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Is this sentence correct?

This applies especially to your VAT return.

Or should it be for instead of to?

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  • Without more context it is impossible to say. "To" is probably better. Apr 24, 2019 at 12:14
  • Even with a very specific context, there's no absolute rule dictating whether you can / should use to, for, with, on or some other preposition in the construction X applies [prep] Y. Apr 24, 2019 at 12:55
  • This is in the dictionary. This applies to your tax return. No for. A thing applies to another thing.
    – Lambie
    Feb 16, 2020 at 22:22

2 Answers 2

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The phrasal verbs "apply to" and "apply for" have different meanings. The sentence is correct with "to".

"Apply to" means to pertain to something or be connected with it.

"Apply for" means to submit an application to initiate some kind of official process.

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  • I would also add that "for" can be used with the non-phrasal "apply" (or "apply to") to indicate a purpose or duration of time ("this applies for the next week", or "this rule applies to visitors for walking and running, but not for swimming"). This use also means something different than "to", though, and is not interchangeable.
    – Foogod
    Mar 21, 2020 at 1:22
  • Well, in that case I'd analyze it less as a phrasal verb, more as a regular intransitive verb modified by a prepositional phrase. Mar 21, 2020 at 1:44
  • Yes, I agree.. just wanted to point out that "apply" and "for" can be used together this way as well, so "apply for" isn't necessarily always the phrasal verb form.
    – Foogod
    Mar 23, 2020 at 16:03
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This sentence is certainly correct as-is, but for would be just as good in some cases, such as if the main subject is not VAT. If this is part of a manual for VAT returns, then to is probably better, but the full context would make things clearer.

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