I really know that for the levels of studying English language, we had always said that "for" is a coordinator. However, I would like to know what for serves in this sentence

  1. For God so loved the world.

Is it still a coordinator or any word class?

  • 1
    I think it's pretty obsolete in Modern English. I always wondered why it was listed as coordinating in textbooks, and I think it's just tradition. I've never heard it used with intent to communicate; only in recitative. Mar 26, 2019 at 23:41
  • 2
    I would consider it mean exactly the same thing as because. Mar 27, 2019 at 3:00
  • 1
    It's a preposition in your example. The subordinator "for" only occurs with infinitival clauses, e.g. For Ed to say that is very unusual.
    – BillJ
    Mar 27, 2019 at 8:40
  • It doesn't look like a full sentence, but a dependent clause. If so, it means 'because'.
    – Ram Pillai
    Apr 20, 2020 at 6:46
  • It means 'The explanation is this: ...' and the previous verses (two at least to justify the grammar, the whole episode to stand a chance of getting the meaning) need referencing. Mar 7, 2021 at 16:08

2 Answers 2


In your case 'for' is a conjunction.

According to Oxford English English Dictionary (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/for):




Because; since.

‘he felt guilty, for he knew that he bore a share of responsibility for Fanny's death’

As about the term 'coordinator' it's a synonym of 'conjunction'.

See in Oxford Living Dictionary:


2 Grammar  A word used to connect clauses, sentences, or words of equal syntactic importance (e.g. and, or, for)

‘subordinate clauses can be connected with a coordinator’ (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/coordinator)


Yes, it's a conjunction, albeit literary or archaic. "For" means "because" in this case, and is giving a justification or evidence for a preceding statement (see this question and answer for more details on this usage of "for").

Your quote comes from the Bible, and in context it says:

God sent "the Son of Man [to] be lifted up [crucified], that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son...." (John 3:14-16)

The quote you are interested in ("for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son...") provides a causal reason for the action in the preceding statement (that Jesus, "the Son of Man," would be "lifted up.") The word "because" would have worked equally well here.

By the way, that full quote is all one thought; try to overlook the archaic punctuation of the King James translation of several hundred years ago!

As described in the other answer to this question, this usage of "for" is still reasonably common in literature.

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