When you want to know why someone is requesting for something when writing an email, which should be used?

May I know the reason of/for the request?

Is there a difference between the two? Thanks.

  • 1
    Before you ask a question like this, google these expressions (reason for / reason of) on the internet. You should be able to find the answer yourself without difficulty. Oct 26 '20 at 15:30

X of Y expresses a relationship - X is part of Y; Y is a "container" and X is in it.

X for Y expresses a purpose/answers the question why? - Y is X's purpose/destiny.

May I know the reason of the request?

This sounds like the request is written on a form, and one of the lines on that form is "Reason: ______" and you want to know what that is.

May I know the reason for the request?

This is equivalent to saying "May I know why this request was made?"

Do both arrive at the same meaning? Yes, they are practically equivalent ... but the first one sounds much more formal as of implies the request was a "container" that possibly had several things that needed to be specified/known/committed before becoming an official request.

  • I don't much like the first one sounds much more formal. It doesn't sound remotely formal to me - it just sounds like something I would only normally expect from a non-native speaker. In the rare circumstances where that "reason contained within a request" meaning was significant, I'd probably expect a competent native speaker to use in rather than of anyway (perhaps specifically to avoid being taken for nns). Oct 26 '20 at 16:41

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