The best thing would be for you to tell her.

Could you please help me identify the grammatical function of "for you"?

  • 1
    "For" is a subordinator, introducing the non-finite clause "you to tell her".
    – Colin Fine
    May 3, 2019 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


For you doesn't have a grammatical function on its own. It's part of for you to tell her, which is a infinitive clause: a clause that functions as a noun phrase. In particular, it's a for-infinitive, which has a subject: for [subject] to [verb]. These clauses can include more than just a verb, for example: "For the motor to spontaneously catch fire and burn the house down is impossible."

It's possible to say the same thing without an infinitive, by using a gerund clause instead: "The best thing would be you telling her." But infinitives are more likely for hypothetical future actions, so a native speaker would be more likely to say "for you to tell her".

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