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1.I'm a bit confused about the arrangements for tonight.

2.I'm a bit confused about the arrangements tonight.

3.I'll be your waiter for tonight.

4.I'll be your waiter tonight.

Hi, there. Are there any differences between those sentences?

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There is a difference between using the proposition for and not using it, but it can often be subtle. It's more obvious in your first set of sentences than in your second.

When using for here, you are talking about the purpose of something. It can also used when that something is some time away.

To alter your first sentence a bit, let's say it's Monday:

I'm a bit confused about the arrangements for Friday night.
I"m a bit confused about the arrangements Friday night.

The second version would sound awkward because it's talking about a time several days away. If it's currently Monday, then the arrangements have been made for the purpose of enabling something that's going to happen in five days. If I heard the second sentence on Monday, I'd wonder if it were actually talking about arrangements that had been made last Friday.

On the other hand, if you don't use for, and the time is close to the present, then the arrangements could simply be arbitrary things—you're not talking about there having been a reason behind them, simply that they exist.

In other words:

I'm a bit confused about the arrangements for tonight.

This means that you are questioning the planning that has taken place surrounding something that will happen (or is just about to happen or is currently happening) tonight.

I'm a bit confused about the arrangements tonight.

This could be said by somebody walking into a room and being confused by seeing how it's been laid out, the music that's being played, the people present, and any number of other things. It may simply be saying, "I find these things confusing," rather than "I don't understand why these things were planned to be this way."


The difference in the second set of sentences isn't as great, but you can do the same thing: replace tonight with Friday night and assume it's being said on Monday.

Also, in this set of sentences, the for could be interpreted as meaning for tonight only, perhaps implying that the person doesn't normally wait tables—but will make an exception in your case. (However, that's just a possible scenario, and not the most likely one. But, if it were the case, then for would more likely be used than omitted.)


If events being discussed are in the distant future, then for should normally remain. Also, if a purpose behind something is being stressed, for would normally be used.

But those considerations aside, they mean essentially the same thing, and the for is optional.

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Tonight can be used both as an adverb and noun. In sentence 2 and 4 it is used as an adverb and in 1 and 3 it is used as noun. Sentences (1 and 2) and (3 and 4) mean the same.

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  • Tonight is used as adverb – Kshitij Singh Apr 4 '19 at 13:52
  • My apologies. Somehow, I'd been thinking of the other word. If you edit your answer in some way, even changing something and then changing it back, I'll reverse my vote. (I feel stupid about that mistake on my part.) – Jason Bassford Apr 4 '19 at 14:01

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