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    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 4
    #1

    impose on versus impose for

    Greetings all - apologies if this should be in the idioms section.

    I was wondering if anyone could give me a simple explanation between the difference in use of 'impose on' and 'impose for'.

    It came up in one of my classes and my initial thought was that impose on is always correct but the student produced a lot of examples where impose for is used - often pertaining to tax/fines/penalties etc.

    Any ideas?
    Thanks all!

  1. oregeezer's Avatar
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    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    #2

    Re: impose on versus impose for

    My Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary has 2 definitions (both verbs)
    1.) [FORCE] to officially force a rule, tax, punishment to be obeyed or received.
    2.) [EXPECT] to expect someone to do something for you ... they do not want to do.
    so 1.) could be "A tax imposed for collection." or "To impose a tax for environmental reasons." and
    2.) would almost always be "May I impose on you?" Can't think of ANY exceptions.
    Last edited by oregeezer; 19-Feb-2008 at 07:05. Reason: Additional example


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #3

    Re: impose on versus impose for

    You impose on someone/something, but a tax or fine can be imposed for a purpose.

    There is a tax imposed for the support of education.
    He had a fine imposed for exceeding the speed limit.


    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 4
    #4

    Re: impose on versus impose for

    Nice one - thats a great explanation. Thanks.

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