for I do not know the answer vs because I do not know the answer

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anhnha

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1. I shan't try to answer your question, for I do not know the answer.
2.
I shan't try to answer your question because I do not know the answer.
Is there any difference in meaning between #1 and #2? Which sentence is better?


 

emsr2d2

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There is no difference in meaning.
The second sentence is more natural. Using "for" to mean "because" sounds somewhat old-fashioned.
 

ComputerMoses

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for and because. The former is subjective ('Don't swear, for I dislike swearing'), the latter objective (They did that, because events compelled them'); the former may represent the writer's own view, the latter the immediate and explicit cause. Quote from 'Usage And Abusage' by Eric Partridge.
 

5jj

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Partridge wrote those words seventy years ago. I don't think anybody would feel that difference today. As ems said, 'for' sounds somewhat old-fashioned nowadays.
 

Rover_KE

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for and because. The former is subjective ('Don't swear, for I dislike swearing'), the latter objective (They did that, because events compelled them'); the former may represent the writer's own view, the latter the immediate and explicit cause. Quote from 'Usage And Abusage' by Eric Partridge.

Welcome to Using English, ComputerMoses.:-D Your future contributions may well be of great benefit to the forums.

Please read the Posting Guidelines — especially this extract:

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