Perplexing Prepositions TO & FOR – A Grammar Lesson

Commonly confused prepositions “to” vs “for” – Fernando is a Brazilian salesperson studying Business English. We discussed prepositions in class today. A preposition is a word used to show the relationship between words in a sentence. Prepositions generally work with nouns to link the noun to other parts of the sentence.

The preposition “to” is used with verbs, (e.g.: “to dance”, “to sing”, “to be”), it also indicates a transfer of some sort (e.g.: I will take my dog to the park [from here to the park], my daughter will go to school [from home to school], I will talk to him [information is transferred from me to him].

“For” is used to show purpose (e.g.: “this pot is for cooking rice”,”this bin is for paper”), and also to show when an action benefits someone (e.g.: “I will cook dinner for you”,”I will walk your dog for you”). Sometimes a sentence contains both “to” and “for” (e.g.: “I will walk your dog to the park for you”,”I will speak to my boss for you”). In Portuguese, there is one word that is used to describe both “to” and “for”: “para”. This makes the difference between these two prepositions particularly confusing for Portuguese natives.

Question: Which prepositions do you find most confusing?

Exercise: Write down some example sentences with “to” and some with “for” in the comments below and we’ll offer you feedback. Practice makes perfect! 😉

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Posted by Inspired English

1 comment

I would like to sing a song for your parents.

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