How to use the English preposition FOR (with Video)

wait for somethingCarl’s waiting for his friend, he should be here soon.
look for somethingI can’t find my earring! Can you help me look for it?
for can show purposeAre you learning English for pleasure or for work?
for can show a causeShe gave me a bag for my birthday.
we use for to receive somethingCall this number for more information.

Learn 5 ways to use the English preposition FOR in this post. Understand with lots of natural example sentences. The examples are common and easy to remember. Some example sentences are basic and others are more advanced. This post can be helpful for any level, and it can help you get to your next level.
Use the English preposition FOR just like a native speaker!

How to use English preposition FOR

According to Englishclub.com for is the fourth most commonly used preposition.
Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary lists 20 uses for the preposition FOR!
Using this preposition correctly will increase your conversation ability and your confidence to talk with native speakers.

FOR has many uses as a preposition. Let’s start with one of the more common uses.

1. We wait for something…

We can wait for somebody or something:

Learn the English preposition FOR
The cafe is busy today. I have to wait for a seat.

The café is busy today. I have to wait for a seat.

Carl’s waiting for his friend, he should be here soon.

They finally built a new bus shelter on Queen Street. Now I don’t have to get wet waiting for the bus in the rain.

OR ~ We can wait for something to happen:

How to use English preposition FOR
Wait for the light to change before you cross the street.

Wait for the light to change before you cross the street.

I want to go to lunch, but I’m waiting for a phone call from my customer.

Jill bought a new iPhone, I’m waiting for the price to go down before I get one.  

2. To look for something means to search or try to find something

How to use English preposition FOR
All my friends from university are still looking for a job.

All my friends from university are still looking for a job, I’m lucky to be working.

Aaron is looking for a black sport coat, size 40 regular.

I can’t find my earring! Can you help me look for it?

3. For can be used to show purpose or function

Learn the English preposition FOR
Are you learning English for pleasure or for work?

Are you learning English for pleasure or for work?
(What’s the purpose of your English study?)

Let’s go for a walk! (The purpose of going out is to take a walk)

What did you do that for? = Why did you do that?

Learn the English preposition FOR
What did you do that for?

Wadjya do that for?

In natural spoken English the phrase “What did you” becomes “Wadjya” when spoken at native speed.

Verbs with prepositions TO and AT – Easy Grammar (Video+PDF)

4. We use for to show a reason or a cause

How to use English preposition FOR
She gave me a gift for my birthday.

She gave me a gift for my birthday.
( The reason she gave me the gift is that it was my birthday)

He got an award for bravery.
(He got the award because he’s brave) 

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5. We can use the preposition FOR to receive something

Call this number for more information.
(To receive more information)

Thanks Roger, I can always count on you for help. 
(I can depend on your help, I can always receive your help)

How to use English preposition FOR

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~ You can find an English preposition list on sites like Wikipedia, but lists are not as helpful as listening to natural preposition sentences, with real preposition usage and common preposition examples. Use the video below for listening practice. You can also use the time after you hear the sentence to repeat it and practice your speaking and pronunciation!

Watch the video below to review the grammar and improve your English listening skills.

Thanks to these sites for help with this post!
https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/for_1?q=For

*Check out these other great English blog posts

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  1. Pingback: English Preposition Collection - 11 posts (+ 4 quizzes!) - World English Blog

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