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Against vs. For: What's the Difference?

By Janet White || Published on December 19, 2023
"Against" is used to denote opposition or contrast, while "for" indicates support, favor, or in order to achieve something.

Key Differences

"Against" implies a position of opposition or conflict, as in "voting against a proposal", while "for" suggests support or agreement, evident in "voting for a candidate".
"Against" can also signify physical contact or proximity, like "leaning against a wall", whereas "for" can denote a beneficiary or recipient, as in "bought a gift for a friend".
In sports or games, "against" is used to denote competition between parties, such as "playing against a team", while "for" can signify the purpose or reason, like "training for a marathon".
"Against" often appears in legal contexts to indicate opposition, such as "a case against someone", whereas "for" is used to express duration, like "rented for a month".
"Against" can convey a protective or preventative stance, as in "vaccine against the virus", while "for" implies a favor or benefit, like "for the greater good".

Comparison Chart


Opposition, conflict
Support, agreement

Physical Context

Contact or proximity
Beneficiary or recipient

In Sports/Games

Competition between parties
Purpose or reason

Legal Usage

Denoting opposition in legal matters
Expressing duration

Protective Stance

Conveying prevention or protection
Implying favor or benefit

Against and For Definitions


In opposition to.
He campaigned against the new law.


In support of.
We all voted for the new school policy.


In physical contact with.
The ladder rested against the wall.


Over a period of.
He's rented the apartment for three months.


Contrary to.
This action goes against company policy.


Because of; due to.
For this reason, we must reconsider our plan.


As a protection from.
She took medicine against the cold.


Intended to benefit.
This fundraiser is for the hospital.


In competition with.
Our team will play against theirs next week.


In order to obtain or achieve.
She's studying hard for her exams.


In a direction or course opposite to
Row against the current.


Used to indicate the object, aim, or purpose of an action or activity
Trained for the ministry.
Put the house up for sale.
Plans to run for senator.


Can "against" imply physical resistance?

Yes, "against" can imply resistance, both physically and metaphorically.

Does "against" imply direct opposition?

"Against" usually implies direct opposition or contrast.

Is "against" always negative?

"Against" often has a negative connotation, but context determines its exact meaning.

Can "against" be used in friendly competitions?

Yes, "against" can be used in friendly competitions to indicate opponents.

How does "against" function in a debate?

In a debate, "against" signifies a stance opposing a particular view or argument.

Does "against" always require an antagonist?

"Against" typically implies an opposing force or antagonist.

Is "for" used in expressions of purpose?

Yes, "for" is frequently used to express purpose or intent.

Does "for" always indicate favoritism?

"For" often indicates support or favor, but it depends on context.

Can "for" imply a beneficiary?

"For" can indicate someone who benefits from an action or situation.

Is "against" used in legal terminology?

Yes, "against" is commonly used in legal contexts to denote opposition.

Can "for" be used to indicate duration?

Yes, "for" is often used to indicate the duration of time.

Is "against" used in sports terminology?

"Against" is commonly used in sports to denote competing teams or players.

How does "for" function in altruistic actions?

In altruistic actions, "for" signifies actions intended to benefit others.

Does "for" have a positive connotation?

"For" generally has a positive or neutral connotation, implying support.

Can "for" be used in formal settings?

Yes, "for" is appropriate in both formal and informal settings.

Are "against" and "for" antonyms?

"Against" and "for" are often antonyms, representing opposite stances.

Can "against" indicate protection?

Yes, "against" can indicate actions taken for protection or prevention.

Can "for" be used in giving reasons?

Yes, "for" is often used to provide reasons or explanations.

Is "for" applicable in various contexts?

"For" is versatile and applicable in many different contexts.

Does "for" indicate a cause or motivation?

"For" can indicate a cause, reason, or motivation behind an action.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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