Does it make any difference to use either of or for after the word minister?

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English gives the following examples:

  • the Minister of Agriculture

  • the Minister for Foreign Affairs

However, this doesn't seem to work for the word ministry since the only preposition which has been used both in Longman and Oxford is of:

  • the Ministry of Agriculture (Longman Contemporary)

  • the Ministry of Defence (Oxford Advance Learner's)

  • There is no hard-and-fast rule. Typically, foreign affairs is for. But other things can be for, also. But not everything would sound right. Also, bear in mind that mostly this is for foreign government departments (ministries) translated into English. In the UK and the US, we have secretaries as the head of government departments. We don't call them ministries.
    – Lambie
    Commented May 27, 2017 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


You are correct in thinking of is usually used with Ministry

The Ministry of Silly Walks

but it may also depend on how the title is phrased

Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice

Ministry of Propagation.... would not sound correct.

I think your question is actually a more general question about the preposition rules for using either "Ministry" or "Society" or "Department" or "Office"

Certain wordings could only use for

Ministry for the Advancement of...
Ministry for the Preservation of...
Ministry for Homeland Defense...
Ministry for Transport
Ministry for Use of Solar Power

and others could go either way

Ministry of Trade
Ministry for Trade

Ministry of Silly Walks
Ministry for Silly Walks

  • Thanks for your answer but it seems that, as Lambie has written, there are no hard-and-fast rules and they should be learn through reading and practicing. Do you have the same feeling?
    – M.N
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 15:36
  • I;e added some examples where it clearly needs to be for, but "reading and practicing" never hurts.
    – Peter
    Commented May 28, 2017 at 16:44

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