Therefore vs. Therefor

The other day we discussed proper usage of “therefore” and “hence.” Today we will distinguish between “therefore” and “therefor.”

Therefor = for that, in return for that, for that purpose (often used in legal-speak)
Therefore = consequently, for that reason, because of that, to that end

The speaker will discuss the blowout and the causes therefor.
The speaker shall provide the laptop and all the paraphernalia therefor.
The speaker had a blowout, therefore he won’t be able to speak to us today.

There are several words like therefor that have the same legalistic or archaic tone:
•       Thereafter = after that
•       Thereby = by that means
•       Thereat = at that place
•       Therefrom = from that
•       Therein = in there, in that respect
•       Thereof = of that, from that cause
•       Thereon = on that
•       Thereto = to that
•       Therewith = with that

My dictionary says that most of these words were in use before the 12th century,
and many are considered archaic today. I would avoid using them if you are
striving for clarity, such as in communications with management or stockholders.
However, you can use them all you want if your goal is obfuscation (take note,
you lawyers and IRS instruction writers out there.)

My personal favorite of these is “thereby.”
Spam filters remove email items of lesser importance, thereby increasing

Business Quote of the Day:

A business of high principle attracts high-caliber people more easily,
thereby gaining a basic competitive and profit edge.

– Marvin Bower, late CEO of McKinsey & Company


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