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  1. #1
    Shibuya is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    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!

  2. #2
    oregeezer's Avatar
    oregeezer is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • Thailand
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    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

  3. #3
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    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.

  4. #4
    Shibuya is offline Newbie
    Join Date
    Feb 2008

    Re: impose on versus impose for

    Nice one - thats a great explanation. Thanks.

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