Which of to or for should I use in the following sentence?

Nevertheless, as correcting one’s written work seems to be quite tough and sometimes [tedious to or tedious for] both students and teachers, it is important to do it in a proper way.

And what is the difference between the two alternatives?

  • 2
    Not exactly a duplicate, but an exactly parallel question: [ell.stackexchange.com/questions/7180/… Jan 19, 2014 at 19:29
  • The answers all say for, but the corpus evidence doesn't seem quite so clear cut. I think there's a difference in meaning that needs to be described.
    – user230
    Mar 11, 2014 at 22:56

4 Answers 4


Usage of prepositions is often highly idiomatic in most languages, and English is no exception. This is an example of that, and a bit challenging to explain. Googling "to vs for" will show numerous attempts which you may find helpful.

I'll add yet another attempt. "I sent a book to Bob" means that a book began in my possession and ended in Bob's possession. "I sent a book for Bob" means that a book began in my possession, and my intention was that it should end in Bob's possession. So, in this case (there are many other uses of both to and for), to has a sense of transfer, and for has a sense of direction at a recipient. In your example, the tedium is directed at students and teachers, so for is correct.


The nuance differs.

1) The activity was tedious.

"Tedious" is an innate property of the activity as described.

2) The activity was tedious for him.

"Tedious" is innately linked to his performance of the activity. Depending on the context, it may imply the share of the activity that fell to him was tedious, or that he lacked the ability to perform the activity easily.

3) The activity was tedious to him.

Here, "to him" reflects his feelings about the activity. Others might or might not agree, but to him the activity seems tedious.

Typically in English one normally sees "it was tedious for him" but "it seemed tedious to him", which makes the distinction clearer - the second case makes the subjectivity of the judgement explicit.

Compare "Going outdoors was tedious for him" vs "Going outdoors was tedious to him". In the first instance, replacing "was" with "seemed" changes the nuance of the sentence, but in the second instance it does not.

I would suggest similar syntax applies to a whole range of adjectives that imply judgement e.g. "Being absent from his post was strange for him" and "Being absent from his post was strange to him".

Given that you are describing the activity as actually tedious rather than expressing the feelings of others, "for" is correct.


Tedious for. "Tedious" is not doing or giving anything to the students and teachers, and it's not followed by a verb. I can't explain exactly why it's for, but "tedious to" just sounds wrong unless it's directly followed by a verb.


My two cents... Let's try this by replacing the subject in your sentence 'both students and teachers' with a simpler one: 'me'. What is correct you think? 1. This is tedious for me. 2. This is tedious to me.

I am sure you think the first one is correct. The sentence you want follows the same grammatical structure. Hence, you need to use 'tedious for'.

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