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    #1

    in and for

    Dear teachers,

    I have two questions to ask:

    No.1
    In his nervousness, he kept shaking my hand and wouldn't let go of it.

    Here "in" means "because". Is that right?
    And can I use other prepositions in place of "in"?

    No.2
    It's not true that all people do things out of self interest.
    Here "out of " means reason. Could I use "for" instead of "out of" to mean "purpose"

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: in and for

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear teachers,

    I have two questions to ask:

    No.1
    In his nervousness, he kept shaking my hand and wouldn't let go of it.

    Here "in" means "because". Is that right?
    And can I use other prepositions in place of "in"?

    No.2
    It's not true that all people do things out of self interest.
    Here "out of " means reason. Could I use "for" instead of "out of" to mean "purpose"

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    1 - it depends what you mean by "mean"! Or to put it another way, it depends what you mean by "because" "Because he was nervous" can mean "in his nervousness", but tends to refer to a transient state: "He meant to give the taxi-driver a $5 tip, but on the day of the interview - because he was nervous - he gave him $50 by mistake." "In his nervousness" could just mean "because he was by nature a nervous person". So when you say 'does it mean "because"' you're right to suggest that it has something to do with causality - but that's not to say that it's interchangeable (it's a different word class, to start with).

    2 You could say that, but to my ear it would sound better if you said
    'It's not true that all people do things for reasons of self interest.' (There are a few collocations that use 'For reasons of ... <thing>' - state, convenience, safety...).You could also use 'in', but normally - again - to refer to transient states: "in a moment of forgetfulness, he didn't pick up the package"/"in a fit of stupidity I said I could do it this week". You could also use 'through' or 'by', but I'd say (other teachers may disagree) that those words tend to be used to express blame: 'You brought this on yourself through your own carelessness'.

    b

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    #3

    Re: in and for

    Dear BobK,

    I haven't heard from you for a long time.

    No.2
    I can't use "for". Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    1 - it depends what you mean by "mean"! Or to put it another way, it depends what you mean by "because" "Because he was nervous" can mean "in his nervousness", but tends to refer to a transient state: "He meant to give the taxi-driver a $5 tip, but on the day of the interview - because he was nervous - he gave him $50 by mistake." "In his nervousness" could just mean "because he was by nature a nervous person". So when you say 'does it mean "because"' you're right to suggest that it has something to do with causality - but that's not to say that it's interchangeable (it's a different word class, to start with).

    2 You could say that, but to my ear it would sound better if you said
    'It's not true that all people do things for reasons of self interest.' (There are a few collocations that use 'For reasons of ... <thing>' - state, convenience, safety...).You could also use 'in', but normally - again - to refer to transient states: "in a moment of forgetfulness, he didn't pick up the package"/"in a fit of stupidity I said I could do it this week". You could also use 'through' or 'by', but I'd say (other teachers may disagree) that those words tend to be used to express blame: 'You brought this on yourself through your own carelessness'.

    b

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    #4

    Re: in and for

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Dear BobK,

    I haven't heard from you for a long time.

    No.2
    I can't use "for". Is that right?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    I've been a bit busy Jiang.

    I don't think "for" on its own would sound right in that context (probably because "for reasons of" is such a strong collocation). But you can use "for" to express purpose/intention in some contexts: "I have to go there for my own things, so I might as well pick up your dry cleaning too", or "she warned me not to go for safety's sake" - in that case "for safety's sake" implies the reason "because it was too dangerous".

    b

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    #5

    Re: in and for

    Oh, yes. It's very kind of you teachers to spare time to help us. Many thanks!

    I am afraid I don't understand this part: "I don't think 'for' on its own would sound right....". My original sentence is "self interest".

    Looking forward to hearing from you.
    Thank you in advance.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I've been a bit busy Jiang.

    I don't think "for" on its own would sound right in that context (probably because "for reasons of" is such a strong collocation). But you can use "for" to express purpose/intention in some contexts: "I have to go there for my own things, so I might as well pick up your dry cleaning too", or "she warned me not to go for safety's sake" - in that case "for safety's sake" implies the reason "because it was too dangerous".

    b

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: in and for

    Quote Originally Posted by jiang View Post
    Oh, yes. It's very kind of you teachers to spare time to help us. Many thanks!

    I am afraid I don't understand this part: "I don't think 'for' on its own would sound right....". ...
    The words 'on its own', underlined, meant "without any other word added" - so 'for self interest' , but 'for reasons of self-interest' (or, now I think of it, 'out of pure self-interest').

    (Sometimes, instead of 'on its own', I've heard - and use - the French "tout sec" [='all dry'], which seems to me appropriately brief; I'm not sure whether this usage is common enough to be called a borrowing (or just pretentiousness ).

    b

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    #7

    Re: in and for

    Dear BobK,

    Thank you very much for your explanation. Now I understand it.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Jiang
    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    The words 'on its own', underlined, meant "without any other word added" - so 'for self interest' , but 'for reasons of self-interest' (or, now I think of it, 'out of pure self-interest').

    (Sometimes, instead of 'on its own', I've heard - and use - the French "tout sec" [='all dry'], which seems to me appropriately brief; I'm not sure whether this usage is common enough to be called a borrowing (or just pretentiousness ).

    b

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