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Is there any reason that explains the difference between ''This makes sense to me'' and ''This makes sense for me''?

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  • No difference in meaning. For might slightly emphasize that it was your conclusion, but not necessarily. The reason is that to is more common for percepts like that (seems/looks/feels/sounds/appears to me), and using for is different, hence raises a question of why, and that's one possible interpretation. For those who look for such. Sep 22, 2022 at 18:02

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In Britain we would say "makes sense to me", but I believe (and I'm willing to be corrected) Americans have a tendency to use - "makes sense for me".

Preposition use is a constant area of divergence between British and American expression.

Other similar prepositional differences in use are: "different to" (UK), "different than" (USA); "speaking to" (UK), "speaking with" (USA); "at the weekend" (UK), "on the weekend" (USA).

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    I (British) might use 'it makes sense to me' when I mean 'it is understandable to me' or 'I agree with what you say'- e.g. 'your explanation makes sense to me', and I could say that something (e.g. a proposed arrangement) makes sense for me if I mean it suits my individual circumstances ('suits me'), e.g. 'the idea of flexible working makes sense for me because I have to use public transport and might not be able to always arrive by 9 AM' or 'having the office on the ground floor makes sense for me because I am a wheelchair user'. Sep 1, 2022 at 9:14
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    I (UK) was taught to say different from! Sep 1, 2022 at 9:33
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    American here: "Makes sense to me" feels much more natural, and Ngrams seems to bear that out.
    – stangdon
    Sep 1, 2022 at 13:16
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    @MichaelHarvey I'd also agree about "Flexible working makes sense for me". But that's a slightly different meaning of "makes sense" - and a relatively recent one I suspect. But this probably answers the OP's question. There you have two different senses of "makes sense" and one takes "to" and the other "for".
    – WS2
    Sep 1, 2022 at 17:37
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    @KateBunting I can accept "from" or "to", though the latter is what I use and will continue to do so. However I have never been able to take "than" seriously in this context. It strains the boundaries of semantics, in my view, to say "different than". "Than" is a preposition used between comparators - John is bigger than George. "Different than" seems to make no sense, unless you say "John and Jenny are more different (to one another) than Fred and Muriel".
    – WS2
    Sep 1, 2022 at 20:55
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A low-carb diet might not make sense to someone because they don’t understand the logic of it, but a low-carb diet could make sense for someone because of their health goals.

Similarly, I could say a deal makes sense to me because I understand its technical details. At the same time I could say a deal doesn’t make sense for me because I’m not making money on the deal.

X “makes sense for” her/me/him/you/them because Y

X “makes sense to” her/me/him/you/them because she/I/he/you/they understand it intellectually.

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The structure is makes sense (for somebody) to do something. For instance,

  • It doesn't make sense for me to play video games for hours.

Now, let's split it.

-Do you play video games for long hours?

-No, not at all. It (playing video games) doesn't make sense for me.

or

-Do you play video games for long hours?

-It doesn't make sense to waste time in a virtual world; I'm too old for this.

See LDOCE

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Americans do not say "makes sense for me". Makes sense "for" me makes it seem like whatever makes sense was made sense specifically for the person saying this. I think it can be used. If something makes sense to make me happy, then it makes sense for me.

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