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Thereby vs. Therefore: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 16, 2024
"Thereby" implies a method or means ("by that means"), while "therefore" indicates a conclusion or result ("for that reason").

Key Differences

"Thereby" is used to indicate the method or process by which something is achieved, implying 'by that means' or 'as a result of that'. "Therefore" is used to denote a conclusion, often used in the sense of 'for that reason' or 'consequently'.
In usage, "thereby" often introduces the means or cause of an action in a sentence. In contrast, "therefore" introduces a conclusion or result that follows logically from a previous statement.
"Thereby" is typically followed by a verb phrase, indicating the action through which the result is achieved. "Therefore" is usually followed by a comma and completes a thought, providing the logical result of the previous statement.
An example of "thereby" is: "He studied hard, thereby passing the exam." Here, it connects the action of studying to the result of passing. An example of "therefore" is: "It was raining, therefore the event was canceled," where it connects the condition of rain to the conclusion of canceling the event.
"Thereby" often relates to a direct consequence of an action, while "therefore" is more about deducing a conclusion or a reasoning outcome from a given set of facts or statements.

Comparison Chart


Indicates the method or process.
Indicates a conclusion or result.


Follows an action to show consequence.
Follows a statement to show logical result.

Typical Position

Often followed by a verb phrase.
Usually precedes a complete thought or sentence.

Example Function

Shows how something is done.
Shows why something happens.


Direct consequence of an action.
Logical deduction or reasoning from a statement.

Thereby and Therefore Definitions


Through that action.
They reduced expenses, thereby increasing profits.


He did not study, therefore he failed the exam.


As a result of that.
She practiced daily, thereby mastering the piano.


She was the highest scorer, therefore she received the award.


By that means.
He saved money, thereby avoiding debt.


For that reason.
It was raining, therefore the game was postponed.


In that way.
The system was simplified, thereby improving efficiency.


As a result.
The road was blocked, therefore we took a detour.


By that means; because of that.


Due to that.
The store was closed, therefore we shopped elsewhere.


In connection with that
"And thereby hangs a tale" (Shakespeare).


For that reason or cause; consequently or hence.


(formal) By it; by that; by that means, or as a consequence of that.


(conjunctive) Consequently, by or in consequence of that or this cause; referring to something previously stated.
Traditional values will always have a place. Therefore, they will never lose relevance.


By that; by that means; in consequence of that.
Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto thee.


For that; for it (in reference to a previous statement)


Annexed to that.


For that or this reason, referring to something previously stated; for that.
I have married a wife, and therefore I can not come.
Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?


Thereabout; - said of place, number, etc.


Consequently; by consequence.
He blushes; therefore he is guilty.


By that means or because of that;
He knocked over the red wine, thereby ruining the table cloth


(used to introduce a logical conclusion) from that fact or reason or as a result;
Therefore X must be true
The eggs were fresh and hence satisfactory
We were young and thence optimistic
It is late and thus we must go
The witness is biased and so cannot be trusted


Consequently, in that respect.
He won the award, thereby gaining recognition.


As a consequence;
He had good reason to be grateful for the opportunities which they had made available to him and which consequently led to the good position he now held


What does 'thereby' mean?

It means 'by that means' or 'as a result of that'.

Is 'thereby' formal?

Yes, it's more common in formal writing.

Can 'thereby' start a sentence?

Rarely; it usually follows an action or statement.

Does 'thereby' imply causation?

It implies a direct consequence or method.

Can 'therefore' be used in casual speech?

Yes, though it's more formal.

Where does 'therefore' usually appear?

At the beginning or middle of a sentence.

Are 'thereby' and 'therefore' interchangeable?

No, they serve different purposes.

How is 'thereby' used in a sentence?

To show the method or consequence of an action.

What does 'therefore' signify?

A conclusion or result from a previous statement.

Can 'thereby' indicate causality?

Yes, it can suggest a cause-effect relationship.

Is 'therefore' used in arguments?

Yes, to present logical conclusions.

Is 'therefore' a conjunction?

It's more of a conjunctive adverb linking ideas.

Does 'therefore' require a comma?

Often, especially when starting a sentence.

Is 'therefore' always conclusive?

Generally, it indicates a conclusion or result.

Can 'thereby' be used in legal documents?

Yes, it's common in legal and formal writing.

Do 'thereby' and 'therefore' have synonyms?

Yes, like 'consequently', 'thus', etc.

Should 'therefore' be used sparingly?

Yes, to avoid over-formalizing speech or writing.

Can 'thereby' be replaced with 'thus'?

In some contexts, but 'thus' is broader.

Is 'therefore' a sign of cause and effect?

More of a logical result than direct cause.

Can 'thereby' come after a comma?

Usually, it follows a clause or action.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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