(1) I wrote her a receipt for the money.

The preposition "for" confuses me.

What does "for" mean here?
What does "a receipt for the money" mean?

  • 4
    She gave the subject some money and they, in exchange for the money, gave her a receipt to be kept as a proof of giving such money.
    – kos
    Commented May 4 at 4:53
  • @kos Where can this action occur: at home, in a store, in an office, in the government? And between whom? Thanks.
    – Loviii
    Commented May 4 at 5:13
  • 4
    I think you're overthinking this, or possibly you haven't looked up what a receipt is; I don't know where you live, but I'm sure you'll have receipts there, too, they're given in exchange for money all the time, when buying stuff at a grocery store, when paying for a haircut at a salon etc, and sometimes they're used (at least where I live) to "certify" (for lack of a better word) that one individual has received money from another individual, without the need for giving something in exchange. Does this clear things up?
    – kos
    Commented May 4 at 5:26
  • @kos Where I live, salesmen of grocery stores don't write a receipt, they just give it in printed form. The only example I can imagine where (1) can occur is in the service sector when there is a prepayment. For example: a technician takes a prepayment for his services when he comes right a customer's home: a customer gives him money and a technician writes a paper that he got this money to do a repair of the customer's equipment. But you say, where you live, writing a receipt happens at a grocery store and at a haircut salon. This all looks very strange to me.
    – Loviii
    Commented May 4 at 6:03
  • The "printed form" is also called a receipt; I think that's where the confusion is arising from. I said "they're given in exchange for money all the time [...]", but I never said in written form (I was actually implying the printed form); but I was (implicitly) referring to the written form when talking about ""certifying" (for lack of a better word) that one individual has received money from another individual", or, as you brought up, when paying professionals carrying out some work in your house, that also happens here all the time.
    – kos
    Commented May 4 at 6:17

2 Answers 2


In the context of a receipt, the preposition "for" indicates what the receipt acknowledges the receipt of.

If someone gives you $10 and you give them either a machine-printed slip of paper or a written note which indicates that you have received $10 from them, that slip or note is a receipt for $10.

So, "I wrote her a receipt for the money" means I wrote her a note that said that I had received the money from her.

  • Could you tell me please if John Brown writes the following paper, can we consider it as an example of receipt?: "I, John Brown (passport №457464), took the chainsaw (model "red devil 4854s") in an excellent condition from Bill Black (passport №6785867) today (the 4th of May, 2024) and pledge to give it back to him tomorrow (the 5th of May, 2024) in the same condition." And John's signature at the end.
    – Loviii
    Commented May 4 at 7:40
  • 3
    @Loviii That would be considered a receipt without the part about pledging to return it. However, using the term "receipt" for something other than money is so uncommon that, depending on your context, I'd consider using a distinct term, like "note of receipt" to distinguish it from the normal use of "receipt".
    – gotube
    Commented May 4 at 7:52
  • 2
    @Loviii - In my country, that document agreeing to return the chainsaw would be a loan agreement. Commented May 4 at 8:15
  • @MichaelHarvey: no mention of payment, not a loan. Just a promise to return it. Friendly, but untrusting, neighbor.
    – jmoreno
    Commented May 4 at 12:34
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    @Loviii - that second book does indeed have pages meant for tearing out. It is a standard NCR (no carbon required) receipt book. The top copy is given to the customer; there will be one or more coloured copies left in the book. mintsigns.co.uk/service/branded-stationery/ncr-pads Commented May 6 at 8:09

Please note: I am only responding in this manner because I do not have the reputation to comment. I 100% agree with @gotube's answer.

As to a general "rule" for those looking to improve their skill in English, the word for represents an exchange, e.g., money for services rendered; or an addition to something, e.g., new cleats for the football team.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, especially in English. Don't get me started on phonetics. 😡

  • 2
    This isn't a rule at all, it's just one of the many ways for can be used. Others are to indicate a purpose ("a bucket for carrying water"), to indicate continuous action over time ("travelling for a few weeks"), or to indicate other relationships ("a taste for fine wine"). Dictionary.com gives 32 such distinct usages, although other dictionaries may distinguish them differently.
    – The Photon
    Commented May 4 at 18:26
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    Commented May 6 at 21:21

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