Do we add for when we say seek?
Which of these is correct?
To seek something
To seek for something
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If you look at the dictionary entry for seek (Cambridge), you will not find one example of this verb with the preposition for. It is true that people do use seek for sometimes mistakenly, but sometimes because British English. There is proof that seek for is British, although the use with for is in decline:
Plus, seek for is biblical:
This site aimpublishing says plainly that:
Seek is a transitive verb that may mean to try to get something or to try to find something or someone that you need in your life. Please note that seek is not followed by the preposition for.
- Incorrect: This book is a must read for those who are seeking for the meaning of life.
- Correct: This book is a must read for those who are seeking the meaning of life. (Note that this is a Canadian site)
A quick look at the etymology of seek will explain why some argue that this verb contains for in its meaning:
From Old English secan "inquire, search for; pursue; long for, wish for, desire; look for, expect from. (Etymonline)
It might help to look at the etymology of beseech, too. Although it contains seek, we never tend to use beseech with for:
c. 1200, bisecen "to entreat, beg urgently," from Old English besecan; see be- + seek. "In contrast to the simple vb., in which the northern seek has displaced the southern seech, in the compound beseech has become the standard form" [OED]. (Etymonline)
My conclusion is that although the use of seek for is regarded as incorrect by many, it is not. It is simply outdated or antiquated. Shakespeare used it too:
Wee'l hunt no more to day, nor seeke for danger (We'll hunt no more today, nor seek for danger) - Cymbeline.
I find both acceptable and would not edit either. “Seek for” is a construct similar to “look for” or “seek out”: the verb is active and is directed at the object by the preposition. Hence we can seek help, seek for help, look for help, seek out help. All are correct, being clear in meaning with no ambiguity.