TO vs FOR: Difference between To vs For (with Useful Examples)

To vs For! Many English learners have difficulties understanding the difference between To vs For in English.


When to Use TO

1. Destination

  • We’re going to Paris.
  • I’m going to school.
  • My Mom went to the dentist yesterday.
  • The apple fell to the ground

2. What time it is?

  • It’s a quarter to 2.
  • It is quarter to six.

3. Distance

  • It’s about ten miles from my house to the university.

4. Comparing

  • I prefer sleeping to working.
  • She prefer walking to riding

5. Giving

  • I gave the book to my sister.
  • He gave a to his daughter on her birthday.

6. Motive/ Reason – with verb

  • I came here to see you.
  • He worked hard to earn money.
  • I want to talk to you.

When to Use FOR

1. Benefits

  • Yogurt is good for your digestion.
  • Vitamin A is good for eyesight

2. Period of time

  • We’ve lived here for 2 years.
  • I have been waiting for her for 2 hours

3. Schedule

  • I made an appointment for May 3.

4. Agree with

  • Are you for or against the development of nuclear weapons?

5. Doing something to help someone

  • Could you carry these books for me?

6. Motive/ Reason – with noun

  • Let’s go out for a drink.
  • We stopped at the pub for a drink.
  • I went to London for a conference.

7. Function – with verb (-ing form)

  • A ladle is a big spoon used for serving soup.
  • An altimeter is used for measuring height above sea level

Difference between TO vs FOR | Image

TO vs FORPin

4.4 15 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

I was going over this topic with one of my students and was shocked (and slightly embarrassed) to find multiple ENGLISH mistakes on an ESL page. Please have someone double-check your work before posting.

#4) She preferS walking to riding.
#5) He gave a (WHAT?) to his daughter on her birthday.

#2(“for”) I’ve been waiting for her for two hours. = The second “for” should be in bold print(not the first one) to illustrate the “period of time” use.

Kassaye getaneh
Kassaye getaneh
2 years ago
Reply to  Adam


Would love your thoughts, please comment.x