This post is focused on the patterns xxx to someone and xxx for someone, which is different from "You must wear a suit TO an interview" vs "You must wear a suit FOR an interview" that talks about many situations except for these two patterns.

From Oxford Learner's Dictionaries

This is a new experience for me.

Our system is probably new to you.


Charlie: What happened? Did I do something wrong? Please don't tell Alan's wife.

A lady: No, you didn't do anything wrong. I really like you.

Charlie: Okay. This is new for me.

According to another ell post, "The task was new to me" is more natural than "The task was new for me".

According to Ngram Viewer, both are in use

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Are there some rules or situations for when to use which?

1 Answer 1


There aren't any strict rules telling you when to use one over the other. My opinion about it is that "for me" generally speaks about profit, benefits, gaining something for yourself, whereas "to me" speaks about "the feelings, the thoughts, the opinions", you generally say it when you have a personal opinion about something or you dwell over it in some way.

In most cases you will probably hear "to me" which mostly makes sense, like in:

  1. This book is worth nothing to me. - which might state your thought about how the book is worth anything in your opinion.
  2. To me, their behaviour is unacceptable. - so this probably is what you think about their behaviour.

In comparison:

  1. This advice is good for me. - most certainly it benefits you in some way.

  2. For me, this car is not good. - you don't find it benefiting you in any way even though to you this car may be a rather good one, still for yourself you wouldn't want it. Notice that if we say "To me, this car is not good" it may well mean that in your opinion this car is not good in general for anybody, but some might think otherwise, while with "for me" you don't expect others to think that your opinion is that the car is not good - it just doesn't suit you.

But in general people don't ponder over such subtle differences when it comes to practical usage.

  • Thank you. In the example of Charlie, what did he gain, the feeling of that lady?
    – JakeMZ
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 22:47
  • @JakeMZ Either it was that he enjoyed the words and it somehow would motivate him in the future, or he simply used for instead of to unintentionally or not, but so happened. Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 3:17
  • Thank you so much. "Either" indicates that there are two possibilities, the first one is "he enjoyed the words", what is the second?
    – JakeMZ
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 11:57
  • 1
    @JakeMZ Reread the comment Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 11:59

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