I'm looking for help understanding the difference between 'tips for swimming' and 'tips on swimming'. Are there certain grammar patterns that follow tips for vs. the ones that follow tips on? Are there also any differences in meaning between the two?

What I can find is:

  • Tips on can be followed by gerund/relative clause/noun (location)(topic)
  • Tips for can be followed by noun (topic) (purpose)(duration)(recipient)/relative clause/gerund/

Thanks for any help clearing this up for me.

  • Hi and welcome to EL&U! You might want to check this out: english.stackexchange.com/questions/26213/ideas-on-vs-ideas-for Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 2:32
  • Thanks. Looking at that article it looks like he didn't receive any answers that were helpful to him. I also found a couple others, but nothing that explicitly answered what type of grammar patterns follow these prepositions or if there is a difference in meaning between the two. Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 2:40
  • Honestly, why bother? "Swimming tips" sounds much better.
    – Catija
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 4:53
  • I would say the reason why is because I don't know, but I'd like to. Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 5:05

1 Answer 1


"tip" meaning a small piece of advice is one of those nouns where several prepositions are used. OALD has a tip on/for sth, Pons has a tip about sth.

  • Thanks for the OALD reference, but do you have any info about the grammatical usage following the two prepositions or what the differences in meanings are. Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 5:13
  • 1
    There is hardly a great difference of meaning. "on/ about" are the typical preposions for topic as in a book on/about the history of English. "about" is more frequent in spoken language. "for" in "a tip for growing tomatoes" is expressing the idea for what use as in water is good for washing.
    – rogermue
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 5:23
  • Thanks Roger for the help. It's a solitary game of reading grammar books, but it's much less so with people to discuss it with on this forum. Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 5:47
  • The grammar point prepositions is a weak pont in grammars and dictionaries haven't yet found a way to cover the problems of their uses in a satisfying way. It would be necessary to have reference works in dictionary form that cover only the area prepositions, but that is music lying in the future.
    – rogermue
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 5:52
  • There is an excellent book on prepositions, The Ins-and-Outs of Prepositions, but there is a limit to how detailed any one book can be. Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 6:27

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