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I know what "for one thing" means. But sometimes idioms are used in such a way that gives non-native speakers a hard time to understand their meaning.

I encountered the following passage:

She had never cared for the kind of tea on offer in her hometown, but in the two weeks she had spent in Assam she had developed an unexpected affinity for the tea on offer here. There were no spices in it for one thing, and this was more to her taste than the tea at home.

I guess the last sentence means "Her hometown's tea had no spices whereas the tea available in Assam has spices. And that is the one reason she likes Assam tea over her hometown's tea." Am I right? Please correct me if I'm wrong.

  • Thanks Cyberherbalist for this correction. My typing mistake. – Man_From_India Dec 2 '13 at 18:02
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    Duh... I think you've got that the wrong way around. The it in "There were no spices in it" refers to the tea on offer here (i.e. - Assam, where she's been for the last two weeks). One reason she doesn't like the tea in her home town is that it's spiced - she likes Assam tea because it isn't spiced. That meaning is unaffected by whether the words for one thing are present or not. – FumbleFingers Dec 2 '13 at 23:44
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The usage of "for one thing" is correct. The meaning of the sentence is the same, regardless of whether "for one thing" is present or not. "For one thing" is intended to imply that there is more than one reason available for liking the tea, whether or not any other reason is supplied in a later clause or sentence. It is acceptable and even common for no other reason to be given in these cases, if it isn't germane to the author's intent to do so. If an additional reason is supplied, it would usually be prefaced by something like "For another thing..." Additional reasons beyond these would probably not be prefaced by "thing", as this would get perhaps a little repetitious.

The passage does not clearly indicate whether it is the lack of spices or their presence that causes her to like Assam tea more than that at home. The sentence, as written, suggests that it is the lack of spices that is more to her taste. Remove the "no" in "no spices" and it would be the opposite.

  • I am sorry for making my question clumsy. Actually what I quoted was the exact sentence I found in a text. This was not my sentence. And I wanted to know the meaning of the last sentence that I quoted. Please help. – Man_From_India Dec 2 '13 at 18:11
  • Not only that if the sentence gives the reason why she likes Assam tea, I believe "for that reason" should associate with "this was more to her taste than the tea at home" clause. Isn't it? – Man_From_India Dec 2 '13 at 18:18
  • I've revised my answer in view of your comments. – Cyberherbalist Dec 2 '13 at 18:33
  • Thank you. I got it. So it suggests that the tea available in her hometown is mixed with some spices, but the tea in Assam doesn't have any spice. And this is the one reason she likes Assam tea. But still I have one doubt - I believe "for one thing" should associate with "this was more to her taste than the tea at home" clause, rather that the other clause. Please explain why "for one thing" is associated that clause? – Man_From_India Dec 2 '13 at 18:36
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    The phrase "for one thing" is used when you are explaining a statement or answering a question, to suggest that you are not giving the whole explanation or answer, and that there are other points that you could add to it. – Cyberherbalist Dec 2 '13 at 19:07
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I'm also a non-native speaker of English and have come across the usage of 'For one thing' to begin a sentence. It is said here that 'For one thing' implies that other things (reasons) will follow or will be implied in the next sentences (i.e you don't say, second thing, third thing etc but simply go on mentioning the things!). While it may be true in many cases, I've seen sentences staring with 'For one thing' and the sentence is not followed by further sentences containing the 'other things' or 'other reasons'. No implications, either. In such circumstances, I have to conclude that 'For one thing' in a single isolated sentence is for the purpose of emphasis only.

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I am a Spanish-speaking individual, and I have encountered the expression "for one thing" several times; I guess it means something like "to start with".

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