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britannica.com:
(1) She has received a lot of publicity for her latest novel.
I don't understand the meaning of "for" here.

Does (1) mean (1a) or (1b) or can mean both?:
(1a) She has advertised her latest novel very much.
(1b) Her latest novel has brought her a lot of popularity.

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  • Receiving publicity can come from advertising, but does not equal it. 1b is right, and so is "Her latest novel received a lot of publicity." Received is like getting a gift. Commented Oct 21, 2023 at 23:43
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    Publicity is not the same as popularity. It could be notoriety. Commented Oct 22, 2023 at 0:07
  • Do you know what "publicity" means? It doesn't mean advertising or popularity, so neither of your own sentences can have the same meaning.
    – gotube
    Commented Oct 23, 2023 at 4:17
  • @gotube The question "Do you know what "publicity" means?" sounds to me as if the fact that I might misunderstand the definition of "publicity" is surprising you. So I don't know how to answer this question except the answer: if you see I don't know what "publicity" means then that is the way it is.
    – Loviii
    Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 2:24
  • @Loviii Nothing about English learners surprises me. I can't tell if you're confusing "publicity" for something else. Point is, sentences 1a and 1b cannot have the same meaning as 1 because those verbs have different meanings, so the answer is "no" regardless of what "for" means. If you want clear answers, I recommend keeping your guessing sentences as close to the original as possible, like, "(1a) She has publicized her latest novel very much" and "(1b) Her latest novel has brought her a lot of publicity", or something like that.
    – gotube
    Commented Oct 24, 2023 at 6:09

3 Answers 3

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The "for"-phrase in the original sentence is ambiguous.

In that context, it can mean "about..." or it can mean "on account of...":

With the first meaning, "for her book" modifies "publicity" and defines the type of publicity she has received: publicity for her book. This has a straightforward meaning that the book appears often in the media, which any author wants.

With the second meaning, "for her book" modifies "she has received a lot of publicity", and gives the reason she has received a lot of publicity. With this meaning, the publicity isn't necessarily about the book itself, but is caused by the book. For instance, if she revealed something shocking about herself in the book, a lot of people might be talking about her right now, and the book is just a tangent to that story.

While the first meaning is more likely, there's no context to the sentence, so we can't know which meaning was intended.

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Does "She has received a lot of publicity for her latest novel" mean she advertised her novel or the novel brought her popularity?

There is no inherent popularity association with publicity. The publicity must be qualified and quantified separately to reveal its aspect to the reader.

Source TBD Entry Publicity:

2: attention that is given to someone or something by newspapers, magazines, television news programs, etc.

  • The film has gotten some good/bad publicity.
  • She has received a lot of publicity for her latest novel.

In the first example, the subject is: the film. This is used to exemplify the something in the definition, because the verb and all its modifiers align to the subject (the film).

In the second example: The subject (She) identifies the recipient of the verb's result. As written, (a lot) quantifies the publicity, the prepositional phrase (for her latest novel) qualifies the publicity, and the verb (has received) delivers the modified publicity to the subject (She). As such, it is an example of the someone in the definition.

From this sentence we can infer:
She released her latest novel which received a lot of attention from various media. This caused her to gain attention through her association with the novel.

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for can introduce a reason or basis:

He was arrested for robbing the bank.

He was arrested because he robbed the bank

for can also introduce a purpose:

These shoes are for hiking.

for can also introduce a recipient:

These shoes are for you, because you go hiking.

In your example sentence:

She has received a lot of publicity for her latest novel.

I would understand her latest novel to be the reason she has received much publicity.

P.S. If someone else had arranged for her to receive the publicity (for example, the publisher has been promoting it), that fact wouldn't change the meaning of for; her latest novel is still the basis or reason for the publicity, and she is still the recipient.

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  • Indeed, the sentence in question is quite similar to She has received a lot of praise for her new novel. And even She has received a lot of blame for the company’s bankruptcy. Commented Oct 22, 2023 at 11:10

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