In the dictionary,

When you mean that you care about something a lot, say that it is important to you, not that it is ‘important for’ you.

Ex: It is important for me to follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Is it equivalent to "For me, to follow the manufacturer's instructions is important"?

Ok, "It" seems a dummy subject, can we say like this:

Ex: "style is important for me to choose clothes"

Does the structure "something is important for somebody to do something" sound wrong?

It seems that if we use "important to somebody", we have to use "that"

Ex: It's very important to me that you should be there.

Can we say "It's very important to him to be on time."?

But we can say "Fruits are very important to me."?

Can we say "Fruits are very important for me."?

So, How to correctly use "important to" and "important for"?

2 Answers 2


If something is very important to somebody, it means that that person feels themselves that it is important, contrary (or fittingly) to what other people think.

Schoolwork is very important to Bob, as he wants to become a doctor.

Saying something is important for somebody or something means that the thing is important in order for something to be completed, so

Schoolwork is very important for Bob to become a doctor.

Saying Something is important for somebody to do something makes perfect sense, "Doing homework is important for Bob to become a doctor"

You used the word that correctly, although it isn't always required, It makes sense to say "It's important to me for you to be here", or you could say "It's important to me that you are here"

  • 1
    Whilst I agree with this distinction, I think we shouldn't make too much of it (most native speakers would be perfectly happy with for in your first example). Often the intended sense comes more from context than choice of preposition. Feb 3, 2017 at 15:36
  • @FumbleFingers, I would understand you if you used for in the first example, but it sounds unnatural and choppy to me, coming from a native speaker.
    – Travis
    Feb 3, 2017 at 15:37
  • What can I say to convince you otherwise? Google Books claims over 10,000 written instances of important for me because, for example. Granted, there are nearly 50,000 hits for important to me because, but both forms are common enough (and I'm sure there won't be any significant difference in meaning between those two). Feb 3, 2017 at 15:43

The best general rule that this US English speaker can think of from a grammar point of view is

  • It is important for me to verb (where it is a dummy subject)
  • Noun is important to me

For example,

  • "It is important for me to eat well."
  • "The quality of the local school is very important to me."

(I really wish I could find a good Google Ngrams search to illustrate this, but Ngrams has some severe limitations on using wildcards.)

The tricky part for a learner may be understanding when something is a noun phrase or a verb - for example, if we changed the first example to "eating well", eating is a gerund, and therefore actually a noun phrase, so it would be "Eating well is important to me." Likewise, if it were "that I eat well", that's a noun phrase, so it would be "It is important to my family that I eat well." But native speakers are not perfectly consistent, so you may hear either version.

  • so, "It is important for me to eat well." is not equal to "Eating well is important for me.", is it? or we can not change "It is important for me to eat well." to "Eating well is important for me." without changing its meaning right?
    – Tom
    Feb 3, 2017 at 15:52
  • I would say that "It is important for me to eat well" and ""Eating well is important for me" are pretty much equivalent in meaning. It's really just the difference between the verb form, to eat well, and the noun form, eating well.
    – stangdon
    Feb 3, 2017 at 16:10
  • Thanks for your excellent answer. "Eating well is important to me" is more natural than "Eating well is important for me", right?
    – RobertH
    Jun 21, 2020 at 3:17

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