In the Oxford Learner's Dictionary's meaning 1, what is the difference between apply to and apply for, and what is the meaning of (for something) after apply to somebody/something? What element of clause structure is it, like complement or adjunct? And does it have the same meaning and structure as make application to somebody/something for something in this dictionary?

1 Answer 1


'Apply to' should be followed by the person(s) who will approve or reject the application.

'Apply for' should be followed by what is received if the application is approved.

  • Then how about these sentences in this dictionary (meaning 4): I applied to the scholarship program, but I haven't heard anything back yet. Which colleges have you applied to?
    – Orient
    Dec 10, 2018 at 2:34
  • 1
    @Orient My personal choices would be either 'applied for the program' or 'applied to be admitted to the program'. I'm afraid there are no fixed rules in English for the best choice of prepositions. Differences of opinion exist, especially between British and Americans. I cite a contrary example from the merriam-webster.com definition of 'apply': to apply for a job. I certainly agree that this is correct: Which colleges have you applied to? Dec 10, 2018 at 5:26
  • In the context of scholastic programs, the thing being applied for is admission, which is typically elided. The person/institution responsible for accepting or rejecting the application is what is being applied to, and what is explicitly discussed.
    – Katy
    Feb 11, 2019 at 2:18

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