in and for

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jiang

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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
 

BobK

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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
 

jiang

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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
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
 

BobK

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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
 

jiang

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

BobK

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

jiang

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Dear BobK,

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

Have a nice weekend.

Jiang
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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