Way back in high school, an English teacher asked me if I understood how I was using the word "for" in one of my sentences. I didn't, and I took it as a criticism. Since that day, I have shied away from using "for" in this way. Today, I ran across a sentence that uses it in that way: "So if you are happy to close-mike a source, don't discount using an omni, which will often sound less coloured than a cardioid, for the spill penalty will probably be negligible." Can someone please tell me if and why this use of "for" is correct?

  • Why wouldn't it be correct? Because/since/as is one of the basic meanings of for, which any dictionary will tell you. It's just a bit formal or old-fashioned. What's your actual question here? Apr 12, 2015 at 18:11

2 Answers 2


It is correctly used.

It is different than most uses of for because it functions as a conjunction instead of as a preposition.

The meaning is, obviously, because/since/as as Janus Bahs Jacquet states in his comment to the question.

The following definition and (especially the first parts of the) usage note will likely be of interest to you:

Because; since.

. . .

Usage Note: For has been used as a conjunction meaning "because, since" for over 1,000 years. It is familiar in many famous quotations, from the New Testament's beatitudes (Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth, Matthew 5:05) to Shakespeare's sonnets (For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings / That then I scorn to change my state with kings). Today this use of for is rare in speech and informal writing, and it often lends a literary tone or note of formality.

Like the word so, for can be viewed as either a subordinating or a coordinating conjunction, and it has been treated variously as such. It has the meaning of a subordinating conjunction, since it clearly subordinates the clause that follows it to the previous clause or sentence. But like a coordinating conjunction, for has a fixed position in the sentence, and its clause cannot be transposed to precede the superordinate clause containing the main idea. It is ungrammatical in present-day English to say For they shall inherit the earth: blessed are the meek. Perhaps because of this ambiguity in function, for is treated variously with regard to punctuation. Sometimes it begins a dependent clause and follows a comma, and sometimes it begins an independent clause (as if it were a conjunctive adverb like moreover) and follows a semicolon or period (when it is capitalized as the first word of a new sentence). All treatments are acceptable in standard usage. The difference is really one of emphasis: starting a new sentence with for tends to call more attention to the thought that it introduces.



This is a good dictionary definition. Read the whole of it.



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