October 27, 2012
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From 1900 to 1920 there was no educational television. In fact, there was no television at all. Therefore, instead of Sesame Street and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, L. Frank Baum’s Oz books delighted and gently taught the best aspects of humanity to the children of the early 20th century, for he was a wonderful storyteller gifted with the narrative voice of a loving grandfather.

Now, did you notice how I used the word ‘for’ in that sentence up there? Mr. Baum’s Oz books are sprinkled through and through with ‘for’ as an alternative to ‘because’. I really like that, for ‘for’ is a short smooth glide of a word and ‘because’ is a chicken beginning to cackle sort of a word. Below are listed a few sentences from various Baum Oz books featuring our friend ‘for’.

Be contented with your fate, for discontent leads to unhappiness, and unhappiness, in any form, is the greatest evil that can befall you. – The Tin Woodman of Oz, 1918

For, had I eaten that fat baby, I would not now be the Hungry Tiger. – Little Wizard Stories, 1914

But the tree next to the lunch-box tree was even more wonderful, for it bore quantities of tin dinner pails, which were so full and heavy that the stout branches bent underneath their weight. – Ozma of OZ, 1907

But you see, the Land of Oz has never been civilized, for we are cut off from all the rest of the world. – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 1900

Perhaps it is better to be a machine that does its duty than a flesh-and-blood person who will not, for a dead truth is better than a live falsehood. – The Road to Oz, 1909

I almost wish the Flatheads would conquer us, for then we would be free of our dreadful Queen; but I do not wish to see the three transformed fishes destroyed, for in them lies our only hope of future happiness. – Glinda of Oz, 1920

Notice how I gave you a bonus ‘for’ in that last sentence? And aren’t you most curious about those three transformed fishes and just how it is that they carry the only hope of future happiness? Feel free to rush out and purchase Glinda of Oz, the final Oz tale written completely by L. Frank Baum.


  1. I had never thought about the difference between “for” and “because” but you are right that “for” does have a nice ring to it.

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