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  1. Senior Member
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      • Native Language:
      • Arabic
      • Home Country:
      • Malaysia
      • Current Location:
      • Hong Kong

    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 823
    #1

    to and for

    Hi native speakers,

    Question 1
    What is difference between 'to' and 'for' in the following expressions:

    Vital to /for
    Good to/ for
    Important to/ for
    Essential to /for



    Question 2
    My friend says it is not correct to write:
    Dedication is vital for your success.

    IT SHOULD BE WRITTEN AS:
    Dedication is vital to your success.
    Is it true? If yes, can the same principle apply to 'essential', 'important' and 'good'?

    peter


    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 1,153
    #2

    Re: to and for

    Quote Originally Posted by peter123 View Post
    Hi native speakers,

    Question 1
    What is difference between 'to' and 'for' in the following expressions:

    Vital to /for
    Good to/ for
    Important to/ for
    Essential to /for

    Question 2
    My friend says it is not correct to write:
    Dedication is vital for your success.

    IT SHOULD BE WRITTEN AS:
    Dedication is vital to your success.
    Is it true? If yes, can the same principle apply to 'essential', 'important' and 'good'?

    peter
    This is a very tough question. To a native speaker some combinations have very subtle difference in meaning but there is no concrete rule that I can find and I have searched the internet for 30 minutes to try to find a good answer to your question.

    To answer Question 2 first

    Dedication is vital to your success.
    Dedication is vital for your success.

    I would say that both sentences mean the same thing. I doubt that any native English speaker could explain a difference. I would personally use the second sentence.

    Good to/ for
    She is good to him.
    She is good for him.

    There is a difference between these two sentences. Being good to him means she does done something nice for him. Being good for him means that with her in his life he is a better person.

    Important to/ for
    Eating lots of vegetables is important to your health.
    Eating lots of vegetables is important for your health.

    It is the same as vital to/for; I don't see any of difference in meaning here. Personally I would use the second sentence though.

    Essential to /for
    Water is essential for life.
    Water is essential to life.

    The first sentence sounds a lot better to my native English ear, but the second second sentence is grammatically correct to the best of my knowledge and means basically the same thing.

    I hope this has helped you. In English there are many ways to say the same thing.

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