For vs. To

Difference Between For and To

‘For’ and ‘To’ prepositions are used in the English language with a difference. An author should be careful in the use of two prepositions.

To is a preposition that is used with a word in the fourth case known as the dative case. There are seven different cases in the English grammar and they are the nominative case, Instrumental case, Ablative case, the dative case, Genitive case, possessive case and Accusative case. All these cases are used differently with different prepositions to convey ideas to the reader or listener.

It is important to know that ‘to’ is used in the dative case. The preposition ‘for’ is also used in dative case, but little differently. See at the use of ‘to’ in the examples:

1. He gave a book to his classmate.

2. Francis has traveled to London from Paris.

In the first sentence you can see that a book is given by someone to his classmate and the second sentence you can see that Francis has moved from one place to another. In both sentences ‘to’ is used to express ‘movement’. In other words, it indicates a movement of a person or thing from one place to another or from one person to another. In the first example a thin is moving from one person to other while in the second, a person is moving from one place to other.

On the other hand the preposition ‘for’ indicates the significance of a person or object for which an action was made as in the sentence ‘I bought a book for my father’ and ‘He made each thing for his older brother ‘. You can understand the importance attached to two people, ‘the father’ as ‘elder brother’ in both sentences, respectively.


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