For Some Reason

By Maeve Maddox

The idiom “for some reason” means, “for a reason unknown to me.” For example:

For some reason, they hid behind a lot of legal issues.

[The] game keeps scrolling up for some reason. 

For some reason, the drivers were very discourteous that night.

I first noticed the non-idiomatic phrase “in some reason” used in place of “for some reason” in an email:

In some reason I have not received my order.

A Web search revealed that this error is widespread:

I work as taxi driver, and in some reason unknown to me, access to the local radio system is blocked.

We need just 6 bitcoin confirmations. Our system completes an exchange automatically in 99% cases. The 1% is when our system fails in some reason.

I was happy for my decision even though in some reason the doctor wrote on the procedure paper “a scar revision” and not “a facelift.”

In some reason the dynamic css style is empty.

I need to edit pictures [but] in some reason it doesn’t go in when I first post.

I have a file that has clone layers. And in some reason the layers will eat the memory.

Here are the examples corrected:

I work as taxi driver, and for some reason unknown to me, access to the local radio system is blocked.

We need just 6 bitcoin confirmations. Our system completes an exchange automatically in 99% cases. The 1% is when our system fails for some reason.

I was happy for my decision even though for some reason the doctor wrote on the procedure paper “a scar revision” and not “a facelift.”

For some reason the dynamic css style is empty.

I need to edit pictures [but] for some reason it doesn’t go in when I first post.

I have a file that has clone layers. And for some reason the layers will eat the memory.

If the intended meaning is “for an unknown reason or cause,” the idiom is, “for some reason.” The phrase “in some reason” is nonstandard usage.

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4 Responses to “For Some Reason”

  • thebluebird11

    I don’t know enough about some other languages to be certain, but I am going to guess that this error is made by ESL speakers, possibly Indian (i.e. from India or thereabouts), maybe Spanish? Maybe I’m “profiling” based on several of the examples, but there are many, many Indian/Pakistani etc people who drive taxis and/or are in I.T. services, and perhaps this is a direct/literal translation from one of their languages or dialects. It is kind of like if you are a native English speaker and then try to learn Spanish, it’s a bit of a challenge to remember when to use “para” and when to use “por,” if you are thinking in English. You need to pair the correct word to achieve the correct idiom.

  • Mike

    The web is enormous. It is possible to find examples of every imaginable mistake and many more unimaginable mistakes. “Widespread” doesn’t seem appropriate.

  • venqax

    I don’t know, bluebird. It’s native English speakers who keep doing things, “on” accident, and wanting 50 thousand dollars “of” insurance. Messing up this kind of thing seems, for some reason, rather common. I know it’s immitative but don’t know how it starts.

  • thebluebird11

    @venqax: Yes, that’s true, but some of that may be dialectical and not error. Again, I’m not the language expert (boohoo), but you find areas, for example, where people speak of waiting “in” line, and other areas where people speak of waiting “on” line. That is not an ESL issue; that is dialectical. There are areas where people say INsurance, and areas where people say inSURance; again, a dialectical issue, not an ESL issue. And you probably have no trouble understanding them (even if the different pronunciation grates on your ears!) But for example, people from India–and I am generalizing here because I do not know exact locations–consistently accentuate syllables that American speakers do not. Also, their primary influence has been British English, so some of the differences would stem from that. I don’t mean to keep harping on India; obviously there are many non-native English speakers. I was just mentioning India because of the examples Maeve gave.

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