Everybody is aware of the confusion that one faces while using certain words in English.

This is because most of them are interchangeable. Moreover, there are a lot of connotations that are attached to a single word.

It has often been observed that people tend to switch the words, ‘of’ and ‘for’ simply because they both denote more or less the same thing.

So, what is the difference between ‘of’ and ‘for’? In general, ‘Of’ is used to signify a relationship between two objects whereas’ for’ is used to express something which relates to time.

However, there are a lot of differences between both the prepositions which will be elaborated in this article.

So, keep reading to know more about when to use ‘for’ or ‘of’.

What does ‘Of’ denote?

Although ‘of’ is used to denote a lot of things, it is majorly used when you are trying to display ownership, that is when something belongs to somebody. For example,

  • ‘James was the owner of the club’
  • ‘Although Ted’s name is not mentioned in the will, he is the real owner of the estate’
  • In addition to signifying ownership, ‘Of’ is generally used to indicate the position in time. For instance,
  • ‘At the time of war, people used different kinds of methods to communicate.’
  • ‘The estimated time of arrival was 8’o clock.’

Furthermore,’ of’ is also used when something is made up of something. Let’s look at the example to get a proper understanding of the same.

  • ‘He had a piece of vanilla cake for dessert.’
  • ‘She prefers to have a cup of tea instead of having a cup of coffee.’

Another type of sentence in which of is used is when you are trying to exhibit a relationship between things like an outcome of a certain event. This might be a little tricky to understand and hence we have provided you with a few examples so that you can understand the way in which ‘of’ is used.

  • ‘Due to the multiple fraudulent acts that were going on in the company, David resigned from his post as chairman of the board of directors.’
  • ‘As it was almost midnight, most of the guests had left already.’
  • ‘Romeo and Juliet is one of the classics of Shakespeare.’
  • ‘Jon had an accident and as per the reports, most of his organs are severely injured.’

Additionally, it can also be used to describe things when things are being described with us, ’apart from’, ’caused by’, ’separated from’ and ‘coming from’.

  • ‘Apart from being a great actor, we know nothing of his life.’
  • ‘The crises were caused by irrational usage of water.’
  • ‘Coming from a science background, she had a lot of knowledge about processes.’

To summarize, 'of’ is used to describe distance, ownership, and relationship

What does ‘for’ denote?

One of the many uses of the preposition ‘for’ is to show a ‘purpose’. For example,

  • ‘I am doing this course for an appraisal.’
  • ‘She is going to buy some clothes for the trip.’
  • ‘Kate knew what she did was for the best for her.’

Apart from showing purpose, ‘for’ is also used to show destination. For instance,

  • ‘The train will leave for Toronto in an hour.’
  • ‘The route that they plan to take for the hike is a tricky one.’

‘For’ is also used to describe the amount or price of something. For example,

  • ‘The dress that Mary liked was for 400 dollars.’
  • ‘The price that the event planner is charging for a couple of hours is exorbitant.’
  • ‘He said that he will do the work for free.’
  • ‘Mark had to pay a dear price for the premium collection.’

Moreover,’ for’ is also used to show a time frame. Let’s have a look at the examples for a better understanding.

  • ‘As she was sick, she went to work only for a couple of hours.’
  • ‘For a minute I thought she was lying to me.’
  • ‘Kate went to Paris for a week.’

However, you might even observe that ‘for’ is also used as a conjunction. Conjunctions are used to connect two clauses.

For example,

  • ‘I asked to cancel the meeting for I was very tired.’
  • ‘The students listen to their professor eagerly, for he had got some information about their exams.’
  • ‘I had to take up a part-time job for I have my exams in a month.’
  • ‘He doesn’t prefer to take medicines for they are very expensive and can be harmful to the body as well.’

Key Differences Between Of And For

At first, it does look quite confusing to use these words and when to use them. However, these words have their differences. Let’s have a look at the major set of differences.

Usage

If we talk about the usage, ‘Of’ is used to express distance, relationship, or cause. For example:

  • ‘She was one of my cousins.’
  • ‘The accident happened because of a lack of control over the steering.’

Whereas, ’For’ is used used to express distance time or purpose. For example:

  • ‘We are doing it for a noble cause.’
  • ‘It will take around an hour for you to reach there.’

Conjunction

‘Of’ can never be used as a conjunction, whereas For can be used as a conjunction. For example,

  • I  brought a bag for you.
  • I didn’t call her back for I was very tired.

Comparison Chart: ‘Of’ Vs ‘For’

BasisOfFor
ScopeOf is used in a wider senseFor has a limited usage
Other MeaningThe other meaning that can be assigned to ‘of’ is ‘coming from’Whereas the other meaning that could be assigned to ‘for’ is ‘in place of’

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Preposition?

For those who are unaware of what prepositions are, let us give you a bird’ eye view for the same.

A preposition is used to connect a noun or a pronoun to a verb or adjective in a sentence. The most basic prepositions are ‘at’, ’in’, ’of’, ’for’, and so on.

Conclusion

The usage of ‘of’ and ‘for’ can be confusing for everybody even those who have their native language as English. However, the next time you are stuck with which word to use do remember the above-mentioned rules to clear out your confusion.

Always remember patience and practice will help you master any art. So with a little practice, you will be able to learn the English language as well.