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Are for the sake of and for sake of both equally correct and idiomatic?

The dictionaries I know list only the former, while the latter also seems to be commonplace.

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I don't recognise "for sake of" as an English phrase.

Looking at the iWeb corpus, I see that it does occur: 1990 instances, against 120670 of "for the sake of".

It is a much less common variant, and if I it occurred in something I was editing, I would regard it as a mistake, and add the "the".

Added to the answer by Jerzy Brzóska, 1 November 2021: It's occurrence in Google Ngrams is also at least a hundred times less common than that of "for the sake of".

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  • It is literally always "for sake of the argument", as a set phrase. What kind of editor does not recognize this and adds "the"? Quite a few, apparently, as there are some results for this, too, but that's just wrong by common sense. The n-gram that you linked is nonsense, by the way. The results for the the-less variant include the the in the overview, and it's well known that this interface is lying to the user.
    – vectory
    Nov 1, 2021 at 18:14
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    @vectory, I am a native English speaker who does not recognise for sake of the argument as an English phrase. I would always assume it was a mistake for for the sake of argument.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 1, 2021 at 19:09
  • I did not link an ngram: that was inserted by Jerzy Brzóska, who should not have added it without taking VERY CLEAR AND PUBLIC RESPONSIBILITY for having done so.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 1, 2021 at 19:19

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