Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fore Versus For Versus Four

While toying with the idea of a post explaining the differences among for, fore, and four, I discovered a plot by grammar fans everywhere to march forth. That distracted me by offering several grammar-related sites I'd yet to visit. Then I had to research how to insert the picture in this post, as I must each time I include a graphic. Has that “Add a Picture” button always been there?

Learning the meanings of fore and four eliminates any confusion about when to use them. If neither of the words fits your sentence, use for. One perhaps would not have thought these words confusing, but I have seen them mixed in various ways on the discussion boards that I frequent.

Four is a number. You write “four” when you wish to indicate that something less than five but more than three. You cannot use this word correctly and mean anything not relating to the number four.

Fore! warns fellow golfers that a small, hard missile may be approaching their heads at speed. It also indicates that a thing occurred before or existed near or toward the front of another thing (abstract though either of those things may be). “New ideas have come to the fore in the field of physics.” “I headed fore, intending to ask the pilot to avoid turbulence better in the future.”

For prepositions, use "for". If you need a definition to complete your understanding, please ask Merriam-Webster. They've outlined ten definitions, with examples. I could invent more entertaining sentences, but you need to understand the uses more than to laugh. If, however, I find a way to fit all ten in one intelligible paragraph, I'll come back and post it here.