Came across this sentence in a newspaper article.

"But as the months passed by quickly with little other than grand announcements and declarations to show for, the case for more hands at the wheel became compelling.

The "for" in the above sentence (after show) confuses me. If this is wrong usage, what would be more appropriate - to omit the "for" after "show" in this sentence? Or adding an "it" after "show for" to make it "show for it"? Please give your enlightened views.


The first few results from https://www.google.com/search?q=show+for+it suggest that the "it" in the phrase "show for it" is usually "work" or "effort" or something like that:

I worked hard and have nothing to show for it.

In the referenced sentence you might want to use "them" instead of "it", because "them" would be referring to the (plural) months:

But as the months passed by quickly with little (other than etc.) to show for them, ...

I'm not sure that using the plural is necessary, however, because I might say:

I spent hours and have nothing to show for it

I spent dollars and have nothing to show for it

Still I do agree with you: there is something missing after "show for".

Alternatively, change it to say something like,

But as the months passed by quickly with few results except grand announcements and declarations, etc.

  • Thanks ChrisW. Still wondering if omitting "for" altogether will be acceptable. – Krishna Nov 13 '14 at 1:21
  • You can omit the "for" because it is a conjunction that is not joining "show" to anything (hence the suggestion of "it"). But you can't just drop it either, because "show" needs to apply to something in the sentence. I agree with @ChrisW, the editor of the newspaper should have replaced "show" with "few results" or some other clarifying clause. – Snapman Nov 14 '14 at 6:18

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