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He deserves better academic environment for his dedication.

First of all, is it correct to use "for" here in place of "because of" to indicate the reason?

Also, are there any cases that "because of" cannot be replaced by "for", and what is the subtle difference between them when they are interchangeable?

Thanks.

  • Not because of his dedication- as a reward for his dedication – Jim Dec 7 '15 at 3:37
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That example sentence is poorly written so I'm going to ignore it and just describe how to use for to explain a reason.

We went to the store, because we were hungry.

We went to the store, for we were hungry.

Both of those sentences are correct and mean the same thing. The only real difference is that using for like this is a bit literary and uncommon in everyday speech.

This sentence is correct:

He could see over their heads because of his tallness.

This sentence is NOT correct:

He could see over their heads for his tallness.

Why are the correct examples correct and why is the incorrect example incorrect?

Because introduces a subordinate clause that explains a reason.

For also introduces a subordinate clause the explains a reason.

Because of, on the other hand, is followed by a noun (and its accompanying modifiers). Because of does not introduce a subordinate clause.

Let's try to take a look at the example sentence you gave...

He deserves a better academic environment for his dedication.

I believe this usage of for is used similarly to how it's used in the below examples:

For that much money, you deserve better.

You can have that TV for $200!

In other words, it is specifying one half of a deal. When we compare that to:

He deserves a better academic environment because of his dedication.

I would say that the former carries a nuance that a better academic environment is his earned right. The second sentence is a little bit weaker in that giving him a better academic environment could be seen more as a favor or largesse, not something that he has earned a right to. In the end though, there is not very much difference between these two expressions.

  • Thank you so much for your detailed explanations. So my example sentence still makes sense right? The context of this sentence is a recommendation letter, and I was referring to the 7th usage here. And also, do you think there are any other ways to better express the same meaning? – jwong Dec 8 '15 at 2:23
  • This answer doesn't make much sense. Things seem OK until "Let's try to look..." and then it is speculation and guessing...sorry to be critical but I am interested in this question and am hoping for a solid answer. – michael_timofeev Dec 8 '15 at 3:01
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    @jwong Between "deserves" and "better" in your example sentence there needs to be an "a". Other than that, there is something I don't like that's a little bit harder to put my finger on. I like the way Jim worded it in his comment on your question. "He deserves a better academic environment as a reward for his dedication". Or "His dedication merits him a better academic environment." I suppose my reservations about simply using "for his dedication" stem from my feeling that it implies "in return for his dedication" which implies that he is owed the better environment. – Aurast Dec 8 '15 at 16:34
  • But to answer your question, the example sentence does make sense as long as you put that "a" in there. – Aurast Dec 8 '15 at 16:45

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