He had a dream for a family of his own.


He had a dream of a family of his own.

Merriam-Webster uses about and of as prepositions of choice for the noun dream. However, what I'm curious about is the for option in the given contexts. In my humble opinion, dream for has more emphasis on having the family in general, while dream of highlights the sort of family he was dreaming about. Can someone clarify this? Am I right, or is this just something my linguistically tortured mind made up?

1 Answer 1


I do not recognise dream for as an idiomatic phrase in English.

I can understand you first example, and interpret it as a dream of having a family of his own, but it is not a collocation I recall ever having encountered before.

Looking at the iWeb corpus, it has 120 935 instances of dream about, 22 375 of dream of, and 9882 of dream for. But if I look at a selection of instances of dream for, I find that (on the first page of them, for example) only around 15 out of 100 use for in this sense (most of them are phrases like a dream for me is to ...)

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