I was reading Beyond Good and Evil and came across this sentence: "For there are scoffers who maintain that it has fallen, that all dogma lies on the ground—nay more, that it is at its last gasp.". So, what is the meaning of "for there are"?

  • 5
    For is used here in the sense of because. The sentence is evidently a follow-on from a previous statement. Jun 10 '20 at 9:54
  • @RonaldSole Thanks for the clarification! Jun 10 '20 at 10:03
  • Without context, we don't even know what it (whatever's "on it's last gasp") actually refers to, let alone what's being refuted by introductory For here. So I think this that lack of context makes this question Off Topic. Jun 10 '20 at 12:35
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica I thought the sentence was an independent clause when I wrote the question. The answers have already explained what you said to me. Anyway, I just wanted to know the usage of "for" in that case. Jun 10 '20 at 14:05
  • But as everyone seems to have pointed out, we can't actually say what for "means" in your context - all we know is it should be drawing a contrast against some unspecified preceding text. Without that preceding text the question is effectively unanswerable. Jun 10 '20 at 14:35

For is a preposition ("for me"), but according to the Collins English Dictionary, it can also be used as a subordinating conjunction, introducing "a clause which gives the reason why you made the statement in the main clause" (so, roughly meaning "because, as, since"), in literary texts.

Here is an example from the King James Bible (1611):

Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man (Rev. 13:18);

Here is an example from L. Frank Baum's 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:

"By means of the Golden Cap I shall command the Winged Monkeys to carry you to the gates of the Emerald City," said Glinda, "for it would be a shame to deprive the people of so wonderful a ruler."

  • Your “in earlier texts” seems to suggest that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is earlier than the Bible.
    – KRyan
    Jun 10 '20 at 18:00
  • @KRyan - Yes, I know, but I cannot find a better way to put it short. Shall I say "in texts before the 20th century"? Or you can edit it as you find it best.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jun 10 '20 at 18:07
  • @ruakh - Yes, I do, the source is Collins Dictionary.
    – Yellow Sky
    Jun 10 '20 at 19:26
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    @YellowSky: Thanks. I now see that you directly quoted from Collins, but without referring to Collins and without using quotation marks. I've edited your answer now, but in the future, please be more careful to avoid plagiarism.
    – ruakh
    Jun 10 '20 at 21:19

For more context, this is from a passage depicting Truth as a woman, pursued by philosophers, depicted as men.

"Certainly she has never allowed herself to be won; and at present every kind of dogma stands with sad and discouraged mien--IF, indeed, it stands at all! For there are scoffers who maintain that it has fallen, that all dogma lies on the ground--nay more, that it is at its last gasp."

That use of for is equivalent to "because". It means that dogma may not be standing, for (because) some scoffers say that it is on the ground and dying.

This use of "for" is old-fashioned.
American Heritage Dictionary "for"
(conjunction). Because; since.

There is a long, interesting usage note at that link about this use of "for".


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