I make up some sentences because I am a little confused about their meaning. The main point is to compare prepositions in different contexts.

  1. He has a bias toward his children.
  2. He has a tolerant attitude toward his children.
  3. His children have respect for their father.
  4. His attitude to life is positive.

Based on my understanding, sentence 1 and 2 are the same pattern because bias can be counted as a kind of attitude.

But why does sentence 3 use "for"? My understanding is that "their father" modifies "respect." (Why does respect can't be counted as a kind of attitude? That is, also to use "toward" in this sentence.)

And sentence 4 is a little similar to sentence 3; "life" modifies "attitude."

But why does sentence 4 use "to" and sentence 3 use "for"? Just because they're expressions commonly used? Or have some logic?

With regard to sentence 4, there are some phrases I think have the same pattern.

  1. approach to life
  2. need for food

Can I learn all these things I mentioned based on some logic instead of cramming them into my head? (I know memorization is necessary, but logic can help these that I learned to expand to other similar things)

I really appreciate any help you can provide.


1 Answer 1


Some words just take certain prepositions, and there aren't really any rules that specify why. I suppose they are kind of like idioms. For example, you typically have respect for something, but you show respect to/toward something:

His children have respect for their father.

His children show respect toward their father.

In other cases you can use either:

Out of respect to my parents...

Out of respect for my parents....

The best ting to do is to read, listen and learn by example which words go together most often.

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