When do we use important for and important to? What's the rule? For example:

It's important to me.


It's important for me.

What's the difference between the two sentences?

  • 1
    Breathing is important to me because it is important for me!
    – ScotM
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 18:51
  • "It's important for him to like me" would usually be taken as meaning it matters to me that he should like me. But "It's important to him to like me" can only ever mean he cares a lot or has a lot to gain by liking me. Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 18:57
  • 3
    Important to Person is an emotional judgement of person P. Important for X is a conclusion about a chain of causation resulting in X. Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 19:07
  • If I want to find out more about situations like this, what should I look for? Important is an adjective in this case.. do adjectives have prepositions? What is the name of that relationship? Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 9:38

2 Answers 2


Important to signifies a connection to the specified subject (in this case me). Important for denotes importance for a certain cause.

It's important to me! refers to something you value or hold in great esteem.

It's important for me! refers to a cause, e.g. It's important for my health/success etc.


"X is important to Y" where "Y" is a conscious entity denotes that Y values X.

My parents are important to me.

"X is important for Y" denotes that X is something that Y really needs or that Y will be severely affected by not having X. In this case "Y" does not have to be a conscious entity.

Sunlight is important for plant growth.

Water is important for survival.

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