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Consider:

  1. I was almost shot for a moose.

  2. I was almost shot as a moose.

I take them to mean the same thing. However, I think "for" here is a restricted usage, as in "He takes you for granted.", "For my part, I’ll be sitting on my front porch in a lawn chair.", etc. These two can be regarded as fixed idioms while "be shot for" seems not.

Based on this I conntrived the following examples:

He was almost killed for a bear.

He laughed at John for a fool.

He accept her painting for a gift.

He kicked away the can for a ball.

These kinds of mushrooms are sold for medicine.

Are they all valid examples? If not, when is for used this way except in fix idioms?

  • What are you trying to express with this sentence? It suggests two possible interpretations: "I was almost shot because of a moose" (e.g. I had a moose that somebody wanted to steal, and they almost shot me), or "I was almost shot in place of a moose" (e.g. a moose hunter thought I was a moose and almost shot me). The word for has many possible meanings and sometimes leads to different interpretations for the same sentence, so often you will need to expand your sentence to make the meaning clear. – Nate Eldredge Jan 16 '15 at 18:08
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You were taken for a moose and almost shot.

He took John for a fool.

He laughed at John for being a fool.

He accepted her painting as a most generous gift.

He mistakenly took her painting for a photograph.

They used a tin can for a ball.

They used a tin can as the birdie|shuttlecock in a game of badminton.

They used a tin can for birdie in a game of badminton and ruined the strings on their racquets.

These kinds of mushrooms are sold as medicine.

  • Can't the sentence with for mean this too: Because of hunting a moose, I was nearly shot. – M.A.R. Jan 16 '15 at 15:34
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    To be shot for something means to be executed for doing something. The soldiers, mere teenagers, were shot at dawn for desertion. I think you mean "shot over", that is, over = "in a dispute involving". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 16 '15 at 15:40
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    Unless you want "a moose" to be understood as "for hunting a moose", but that is not plausible, linguistically or legally :-) – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 16 '15 at 15:52
  • So "I was almost shot over a moose." is legit and idiomatic? @TRomano – Kinzle B Jan 16 '15 at 16:05
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    "Legit" is exactly what it is, a colloquial way of saying that you were shot because of some dispute involving a moose. You could get shot over a girl. You could get shot over a pound of cocaine. You could get shot over a petty dispute. So I suppose if some backwoods mountain-man really wanted to "bag" that moose, and you intentionally scared the moose off, you could end up getting shot, or at least having a gun pointed at you. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 16 '15 at 16:22

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