I have a question about "I've suffered for my sins." why is used "suffered for", not "suffered from"?

  • 2
    They mean different things. Use whichever expresses your intent.
    – Lawrence
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 15:38
  • You might suffer for (because of) your sins or in paying your dues for sinning, but not from them. After all, let's admit that we sin because it produces pleasure, short term. Commented May 6, 2021 at 15:55
  • "I've suffered for my sins" is the way you generally want to say it, meaning "I've done bad things and my life is not good because of it". "I've suffered from my sins" is rare, it sounds like you're literally hurting like maybe you have liver disease from drinking too much.
    – Mitch
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 16:54
  • It is the difference between "for" and "from." Commented May 6, 2021 at 17:20
  • The reason that I suffered is what I "suffered for". The cause of my suffering is what I "suffered from".
    – Karl
    Commented May 6, 2021 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


"Suffer for" introduces a reason for punishment or suffering that is typically caused by other human beings, and which people either choose to accept because of what they believe in, or are forced to endure because of their past actions (this is the sense in "suffer for my sins"). "Suffer from" is used to identify a disease or ailment, and doesn't have the same moral element.

Suffer for The OED has examples of this under meaning "3 a. To undergo or submit to pain, punishment, or death." Examples it gives include "Every Man is obliged to suffer for what is right, as to oppose what is Unjust." "It was a hard thing to suffer for an opinion; but there are times when opinions are as dangerous as acts." In this case the phrases "for what is right" and "for an opinion" are using the sense of "for" that expresses a goal or cause. Hence "for" introduces the reason or purpose for the suffering, and it is typically connected with punishment or suffering on account of human action.

Suffer from This expresses (OED 3 b) suffering due to "a disease or ailment", examples "She had suffered much from disease." "She was suffering from what she was pleased to call a fit of depression." Here the suffering is based on a physical cause.

See: "suffer, v." OED Online. March 2021. Oxford University Press. (accessed May 06, 2021).

  • Your explanation should say "suffer for...sins," not "suffer for." That's because "suffer for" isn't limited to the reason for the suffering since "for" has more meanings than "because," It can, for exmple, also mean "on behalf of," so if I "suffer for" you, then I'm suffering on your behalf, which doesn't also mean because of you because when it's my free choice to do so, it is because of me. That's just one example. Another would be "in sensitivity to," like if you're grieving and I say, "I suffer for you," I'm saying that I suffer in sensitivity to you in what you're going through. Commented May 6, 2021 at 17:31

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.