In the song of "Four tops" band, the soloist (Levi Stubbs) says "reach out for me". Now I looked for the meaning of the idiom "reach out for" but I found "reach out to" in Cambridge dictionary. Is it the same meaning? because if it is, then I don't understand the meaning in this context. Or maybe it has a different meaning?

Some of lyrics of this song:

Now if you feel that you can't go on

Because all of your hope is gone,

And your life is filled with much confusion

Until happiness is just an illusion,

And your world around is crumblin' down;

Darling, reach out (come on girl, reach on out for me)

Reach out (reach out for me.)

I'll be there, with a love that will shelter you.

I'll be there, with a love that will see you through.

I'll be there to always see you through.

  • 1
    You should add actual lyrics sufficient to understand the context of the phrase you are asking about, rather than linking to a video that may go away. Or at least add the time where the phrase is used.
    – user3169
    Nov 24, 2018 at 2:42
  • "reach out for me" is imploring the listener to come to him specifically. It is different from "reach out to" in that it is the speaker who is initiating the contact out to someone. It can be literal, or metaphorically to come to him in a time of emotional need. Nov 24, 2018 at 3:09

1 Answer 1


To reach out is, as a physical action, to extend some part of your body. It can also be used metaphorically, such as "reaching out" by sending an email or a letter to make contact with someone.

Both to me and for me are adverbials, using a preposition and the first-person singular personal pronoun. The difference is simply the preposition.

To, as a preposition in an adverbial, can indicate the target of the action, or the thing affected by the action. It can also mean an objective or location - "walk to school" means to walk with the objective of reaching school.

For, in such a usage, can mean the person (or whatever) that you're doing it at the request of, or for the benefit of. "Reach out for me" can mean "reach out because I'm asking you to" or "reach out for my benefit".

However, there is a particular idiomatic meaning to "reach out for". If you reach out to something, it can mean just reaching to touch it. If you reach out for something, that carries the connotation - depending on context - that you intend to grasp that something, take hold of it in some way.

Thus, this lyric might mean that the singer is urging the person to "reach out", and saying they should do it because the singer is asking them to. However, it is more likely that it means they want them to reach out and, in some sense, take hold of them.

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