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Which sentence is better? are they same?

  • All people are the same to them
  • All people are the same for them
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Take a clear example:

Republican or Democrat - they both mean the same to John.

That usage is suggestive of an opinion or position held by John. Essentially (as suggested in an earlier comment by @magistermurphy) a subjective one.

Republican or Democrat - they both mean the same for John.

Suggests that, whoever wins, the outcomes will be the same for John. Here the opinion is more objective or, at least, it is being offered as such by a third person

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Which is better will depend on context. The distinction is very subtle and almost entirely idiomatic.

I can't find any official information on this, so I can only give the idiomatic impression of a professional writer.

In my writing I would use "all the same to me" to describe the speakers reactions. The "me" is reacting to something, and the reaction is "it's all the same."

I would use "it's all the same for me" to describe the speakers assessment. The "me" is assessing the impact of something on them and their assessment is "It's all the same"

  • I also know of no official rules, but to my ears, "All people are the same to them," sounds like it emphasizes their subjective, erroneous impression that all people are the same, while "All people are the same for them," points of a less subjective impression, as in "All people are the same for them: unable to help." Do you agree? – Will Murphy Aug 10 '14 at 0:38
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According to Cambridge Dictionaries Online same to you is an idiom and is used as un answer to someone who has greeted or insulted you in order to wish the same thing to them.

Ex:

Happy Christmas! - The same to you!

Get lost! - Same to you!

As for the same for you it means roughly the same thing, but as Fumble Fingers points out in his comment, accentuates the actual effect/influence.

  • I think the idiom "[the] same to you" is generally used as an independent sentence. The OP's examples don't contain this idiom. I suppose this might be why someone downvoted. – snailcar Jul 22 '14 at 18:00
  • @snailplane, thank you, for clarifying. I was puzzled indeed and didn’t really know the downvote’s reason – Lucian Sava Jul 23 '14 at 8:23

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