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I want to know more about using preposition for in this sentence:

Say hello to your sister for me.

Why not from me instead of for?

I looked through some dictionary articles for preposition for and couldn't find something about such a meaning.

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    Because it means to do so on my behalf. Some languages employ two totally different words to distinguish two semi-opposing senses of "for" here, with one "for" meaning "coming/bringing from" and the other "for" meaning "going/taking to". Other languages do not do so, or at least not consistently. For example, translating English for into Spanish or Portuguese always requires very carefully choosing por in the first sense but para in the second. I'm sending this to our Learners sister site in case they are more used to explaining this curious subtlety to learners than we might be here.
    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 20:10
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    Most people where I live (UK) would equally happily say 'from' or 'for' and not really think about any 'subtle difference'. Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 20:21
  • Thanks for your comment, but I'd like to find more information about using preposition for - for it.
    – Stan Wolfe
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 20:23
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    I think your confusion comes from the assumption that "for" means "from" in this sentence. In Russian, we would most likely say "от меня", that is "from me". But here "for me" does not mean "(coming) from me", it means "on my behalf". Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 20:55
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    See here, definition #5. Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 22:03

2 Answers 2

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It's "say hello for me" because you are asking them to say hello to that person on your behalf.

Some people may say "hello from me", but it is an error. Why would you need to tell the person you are talking to that the hello is from you? Who else could it be from?

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The underlying meaning is completely different, and follows naturally from the core meanings of the prepositions. For me means "on my behalf, for my benefit, in place of me". From me means "originating from me".

In this particular instance there is little difference in effective meaning, but that is accidental, because of the meanings of the particular words and the social context.

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  • I agree, but even so, "for me" meaning "on my behalf" is more idiomatic for most speakers. Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 17:53

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