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Kenny同志

Which sentence is correct?

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Kenny同志

Here are the two sentences:

The reason why I am here is that...

The reason I am here is that...

I am kind of mixed up. The structure is definitely a clause which needs a connective, but I saw people (native speakers) write " the reason I am here is that..."

Anyone who is kind enough to shed some light on this question?

Any comment will be received with gratitude.

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anonymoose

I think both are OK. In fact, particularly in oral English, we miss out a lot of these connective words, for example:

I think that he's rich. > I think he's rich.

That's the place to which I went on holiday. > That's the place I went on holiday.

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Kenny同志

Here is another pair:

I've never done anythig against the terms nor do I know any other users on your website. Why should I be suspected?

I've never done anythig against the terms and I don't know any other users on your website. Why should I be suspected?

I know the first is right, but how about the second?

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anonymoose

I think both are OK. The second is probably a more oral version.

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anonymoose

Actually, I think it would be better to put a comma before the "nor" in the first sentence:

I've never done anything against the terms, nor do I know any other users on your website. Why should I be suspected?

And you could also say:

I've never done anything against the terms and nor do I know any other users on your website. Why should I be suspected?

or

I've never done anything against the terms and neither do I know any other users on your website. Why should I be suspected?

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Kenny同志

Thanks for your copious explanation, anonymoose . I am very grateful.

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imron

Haha, what website have you got into trouble with :wink:

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anonymoose

现代英语里很少用for来代替because,虽然没错,但是有点不地道的感觉。

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Kenny同志

These two words puzzle me. They sometimes seem interchangeable.

Edited by kenny2006woo

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anonymoose

是interchangeable,可就是for有点过时了。

我看过中国的英文教材,有很多例句英国人绝对不会说。

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Kenny同志

谢谢,你中文这么好,我都怀疑你是中国人了,呵呵。现在中文好的外国朋友越来越多了,前些天吃饭的时候就碰见一个。

Edited by kenny2006woo

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Altair

I am not exactly sure how specific 过时 is in a linguistics context. English dictionaries often distinguish between "obsolete words," which are words that are no longer used or seen by contemporary speakers or readers, and "archaic words," which are words that are no longer used in ordinary speech or writing, formally or informally, but might be encountered in certain limited contexts.

"For" used as a conjunction is slightly archaic, but not obsolete. At least in the U.S., nobody uses it in spontaneous speech and almost never in writing. People have begun to lose a feeling for what it means precisely. In my view, it is only rarely interchangeable with "because." In careful usage, the following four sentences mean more or less the same thing:

We will do it, he being one of us.

We will do it, for he is one of us.

We will do it, because he is one of us.

We will do it; he is one of us.

All of the above mean something different from:

"We will do it because he is one of us." (The absence of the comma is significant in careful writing.)

The first four sentences express justification; whereas the fourth sentence expresses motive. In my view, the conjunction "for" is better used to express justification than "motive," "physical cause," or "logical cause."

Another difference between "for" and "because" is that "because" is classed as a "subordinating conjunction" and "for" is classed as a "coordinating conjunction." That means that you should be able to replace the "for" with a semicolon or a period with little change in meaning, which is usually not the case with "because."

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Kenny同志

Altair, thanks very much. could you shed more light on the usage of "as", "since" and "because" when they are used to introduce a reason?

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Altair

Hi Kenny,

I forgot to mention that in all five of my examples the order of the clauses can be reversed, except the clause with "for." This is just like clauses that begin with the coordinating conjunction "but," but not like clauses that begin with subordinating conjunctions, like "because," "although" or "while."

could you shed more light on the usage of "as", "since" and "because" when they are used to introduce a reason?

At least for me, there is some overlap in these words, especially in loose speech, but below is how I would distinguish them in careful usage.

"Because" is the strongest term. If it is used in a restrictive clause, it more or less means: "due to the cause that" and explicitly answers the question "why." It suggest something objective.

E.g., "She got wet because it rained during her walk."

"Since" is weaker and so more common in casual speech and writing, rather than in serious writing, where forceful precise words usually represent better style. It more or less means: "in view of the fact that" and explains why a certain action or state is reasonable, plausible, or consistent with expectations. It is more appropriate when you do not want to be or cannot be definitive about causality. Because it implies some evaluation, it is less objective than "because."

E.g., "Since it wasn't raining yet, she decided not to take an umbrella."

"As" is the weakest of the three. I do not think I use it at all or hear it around me. I can't even recall reading it in literature, but I do not think it is archaic. Perhaps it is used more outside of the U.S. To my ear, it sounds a little bit vague and sloppy. It more or less means: "given that" and may suggest that the listener or reader will readily understand why the circumstance would lead to the situation described. It is not appropriate when it can be confused with the "as" that means "simultaneously with" and so is tricky to use well.

E.g., "As she never liked being late, she decided to leave right away."

If "because" is used in an nonrestrictive clause, it can probably be used instead of "since," "for," and "as." Such clauses are signaled in writing by beginning with a comma, although probably only people that write professionally for the public really understand the rules well. In speech, such a clause would normally begin with a slight pause and have its own intonation contour. In restrictive clauses, there is usually no break and no change in pitch at the beginning. The whole sentence would have one speech contour, instead of two.

The reason why I am here is that...

The reason I am here is that...

People use both structures more or less interchangeably. Other options are "The reason I am here is because..." and "The reason that I am here is (that)...." Style books suggest that unnecessary words should always be deleted. They would probably recommend: "The reason I am here is (that) ..."; however, all four versions are grammatical.

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Kenny同志

Thanks a zillion, Altair. Thank you so much for your detailed input.:D

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