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  1. #1

    Is the word 'for' somehow a formality marker?

    Here's this excerpt from a history textbook:

    As the new elements in medieval society, town-dwelling merchants and manufacturers had to struggle to obtain acceptance for their activities, which did not fit the traditional concept of the three estates.

    The word, which have been troubling me for so long, which is 'for', occurs again. And, once again, it occurs in a place which would normally seem to be occupied by 'of'. (I've consulted at least four dictionaries all of which have given examples including 'acceptance of', and the combination of 'acceptance' and 'for' have not even been mentioned in all of them.) And I am at a lost to understand why the writer wanted to use 'for' instead of 'of'. Is there really a need for achieving greater precision which prompted him to use 'for', or did he just wish to sound particularly formal? And how am I supposed to interprete the meaning of 'for' here anyway? Is it to be interpreted as showing purpose, beneficiary, or something else? Is it possible to use 'of' instead without changing the original meaning?

    Still another question: is this preposition phrase (for their activities) an postmodifier of the noun 'acceptance' or is it an adverbial, which has equal status to other clause elements? For example, in a sentence like economic activities for women were increasingly restricted, is the prepositional phrase 'for women' an noun postmodifier or adverbial? If it is an postmodifier, the subject perhaps should mean something like 'women's economic activities', whereas in the case of an adverbial, the sentence should perhaps be interpreted as 'economic activities were restricted; and this proposition is true only with respect to women'. ...
    This is really a major headache to me.. Any help would be appreciated!

  2. Mister Micawber's Avatar
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    Re: Is the word 'for' somehow a formality marker?

    My short answer:

    1-- slightly more formal perhaps; that is perceptive of you; but I think no difference in meaning here. (In other cases it could differ, of course, the for meaning 'on behalf of': I gained acceptance for him at the country club.)

    2-- both prepositional phrases are postmodifiers of their respective nouns and nothing more, in my opinion.

  3. #3

    Re: Is the word 'for' somehow a formality marker?

    Many thanks!

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