Sometimes, when you construct sentences in English, you may get confused about which word to use or how to phrase the sentence. It is quite common to have these confusions, especially when English is not your first language.
One of the most common dilemmas that happen while speaking or writing in English is to decide whether you should use ‘to me’ in a sentence or ‘for me’. Most of us also have doubts regarding the difference between them and whether it makes a difference if we use either of the two.
So, what is the difference between ‘to me’ and ‘for me’? Usually when we say ‘to me’, it is used to show your opinion or your thoughts on something. And when we say ‘for me’ it means something affects you on a personal level.
Read on for a more detailed answer with appropriate examples.
What is ‘to me’?
You can use ‘to me’ when you want to talk about your personal thoughts and preferences. You say this when you know that what you are saying is your absolute personal preference and the people around you might differ in opinion.
For example, you can say, ‘To me, the film was quite boring.’ Or you can say, ‘The film was quite boring to me’. So, while you use these lines, you are basically expressing your personal opinion on how the film was to you.
‘Seems to me that he couldn’t care less about this matter.’ This is also your expression of your personal opinion. You are expressing your opinion about how the person in question does not care about the said matter.
So, while you want to express your opinion that is yours alone and you are well aware that the people around you might differ, you can use ‘to me’ in the sentence.
‘To’ is a word used to indicate direction or a motion towards a person. So, you can also use ‘to me’ in sentences where someone or something is directed towards you.
For example, the sentence, ‘Give those papers to me’, indicates that the papers should be passed in your direction.
What is ‘for me’?
‘For me’ is used when you want to express how something affects you. When you want to say something is affecting you, you can use ‘for me’ in that sentence.
For example, ‘This job is good for me’. This sentence means the said job has improved your life. It will either benefit you in the future or it is benefiting you now.
‘For me’ is used to show possession as well. For example in the sentence, ‘Those macaroons are for me,’ you are giving the idea to the listener that the macaroons are only for you and no one else.
Differences Between ‘to me’ and ‘for me’
To Show How Something Affects You
You can use ‘to me’ when you want to talk about your personal preferences. ‘For me’ is used when you want to express how something affects you or benefits you.
Take a look at the following examples.
‘To me, this is very important’
‘This is very important for me.’
In the first sentence, ‘this’ is very important to you. It might not be important to the others. In the second sentence, ‘this’ is so important in your life that it affects your whole life. It could be so important that it benefits you or changes you somehow.
‘To me’ is also used to show when something is moving in your direction to reach your possession. For example, ‘John passed the papers to me’.
‘For me’ is used to show possession of something. For example, ‘This parcel is for me.’
Comparison Chart: ‘To me Vs ‘For me’
|Phrase||‘To me’||‘For me’|
|Expressing opinion||It goes along the lines of, ‘ it seems to me’||It expresses a concern very personal, something like, ‘as far as I am concerned|
|Possession||It is not usually used to express possession||It expresses possession when you say something is ‘for me’|
|Indication of direction||When you say, ‘to me’, you are indicating something is moving your way.||It usually expresses something is coming that will change you or benefit you.|
Similitudes Between ‘to me’ and ‘for me’
Both ‘for me’ and ‘to me’ can be used to express a personal opinion even if there is a small difference.
‘For me, this is the most beautiful scenery’
‘To me, this is the most beautiful scenery’
In both these sentences, the speaker talks about their personal liking towards the scenery. The basic meaning of both these sentences is the same.
However when you use ‘for me’, you are speaking more along the lines of, ‘as far as I am concerned’. And when you say, ‘to me’ you speak along the lines of ‘it appears to me’. However, in both cases, you are expressing an opinion that is yours and may not agree with the opinions of those around you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you say something is important ‘to me’ or ‘for me’?
When you say something is important ‘to me’, you are meaning to say the something is an important possession of yours and you value it.
And when you say something is important ‘for me’, you want to say that it is something that you need or benefits you in some way.
Do I say, it means a lot ‘for me’ or ‘to me’?
When you say it means a lot ‘to me’, it means that the incident or the object is something you value.
And when you say it means a lot ‘for me’, it means that the incident or the object can change you in some way or benefit you.
Both ‘to me’ and ‘for me’ can be used to show your personal opinion on something. However, ‘to me’ expresses more concern about just your opinion, and ‘for me’ talks about how something benefits you as a whole.
English can be confusing at times, especially for non-native speakers. But with the right amount of practice and proper guidance, these dilemmas can be solved.