"To" or "for"? Which one should I
Let's first check how much you know about this.
Fill in the blanks below with the right preposition (to or for). Or... just read the explanation below
first, and then do the quiz.
"Last week I sent a letter _____ Jim. He said ___ me,
last month, that he had bought a present ____ me. But, in fact I haven't received anything yet,
that's why I wrote a letter ___ him. I also wrote a poem ____ him. I haven't sent it, yet. I
will send the poem ___ Jim when I receive the present he sent ___ me. Because I know what the present
is, and the poem is about the present. Jim does nice things ____ me, he is always thinking of me.
He does lots of favors ___ me, too. When I was on vacation he paid the veterinarian's bill
___ me - now I need to pay him back. I will send the money ___ his account, through the
Internet. ___ me, Jim is a great friend, because he is always there ___ me! I am always there
____ him, too!"
The more you practice English, by reading and listening and paying attention to how the
words combine together, the more you will understand and assimilate the language, and the more you
will be able to use it correctly.
Now, a little bit
To is used when we express communication
to another part; direct action (usually physical, or figurativelly physical action) toward
Ex. I sent that letter to your
aunt. ==> physical action directed to your aunt.
For is used to express intention; opinion;
consideration. When something is done in behalf of someone (for the benefit of
someone), or on behalf of someone (in name of someone, representing someone, in place of someone; or when
we express an opinion about something, we use for.
Ex. I sent that letter for you ==> means that I did you a
favor and went to the post office and mailed that letter for you (consideration, in place
of you), to your aunt. (direct action to your aunt)
Is this too difficult for you? ==> in your
A new idea is coming to me! ==> coming in my
direction (figurativelly physical action)
TIP TO MEMORIZE:
intention, consideration, opinion
I closed the
doors for you. (Intention; I did it in consideration of you.)
I closed the
doors to you. (It has a different meaning!
It means that I closed the doors and you cannot come in anymore. It's a
direct action toward you, to impede you of entering.)
Intention - I am preparing
a LEP-Nuts for you... = I am "thinking" of you, it's in
"consideration" of you.
Action - And I am sending
you ... = Now there is
action toward someone or something. There is movement.
First I think of you
(consideration, use for) then I send something to you (direct action, use
- What else can LEP do for you?
= When LEP does things, LEP is
- What can I
provide to my
subscribers? = I provide something directly to someone. It's action, not only
I can't speak for my neighbors, but I think this whole
neighborhood needs some
improvement. (in name of my neighbors)
I can't speak to my neighbors about this... they don't want
to hear anything.(direct action toward my neighbors).
Now... check out your "to"s and "for"s in the quiz
above, and see how many you did right!
How did you fill in the spaces below?
("to" or "for"?)
"Last week I sent a letter to Jim. (physical action
toward someone) He said to me, (physical action toward
someone) last month, that he had bought a
present for me. (consideration, he was
thinking of me when he bought the
present) But, in fact I haven't received anything yet, that's
why I wrote a letter to
him (physical action toward someone). I also wrote a poem for him. (mental attitude,
consideration, I was thinking of
him when I wrote the poem). I haven't sent it, yet. I will send the
poem to Jim (physical action
toward someone) when I receive the present he
sent to me (physical action
toward someone). Because I know what the present is, and the poem
is about the present. Jim does nice things
for me, (thinking of me,
in consideration of me) he is always thinking of me. He does lots of
favors to me,
too. (things he does are direct action toward
me). When I was on vacation he paid the veterinarian's
bill for me - (he did it in my behalf, in consideration of
me) now I need to pay him back. I will send the money
to his account, (physical action
toward someone) through the
Internet. For me, ( in my opinion, abstract, not action) Jim is a great friend,
because he is always there for
me! (consideration) I
am always there for him,
abstraction, not action)
Challenge yourself a little more, you can do
* What's the right job (for or to) you?
(tip: in your opinion it is...)
* Some people are mean (for or to)
animals. (tip: they cause harm with their actions)
* This muffin I made is (for or to) you!
(tip: I was thinking of you when I made it)
* (For or To) me, this is much easier
now. (tip: this is what I think, now)
Once again, remember:
intention, consideration, opinion.
To = directed