1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

For then

Discussion in 'English Only' started by wizzerad, May 4, 2013.

  1. wizzerad Junior Member

    Oulu, Finland
    italian
    Good day everybody.
    It is several times that I run into the expression "For then, ..." at the beginning of a clause or sentence. I have not found on line a good explanation for its meaning, nor in this forum. To me, in the examples I found, it sounds an expression with its own meaning, rather than the sum of the meanings of "for" + "then".
    I encounter the expression "for then" mainly in formal text.

    Examples:
    Merriam-Webster's Dic: word "mystery": a metaphor should not be farfetched, for then it becomes an enigma.
    Mark Twain's quote: In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.
    Barnes' note on the Bible: The reason here assigned cannot be understood to be merely that of priority of existence - for then it would give every old person authority over a younger one.

    From the examples above, my guess as non-native speaker is the following:
    for then = in that case, if it were so

    Please correct me if I am wrong. This (guessed) meaning is similar, yet not equal, to the meaning of "then" in clauses like:
    "If you destroy the car, your mother will then have to go to work on foot."
    Willing to insert "For then.." in the above sentence, I would reformulate:
    "Destroy your car. For then, your mother will have to go to work on foot."

    Am I missing something? I would also suggest to insert the entry in the (fantastic) word-reference dictionary, which I consult every single day.
    Many thanks in advance,

    Filippo
     
  2. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    In the examples you cite, "for" = because. It's a rather old-fashioned use.
     

Share This Page