It rained heavily; therefore, the match was cancelled. The organizer’s had to refund the tickets, thereby incurring heavy losses.

The two words ‘therefore’ and ‘thereby’ have often been used in the wrong contexts because of their similar meanings. However, while the word ‘therefore’ means ‘as a result’, the word ‘thereby’ means as a consequence. The only way to tell them apart is that thereby is closely associated with cause and effect while therefore is conclusive and shows the result of something. Yet another sentence will further help you clarify the use of these two words.

The player had sprained his ankle and was, therefore, unable to play in the match. His fans were thereby deeply disappointed.

If you want to learn the two terms firmly then read the article below.

Therefore vs thereby – definitions, meanings and example sentences

Definition of therefore

In grammar, therefore is an adverb that functions as a conjunction. It means ‘for that reason’ or ‘as a result’. It works as a transition word which explains to us why a certain event occurred. There are many words that can be used in place of therefore, like so, consequently, thus, thence, thereupon, etc.

Example sentences of therefore

  • The thick clouds made the forest pitch dark; therefore, searching was stopped until the sky cleared.

A search party had been searching a forest but had to stop as the forest had become pitch dark as rain clouds spread in the sky. They had to wait until the sky cleared.

  • He did not have complete knowledge of the affair and, therefore, could not make the right decision.

The man mentioned in this sentence was not fully knowledgeable of what had transpired, thus he was unable to make an accurate decision.

  • ‘Ours is a close-knit community; therefore, we are well aware of each other’s problems,’ the woman spoke.

This sentence uses the word ‘therefore’ as a transition word and can be replaced with the word ‘thus’. The woman said that she had deep ties with the people of the neighborhood and they visited each other frequently. Because of this, they had become a closely knitted community and could effectively help each other in times of need.

Definition of thereby

We use the adverb ‘thereby’ to talk about the consequence of some event that we have just talked about. For instance, take this example:

‘The old man knocked over and spilled his tea, thereby ruining the table cloth.’

Here, thereby is used to show us the connection between two events, telling us that because of the first, the second event happened. ‘Thereby’ is synonymous with thus, thereupon, hence, inevitably etc.

Example sentences of thereby

  • ‘The school administration fired the teacher, hoping thereby to appease the students and soothe the chaos created by her,’ the principal retorted.

Here, we can see that the adverb ‘thereby’ is making the connection between the two events, showing us how the first action would have an effect on the second one. The school administration fired the teacher who was a source of chaos and, by this action, it aimed at calming down the commotion.

  • The snow storm caused a massive power breakdown, thereby plunging the whole city in darkness.

In this sentence the adverb ‘thereby’ connects the two actions telling us that the snow-storm caused a power failure and its consequence was that the city was engulfed in total black-out.

  • ‘The heavy floods washed away the bridge, thereby disconnecting the valley from the city.

If you look closely, you will notice that ‘thereby’ stands between the cause and effect. The river flooded a bridge and as a consequence, the valley was detached from the city.

Conclusion – therefore vs thereby

Even though the words ‘therefore’ and ‘thereby’ have a similar meanings, still there is great difference in how they are chosen and used in the sentence. ‘Therefore’ is used more commonly in conversations while thereby is more formal and used less often in conversations. You need to keep in mind one important point: the word ‘therefore’ is used when you are talking about the result of something while you use the word ‘thereby’ when you are talking about the cause and effect of an occurrence.