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Thread: 'to' or 'for'

  1. #1
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    'to' or 'for'

    I know the difference between two and four,
    but sometimes I wonder if I should use 'to' or 'for'.

    I found these two following expressions in the textbook many Japanese students use.
    1) It was boring to me.
    2) It's not so difficult for me.

    I think 'boring for me' is better, though I can't give a reason for it,
    Is there a difference between 'boring to me' and 'boring for me'?
    Or completely the same meaning?
    Just depends on the person who says?

    I would like to give my students a clear explanation about it.
    Could you please help me?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Mister Micawber's Avatar
    Mister Micawber is offline Key Member
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    Re: 'to' or 'for'

    I find 'boring for me' more natural, but I don't slight my Japanese students if they use 'boring to' (which works better in 'it seemed boring to me'). #2 is fine (and works similarly with 'seem' -- 'it doesn't seem difficult to me').

    I doubt there is an overall rule, though, beyond what we can glean here: it appears to the experiencer to be boring/difficult/endearing/etc. vs the actual experience for the individual.

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    Re: 'to' or 'for'

    Thank you very much, Mister Micawber.

    I also doubt there is an overall rule.
    There might be also a slight difference between American English speaking people and British English speaking people.
    I would be very happy if many native speakers would let me know which you prefer to use, 'to' or 'for' in the following sentences !

    1) The movie was very boring ( to / for ) me.
    2) The movie seemed boring ( to / for ) me.
    3) Speaking English is very difficult ( to / for ) Japanese students.
    4) Speaking Japanese doesn't seem difficult ( to / for ) me.
    5) It's exciting ( to / for ) me to speak with a foreigner.
    6) I think it's very exciting ( to / for ) everyone to speak with a foreigner.

  4. #4
    Dandelion is offline Member
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    Re: 'to' or 'for'

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstupid
    Thank you very much, Mister Micawber.

    I also doubt there is an overall rule.
    There might be also a slight difference between American English speaking people and British English speaking people.
    I would be very happy if many native speakers would let me know which you prefer to use, 'to' or 'for' in the following sentences !

    1) The movie was very boring ( to / for ) me.
    2) The movie seemed boring ( to / for ) me.
    3) Speaking English is very difficult ( to / for ) Japanese students.
    4) Speaking Japanese doesn't seem difficult ( to / for ) me.
    5) It's exciting ( to / for ) me to speak with a foreigner.
    6) I think it's very exciting ( to / for ) everyone to speak with a foreigner.
    1. for
    2. to
    3. for
    4. to
    5. for
    6. for

    I use "to me" for personal opinions and "for me" for actual experiences.

  5. #5
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    Re: 'to' or 'for'

    Thank you very much, Dandelion.

    It seems to me that you prefer using 'to' when the verb of the sentence is 'seem'.
    Right? Or am I wrong?
    Is it just accidental coincidence?

    If I say,"The movie was boring to me," does it mean "I don't know what you think, but in my opinion it was boring at least to me"?
    And if I say, "The movie was so boring for me," does it mean "The movie gave me a boring experience," in other words, "I was so bored with the movie"?

    Could someone persuade me who cares if you use 'to' or 'for'?
    We Japanese people tend to be too scrupulous about triflies.

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    Re: 'to' or 'for'

    Quote Originally Posted by Dandelion
    1. for
    2. to
    3. for
    4. to
    5. for
    6. for

    I use "to me" for personal opinions and "for me" for actual experiences.
    Have you noticed your answer to #2 and #4 is "to"? I'd think it has something to do with the linking verb "seem".

    seem + adj + to

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    Re: 'to' or 'for'

    I know it's + for + to infinitive syntax.
    Which is better or more preferable,
    "It seems very difficult for me ( you ) to speak Chinese."
    or "It seems very difficult to me ( you ) to speak Chinese,"?

    Please help me.

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: 'to' or 'for'

    It seems very difficult to me for you to speak Chinese.

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    Re: 'to' or 'for'

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH, Mister Micawber, Dandelion, blacknomi, and tdol.
    Now I have an idea, though it is vague, about the difference between 'to' and 'for'.

    "to me" - for personal opinions
    "for me" - for actual experiences
    This difinition seems very useful to me.

    Thank you again, Dandelion.

  10. #10
    Dandelion is offline Member
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    Re: 'to' or 'for'

    Quote Originally Posted by Sstupid
    Thank you very much, Dandelion.

    It seems to me that you prefer using 'to' when the verb of the sentence is 'seem'.
    Right? Or am I wrong?
    Is it just accidental coincidence?

    If I say,"The movie was boring to me," does it mean "I don't know what you think, but in my opinion it was boring at least to me"?
    And if I say, "The movie was so boring for me," does it mean "The movie gave me a boring experience," in other words, "I was so bored with the movie"?

    Could someone persuade me who cares if you use 'to' or 'for'?
    We Japanese people tend to be too scrupulous about triflies.
    You're welcome.

    It's not a coincidence. "To me" means "in my opinion".
    a) It seems to me (that) the movie is boring.
    b) It appears to me (that) the movie is boring.
    c) The movie seems boring to me.
    d) To me, the movie is boring.
    e) In my opinion, the movie is boring.
    All of the examples above mean the same thing to me.

    Yes, although "The movie was boring for me." sounds a little unnatural to me, I would probably say "The movie was a boring experience for me."

    Don't worry about it. As Mister Micawber said, it's no big deal.

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