Today’s word of the day is the preposition "for." Prepositions are those little words that everyone has trouble with when studying English. I recommend that you visit the prepositions section regularly to learn how various prepositions are used in sentences. Some prepositions, such as "for," have so many different applications, reading and listening is the best way to learn about them.

When used as a preposition, "for" tells about an action taken on someone else’s behalf, or it explains for what reason something is done or why something exists:

  • Tina bought some toys for her children.
  • Andrew is selling his car for $5600.
  • They’re saving their money for a vacation.
  • He made an appointment for tomorrow.
  • What’s on the menu for today?
  • What can I do for you? (How can I help you?)
  • What is this for? (What purpose does it serve?)


Who are these flowers for?

Sometimes the word "for" means that a person supports a position:

  • Are you for or against this proposal?
  • Our supervisor is for this idea.
  • He’s all for it.
  • All for one and one for all.
  • What does the candidate stand for?

Although sentences and questions are not supposed to end with a preposition, it’s a fairly common practice in American English:

  • Who are you working for?
  • What are you looking for?
  • What did you do that for?
  • That’s what I asked for.
  • These are not the droids you are looking for.
  • Those were the things they wished for.
  • This is what they came for.

riding on a conference bike

They’re going for a ride.

The word "for" is found in some common expressions often heard when a person is dealing with frustration:

  • Oh, for crying out loud.
  • For God’s sake!
  • Oh, for the love of God.

"For" is often used with words such as "sure," "real," and "certain" when asking about possibility.

  • Is this for sure?
  • This is for real, isn’t it?
  • This is not for certain. (We don’t know if this will happen.)

Here are some more examples for the word "for."

Click here to learn more words.

July 12, 2014