The following link includes a guide ___________ how to use it.

How should I fill in the blank, on, for, or about?

5 Answers 5


Generally speaking, I personally prefer "guide to" over "guide on"; "guide about" sounds rather strange to me (though not ungrammatical).

By the way, mohang's Google results are very different from what I'm seeing:

(If I add an article in front of "guide" to make sure that I only get results where it is a noun, the picture is the same: 119,000,000 vs 4,730,000 vs 252,000 for "a", and 15,500,000 vs 2,380,000 vs 156,000 for "the".)

I checked the British National Corpus (BNC) and the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA), and they both seem to agree:

                   BNC   COCA

guide.[n] to      1419   4553
guide.[n] on        37    194
guide.[n] about      4     15

guide to how        41     27
guide on how         6     16
guide about how      1      1

That being said, as Rocquie points out, two "to"s in rapid succession are not everybody's thing. I actually agree, so in this particular case, I would probably go with "on" (as Bruno suggests) or with "to" + gerund:

  • a guide on how to use it
  • a guide to using it

The BNC stats look as follows:

guide on how to     6
guide to how to     4
guide about how to  0

guide to using/getting/making     3/4/7
guide on using/getting/making     0/0/0
guide about using/getting/making  0/0/0

Now, what about "guide for"? That one is trickier, because it usually means something else entirely — more often than not, the for denotes the target audience rather than the subject of the guide (though the latter is not unheard of, either). Here are just a few examples from BNC and COCA:

  • The Guide for the Perplexed
  • A Guide for Married Couples
  • a Resource Guide for the Responsible Non-Monogamist
  • Evaluating the School: A Guide for Secondary Schools in the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull
  • Licensing Digital Content: A Practical Guide for Librarians
  • A Green Guide for Travelers
  • How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians
  • a copy of Practical Guide for Asthmatics

You can't meaningfully substitute to, on or about in any of these examples.


People would in general use on.

There are many definitions of "on" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. The definition to support "on" as the preposition choice in this case is:

Used as a function word to indicate the subject of study, discussion, or consideration (a book on insects)


I would just say "a guide explaining how to use it" and avoid the unnecessary awkwardness.


To sounds clumsy because of the other to. On is fine, about is OK but two syllables so not as concise as on.


Why not a guide to?

I checked Google search; the following are the results:

  1. guide on -> 1,910,000,000

  2. guide to -> 1,940,000,000

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