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  1. Nomination courses will be visible only for the enrolled participants.
  2. Nomination courses will be visible only to the enrolled participants.

When I want to suggest that nomination courses will only be made avalible to enrolled students, which preposition should I choose?

3 Answers 3

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One group of native speakers might use to there, and another might use for, and a third group might use these prepositions interchangeably.

Who is it visible to? and Who is it visible for? could both be paraphrased as "Who can see it?"

Some speakers would recognize this distinction: visible to is a statement of the bald fact that something can be seen and visible for is a statement that the visibility is intentional. They were meant to be able to see it.

Some speakers would not recognize that distinction.

Since not all speakers use these prepositions in exactly the same manner, there can be some doubt about whether the visibility is intentional and you will have to rely upon context to make that determination.

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  • 1
    This answer sounds confused and most of all confusing to beginners.
    – user79638
    Dec 2, 2018 at 13:57
  • 1
    @Gio: Feel free to write your own unconfused and unconfusing answer. Dec 2, 2018 at 13:59
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"Visible to" seems to me the more idiomatic preposition when specifying who may see it.

The total eclipse will only be visible to people in northern Europe, although other nearby countries will be able to see the partial eclipse.

You can use "visible for" with things like time frame.

The eclipse will only be visible for a short while, from around 8:20 to 8:50 in the morning.

[Edit] I agree with Tᴚoɯɐuo's answer that "visible to" indicates who are able to see it while "visible for" indicates who are intended to see it. However the distinction is so slight that in order to make the point you should say something like "intended to be visible" or "meant to be visible"

The study guide should only be visible to enrolled students.

The study guide was meant to be visible only to enrolled students, but as we found out yesterday, it's actually visible to everyone.

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  • So visible for in my case sounds strange to native speakers, but it is still understandable? Dec 2, 2018 at 7:21
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    @MikePhilip: It doesn’t even sound strange.
    – Ry-
    Dec 2, 2018 at 10:02
  • One could even use both, e.g. "The courses will be visible to all enrolled students for the entire registration period." In fact, the modifier "for <time period>" can be applied to almost any expression, even those that idiomatically use "for" for other purposes, too (e.g. "I've been looking for a present for my friend for her graduation for several months already, but I haven't found anything suitable"). Dec 2, 2018 at 13:29
  • @MikePhilip I doesn't sound particularly strange it spoken English but the word order is convoluted in written English. Why not "Only enrolled participants can view nomination courses"?
    – alephzero
    Dec 2, 2018 at 14:00
  • @MikePhilip I have to disagree with the others, as it sounds strange to me. But perhaps that's only my personal opinion. I've edited my answer to signify.
    – Andrew
    Dec 2, 2018 at 15:42
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The more commonly used preposition to introduce an object after visible is “to”:

Visible:

PREP. to - Its contents were visible to all of them.

(Online OXFORD Collocation Dictionary)

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