Of vs. For: What's the Difference?
"Of" indicates origin, relation, or possession, while "For" denotes purpose, benefit, or because of.
"Of" is a preposition that primarily signifies a relation between two entities, often indicating possession, origin, or belonging. It can be used to convey the idea that something belongs to or is a part of something else. For instance, the phrase "Wings of a bird" implies that the wings belong to the bird. On the other hand, "Of" can also be used to describe the material from which something is made, as in "Ring of gold."
"For," in contrast, is also a preposition, but its main function is to denote the purpose or reason behind an action or situation. It implies a direction towards, an intended recipient, or a purpose. For example, the phrase "Gift for you" means that the gift is intended for you. Similarly, "For" can express a period of time, as in "I've been waiting for hours."
Both "Of" and "For" are versatile in their usage and are foundational building blocks in English grammar. Their functions are distinct but equally vital. Where "Of" emphasizes relation, origin, or material, "For" highlights purpose, direction, or duration. They are not interchangeable, and their specific usage depends on the context and what one wishes to convey.
To summarize, while both "Of" and "For" are prepositions, they are used in different contexts and have different implications. "Of" is more about indicating a connection or belonging between two entities, while "For" tends to express a reason or purpose behind a particular action or situation.
Indicates relation, origin, or material
Denotes purpose, benefit, or reason
"Children of the world"
"Thank you for the gift"
Intention, reason, duration
"Queen of England"
"I bought it for you"
Of and For Definitions
Expressing a point of reckoning
North of the city.
He's famous for his cooking skills.
A cup of water.
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.
Concerning or about
The city of Los Angeles.
Used to indicate a destination
Headed off for town.
Derived or coming from; originating at or from
Customs of the South.
Used to indicate the object of a desire, intention, or perception
Had a nose for news.
Eager for success.
Caused by; resulting from
A death of tuberculosis.
Used to indicate the recipient or beneficiary of an action
Prepared lunch for us.
Away from; at a distance from
A mile east of here.
On behalf of
Spoke for all the members.
So as to be separated or relieved from
Robbed of one's dignity.
Cured of distemper.
In favor of
Were they for or against the proposal?.
From the total or group comprising
Give of one's time.
Two of my friends.
Most of the cases.
In place of
A substitute for eggs.
Composed or made from
A dress of silk.
Used to indicate equivalence or equality
Paid ten dollars for a ticket.
Repeated the conversation word for word.
Associated with or adhering to
People of your religion.
Used to indicate correlation or correspondence
Took two steps back for every step forward.
Belonging or connected to
The rungs of a ladder.
Used to indicate amount, extent, or duration
A bill for five dollars.
Walked for miles.
Stood in line for an hour.
A person of honor.
Used to indicate a specific time
Had an appointment for two o'clock.
On one's part
Very nice of you.
Used to indicate a number of attempts
Shot three for four from the foul line.
Containing or carrying
A basket of groceries.
Take for granted.
Mistook me for the librarian.
Specified as; named or called
A depth of ten feet.
The Garden of Eden.
Used to indicate an actual or implied listing or choosing
For one thing, we can't afford it.
Centering on; directed toward
A love of horses.
As a result of; because of
Jumped for joy.
Produced by; issuing from
Products of the vine.
Used to indicate appropriateness or suitability
It will be for the judge to decide.
Characterized or identified by
A year of famine.
For all the problems, it was a valuable experience.
With reference to; about
Think highly of her proposals.
Will speak of it later.
As regards; concerning
A stickler for neatness.
In respect to
Slow of speech.
Considering the nature or usual character of
Was spry for his advanced age.
Set aside for; taken up by
A day of rest.
In honor of
Named for her grandmother.
Five minutes of two.
During or on a specified time
Of recent years.
Because of this; for this reason.
Beloved of the family.
Because, as, since.
I had to stay with my wicked stepmother, for I had nowhere else to go.
Used to indicate an appositive
That idiot of a driver.
Towards; in the direction of.
The astronauts headed for the moon.
Run for the hills!
He was headed for the door when he remembered.
"A plague of all cowards, I say" (Shakespeare).
Directed at; intended to belong to.
I have something for you.
Expressing distance or motion.
In order to help, benefit, gratify, honor etc. (someone or something).
Everything I do, I do for you.
We're having a birthday party for Janet.
The mayor gave a speech for the charity gala.
From (of distance, direction), "off".
To be used or treated in a stated way, or with a stated purpose.
This is a new bell for my bicycle.
The cake is for Tom and Helen's anniversary.
These apples here are for eating. The rest are for throwing away.
Since, from (a given time, earlier state etc.).
Supporting, in favour of.
All those for the motion, raise your hands.
Who's for ice-cream?
I'm for going by train
From, away from (a position, number, distance etc.).
There are no shops within twenty miles of the cottage.
He wouldn't apologize; and just for that, she refused to help him.
She was the worse for drink.
I like her for lots of reasons.
Intended to cure, remove or counteract; in order to cure, remove or counteract.
This medicine is for your cough.
I need to spray my house for termites.
Indicating removal, absence or separation, with the action indicated by a transitive verb and the quality or substance by a grammatical object.
Finally she was relieved of the burden of caring for her sick husband.
Over (a period of time).
I've lived here for three years.
They fought for days over a silly pencil.
Indicating removal, absence or separation, with resulting state indicated by an adjective.
He seemed devoid of human feelings.
Throughout or across (a distance in space).
I can see for miles.
(obsolete) Indicating removal, absence or separation, construed with an intransitive verb.
Used to introduce a subject within a to-infinitive clause.
It is unreasonable for our boss to withhold our wages.
All I want is for you to be happy.
On behalf of.
I will stand in for him.
I speak for the Prime Minister.
Indicating an ancestral source or origin of descent.
The word is believed to be of Japanese origin.
In the role or capacity of; instead of; in place of.
I used a hay bale for a bed.
He's got a turnip for a brain.
Introducing an epithet that indicates a birthplace, residence, dominion, or other place associated with the individual.
Jesus of Nazareth (after hometown)
Anselm of Canterbury (after diocese)
Anselm of Aosta (after birthplace)
Anselm of Bec (after monastery)
Pedro II of Brazil (after dominion)
Mrs Miggins of Gasworks Road, Mudchester (after place of residence)
In exchange for; in correspondence or equivalence with.
I got five hundred pounds for that old car!
He matched me blow for blow.
Indicating a (non-physical) source of action or emotion; introducing a cause, instigation; from, out of, as an expression of.
The invention was born of necessity.
In order to obtain or acquire.
I am aiming for completion by the end of business Thursday.
He's going for his doctorate.
Do you want to go for coffee?
People all over Greece looked to Delphi for answers.
Can you go to the store for some eggs?
I'm saving up for a car.
Don't wait for an answer.
What did he ask you for?
(following an intransitive verb) Indicates the source or cause of the verb.
It is said that she died of a broken heart.
By the standards of, usually with the implication that those standards are lower than one might otherwise expect; considering.
Fair for its day.
She's spry for an old lady.
He's very mature, for a two-year old.
(following an adjective) Indicates the subject or cause of the adjective.
I am tired of all this nonsense.
To be, or as being.
Don't take me for a fool.
(usually in the phrase 'for all') Despite, in spite of.
For all his expensive education, he didn't seem very bright.
(following a passive verb) Indicates the agent (for most verbs, now usually expressed with by).
I am not particularly enamoured of this idea.
Indicating something desired or anticipated.
O for the wings of a dove.
Ah! for wings to soar
And now for a slap-up meal!
Used to introduce the "subjective genitive"; following a noun to form the head of a postmodifying noun phrase (see also 'Possession' senses below).
The contract can be terminated at any time with the agreement of both parties.
(in expressions such as 'for a start') Introducing the first item(s) in a potential sequence.
Go scuba diving? For one thing, I can't even swim.
(following an adjective) Used to indicate the agent of something described by the adjective.
It was very brave of you to speak out like that.
In honor of; after.
He is named for his grandfather.
Expressing composition, substance.
Due or facing (a certain outcome or fate).
He totally screwed up that project. Now he's surely for the sack.
(after a verb expressing construction, making etc.) Used to indicate the material or substance used.
Many 'corks' are now actually made of plastic.
Out of; used to indicate a fraction, a ratio
In term of base hits, Jones was three for four on the day
(directly following a noun) Used to indicate the material of the just-mentioned object.
She wore a dress of silk.
(cricket) Used as part of a score to indicate the number of wickets that have fallen.
At close of play, England were 305 for 3.
Indicating the composition of a given collective or quantitative noun.
What a lot of nonsense!
(obsolete) Indicating that in prevention of which, or through fear of which, anything is done.
Used to link a given class of things with a specific example of that class.
Welcome to the historic town of Harwich.
Used in various more-or-less idiomatic ways to construe individual verbs, indicating various semantic relationships such as target, purpose, result, etc.; see also the entries for individual phrasal verbs, e.g. ask for, look for, stand for, etc.
To account for one's whereabouts
To care for a relative
To settle for second best
To allow for mistakes
Links two nouns in near-apposition, with the first qualifying the second; "which is also".
I'm not driving this wreck of a car.
(nonstandard) So (that), in order to
He took the swing shift for he could get more overtime.
Introducing subject matter.
In the most general sense, indicating that in consideration of, in view of, or with reference to, which anything is done or takes place.
Links an intransitive verb, or a transitive verb and its subject (especially verbs to do with thinking, feeling, expressing etc.), with its subject-matter; concerning, with regard to.
I'm always thinking of you.
Indicating the antecedent cause or occasion of an action; the motive or inducement accompanying and prompting to an act or state; the reason of anything; that on account of which a thing is or is done.
With fiery eyes sparkling for very wrath.
How to choose dogs for scent or speed.
Now, for so many glorious actions done,For peace at home, and for the public wealth,I mean to crown a bowl for Cæsar's health.
That which we, for our unworthiness, are afraid to crave, our prayer is, that God, for the worthiness of his Son, would, notwithstanding, vouchsafe to grant.
(following a noun (now chiefly nouns of knowledge, communication etc.)) Introduces its subject matter; about, concerning.
He told us the story of his journey to India.
Indicating the remoter and indirect object of an act; the end or final cause with reference to which anything is, acts, serves, or is done.
The oak for nothing ill,The osier good for twigs, the poplar for the mill.
It was young counsel for the persons, and violent counsel for the matters.
Shall I think the worls was made for one,And men are born for kings, as beasts for men,Not for protection, but to be devoured?
For he writes not for money, nor for praise.
(following an adjective) Introduces its subject matter.
This behaviour is typical of teenagers.
Indicating that in favor of which, or in promoting which, anything is, or is done; hence, in behalf of; in favor of; on the side of; - opposed to against.
We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.
It is for the general good of human society, and consequently of particular persons, to be true and just; and it is for men's health to be temperate.
Aristotle is for poetical justice.
Having partitive effect.
Indicating that toward which the action of anything is directed, or the point toward which motion is made; ntending to go to.
We sailed from Peru for China and Japan.
(following a number or other quantitive word) Introduces the whole for which is indicated only the specified part or segment; "from among".
Most of these apples are rotten.
Indicating that on place of or instead of which anything acts or serves, or that to which a substitute, an equivalent, a compensation, or the like, is offered or made; instead of, or place of.
And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
(following a noun) Indicates a given part.
Indicating that in the character of or as being which anything is regarded or treated; to be, or as being.
We take a falling meteor for a star.
If a man can be fully assured of anything for a truth, without having examined, what is there that he may not embrace for tru ?
Most of our ingenious young men take up some cried-up English poet for their model.
But let her go for an ungrateful woman.
Some, an amount of, one of.
On the whole, they seem to be of the decent sort.
Indicating that instead of which something else controls in the performing of an action, or that in spite of which anything is done, occurs, or is; hence, equivalent to notwithstanding, in spite of; - generally followed by all, aught, anything, etc.
The writer will do what she please for all me.
God's desertion shall, for aught he knows, the next minute supervene.
For anything that legally appears to the contrary, it may be a contrivance to fright us.
Links to a genitive noun or possessive pronoun, with partitive effect (though now often merged with possessive senses, below).
He is a friend of mine.
Indicating the space or time through which an action or state extends; hence, during; in or through the space or time of.
For many miles aboutThere 's scarce a bush.
Since, hired for life, thy servile muse sing.
To guide the sun's bright chariot for a day.
Indicating that in prevention of which, or through fear of which, anything is done.
We 'll have a bib, for spoiling of thy doublet.
As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
For me, my stormy voyage at an end,I to the port of death securely tend.
Belonging to, existing in, or taking place in a given location, place or time. Compare "origin" senses, above.
He was perhaps the most famous scientist of the twentieth century.
Because; by reason that; for that; indicating, in Old English, the reason of anything.
And for of long that way had walkéd none,The vault was hid with plants and bushes hoar.
And Heaven defend your good souls, that you thinkI will your serious and great business scant,For she with me.
Belonging to (a place) through having title, ownership or control over it.
The owner of the nightclub was arrested.
Since; because; introducing a reason of something before advanced, a cause, motive, explanation, justification, or the like, of an action related or a statement made. It is logically nearly equivalent to since, or because, but connects less closely, and is sometimes used as a very general introduction to something suggested by what has gone before.
Give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.
Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,Not light them for themselves; for if our virtuesDid not go forth of us, 't were all alikeAs if we had them not.
Belonging to (someone or something) as something they possess or have as a characteristic; the "possessive genitive". (With abstract nouns, this intersects with the subjective genitive, above under "agency" senses.)
Keep the handle of the saucepan away from the flames.
One who takes, or that which is said on, the affrimative side; that which is said in favor of some one or something; - the antithesis of against, and commonly used in connection with it.
Forming the "objective genitive".
She went to the store for bread.
Follows an agent noun, verbal noun or noun of action.
She had a profound distrust of the police.
Intended to belong to
This gift is for you.
Expressing qualities or characteristics.
Over a span of time
I waited for hours.
Links an adjective with a noun or noun phrase to form a quasi-adverbial qualifier; in respect to, as regards.
My companion seemed affable and easy of manner.
Indicates a quality or characteristic; "characterized by".
Pooh was said to be a bear of very little brain.
Indicates quantity, age, price, etc.
We have been paying interest at a rate of 10%.
Used to link singular indefinite nouns (preceded by the indefinite article) and attributive adjectives modified by certain common adverbs of degree.
It's not that big of a deal.
Expressing a point in time.
During the course of (a set period of time, day of the week etc.), now specifically with implied repetition or regularity.
Of an evening, we would often go for a stroll along the river.
For (a given length of time).
I’ve not tekken her out of a goodly long while.
(after a noun) Indicates duration of a state, activity etc.
After a delay of three hours, the plane finally took off.
Denotes the number of minutes before the hour;Before (the hour); to.
What's the time? / Nearly a quarter of three.
(usually in modal perfect constructions) have, chiefly in depictions of colloquial speech.
In a general sense, from, or out from; proceeding from; belonging to; relating to; concerning; - used in a variety of applications; as:
Denoting that from which anything proceeds; indicating origin, source, descent, and the like; as, he is of a race of kings; he is of noble blood.
That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you.
Denoting possession or ownership, or the relation of subject to attribute; as, the apartment of the consul: the power of the king; a man of courage; the gate of heaven.
Denoting the material of which anything is composed, or that which it contains; as, a throne of gold; a sword of steel; a wreath of mist; a cup of water.
Denoting part of an aggregate or whole; belonging to a number or quantity mentioned; out of; from amongst; as, of this little he had some to spare; some of the mines were unproductive; most of the company.
It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed.
It is a duty to communicate of those blessings we have received.
Denoting that by which a person or thing is actuated or impelled; also, the source of a purpose or action; due to; as, they went of their own will; no body can move of itself; he did it of necessity.
For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts.
Denoting reference to a thing; about; concerning; relating to; as, to boast of one's achievements; they talked of many things.
Knew you of this fair work?
Denoting nearness or distance, either in space or time; from; as, within a league of the town; within an hour of the appointed time.
Denoting identity or equivalence; - used with a name or appellation, and equivalent to the relation of apposition; as, the continent of America; the city of Rome; the Island of Cuba.
Denoting the agent, or person by whom, or thing by which, anything is, or is done; by.
And told to her of [by] some.
He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.
[Jesus] being forty days tempted of the devil.
Denoting relation to place or time; belonging to, or connected with; as, men of Athens; the people of the Middle Ages; in the days of Herod.
Denoting passage from one state to another; from.
During; in the course of.
Not be seen to wink of all the day.
My custom always of the afternoon.
Why, knows not Montague, that of itselfEngland is safe, if true within itself?
Indicating possession or belonging
The tail of the cat twitched.
To indicate a relationship
The mother of the bride.
Can "Of" indicate material?
Yes, e.g., "Dress of silk."
Is "For" used to denote duration?
Yes, like in "She studied for three hours."
How does "Of" show quantity?
With phrases like "a glass of milk."
Can "For" indicate support?
Yes, like in "I'm for the new proposal."
Can "For" show intention?
Yes, as in "I did it for you."
Can "Of" be used for origin?
Yes, e.g., "She's of Spanish descent."
Does "Of" indicate a cause?
Not usually, but it can in older phrases like "die of hunger."
Can "For" indicate destination?
Rarely, but it can in phrases like "leave for home."
What's an example of "Of" showing possession?
"The song of the birds."
How does "Of" show a characteristic?
With phrases like "man of honor."
Does "Of" show a relationship between items?
Yes, e.g., "A pack of wolves."
Can "For" denote assignment?
Yes, like in "This task is for you."
Does "Of" show the subject of a writing?
Yes, e.g., "Book of poems."
Does "For" express a reason?
Yes, e.g., "He was punished for lying."
Is "For" used to represent a goal?
Yes, like in "strive for success."
Is "For" used to represent exchange?
Yes, as in "I bought it for $20."
Can "For" mean "because"?
Yes, in contexts like "He's crying for he lost."
Does "Of" show measurements?
Yes, as in "a pint of beer."
Can "Of" show a part of something?
Yes, e.g., "Pieces of the puzzle."
Is "For" used in expressions of time?
Yes, like in "for ages."
Written bySawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited bySumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.