Prepositions: To vs. For

“To” and “for” are commonly used as prepositions. Changing a preposition, such as using “to” in the place of “for,” can completely alter the meaning of a sentence.

We frequently use the prepositions “to” and “for” in English to talk about why somebody did something.
For example, “why did you go to Venice last weekend?
“I went to Venice to see the Carnivale festival.”


“ Why did you buy a new phone?”
“I bought a new phone for work calls.”
In sentences like these, “to” and “for” mean the same thing, but they aren’t used in the same way.

When to use ‘to’ instead of ‘for’
How do you know when to use “to” and when to use “for”?
It might seem complicated, but the answer is actually very simple. Use “to” when the reason or purpose is a verb. Use “for” when the reason or purpose is a noun.
Here are a few more examples of both being used.
I bought a present to give to Ludo on her birthday. (verb)
I bought a present for Ludo’s birthday. (noun)
I’m playing hockey to stay healthy. (verb)
I’m playing hockey for my health. (noun)

What are some other uses for the word ‘to’?
We use “to” when talking about movement or a change in direction: “To” is used as a preposition if there’s movement, a transfer or a change in direction from one point to another.
For example, “I need you to take vegetables books to Martino.”
“We are going to Sicily next Tuesday.”
Use “to” with English infinitive verbs: Any English verb in the infinitive form will include the word “to.”
For example, “Emilia loves to play on her phone.”
“When do you want to eat dinner?”

Use “to” when comparing two things: “To” is often used in comparing two things and expressing one’s preferences (likes).
For example, “I prefer football to swimming.”

What are some other uses for the word ‘for’?
“For” is used as both a preposition and conjunction, but it’s much more common as a preposition.
Use “for” when expressing thanks or gratitude: If you want to thank someone, you’ll usually use the word “for” to explain why you’re thanking them.
For example, “Thank you for the birthday gift.”
Use “for” when talking about a duration of time:“For” is also used to talk about a length of time during which something happened.
For example, “I have class for three hours tonight.”

To vs. For Quiz

Fill in the blanks of the following sentences using either ‘for’ or ‘to’.

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