To vs. For
The words to and for are often confused. For is a preposition. It should be followed by a noun or an -ing form (gerund).
Walking is good for health.
We stand for peace.
The government should do something for the poor.
To has two uses. It can be a preposition. It can also be an infinitive marker. When to is used as a preposition it is followed by a noun which acts as its object. When to is used as an infinitive marker, it should be followed by a verb.
He goes to office at 9 am.
John went to the market.
He is working hard to win the first rank.
Don’t say: “I’m studying every day for improve my English.”
Say: “I’m studying every day to improve my English.”
The prepositions to and for are very easy to confuse! Here are some rules:
|Use to in these cases:||Use for in these cases:|
"We’re going to Paris."
"Yogurt is good for your digestion".
|2- What time it is
"It’s a quarter to two.
|2- Period of time
"We’ve lived here for 2 years.
"It’s about ten miles from my house to the university.
"I made an appointment for May 3rd.
"I prefer sleeping to working.
|4- Agree with
"Are you for or against the use of nuclear weapons?
"I gave the book to my sister.
|5- Doing something to help someone
"Could you carry these books for me?
|6- Motive/Reason – with verb
"I came here to see you.
|6- Motive/Reason – with noun
"Let’s go out for a drink.
|7- Function – with verb (-ing form)
"A ladle is a big spoon used for serving soup.
As you can see in #6, TO or FOR can be used for a motive/reason, but TO is always with a verb, and FOR is always with a noun. Here’s a good example:
|I came to New York to work.||(the reason why I came to NYC is to work – verb
|I came to New York for a new job.||(the reason why I came to NYC could have been business,
pleasure – a noun)
|I did these exercises to help a friend.||(the reason why I did the exercises was to help my
friend – verb in infinitive)
|I did these exercises for a friend.||(the reason why I did the exercises for my friend was be-
cause my friend probably did not know how to do them, but
it could also have been "for fun", "for practising" – a noun)
So, both for and to can be used to talk about somebody's purpose in doing something. The structures are different, though. For is used to talk about purpose only when it is followed by a noun.
We stopped at the pub for a drink.
I went to London for a conference.
For cannot be used before a verb to express a person's purpose. Instead, we use to.
We stopped at the pub to have a drink. (NOT We stopped at the pub for having a drink.)
I went to London to attend a conference. (NOT I went to London for attending a conference.)
For can be used before an -ing form to express the purpose of a thing.
An altimeter is used for measuring height above sea level.
An altimeter is used to measure height above sea level.
When the clause has a person as subject, we usually use an infinitive to express the purpose of a thing.
We use an altimeter to measure height above sea level.
(More natural than 'We use an altimeter for measuring height above sea level.')
The garden shears were used to clip the hedge.
The garden shears were used for clipping the hedge.
We used garden shears to clip the hedge.
(More natural than 'We used garden shears for clipping the hedge.')
|GO TO EXPRESSIONS||GO FOR EXPRESSIONS|
|go to work
go to school
go to bed
go to church
go to town
go to court
go to pieces
go to hell
go to London
go to the bank
go to the office
|go for a walk
go for a ride
go for a drive
go for a beer
go for it
go for a wee
go for a break
go for a coffee