Advanced: For, Since, Because

These three words give students a lot of trouble.  They play a vital role in determining what the premise is, what the conclusion is, and therefore what the argument is.  But, for some reason they seem to trip students up.  There’s no reason for that because they are really easy to understand.

For, since, and because all introduce premises.  So, you might be thinking then how are they different from the other premise indicators like “after all” or “on the grounds that?”  It's because they always appear in sentences where the conclusion is also a part of the sentence.  That’s the difference.  That's what trips people up.  We're used to premises and conclusions being separate sentences.  But, you just have to remember that these three words are locked in to introduce premises and you’ll always find the conclusion in the same sentence.  Either it’ll appear before the indicator word, or it’ll appear after the premise.

Let’s look at some sample sentences to clarify.

I am hungry for I haven’t eaten all day.
I am hungry since I haven’t eaten all day.
I am hungry because I haven’t eaten all day.

These sentences also happen to be arguments.

The premise is “I haven’t eaten all day.”  The conclusion is “I am hungry.” Why should we believe that I am hungry?  Because I haven’t eaten all day.  It’s an argument.

Grammatically it also makes sense to state the conclusion at the end of the sentence.

For I haven’t eaten all day, I am hungry.
Since I haven’t eaten all day, I am hungry.
Because I haven’t eaten all day, I am hungry.

The argument doesn’t change.  The premise is the same.  It’s still locked in after the “for, since, because.”  The conclusion now drops in after the premise.

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