Is there any difference between "the flight / train / bus / coach... for New York" & "the flight / train / bus / coach... to New York"?

In the Dictionary

For (preposition): used to show where somebody/something is going; used to say where a person, vehicle etc is going

Is this the bus for Chicago?

But we can also say

She booked a flight to Chicago. Source


Both are acceptable, and there is no difference between them.

Note however that they are interchangeable only in this context, as complement of a noun designating a mode or means of transportation; they introduce an intended destination. As complement of a verb of motion, to usually introduces an achieved destination: She drove to Chicago implies that she reached Chicago. For is rare with such verbs, but if you encounter it it will introduce an intended destination, with no implication that the destination was achieved.

  • Why did you use archieved instead of reached in your last sentence? Aug 25 '17 at 16:52
  • @SovereignSun 'cause that's the term I introduced (and boldfaced) as a contrast to intended. Aug 25 '17 at 17:03
  • I always thought that "...for Chicago" meant that the purpose of the train was to take you to Chicago.
    – user3169
    Aug 25 '17 at 17:33
  • @user3169 I have no idea where the idiom originated: it could equally be a train for passengers to Chicago or a train bound or headed for Chicago. But the object of the preposition is the intended destination. Aug 25 '17 at 17:41

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