I'm writing an article and stuck a bit with the title.
I'd like to use form:

  1. Criteria we have something

But I've been told that this might not be correct.
This form came from the analogy of:

  1. Reasons we have something

This second form can be seen and it is easy to google it. Like "Reasons I love you".
Replacement of criteria to reasons is not an option as semantically reasons is not fitting good. Criteria just much better fit.

Also, there is a form

  1. Reasons why we have something OR "Reasons why I love you" OR Criteria why we have something

This additional "why" feels like an unnecessary word here for me, as shortened form sounds better as a title, and already interpreter naturally as if why already there.

Can I use form 1?
What the difference between all these forms?
Which one is grammatically correct?


To make it a bit more clear, exact title I have now:

"Criteria we have binary machines", which closely might be interpreted as "Reasons we have binary machines".

  • 5
    I would prefer Criteria for having something. See this question. Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 11:53
  • 4
    What precisely is "Criteria we have something" supposed to mean? Even "criteria why we have something" doesn't make sense a lot of sense. What do you understand "criteria" to mean? (Kate Bunting's suggestion is probably better, if you are using "criteria" in the standard way.)
    – Stuart F
    Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 11:53
  • 1
    Try not to start a sentence with 'So,'. Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 12:10
  • 1
    I could be wrong, but I always thought that criteria merriam-webster.com/dictionary/criteria were the standards by which we chose some course of action. For example "The criteria used for selecting a candidate" . That is the qualifications the candidates must have before being considered. On the other hand reasons are an explanation for something merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reasons "We chose Joe because he met the criteria and had good manners." . I think, criteria are used for a priori information, reasons relate to a posteriori information. Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 12:31
  • 1
    "Criteria" and "reasons" don't mean the same thing at all, so they'll never have the same meaning. The criteria for something are the conditions or the requirements for it. These are separate from the reasons for having it.
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 29, 2022 at 16:39

1 Answer 1


Please note that "reason" is an unusual word. I'll discuss it first.

We normally have something "for" a reason:

I have $100 for a good reason.

Now consider:

There is a good reason for which I have $100.

The relative clause is basically the same as the previous sentence, with "which" referring to "a good reason". As a result, "which" takes the same preposition as "reason" would.

As I said, though, "reason" is an unusual word. For one thing, it allows us to drop "for which":

There is a good reason I have $100.

Even more unusually, it allows us to replace "for which" with "why":

There is a good reason why I have $100.

All three versions (with "for which", with "why", and with nothing) are correct, but the second and third are by far more common than the first.1

You've apparently tried to use the version with nothing for "criteria", but you can't do so, because the rules for "reasons" don't apply to "criteria". Therefore, you can not use form 1, and your updated title ("criteria we have binary machines") is also incorrect.

Note that, while we normally don't do something "for" criteria, we can do something "based upon" criteria:

I selected the winner based upon certain criteria.

Incorporating a relative clause, we might get:

There are certain criteria based upon which I selected the winner.

Therefore, your form 1 might be better written as "criteria based upon which we have something" and your updated title might be better written as "criteria based upon which we have binary machines". Those are very clunky, though, so you might prefer to rephrase them. For example: "criteria that we used to select binary machines".

However, there is one more issue: You seem to think that "criteria" and "reasons" are synonyms. They are not. Please make sure that you understand the meaning of "criteria" and that it matches your intended meaning.

1 Some other situations also allow a preposition and the following relative pronoun to be replaced by a wh-word or even dropped. You can find various discussions of that phenomenon here and on ELU, for example: Does it need 'where' in "He wanted to explore the place the third brother had died."

  • Thank you! Now it's clearer for me. Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 9:06

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