Home ESL Teacher To vs. For: What’s the Distinction? Study Methods to Use “To” and “For” in English Sentences

To vs. For: What’s the Distinction? Study Methods to Use “To” and “For” in English Sentences

To vs. For: What’s the Distinction? Study Methods to Use “To” and “For” in English Sentences


to vs for

Take a look at these two sentences:

Are you able to deliver some flowers for Mary?

Are you able to deliver some flowers to Mary?

These sentences have completely different meanings. However perhaps you may’t see why.

Some pairs of comparable English phrases like “to” and “for” will be tough for English learners.

On this publish, I’ll clarify the primary variations between “to” and “for.”

Prepared for it? Let’s go!


Methods to Use “To” and “For” in English Sentences

“To” and “for” are generally used as prepositions. Altering a preposition, comparable to utilizing “to” within the place of “for,” can fully alter the that means of a sentence.

Typically, in the event you use the incorrect phrase, you’ll get a sentence that isn’t grammatically right.

So, let’s start by speaking about one of the frequent (and most complicated) makes use of of “to” and “for”:

Utilizing “To” vs. “For” to Speak About Causes and Functions

We regularly use the prepositions “to” and “for” to speak about why any individual did one thing. Let’s have a look at just a few examples.

Why did you journey to London?
I traveled to London to enhance my English.

Why did she purchase a cake?
She purchased a cake for her brother’s birthday.

Why are you going dwelling?
I’m going dwelling to feed my cats.

Why did you go to the museum yesterday?
I went to the museum for a lecture on fashionable artwork.

In sentences like these, “to” and “for” imply the identical factor, however they aren’t utilized in the identical manner.

For instance, in the event you stated, “I’m going dwelling for feed my cats,” that will be incorrect. You must use “to.”

So, how are you aware when to make use of “to” and when to make use of “for”?

It may appear difficult, however the reply is definitely quite simple. Use “to” when the rationale or goal is a verb. Use “for” when the rationale or goal is a noun.

That’s all!

Let’s have a look at some extra examples of “to” and “for” used side-by-side:

I purchased a gift to provide to Sarah on her birthday. (verb)
I purchased a gift for Sarah’s birthday. (noun)

I drink espresso to really feel extra awake. (verb)
I drink espresso for its great style.

I’m exercising to remain wholesome. (verb)
I’m exercising for my well being. (noun)

When you’ve realized that rule, utilizing “to” and “for” turns into a lot simpler. Now that you simply’ve mastered the toughest half, let’s have a look at another makes use of of “to” and “for.”

Different Makes use of of the Phrase “To”

Listed here are among the conditions the place we generally use “to.”

Use “to” when speaking about motion or a change in path

“To” is used as a preposition if there’s motion, a switch or a change in path from one level to a different.

For instance,

I want you to take these books to Mary.

We’re going to Paris subsequent Tuesday.

Within the first instance, “to” is used to recommend a switch of the books from “you” to “Mary.” Within the subsequent instance, “to” signifies (reveals) a change of place from the speaker’s location to Paris.

Use “to” with English infinitive verbs

Any English verb within the infinitive type will embody the phrase “to.” You’ll regularly see this development in English sentences.

For instance,

Nina loves to speak on the cellphone.

When would you like to eat dinner?

We’re going to satisfy the Queen tomorrow!

Use “to” when evaluating two issues

“To” is usually utilized in evaluating two issues and expressing one’s preferences (likes).

For instance,

I choose espresso to tea.

She prefers studying books to watching motion pictures.

Different Makes use of of the Phrase “For”

Now it’s time to study concerning the phrase “for.” “For” is used as each a preposition and conjunction, however it’s rather more frequent as a preposition.

Let’s study when to make use of it!

Use “for” when expressing thanks or gratitude

If you wish to thank somebody, you’ll normally use the phrase “for” to elucidate why you’re thanking them.

The phrase “for” will probably be adopted by a noun or gerund (a verb that ends with “-ing”).

For instance,

Thanks for educating me to play the guitar.

Thanks a lot for the brand new sneakers!

Matthew thanked Brian for coming to his party.

Use “for” when speaking a couple of period of time

“For” can also be used to speak a couple of size of time throughout which one thing occurred.

For instance,

I waited on the station for two hours.

They’ve lived in Ohio for eight years.

We’ve recognized one another for a very long time.

Use “for” when expressing assist and settlement

“For” is used to point settlement with or assist of a trigger.

For instance,

Are you for or in opposition to the ladies’s motion?

I’m all for growing taxes.

To vs. For: Check Your Understanding with a Easy Quiz

Now it’s time for a brief quiz to check your understanding of when to make use of “for” and “to.” Fill within the blanks with the proper phrase and verify with the solutions which might be given on the finish of it.

  1. Jeet went ____ New York ____ see his favourite rock band carry out reside.
  2. I want to provide my essay ____ the professor earlier than 5:00.
  3. He lived in Paris ____ three years.
  4. I’m trying ____  a brand new job.
  5. Are you ____ or in opposition to the environmentalist motion?
  6. Thanks a lot ____ your form letter.
  7. I choose Rohan ____ Ben.
  8. I need ____ eat pizza for dinner.
  9. His dad and mom sacrificed a lot ____ him.
  10. Will you please take these books ____ the library ____ me?

(Solutions: 1. to/to, 2. to, 3. for 4. for, 5. for, 6. for, 7. to, 8. to, 9. for, 10. to/for)

Extra Assets for Practising Utilizing “To” and “For”

Studying grammar guidelines isn’t sufficient. To correctly study the variations between “to” and “for,” you must observe. Beneath are among the greatest sources.

On-line quizzes and workouts are a fast and environment friendly technique to study English phrases. They assist you to verify your English studying progress.

UsingEnglish has a brief quiz of 10 questions for novices, which additionally comes with a printable worksheet.

Autoenglish.org presents a barely tougher train. For those who do properly in it, you’ll by no means be confused between “to” and “for.”

Lastly, each English Tremendous Web site and To Study English have 15-question quizzes that cowl quite a lot of conditions the place “for” and “to” are generally used.

One other essential technique to get to know “to” and “for” is to listen to them in use. Use the FluentU language studying program to see the phrases being utilized in native English movies like film clips, interviews, inspirational talks, brief cartoons and extra.

Seek for both phrase (or any English phrase) to see movies the place it’s getting used. FluentU’s contextual dictionary may even present you completely different examples for various meanings of every phrase. For instance, you may see the phrase “for” getting used to indicate period (“for the way lengthy”), goal (“for what cause”), path of motion (“for you”) and all different meanings of the phrase.

For every that means, you may see instance sentences and video clips from FluentU movies the place the phrase seems naturally. Plus, you need to use FluentU’s personalised quizzes to memorize other ways to make use of “to” and “for.” For those who’re on the iOS or Android apps, you may even observe saying these phrases out loud in talking questions.

Because of the context of all of the movies and the detailed dictionary on FluentU, you’ll by no means confuse the 2 phrases once more.


I hope the variations between “to” and “for” are clear to you now.

For those who make errors, that’s fully okay. I made loads of grammar errors after I first began out.

Errors are positive, so long as you study from them. Simply preserve learning. Give you your individual examples and use the phrases in your day by day conversations. Over time, observe will enhance your confidence. Quickly sufficient, you’ll develop into a fluent English speaker!