1

Okay, so I was writing a story, or editing a part of a story, and the grammar checker I use told me that I was using "for" where I should have been using "to." But, I don't agree. Could anyone explain to me why this first sentence would be correct and the second would not?

His homework looks really hard, but it doesn’t seem hard to him, which makes sense because I’m a freshman and he’s a junior in all honors and AP courses.

His homework looks really hard, but it doesn’t seem hard for him, which makes sense because I’m a freshman and he’s a junior in all honors and AP courses.

I tried to look this up, but the results basically defined "to" and "for" and gave lists of when to use them geared towards non-native English speakers. I'm not looking for a definition; I'm asking for an explanation of the above word usage. Thank you.

  • 1
    This is only an opinion but I read 'to' as referring to a subjective experience but 'for' as referreing to something a little more objective. EG "Although I had covered all the topics the questions seemed difficult to me and I struggled to complete the test" as opposed to "The test was difficult for me as my tutor had not covered all the course material". – BoldBen Sep 28 '16 at 4:29
  • Taking BoldBen's excellent suggestion a stage further, who is making the judgement? "To him it doesn't seem hard" is one thing "To me, it doesn't seem hard for him" quite another – Robbie Goodwin Oct 11 '16 at 21:48
2

I would say it should be one of these.

His homework looks really hard but it doesn’t seem hard to him. Meaning, he finds it easy.

His homework looks really hard but it's not hard for him. Meaning, he finds it easy.

Note, no comma before the word "but", the comma is already implied by the use of the word "but", kit's the same as with the word "and".

0

There is no universal rule in figuring out when to use "To" or "For" in every situation. However, in most of the situations, the preposition "To" is used when it is followed by a verb and "For" is used when it is followed by a noun. As such, in your example, the preposition is followed by a noun due to which the correct preposition to use is "For."

Even though I gave the above explanation, it is not always true. Following two examples show the difference.

1) This has to be given to him. 2) This is for him.

If you go through a lot of examples, you will find out that there is no proper rule in English to figure out the exact difference. in my opinion, the only way is to read authentic English articles to internalize the use of these two prepositions without sticking on to rules.

  • Do you have any evidence for your "most of the situations" to / for rule? If you're including infinitives, the to isn't a preposition there. – deadrat Sep 28 '16 at 4:47
  • Dear deadrat, there is no such evidence, but I stated it as I've found the usage of these two prepositions in the above-mentioned ways in many scholarly articles I've read. – Nimal Nonis Sep 28 '16 at 5:26
  • If there's no such evidence, then perhaps it's best not stated as a rule for "most of the situations". – deadrat Sep 28 '16 at 5:33

protected by Mitch Oct 18 '16 at 15:15

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

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