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Is the usage of "for he owned" grammatical? If yes may I know why it is?

Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse.

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  • Think of it as a more archaic version of 'because'. The usage is identical. [except you can't start a sentence with it, so easily - "Because he owned a horse, he was…" works well, but "For he owned a horse, he was…" doesn't.] Commented May 14, 2015 at 11:03
  • That's good enough for an answer, especially if you included a dictionary citation for that sense of "for". Commented May 14, 2015 at 11:10

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Think of it as a more archaic version of 'because'.

The usage is almost identical, except you can't start a sentence with it quite so easily -
"Because he owned a horse, he was…" works well, but
"For he owned a horse, he was…" doesn't.

Best dictionary ref I can find might be OALD definition 9


I was Googling to try to find some authoritative statement on how to use 'for' in precisely this way, which I failed at, mainly because most of them were waylaid by mistakes… however, it did lead led me to an interesting observation

You can translate 'because' into 'for' in many cases (even if only to adopt the archaic style), but you can never be certain to translate 'for' into 'because'.

example:
Woman mugged for $5.
mistranslation:
Woman mugged because of $5.

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  • I'll just have to take your word for it - I wouldn't know what a subordinating conjunction was if you hit me over the head with one ;) Commented May 14, 2015 at 13:55

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