Should I use For or To?

English Grammar Should I use For or To The English Language Coach

Do you get confused about whether you should use for or to?

Find out whether you should use for or to.

How to use for

For usually tells us about the use of something, a reason or purpose.

1) Use for when something is being done to benefit something or someone else.

2) Use for when you are trying to express purpose or the reason that something is happening.

A few examples:

  • I bought this cake for you.
  • The dog runs for fun.
  • We need to buy new batteries for the computer mouse.
  • These drinks are for the executives.
  • We can’t wait for winter when we can go skiing.

How to use to.

We use to when there is some kind of transfer happening, or something is being moved from one place to another. ‘To‘ expresses the direction of something.

A few examples:

  • We went straight from the office to the party. {We physically moved from the restaurant and ended up where the party was being held.}
  • Talk to your boss and get more information about the conference.
  • We’re going to the movies tonight.
  • The dog ran to the end of the road.

  Let’s compare both.


My colleague brought the folder to me. (My colleague physically carried the folder and delivered it to me.)


My colleague brought the folder for me. (My friend paid for my folder because I had forgotten my cash card.)


I made a phone call to my boss. (I called with the intention of speaking with my boss.)


I made a phone call for my boss. (My boss wasn’t able to make the call, so I made the call for her.)


Practice time:)

Complete the sentence using either to or for. As usual, the answers are below.

1) She takes her dog ___ the park every day for exercise.

2) We bought a new sofa ___ the lounge.

3) There was a phone call ___ you.

4) The resort is open from May ___ September.

5) She felt sorry ___ the lost dog.

6) He took his cat ___ the vet.

7) Please send this email ___ Frank.

8) He went shopping ___ cat food.

9) When they were kids they travelled ___ Spain every summer.


Answers: 1) to 2) for 3) for 4) to 5 ) for 6) to 7) to 8) for 9 to) 

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