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I've looked up for information on this, since it's a question that has been asked (and answered) lots of times, but there's still something missing which I haven't understood.

One student of mine has asked me about the difference in sentences including the connecting words "for" and "because of". Many websites I've found explain that "for" is the same as "because" and that, therefore, the difference is the same as that between "because" and "because of". Or that "for" coordinates two independent clauses, the second one being the reason for the first, whereas "because of" is a subordinating conjunction which also indicates the reason for the main one.

I cannot find anything that explains these two examples from the textbook:

1) A person cannot tell her nationality BECAUSE OF her excellent pronunciation. (FOR would be wrong here)

2) I am not so happy with the tour FOR several reasons. (BECAUSE OF would be wrong here)

How can I explain why this is so?

Thanks!

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ColomboMany websites I've found explain that "for" is the same as "because"

Yes, but "because" is used much more often. We don't use "for" to mean "because" so much anymore. As you say, that use of "for" occurs between independent clauses.

Salerno should know, for he was once the self-help book editor for Rodale Press.
His tales should not be taken too seriously, for he was never known for accuracy.
Living in a small one room apartment did not bother them, for they had an outlet called dance.

(There's a comma before 'for' but not before 'because' in these constructions.)

Colombothe difference is the same as that between "because" and "because of"

I don't follow this at all. Emotion: tongue tied

'because' is followed by a full clause. So is the 'for' that means 'because'.

'because of' is followed by a noun phrase. So is the 'for' that doesn't mean 'because'.


The following examples have to do with the usage of 'because of' and 'for' when followed by a noun phrase. You use 'because of' to introduce a reason. 'for' is not used to introduce a reason, but it can be used to introduce other things.
Colombo1) A person cannot tell her nationality BECAUSE OF her excellent pronunciation. (FOR would be wrong here)

her excellent pronunciation gives the reason that "a person cannot tell her nationality".

Colombo2) I am not so happy with the tour FOR several reasons. (BECAUSE OF would be wrong here)

several reasons does not give the reason that "I am not so happy with the tour". The words several reasons do not actually state the reasons.

CJ

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ColomboMany websites I've found explain that "for" is the same as "because"

As a conjunction, "for" means "because". For example, "I could not go out, for the snow was too thick". This use of "for" is literary or old-fashioned-sounding. It is not used in everyday conversational English.

Colombowhereas "because of" is a subordinating conjunction which also indicates the reason for the main one.

"because of" is a preposition (or compound preposition). It is not a conjunction. In those cases in which "for" can roughly mean "because of", "for" is also a preposition.

Colombo2) I am not so happy with the tour FOR several reasons. (BECAUSE OF would be wrong here)

It seems to me that the perceived awkwardness of "because of ... reason(s)", and the preference for the collocation with "for", is an unpredictable idiomatic quirk.

a) The Moon is barren because of the lack of atmosphere and the lack of water.
b) The Moon is barren for two reasons: the lack of atmosphere and the lack of water.
c) The Moon is barren because of two reasons: the lack of atmosphere and the lack of water.

I see no logical explanation of why (c) should feel clumsy and the others correct.

Colombo1) A person cannot tell her nationality BECAUSE OF her excellent pronunciation. (FOR would be wrong here)

Strictly speaking, "for" is in my opinion not wrong here, but it feels unusual and potentially hard to understand. A more usual example would be "I cannot see my desk for all this paperwork". The reason why "for" seems more normal in the "desk" example than the "pronunciation" example is unclear to me.

Another pair to look at might be:

d) I feel better for (= because of / as a result of) the rest.
e) I feel more confident for (= because of / as a result of) my exam results.

(d) feels usual, and (e), though not impossible, is hard to understand in that sense, and would in practice normally be understood as a forward-looking sentence.

And also:

f) Our flight was cancelled because of the bad weather.
g) Our flight was cancelled for the bad weather.

Interpretation of "for" in the sense of "because of" in (g) seems effectively impossible. Instead, we attempt to interpret "for" in (g) as meaning something like "for the duration of".

It's tricky.

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CalifJim and GPY, thanks a lot for your kind, informative and clear answers. I do understand it now.

I don't know how to quote messages here. CalifJim, what I meant to say in the sentence you didn't understand is that if "for" and "because" are the same (in some contexts), the difference I wanted to understand (between "for" and "because of") would be the same as the difference between "because" and "because of".

This is terrible. Why is English so complicated!?

(I've learnt more than one thing today. I had no idea that "for" is not used that much when meaning "because".)

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CJ