I was looking for a good contraceptive. In the end I settled for the pill.

I was looking for a good contraceptive. In the end I settled on the pill.

Which one is the right option?

  • 2
    They mean different things. It is impossible to say which is right without additional context.
    – choster
    Dec 11, 2014 at 23:05

1 Answer 1


"Settled for" implies that one is making a compromise; "settled on" just means that one has made a final decision.

The relevant definitions are:

settle for something
to accept something that is not exactly what you want but is the best that is available

settle on something
to choose or make a decision about something after thinking about it

  • So I should use settled on in this case?
    – wyc
    Dec 11, 2014 at 15:44
  • 6
    That depends on the nature of your choice: if you made the decision as an "these side effects are better than the other ones" you likely settled for that contraception as the least-bad compromise: ie you accepted the negatives but it wasn't perfect. If you just had a think and decided you preferred that one, you likely settled on that contraception. The difference is that settling "for" something implies it was choosing the least bad, not the most good.
    – Jon Story
    Dec 11, 2014 at 16:01
  • I don't like settled on at all. Use settled for if you were concerned about tradeoffs, as @Jon says. If not, avoid settle on, and use a verb like chose or picked or opted for.
    – J.R.
    Dec 11, 2014 at 18:48
  • 5
    Settled on is a perfectly acceptable use, although I'd also perhaps add that it tends to be used when the decision has taken a while to make
    – Jon Story
    Dec 11, 2014 at 18:53

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