Is there any difference between "cater to" and "cater for"? Which is better in this context:

  1. The dramatist must cater to the taste of the audience.
  2. The dramatist must cater for the taste of the audience.

I found another discussion on similar lines but it was between "cater to" and "cater towards". Seems both "to" and "for" are correct. But I wish to know if there are specific contexts in which one is picked over the other.

I did search for this in a few online dictionaries, and also I found this exact question on WordReference.com, but the answers were divided. Many seemed to think they are the same. Dictionary.com gives clearly separate examples for both but has added in brackets that both to and for can be used to mean 'pander to'. Hence the confusion.

  1. to provide food, service, etc., as for a party or wedding: to cater for a banquet.
  2. to provide or supply what amuses, is desired, or gives pleasure, comfort, etc. (usually followed by to or for): to cater to popular demand; to cater to an invalid.

(intransitive; foll by for or to) to provide what is required or desired (for): to cater for a need, cater to your tastes

There is quite a lot of stuff on this topic, but it's mostly ambiguous.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Jan 17, 2018 at 1:20

2 Answers 2


I want to believe "cater to" is American, while "cater for" is British. Much the same way as "different than" is American, while "different from" is British.

  • Can you offer any links or sources to support this usage as something standard, or is it just your personal usage? Dec 20, 2020 at 10:27

The main difference of both preps lies in actual meaning not in accent or context.

Cater for is used to say that you provide a perticular group of people with what is needed or wanted by them.

Cater to usually expresses the idea that you'll provide what exactly a particular group of people want especially sth that is unusual or that people think is wrong or messed up.


She wants to cater for her blind employees by providing the company's facilities with notices that include the texts in Braille.

I used to freak out when I saw on TV the politician had finally agreed to cater for the French government just for his own economic interest.

(sorry for the hectic sentences I wrote)

  • I used to freak out when I saw on TV the politician had finally agreed …” It seems highly unlikely that this was a recurring incident. A better alternative would be to say ”I freaked out when I saw on TV the politician had finally agreed …”
    – Mari-Lou A
    Dec 31, 2023 at 1:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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