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Thread: "to" or "for"?

  1. #1
    Anonymous Guest

    "to" or "for"?

    When you use "give" in S+V+O eg: I gave a paper plane to the boy.
    And you use the preposition "to".
    When you use "buy" eg: She bought a skateboard for her son.
    And you use the preposition "for".

    Do you have any rules to choose "to" or "for" according to verbs?
    I checked my grammar book, and it says that there are two types of verbs
    like "buy" and "give".
    But it is so hard for me ( non-native speaker) to find which word is in the group of "buy" or "give".

    And the grammar book says:
    Please bring that chair to me. ( You might not sit on the chair, it might
    be for another person.)
    Please bring that chair for me. ( You would like to sit on that chair, so
    asked to bring.)
    Is that right?
    Do you have other examples like these sentences?

    Thank you for your help.

  2. #2
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    Re: "to" or "for"?

    Quote Originally Posted by agnes
    When you use "give" in S+V+O eg: I gave a paper plane to the boy.
    And you use the preposition "to".
    When you use "buy" eg: She bought a skateboard for her son.
    And you use the preposition "for".

    Do you have any rules to choose "to" or "for" according to verbs?
    I checked my grammar book, and it says that there are two types of verbs
    like "buy" and "give".
    But it is so hard for me ( non-native speaker) to find which word is in the group of "buy" or "give".

    And the grammar book says:
    Please bring that chair to me. ( You might not sit on the chair, it might
    be for another person.)
    Please bring that chair for me. ( You would like to sit on that chair, so
    asked to bring.)
    Is that right?
    Do you have other examples like these sentences?

    Thank you for your help.
    Use for when someone benefits from the action, and use to when the objects moves in the direction towards something or someone, like this,

    I brought a chair for Sam. ('Sam' benefits from the action.)
    I brought a chair for myself. (I benefit from the action.)
    I brought a chair to the table. (The chair moves in the direction towards the table.)

    I made a cake for Pat. ('Pat' gets the cake! Pat benefits.)
    I made a cake to Pat. (Ungrammatical. Use a movement verb, like 'give'.)

    I gave a cake to Pat. (The 'cake' moves in the direction towards Pat. Pat also benefits, but don't use 'for'. The verb 'give' already has the meaning of benefit within its meaning.)

    I wrote a letter for Pat. ('Pat' benefits. Someone else did the work.)
    I wrote a letter to Pat. (The 'letter' moves in the direction of 'Pat'.)

    I will buy a cake for Sam. ('Sam' benefits. Someone else does the buying.)
    I will buy a cake to Sam. (Ungrammatical. 'buy' expresses an exchange of items (money and things bought) so 'for' is best.

    Try these out with other verbs and see what you come up with. If you find a verb that doesn't fit into the above patterns, post it here and we can talk about it. :D

    All the best,

  3. #3
    norikoagnes Guest

    Re: "to" or "for"?

    Dear Teachers,
    Thank you for your replies.
    I understand the reason to use "to" or "for". I really appreciate!!

    :D agnes

  4. #4
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    Re: "to" or "for"?

    Quote Originally Posted by norikoagnes
    Dear Teachers,
    Thank you for your replies.
    I understand the reason to use "to" or "for". I really appreciate!!

    :D agnes
    You are very welcome. :D

  5. #5
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    Smile Re: "to" or "for"?

    Look Down
    Last edited by caballerolance; 09-Jun-2006 at 07:48.

  6. #6
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    Smile Re: "to" or "for"?

    Sentence Structure with two objects:




    • In simple sentences the object is easy to see:
    She hit him.
    They took the money.

    • Some verbs, however, have two objects:
    She gave me the book. ( = she gave the book to me)

    The book is the real object of this sentence. It tells us what she gave.
    "Book" is the direct object (D.O.)
    "ME" is the indirect object (l.O.)



    FORM 1. VERB + DIRECT OBJECT + TO OR FOR + INDIRECT OBJECT.
    Give the money to him


    FORM 2. VERB + INDIRECT OBJECT WITHOUT TO OR FOR + DIRECT OBJECT.
    Give him the money


    Note: that it is not possible to use the second form when the direct object is a pronoun
    (me, her, him, it, etc]. The longer construction must be used:
    Give it to John. (NOT Give John it.)





    Subject + Verb + Indirect Object + Direct Object.

    James gave Michael a Cd. - Emma gave Rachel a book

    James = Subject
    Gave = Verb
    Michael = Indirect Object
    A Cd = Direct Object





    Subject + Verb + Direct Object + Phrase with to/for

    James gave a Cd to Michael. - We bought ice-creams for all the children

    James = Subject
    Gave = Verb
    A Cd = Direct Object
    to Michael = Phrase with to/for (Indirect Object)




    TO OR FOR

    To = We give something to someone
    Bring, give, hand, lend, offer, owe, pass, pay, post, promise, read, sell, send, show, take, teach, tell, throw, write.



    For = We buy something for someone
    Book, bring, build, buy, choose, cook, fetch, find, get, leave, order, pick, reserve, save.

    _________________________ ______________ ___________________

    Tell and Say:

    "Tell" has a personal direct object
    She told me she was going to be late.
    "It's too late" She told me.

    "Say" never has a personal direct object
    She said she was going to be late.

    With "say" the indirect object is used instead. (To me, to her, to us, etc)
    "I donīt like them very much" She said to me quietly


    ______________________________ _____________ ________________________ _




    Other Uses. "For"


    FOR can be used to talk about somebody's purpose in doing something, but only when it is followed by a noun.

    We stopped at the pub for a drink.
    I went to the college for an interview with Professor Taylor.
    (A drink, an interview are nouns)

    You cannot use for before a verb in this sense. The infinitive alone is used to express a person's purpose.
    We stopped at the pub to have a drink
    I went to the college to see Professor Taylor


    You can use for before "ing" to express the "purpose" of a thing (what it is used for) especially when the thing is the subject of the clause.

    Subject = that Cake, An Altimeter, etc.
    Is that cake for eating or just for looking at?
    An altimeter is used for measuring height above sea level.


    But when the clause has a person as subject, it is more common to use an infinitive to express the purpose of a thing.

    Subject = We, James, She, etc.
    We use altimeters to measure height above sea level.

    Last edited by caballerolance; 24-Jun-2006 at 18:11.

  7. #7
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    Re: "to" or "for"?

    'Give sth to sb' is an idiomatic use. We can't say: I gave some money for him, even if it(money) benefits him. Still,we can use the above sentence where 'him' is not indirect object. For example: I gave some money to John for him.

    "Buy sb sth" is preferrable to "buy sth for sb'.

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