Difference between Therefore and Therefor

Published on December 20, 2016

The word “therefore” is fairly common and is quite easy to understand and use. Many do not know, however, that another word which is spelled similarly also exists: “therefor.” Nope, it is not a typo. Yes, it is a valid word. Both have the same pronunciation, but do they have the same meaning? Can they be interchanged? This article will discuss the difference between the two.

Definitions

Therefore vs Therefor

The word therefore is an adverb which is sometimes used to connect independent clauses. It means “so,” “thus,” “hence,” or “as a result.”

It is important to use correct punctuation when using this word to avoid confusion and grammatical errors. The following rules should be followed:

  1. In short sentences, there is no need to use commas for a better flow of sentence. The same applies if it is used as an adverb in a sentence. For example: I will therefore send her a note.
  2. If it is the first word in a sentence, it should be followed by a comma. For example: Therefore, you should submit your project at the soonest possible time.
  3. If you need to emphasize the word before “therefore,” it should have commas before and after. For example: Maria, therefore, thinks that this case is completely baseless.
  4. It should follow a semicolon or even a period if it separates two independent clauses. For example: I am an environmental advocate who believes that plastic does more harm than good. Therefore, I encourage others to never use plastic utensils, bottles and bags and to lead a sustainable life.

On the other hand, the word therefor is an archaic term which means “for it” or “for that.” Nowadays, this adverb is mainly used in legal and formal documents and is rarely used in casual conversations, just like the words “thereafter,” and “thereof.” Here are some examples:

  1. Mr. Addams should submit a letter of intent and the necessary supporting documents therefor.
  2. Is it true that you gave him your sister’s cellphone and the accessories therefor in exchange for $50?

Therefore vs Therefor

What, then, is the difference between therefore and therefor?

Although they have almost the same spelling and pronunciation, they have completely different meanings.

“Therefore” is used as an adverb and sometimes used to connect or separate two independent clauses. It is synonymous to words like “hence,” “thus,” “as a result,” and “so.” On the other hand, the word “therefor” means “for that” or “for it.” Also an adverb, it is not used in everyday conversations but is widely used in legal and formal documents.

“Therefore” usually follows a period, a semicolon, or a comma, and can even be found in the beginning of the sentence. On the contrary, “therefor” does not have strict punctuation rules but is usually found in the last part of the sentence.

Comparison Chart

ThereforeTherefor
Means “hence,” “thus,” “as a result,” or “so”Means “for it” or “for that”
Can be found in the beginning of a sentence; follows a comma, semicolon or period; can be followed with a commaNo rigid punctuation rules; may be found in the last part of the sentence
Can be used in casual conversationsMore commonly used in legal and formal writings