at 13:19
It's probably worth making the distinction between "for" as a conjunction and "for" as a preposition. I don't see anything wrong with "For more information, please read..." but "For Miss Ada has the softest voice, I chose her," doesn't work. – Kelly Tessena Keck Jan 24 '13 at 13:52
@KellyTessenaKeck Yes, great point, I added that in as we'll. – Mark Robinson Jan 24 '13 at 13:56
@KellyTessenaKeck That was what the smiley was for. – Kris Jan 24 '13 at 14:34

"for" in function of "because" is a bit of antiquated though still used and rather elegant construct. You won't find it in slang often, and neither does it appear in technical-formal language, but definitely appears in formal speeches, in high society, poetry etc.

"I choose miss Ada for she has the softest voice"

Note this does not apply to replacing "because of", where "for" is just as informal:

"I choose a cheesburger for its yummy meat".

share|improve this answer

There are a couple major differences between "for" and "because."

-As conjunctions, either works, but "for" sounds slightly formal and archaic. "I am late because the roads were very snowy this morning." and "I am late, for the roads were very snowy this morning." both work, but "because" is more commonly used.

-"For" is used as a preposition, but "because" isn't. You could say, "I stopped for lunch," but not "I stopped because lunch." In some cases, you can use "because of" but it often has a slightly different meaning than "for." (For example, if you say "I stopped because of lunch," that only tells me that lunch caused you to stop whatever you were doing. It might be that you stopped to get lunch or that you stopped doing something because other people getting lunch was interfering with it. If you say "I stopped for lunch," it's clear that you stopped to get lunch.)

share|improve this answer

Because is more of an informal explanation where for is not. In most cases both can be used, but when choosing, because would be more used in cases in which you think you feel need to explain yourself, when for would not.

share|improve this answer
"For Brutus is an honorable man" – Kris Jan 24 '13 at 6:21

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.