I am confused with a structure giving two different meaning.ı mean I thought the structure “ be for someone to do” has two meaning in sentences below.I wrote some examples to explain what is cofused me.

The main thing we all want is for me to write a book.

In this sentence, as far as I understand it also means;

The main thing we all want is that I write a book.

But when it comes to second example I think it has different meaning although it has same structure.

All my effort was for my son to be happy.

It means

I made effort so that my son was happy.

Am i right in my thougths? Is the way to understand what it means to know beggining of the context?

2 Answers 2


At dictionary.com, the word "for" has 34 definitions. In your question here, you seem to be expressing confusion that perhaps the word "for" has two definitions, and wonder how those two can be distinguished. The problem is much "worse" than only your question. The word "for" can mean very many things. When learning English, a technique might be to ignore this word. Treat it as a "filler", a "connector", and look at the rest of the sentence when searching for meaning.


This is actually a very common use of for, referring to the beneficiary, target, or recipient of something. Merriam-Webster says "1c — used as a function word to indicate the object or recipient of a perception, desire, or activity"

Similar examples would be "He bought the book for his daughter", "She bought a new hat for the wedding", "He is saving for his retirement", "I want good things for him", etc.

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