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Microsoft® Encarta® 2009 reads as follows

Because and for are both used to introduce reasons that justify a statement as distinct from giving a reason for it:

You must have forgotten to invite them, because they didn't turn up.

He blushed, for he knew he had been caught out.

Using the same two examples above, how would I "give a reason for a statement" instead?

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  • I'm not sure I understand what you're looking for. Could you make it clearer ?
    – Centaurus
    Dec 26, 2019 at 13:23
  • @Centaurus - The definition says “as distinct from ...” So what’s an example for that case?
    – Jim
    Dec 26, 2019 at 13:25
  • @Jim I see. But I can see no difference between "a reason for" and "a reason that justifies". Can you ?
    – Centaurus
    Dec 26, 2019 at 13:26
  • 1
    @Centaurus - I’m still trying to work it out. I’ve got as far as “it must be the difference between justifying an observation: “I have concluded that you forgot to invite them because they didn’t turn up” as opposed to explaining why you forgot “You forgot because I interrupted you while you were writing the invitations” However one uses because in both those cases. I can substitute for in my first one but not my second... Still pondering...
    – Jim
    Dec 26, 2019 at 13:35
  • 'There must be some animosity between you, because you didn't invite them to your party' = 'You didn't invite them to your party, from which I deduce that there must be some animosity between you'. // 'There must be some animosity between you because you didn't invite them to your party' = 'Your not inviting them to your party must have given rise to some animosity between them and you'. //// I can't see how the two alternatives can arise with your examples. Dec 26, 2019 at 18:59

1 Answer 1

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The quote appears to illustrate the two types of "reasons" one could give when making a statement:

  1. The justification or evidence that the speaker has for making the statement.
  2. A reason that the stated phenomenon has occurred.

Thus, in the first example, the speaker explains what evidence led her to conclude that the invitation was forgotten:

(1) You must have forgotten to invite them [statement], because they didn't turn up [justification or evidence for the stated conclusion].

While in the second example, the speaker is explaining why the phenomenon that she is describing (blushing, in this case) has occurred:

(2) He blushed [statement], for he knew he had been caught out [reason for the blushing].


The following would be examples of the other type of reason for each of these statements:

(1) You must have forgotten to invite them [statement] because you have been so busy at work [reason for the forgetfulness].

(2) He blushed [statement], for I could feel the warmth in his cheeks [justification or evidence for my stated conclusion].


Because and for can each be used for either of these distinct types of reasons.

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  • Thanks I finally understood the point. Yet, according to the OP, He blushed, for he knew he had been caught out. indeed justifies the statement (See usage note: ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=for)
    – GJC
    Oct 8, 2020 at 9:23
  • Thanks. I'm not sure I understand, and couldn't find anything in the linked Usage note about this. In the end, this is just a matter of poor writing at Encarta. :-) There are two types of 'reasons" that for (or because) can introduce. I think Encarta gave one example of each. By my reading, 'knew he had been caught' explains the cause of the blushing, not the cause of the speaker's comment on the blushing.
    – James D
    Oct 9, 2020 at 5:59
  • Sorry one more note. I struggled to decypher Encarta's writing for some time. (Again, it could have used a good edit!) I believe when they say "reasons that justify a statement as distinct from giving a reason for it" they are just pointing out that there are two distinct types of information that can follow either of these conjunctions. They are trying to say there is a difference between (1) reasons for a phenomenon occurred and (2) the meta reasons for talking about it. Personally, I would have avoided the phrase "as distinct from," which seems confusing in this sentence.
    – James D
    Oct 9, 2020 at 6:07
  • Because, as, since, for, inasmuch as agree in implying a reason for an occurrence or action. Because introduces a direct reason: I was sleeping because I was tired. As/ since are so casual as to imply merely circumstances attendant on the main statement: As (or _since) I was tired, I was sleeping_.
    – GJC
    Mar 9, 2021 at 10:57
  • The reason, proof, or justification introduced by for is like an afterthought or a parenthetical statement: I was sleeping, for I was tired. Inasmuch as implies concession; the main statement is true in view of the circumstances introduced by this conjunction: Inasmuch as I was tired, it seemed best to sleep. wordreference.com/definition/because
    – GJC
    Mar 9, 2021 at 10:57

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