English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Which preposition, for or to, is correct in below sentence?

It is less stressful [for/to] a child than an adult to learn a foreign language.

share|improve this question
In case it isn't clear from the answers, for is definitely the right preposition here. – Peter Shor May 5 '11 at 10:12
Related: Rule for using “for” vs. “to” – b.roth May 5 '11 at 10:43
up vote 5 down vote accepted

The preposition for introduces the person who feels stressful, regardless of the verb form used:

Working is stressful for some.

It is stressful for some to work.

You can omit the subject of the stress:

It is stressful to work.

NGrams shows that to is also used but for is the preferred preposition. It also shows that stress was popularised in the late 20th century.

enter image description here

share|improve this answer
You said the same I did: use of "for" as the basic one, and "to" with verbs. What's the difference? – Alenanno May 5 '11 at 9:14
I am saying the object person is always introduced with for, never to. In the examples to is not a preposition it is part of a verb form. The verb form that describes the action causing the stress. – z7sg Ѫ May 5 '11 at 10:06
Ok but I never said "to" is a preposition... Plus it seems czh found an entry where to is used as a preposition. – Alenanno May 5 '11 at 10:08
Yes.. it seems that it's in use, but for is preferred – z7sg Ѫ May 5 '11 at 10:10
I agree on that. – Alenanno May 5 '11 at 10:24

It is less stressful ( for / to ) a child than an adult to learn a foreign language.

"For" is the right choice, but it would be even better as:

It is less stressful for a child to learn a foreign language than for an adult.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.