49

Which one should be used?

To me, it makes no difference, but I'm not really sure why.

vs

For me, it makes no difference, but I'm not really sure why.

3
  • 1
    Could you provide complete sentences using both forms? Sep 16, 2010 at 10:00
  • Edited the question so the comparison is clear.
    – Kosmonaut
    Sep 16, 2010 at 11:11
  • In my Oxford Learner's Pocket Dictionary I didn't find the word 'to' used to express opinion.
    – user45046
    May 29, 2013 at 3:32

4 Answers 4

35

I think the general (most widely-applicable) one would be "to me". To my knowledge, it can be used in any of these cases where "for me" is used, and in some where "for me" can't be used.

For example:

  • For me, this is not a difficult problem.

  • To me, this is not a difficult problem.

Both of the above are fine.

But look at the following pair (the "*" sentence is ungrammatical in this context):

  • *For me, he is an idiot.

  • To me, he is an idiot.

The first example doesn't work as a way to express opinion, but "to me" still works fine.

4
  • In your second pair, consider the case of one supervisor talking to another about a float employee. He may be fine working in one situation, but not another. Is this too contrived a counter-example?
    – kajaco
    Sep 16, 2010 at 16:36
  • 1
    No, it is not that it is too contrived, it is that you are talking about a different sense of "for me". The "for me" part doesn't mean "in my opinion" in this situation, it means "(when doing work) for me". But I agree that the sentence can mean something in the right situation (such as your example).
    – Kosmonaut
    Sep 16, 2010 at 17:54
  • Umm, I can't get it. What does the *For mean then? For my sake? Feb 17, 2018 at 1:49
  • 1
    @K._: The star in front of the sentence means it is ungrammatical. It's a notation used by linguists and I accidentally forgot to indicate that.
    – Kosmonaut
    Mar 20, 2018 at 15:01
40

"For me" is to express its effect on you or it's benefit for you, whether it's good or bad.

"To me" is more to express opinion.

Ex: That's difficult for me. That sounds difficult to me.

2
  • If I were teaching someone idiomatic English, this is the answer I would use. I've never seen it stated so clearly. May 4, 2017 at 10:42
  • So to me is similar to in my opinion.
    – Searene
    Jul 22, 2018 at 10:56
4

Hmm, tough one. Rearranging the sentences helped me see this a little more clearly:

It makes no difference to me

This suggests there is no effect on me materially, emotionally, financially ...etc. That is, nothing will happen to me.

It makes no difference for me

This suggests that I have no strong opinion on this.

I can't explain this in terms of grammar or style, it's just a feeling that the sentences provoked when I said them to myself.

1
  • I think "To me, it makes no difference." and "It makes no difference." can mean two different things. The first one with comma is more of one's opinion, whereas the second one is as you explained in your answer. Oct 19, 2015 at 17:01
1

I basically agree with Antony Quinn's answer, with one slight difference. for me implies that your decision will not affect me. to me means I don't much care what you decide, even if it does affect me.

Illustration: My employer considers switching from issuing pay checks every week to issuing them once a quarter. This affects me, and I don't want it to happen, so I might say, It makes a difference for me (because my cash flow cannot handle this). (Sorry that I couldn't think of an example that kept the "no difference" idea.) However, if my employer considers switching from weekly to biweekly pay checks, it still affects me, but not in any way that matters to me (because my cash flow can handle this), so I might say, It makes no difference to me.

1
  • So in the biweekly paychecks example, one could say "the switch makes a difference for me (it affects me in some way) but it makes no difference to me (I'm not concerned about how it affects me)". Is that correct? Jan 17, 2014 at 0:52

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