Meaning of FOR in English

I. for 1 S1 W1 /fə; strong fɔː $ fər strong fɔːr/ BrE AmE preposition

[ Language: Old English ]

1 . used to say who is intended to get or use something, or where something is intended to be used:

I’ve got a present for you.

Someone left a message for Vicky.

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We need a new battery for the radio.

These chairs are for the office.

2 . in order to help someone or something:

I looked after the kids for them.

Let me carry that bag for you.

The doctor knew that there was nothing he could do for her.

Charles died fighting for his country.

What can I do for you (=used to ask a customer if you can help them) ?

3 . used to say what the purpose of an object, action etc is

for doing something

a knife for cutting bread

What did you do that for?

I’ve bought him a watch for his birthday.

the documents prepared for his defence


Do not use for before a to-infinitive to say what the purpose of an action is. Use in order to , or just a to-infinitive:

They wanted to raise money in order to build up the business (NOT ... for to build up the business).

She went downtown to do some shopping.

4 . in order to have, do, get, or obtain something:

Are you waiting for the bus?

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Mother was too ill to get up for dinner.

I paid $3 for a ticket.

For further details, write to this address.

Let’s go for a walk.

5 . used to say how long an action or situation continues for:

Bake the cake for 40 minutes.

We had been talking for a good half hour.

He’s been off work for a while.

6 . used to talk about distance:

We walked for miles.

Factories stretch for quite a way along the canal.

7 . if something is arranged for a particular time, it is planned that it should happen then:

I’ve invited them for 9 o'clock.

A meeting was arranged for 18th May.

8 . used to say where a person, vehicle etc is going:

I set off for work.

the train for Manchester

A few days later she would be leaving for New York.

9 . used to say what the price or value of something is:

a cheque for a hundred pounds

The diamond was insured for two thousand dollars.

10 . because of or as a result of something:

If, for any reason, you cannot attend, please inform us.

We could hardly see for the mist.

You’ll feel better for a break.

for doing something

a reward for making good progress

Campbell was arrested for dangerous driving.

11 . used to say which thing or person your statement or question is related to:

I’m sure she’s the ideal person for the job.

The questions on this paper are too difficult for 10-year-olds.

Are you all right for money?

Fortunately for him, he can swim.

12 . used to say which person or thing your feelings are directed towards:

I came away feeling sorry for poor old George.

My deep love for him still remains.

They show no respect for authority.

13 . used to say at which meal you eat something:

We had pasta for lunch.

14 . used to say which company, team etc you belong to:

I’ve worked for the BBC ever since I left university.

Deborah used to play for the A team.

He writes for a weekly paper.

15 . supporting or in agreement with something or someone:

We have studied the arguments for and against nuclear energy.

How many people voted for the proposal?

Three cheers for the captain.

be all for (doing) something (=support something very much)

I’m all for giving people more freedom.

16 . used to say what a word or sign means:

What’s the French word for ‘happy’?

Red is for danger.

17 . used to say that a particular quality of someone or something is surprising when you consider what they are:

She looks young for her age.

It’s cold for July.

18 . as a representative of other people:

Paisley claims to speak for the majority of local people.

19 . used to say what is possible, difficult, necessary, unusual etc

for somebody/something to do something

It’s unusual for Donald to be so bad-tempered.

There is an urgent need for someone to tackle this problem.

Here is a chance for everyone to learn new skills.

There’s nothing worse than for a parent to ill-treat a child.

It was too far for her to walk in high-heeled shoes.

20 . for each/every used to say that there is a relationship between one amount and another:

For each mistake, you’ll lose half a point.

For every three people who agree, you’ll find five who don’t.

21 . something is not for somebody used to say that something is not the kind of thing that someone likes or will enjoy:

City life is not for me.

This book is not for everyone.

22 . it is (not) for somebody to do something used to say whether it is someone’s right or duty to do something:

It’s not for me to tell you what to do.

It will be for you to decide what action you should take.

23 . if it wasn’t/weren’t for somebody/something ( also if it hadn’t been for somebody/something ) used to say who or what prevents or prevented something from happening:

If it hadn’t been for you, I should have drowned.

24 . that’s/there’s somebody/something for you! spoken

a) used to say that a particular kind of behaviour or situation is typical of someone or something, especially when you do not expect anything better from that person or thing:

I know it’s outrageous, but that’s Melissa for you.

b) used when you are annoyed or disappointed to say that something is the opposite of the quality you are mentioning:

Well, there’s gratitude for you! Here am I trying to help and you tell me not to interfere!

25 . be (in) for it spoken to be likely to be blamed or punished:

You’ll be in for it if she finds out what you’ve done!

II. for 2 BrE AmE conjunction formal

used to introduce the reason for something SYN because :

I cannot tell whether she is old or young, for I have never seen her.

He found it increasingly difficult to read, for his eyesight was beginning to fail.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.