Do we add for when we say seek?

Which of these is correct?

To seek something


To seek for something

  • What has your research shown? – Davo Jun 23 at 20:21
  • Answered on ELU, but I don't like the explanations. – wizzwizz4 Jun 23 at 21:14
  • You can ask for help, or you can seek help. You can't seek for help. But you can look for help and you can seek for something. – Bruce Murray Jun 23 at 21:21
  • @BruceMurray Are you sure you can "seek for something?" You can "seek something for someone" but using any preposition before the thing being sought sounds very wrong to me. – TypeIA Jun 23 at 21:38
  • @Type. No, I am not. I was distracted. My apologies,. – Bruce Murray Jun 23 at 21:57

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.

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  • -1, see discussion in comments: "seek" is transitive and doesn't take a preposition before the thing being sought (although seek out is correct: this is a phrasal verb with a more nuanced / focused meaning than simply seek). – TypeIA Jun 24 at 11:52
  • I suggest it helpful to consider usage, lack of ambiguity, and clarity of meaning rather than to try to define an inappropriately rigid and restricted formality in which we deny the extension of language merely to maintain a grammatical status quo. “Seek” may once have been used only transitively, with a direct object, but “seek for” is now acceptable and this means that “seek” is not as transitive as it once was. Things change. – Anton Jun 25 at 12:45

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