Always Be Good For Yourself and Be Good To Yourself – The Difference between To and For

English with a Smile

Last time we covered the difference between the prepositions “of” and “to.” Now a variation.

The difference between “to” and “for” is that “for” is to be good to a person, an animal or a thing. When you use “for,” the action is especially for that person/animal/thing.

“To” is to give or transfer something to another person/animal/thing. The action is not especially for that person/animal/thing.

Have a look at these examples:

1)    I gave the book to Elsie.

I wrote this book for Elsie.

2)    Tim is talking to his brother.

Tim is playing a love song for his girlfriend. (also “to” can be used here, with a difference in meaning.)

3)    She’s adding stamps to her collection.

She’s collecting stamps for her collection.


In some cases, both to and for can be used.


1 The lecturer gives a lecture to/for his students.

The lecturer gives the lecture…

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