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For the preposition or conjunction

For preposition or conjunction

For is usually a preposition and rarely a coordinating conjunction.  

As a preposition 

For is used to show who or what is intended to get or use something.
  • I'm going to buy a birthday present for her. 
  • There's a letter for you from your wife. 
  • We need to buy some new furniture for the house. 
  • Is there enough food for everyone? 
For is used to show a purpose, reason or cause. 
  • I read books for pleasure. 
  • a machine for making plastic plates. 
  • He was awarded a medal for bravery. 
What...for is used to ask the purpose or reason for something 
  • What did you do that for? [=why did you do that?] 
  • What's this tool for? 
For is used to say how long something happens. 

For+a period of time 

  • We have lived in Chicago for two years. 
  • He has been ill for a long time. 
  • I haven't seen him for ages. 
We use for to talk about a distance. 


  • We must have walked for miles. 
  • The beach stretches for over three kilometers. 
For is used to say the cost of something 
  • I sold my car to David for $800. 
  • He bought the camera for $150. 
We use for after verbs to form multi-word verbs. Phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs are multi-word verbs. 
  • He is still looking for a job. 
  • He cares for his elderly parents. 

As a conjunction 

We use for as a conjunction in formal situations. For is similar in meaning to because. It is used to connect two clauses. 
  • I went to bed early, for I was very tired. 


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