The Difference between TO and FOR in English

Many English learners have difficulties understanding the difference between TO and FOR in English...


We use TO in these cases:

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.

We use FOR in these cases:

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

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