I have to post a blog and its theme is Sherlock Holmes.

Reading its short story A Scandal in Bohemia, I encountered this passage:

A man entered who could hardly have been less than six feet six inches in height, with the chest and limbs of a Hercules. His dress was rich with a richness which would, in England, be looked upon as akin to bad taste. Heavy bands of astrakhan were slashed across the sleeves and fronts of his double-breasted coat, while the deep blue cloak which was thrown over his shoulders was lined with flame-coloured silk and secured at the neck with a brooch which consisted of a single flaming beryl. Boots which extended halfway up his calves, and which were trimmed at the tops with rich brown fur, completed the impression of barbaric opulence which was suggested by his whole appearance. He carried a broad-brimmed hat in his hand, while he wore across the upper part of his face, extending down past the cheekbones, a black vizard mask, which he had apparently adjusted that very moment, for his hand was still raised to it as he entered. From the lower part of the face he appeared to be a man of strong character, with a thick, hanging lip, and a long, straight chin suggestive of resolution pushed to the length of obstinacy.

Now I am thinking that the function of this preposition for would fall under the following definition from the Merriam below. (Considering he was wearing a black vizard mask to conceal his face).

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Am I correct to understand this?

  • 2
    It would be similar to saying: I ordered another beer for (i.e. because) the day was hot and I was still thirsty. Jun 15, 2018 at 10:36

2 Answers 2


for there is introducing an explanation and is roughly equivalent to because.

The explanation for the judgment or conclusion that he had recently adjusted his mask is the fact that his arm was still raised to it.

I gather he had just now adjusted it for (because) his arm was raised, his hand still near it.

He declined the offer, for he did not want to be beholden to them.

  • Thank you. After reading carefully again, I think the "because" makes the sentence comprehensible. But since both of the answer is saying the same thing, let me have time to choose which is the best (m_m).
    – user17814
    Jun 15, 2018 at 10:55

In the context of this passage, for can best be understood as meaning because or as.

In other words, "as his hand was still raised to [his mask] as he entered," the author assumed that, "he had apparently adjusted [it] that very moment."

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