I looked up the definition of 'for' in the dictionary and one of them says:

'for' = 'because of'.

I asked this question a few times and people told me there is difference. But the dictionary and hearing/reading tell me the other way round. I think they are interchangeable, but is there any specific rule I should know about how to know when to use them?


1.He's remembered(for/because of) his novels.
2.My parents tried to put me in therapy(for/because of)their divorce.
3.I didn't say anything(for/because of) the fear of offending him.
4.My flight was delayed(for/because of) bad weather.

PS:I have heard/read all of these examples with 'for' being used so I thought I could also use 'because of' instead, for the reason I gave before.

  • 1
    (1) and (3) sound natural with for (for fear of is a common phrase). (2) reads very oddly with for - as though the therapy would contribute something to the divorce. In (4) we would use by rather than for. Dec 20, 2020 at 9:30

1 Answer 1


There are indeed times when 'for' means the same as 'because of'. However, the two aren't always interchangeable in modern usage. The phrase,' He's remembered for his novels' is universally used and understood, but if you said, 'For him I was late,' people would think you meant you were late on his behalf, not because of him, and wonder why your words were out of order.

I think that in past centuries it might have been more common to say 'for' instead of 'because of, but now this usage occurs only idiomatically. I would suggest you only apply it in phrases you've seen written or spoken by people you know to be native English speakers.

  • I have a question could it be possible that i can always replace 'because of' by 'for' but not viceversa because 'for' has more than one meaning? Dec 24, 2020 at 4:10
  • No, that's what I meant in my example, 'For him I was late.' This means something different from, 'Because of him I was late.' I think you have to learn which phrases can use 'for' to mean 'because of'.
    – dwilli
    Dec 24, 2020 at 6:57

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