There is a sentence in the the economist, but it seems not correct:

For there are worse things for a polity than to be led by a cheerful, pragmatic and dedicated leader.

"For" guides a conditional adverbial clause, where is the main clause?


1 Answer 1


"For" in this context serves to replace "because" or "since" in its usage. It is not technically grammatically correct, as this should start a dependent clause, and as you note in the OP, the main clause is missing.

Some writers, however, will use this style to emphasize the point, despite its informality. For example, one typical use for this might be in a narrated story where the author has just ended a sentence, but then desires to reinforce the point with an additional statement, connecting to the prior sentence via this subordinating conjunction. This adds a familiar tone to the writing style.

  • The punctuation may be relaxed but the register of the language is not informal. Aug 7 at 11:09
  • Texts have been punctuated for a few hundred years with For in this meaning starting what visibly on the page appears to be a new sentence. It's actually a conservative writing convention, and the language is a tad formal in register. Aug 7 at 11:16
  • You are, of course, correct in saying that for means "since" there. Aug 7 at 11:17

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