I have read this sentence in a story: "He had to see her for himself."

I would like to know what difference does "for" make in this sentence. If I omit it, would the meaning of the sentence be exactly the same?

2 Answers 2


"See for yourself" is an idiomatic way of saying that you want to see something first-hand, usually following the reports of other people.

For example:

  • I've seen the Grand Canyon in photographs, but I want to see it for myself.

If you omit the word "for" in your example, the overall intention (ie 'seeing' it) is pretty much the same, but it doesn't carry the same idiomatic meaning of proving something to yourself.


See something for yourself has a particular meaning; to convince yourself that it is real by seeing it with your own eyes. Without for, the sentence doesn't necessarily carry this meaning.

  • 1
    Here is another text from another story: "It was me who stole your spell book.” “I figured that out for myself already,” said Katie. “But now I’m going to save.... I’ll do a mind wipe on Mrs Hepworth so that she forgets all the bad things you’ve done.” ... “No don’t do that,” he said. “... I don’t want to be saved by your magic. I’ve got to face this myself.” ..... here is another example "I have figured this out for myself"...what difference does this create? What if I omit "for" here? And in the last sentence there is no "for". I would like to know the difference in meaning.
    – Learner
    Commented May 9, 2021 at 17:55
  • @Learner You're asking good questions. The meaning is very similar. It's hard to describe the small difference in connotation.
    – LarsH
    Commented May 9, 2021 at 20:20
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    "See something for myself" emphasizes that nobody else can see it "for me" and tell me about it secondhand (because I wouldn't believe it, or because I wouldn't get the information/experience/closure I want, etc.) Commented May 9, 2021 at 23:34
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    I have figured this/that out for myself - I worked it out without any help, you don't need to tell me. The inclusion of for emphasises the fact that the 'figuring out' was an independent action. Commented May 10, 2021 at 7:29

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