Wellesley College professor Elizabeth R. DeSombre argues that the best way to collectively change the behavior of large numbers of people is for the change to be structural.

Can I remove the word "for" in this sentence? What does "for" mean in this sentence?

  • In simple words: 'the change must be structural in order to xxx'.
    – Void
    Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 14:23

2 Answers 2


You can't remove the word "for". It is part of a "for-to" structure, making the infinitive clause "for the change to be sructural".

This came up in a question yesterday:
Stack Exchange ELL "what does 'for' mean"

That infinitive clause "for the change to be structural" is connected by the verb "is" to "the best way to...".

The word "for" is a marker of the subject of the infinitive clause "the change", and "to" is a marker of the verb "be".

Stack Exchange ELU

To is part of the for-to, or "Infinitive" Complementizer; for marks the Subject, to marks the VP.


"For" is related to the question "what for?" or "For what reason?" Then there is the noun "change" to be structural, which introduces an adjective "structural".
So we get "What for?.... FOR structural change."

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